West Elm is a globally-inspired home furnishings and accessory retailer that brings great design to the masses. It also happens to be the newest member of Main Street. They've heard the call and heeded the word of locals who demand a modern, affordable design option, and they'll open their doors today at 51 South Main. As a designer who's been scouring their catalog and ordering online since 2002, I'm pretty delighted about West Elm's presence in our super city.
That's not the most exciting part, though. Listen up. Via a brilliant partnership with Etsy, West Elm will be carrying the art and decorative accessories of local artists [not just as a promo...permanently]. Those who receive the catalog may already have the skinny: in support of Etsy artists, West Elm features their work and directs readers to the Etsy site where they can purchase the goods. This new location, however, marks the first time [in any of their U.S. stores, mind you] that there will be an actual store presence for local Etsy/Craft Lake City artists. "Salt Lake City has an amazing art and design community that we're excited to support and participate in," says Jim Brett, president of West Elm. "We are thrilled to be opening at City Creek Center, and proud to be partnering with Craft Lake City and Etsy to showcase local artists within our store." This opportunity -- for our local creatives to sell a collection within a national chain -- creates massive exposure, and West Elm should be applauded for the effort.
There's a plethora of reasons to shop at the new WE store. The goods they make, for one. The wooden Wasatch Mountain range on the back wall and the rad, wooden beehive installation that pay homage to our state, for another. The local artist installation [beautiful mobile - see below] in the center of the store is incentive enough. Add to all that the section referred to as "Gifts That Give Back", which includes what they call the "Mug Project" -- for all items purchased in this section, a portion of the proceeds will go to charity. Awesome.
West Elm is making a fairly bold statement here: they care about local communities. That which makes our city unique has been paid due attention and represented, and it's a solid tie to residents of Salt Lake. We're all for Local First...but we're happy to get behind a retailer that's making strides to support our locals.