First 10 Years
February 2020, ARTIFACT celebrated 10 years of designing and making products focused on quality, utility, and timeless design. It’s been a journey as we learned that being skilled craftspeople solely does not guarantee a solvent business. As I look back, I am most proud that our culture’s creativity, pride of work, respect, nimbleness, curiosity, and excitement wasn’t compromised for growth along the way.
I periodically read business books in hope of helpful insights. Several years ago, I read “Let My People Go Surfing” by Patagonia Founder Yvon Chouinard. It was like nothing I’d read prior, or since. Chouinard’s vision blew my mind and haunted me. I was awestruck by Patagonia but the idea of ARTIFACT being a green company seemed so out of reach at the time. I shelved the idea (kind of) to focus on keeping our heads above water.
Next 10 Years
As ARTIFACT approached the 10-year mark, I reflected on this milestone and thought about new objectives for the following decade. My mind circled back to Patagonia and Chouinard’s book. OK… let’s take another look at sustainability. I reached out to experts in the field and learned that sustainability is not black and white - more a journey than a destination. Looking at the process incrementally is realistic and attainable.
We started by taking a holistic look at our products and practices to identify opportunities for greener options. Several of our practices have been sustainable all along.
- Using Domestic Labor – Our Omaha, NE studio values ethical labor in a safe and creative workspace.
- Building Lasting Products - “Quality is an environmental issue” Yvonne Chouinard (Patagonia Founder / CEO).
- Investing in energy efficient production equipment, lighting, and building mechanicals.
- Minimizing Waste Materials – Our leather is used down to a 5/8” diameter washer.
- Compostable Materials - Transitioning from chrome and combination tanned leathers to natural vegetable tanned leathers.
- Servicing Products – We offer the choice between repair or replacement for our products by patching holes, replacing apron tapes, etc. for a reasonable price.
- Natural Materials – Almost all the materials we use are natural, non-synthetic materials, except a few instances where we have to factor durability and product longevity.
- Minimal Packaging – We minimize shipping materials and have moved over to all recyclable packaging.
Objective # 1
Our first sustainability objective for 2021 is becoming zero waste at the ARTIFACT studio. We’ve been working with Hillside Solutions in Omaha, Nebraska to help us achieve this goal. If you are considering a recycling program for your Omaha area organization or business, I highly recommend contacting them.
Objective # 2
Our second objective is the release our new Sustainable Collection. This is a sandbox where we develop and offer products that incorporate repurposed and upcycled materials, certified organic materials, vegetable tanned leather, and more.
Again, this is a journey, and we are students perpetually learning, but there are more tools and resources today than when we started ten years ago! We look forward to sharing our progress with you.
View our Sustainable Collection here.