If spending more time at home has got you thinking about a living room refresh or a total bedroom redesign, you’re in luck. Etsy, the epicenter of all things crafty and quirky, recently teamed up with Joseph Altuzarra to create a collection of highly curated home decor. The designer collaborated directly with a select group of Etsy artisans and small business owners to produce bespoke items including pillows, dog beds, pottery, and more.
“I have always had a passion for craftsmanship, and I love working with makers,” Altuzarra tells Bustle. “The opportunity to collaborate with some amazing artisans — and create a collection that would both speak to the Altuzarra brand and also highlight their work — was very exciting. And of course, I am incredibly proud of what we’ve created.”
The partnership between Altuzarra and Etsy celebrates the designer’s passion for handmade quality goods with personal touches, brought to life through eight Etsy makers from around the world. A longtime Etsy member himself, Altuzarra says he’s sourced many of his favorite pieces from the platform.
“I’ve found so many unique and special things on Etsy over the years,” he shares. “Recently my husband and I just had a baby, and we worked with ColorQuarry, an incredible letterpress designer, to create the most beautiful birth announcements. I’ve also gifted Nightmare Snatchers, little furry monster-shaped notebooks made by Spiderbite, to so many of my friends’ children, and they are always a hit.”
The Altuzarra x Etsy collaboration prioritized sustainability, using excess materials from previous Altuzarra collections for select products. Marika Rowe, an Etsy artisan based in Canada, repurposed those materials to create one-of-a-kind throw pillows. She says she was inspired by the designer’s bold use of color and the earthy details from his previous collections.
“When you look at these fabrics, you feel as though you have been transported into a dramatic landscape,” Rowe explains. “To me, they resemble the four elements of earth, air, water, and fire. These fabrics are rich and beautiful on their own, and I wanted to keep the design of the pillows simple to showcase the detail and color of the fabric.”
One of Rowe’s favorite elements in the pillows are the hidden zippers, a design note from Altuzarra himself. “Something I love about this pillow, and what Joseph suggested, was the idea of an invisible zipper, which really added that extra elegance the pillows needed,” Rowe shares. “The craftsmanship and attention to detail really embody what Joseph is about, and is what his customers have come to expect from his brand.”
Stephanie Lunn teamed up with Altuzarra to produce fabric-covered notebooks. “Sustainability is really important to me, and I love that this fabric had been repurposed from a previous collection,” Lunn says. “We wanted to create a product that was both beautiful and functional. I enjoyed fulfilling the vision and making the notebooks a reality.”
For Altuzarra, this collaboration provides a potential blueprint for how designers can embrace sustainable business practices while simultaneously elevating small businesses and independent artisans.
“In the case of the tie-dyed pillows and fabric notebooks, we used our own deadstock fabric from a few years ago, and in collaboration with the makers, we created something unique, limited, and exciting,” he shares. “As a designer today, it is crucial to rethink how I am designing products. By challenging ourselves to reexamine the ways in which we approach design, we can create something beautiful without being wasteful.”
We are shining a spotlight on some of the millions of small businesses now challenged by COVID-19. This is part of an ongoing commitment our parent company, Bustle Digital Group, is making to support small businesses throughout the entire month of May. Tell us about your favorite small business on social media using #SmallBusinessSalutes.