Design Matters: Cuyana
 

What was your vision for Cuyana?

We founded the company to fill an incredibly large white space in the marketplace on both the product and brand sides. On the product side, there were two polarizing options: either high-quality and exorbitantly priced pieces, or affordable pieces that were not made to last. We believed we could create a company whose products were high- quality, attainable, meaningful and accessible. On the brand side, we were inspired to create an authentic brand that promotes the lifestyle of valuing quality over quantity, style over trends, and meaningful rather than mindless consumption. Our hope, with Cuyana, was to revitalize intentional buying and the belief that owning fewer, better things can lead to a fuller, richer life.
 
Can you talk a little about your products?
We create everything with a focus on material (sourcing the highest quality from countries with respective expertise, such as cashmere from Scotland, leather from Italy and Argentina), design (timeless with a feminine touch and focus on details), and story (ensuring that our pieces have soul, whether it’s the craftsmanship or the journey that our consumers take with it). 
 
Your Lean Closet Movement makes it easy for customers to donate their cast-offs and also receive a credit toward a future Cuyana purchase. How did this idea come about?
A huge part of fewer, better is not just shopping intentionally from the beginning and loving everything you buy, but it’s also carefully examining what you own that you don’t love or wear anymore, and donating those pieces to people who need it.
 
What kind of organizations receive the donations?
We actually have worked with several nonprofits, but one that is close to our hearts is St. Anthony’s Foundation. It’s based in San Francisco and we’ve been able to see first-hand the impact they make on our local community.
 
Is the Lean Closet Movement representative of your overall philosophy when it comes to the business?
Absolutely. Our philosophy is focused on stripping back down to the essentials: figuring out what you love, and keeping only those things in your life. We want to be clear that it’s not necessarily a message of minimalism: If you love jeans, and you own 20 pairs but you love every single pair and wear them, that can be a lean closet as well. But if there are tons of things that are taking up unnecessary space in your closet and life, we believe that donating them to those who may benefit is a fantastic way to go about simplifying. It truly is a win-win. Similarly, every piece that we make is all about love. We personally have to love the material, design, quality, story. Then, we hope our customers do, too, and we encourage them only to buy it if they love it.