Now I’m hoping that this will be as much of a treat for my UK readers as it will definitely be for my American friends. Anyone who is partial to a brand that offers up stylish and striking interior accessories that have a social conscience (and you’re here reading this so I’m pretty confident you do….), needs to be aware of The Citizenry. A US brand, based in Dallas, Texas, The Citizenry was founded by Carly Nance and Rachel Bentley who have been friends since they were College freshmen together. The store was a venture resulting from the frustrations they both felt towards the mass produced rubbish offered by traditional retailers (especially when compared with all the cool stuff they collected on their various travels) and inspired by their never-ending sense of wanderlust and mutual desire to make a positive impact.
Already sounding pretty good, right? Well, it gets better. The Citizenry has a strong focus on the people behind the products (always a big, big win for me) and it is this emphasis on working collectively for the greater good that underpins the entire brand (hence the name, The Citizenry, which represents all those involved in making and selling the gorgeous products). And, not only are the items sold beautiful and reasonably priced, 10% of the profit made is invested back into artisan communities.
Whenever I come across a new brand that looks like it meets my global criteria (ha! this sounds like I sit there with a checklist – if only it were that organised!) I check out the ‘About’ page which usually tells me all I need to know about ethics, products, relationships with artisans etc. When I looked in detail about what The Citizenry had to offer, it was this quote that got me all excited.
“We believe our homes should be reflections of the journeys we take. Our personal spaces deserve designs with a soul, a story, and a purpose. It’s why we travel the world to develop our exclusive collections of home goods. Country by country, we partner with master artisans, blending our modern style with their time-tested techniques.
By personally traveling to each country and using only local materials, we establish sustainable relationships with our artisans. From there, we sell directly to you online–there is no middleman. This is how we’re able to offer handmade goods, crafted with the highest quality materials, at more reasonable prices than traditional luxury boutiques”.
That couldn’t be a better fit for this blog! I’m really pleased that the more I am exploring the world of global interiors inspiration, the more I’m finding brands that are truly focused on where their products come from and ensuring that local makers are properly paid for the lovely products they make. And you know what that means? It means that there is a growing market for products with soul, with provenance and with a story to tell. How wonderful! Maybe we’re starting to see a shift in consumer habits and a move away from mass-produced, non-ethical items in a race-to-the-bottom battle on price? Here’s hoping.
Anyway, enough of my ramblings. You want to see the products don’t you? Well, The Citizenry divides up its products into 4 collections: Mexico, Uganda, Peru and Argentina. Below I’ve picked out my faves from each.
I have big love indeed for the Aldama chair in the picture above, but my absolute fave is the Ceniza lumbar pillow. Available in muted neutral tones, like that in the picture below, a bright patterned version with pinks and reds and loads of gorgeous colours is also on offer for those more keen on bold colour statements. The shot below was styled by Kate Arends, author of excellent blog WitandDelight. How much do you want that to be your bedroom?! I know I do!
If you’ve seen my post on globally inspired storage solutions (if not you can catch it here), you’ll know about my ongoing love for African storage baskets. There’s two that particularly caught my eye in The Citizenry’s Uganda collection. First up, the Baraka wishing basket. Shown in the shot below in ‘rust’, the baskets are handwoven by a cooperative of twenty women in the Rwenzori Mountains. I love the geometric lines and the bold colour statement.
Next, the Nzuri basket – styled once again by Kate Arends and demonstrating how effective adding in some texture, even in the simple form of a woven basket, can lift the feel of a room and make a stylish global statement.
Unfortunately, the first item I picked out from the Peru collection is currently sold out. But fear not – there’s a waitlist! Hand-dyed and woven in Peru, the Estrellas rug is a real showstopper. It’s a geometric, flat-weave rug, drawing inspiration from Incan patterns. I adore it and want it in my home (even though the chances are one of the cats will immediately throw up on it – such is the destiny of nearly everything I buy! Ah the joys of pet ownership).
Now I am super excited about my next choice – the Corriente pillow. Firstly, it’s a cushion and you can tell from the title of this blog that cushions are my weakness. They are quite literally my equivalent of kryptonite – I can’t walk past one without buying it….I’d have millions (more) if I could. And this one has the added bonus of being made a) in Peru and b) out of alpaca wool! Don’t get me started on the pom-poms – swoon.
This pick is all about the statement chair. The Palermo Butterfly chair is a design-hunter’s dream. Made from either leather or cowhide, it was originally created in 1938 by Argentine architects and is a symbol of great design (variations of it can be spotted in the most stylish of interiors!). I am rather taken with this version, made in copper and cowhide, but the more classic styles are also available.
So there you have it folks – The Citizenry – the new star-crossed love of my life given that it is happily based in the USA and I am here in the UK. And whilst global shipping is available, I got stung the other day buying, yup – you guessed it – cushions, from a US store, without realising that you have to pay VAT on items bought from outside the EU! So a trip to the Post Office was needed and a further £16 was payable. That made me sad, though actually seeing the cushions soon cheered me up (African Indigo fabric is truly gorgeous – more on that soon) and I’ve chalked it up to a new lesson learned.
I have had the super idea of writing to The Citizenry and seeing if they’d be interested in opening up a UK branch. Perhaps I could start a petition….? Let me know if you’d sign up in the comments below!
Happy travels, and shopping,