Designer Crush: Eileen Mockus of CoyuchiAuthor:Michelle Konstantinovsky
1. How did you get your start in textile design?
My love of textiles began at a very young age, as I grew up in a household where my mother and 5 sisters all sewed. I knew I wanted to work in textiles and went on to get my BS in Textiles & Clothing from UC Davis and became a fabric specialist. I was excited to land my very first job at Patagonia as a Fabric Development Assistant. It was there that I learned how to develop performance fabrics for the most demanding mountaineers at the time. I learned how fabrics interact with the human body at different stages of activity which has been an important lesson that has carried through my entire career and how I currently look at home textiles. Even today as CEO, I still need a stack of fabric at my desk for inspiration.
2. What is the origin story of Coyuchi and what inspired you to join the team?
Coyuchi was founded by Christine Nielsen over 27 years ago, a true pioneer in organic cotton. She had the vision to bring organic cotton into home textiles while others were working on apparel made of organic cotton. I was inspired to join the team when the company was expanding the assortment and creating its unique look and feel of textiles inspired by coastal lands. At the same time, e-Commerce was expanding and created this unique opportunity to interact directly with the customer. It was an opportunity that appealed to my desire to work with great materials and be part of a shift in consumer behavior.
3. Tell us about some of the ways Coyuchi commits to organic materials and product safety.
All of Coyuchi’s cotton fiber is organic cotton, and always has been. Recently, we’ve added organic linen into our product line. All organic fiber is grown according to USDA organic standards (the National Organic Program or NOP) and we follow the Global Organic Textile Standard for processing. For textiles, a product that is marketed as organic has to follow the GOTS standard or it shouldn’t be considered organic. GOTS ensures the product is made organically and the processing is non-toxic and low impact on the environment. We’ve recently adopted the Made Safe standard for a portion of our assortment as another verification that our product is safe for our customers. We want to avoid harmful chemicals such as flame retardants, formaldehyde finishes and heavy metals in dyestuffs. Natural fibers are the best performance fibers for sleep, for bathing and for the home and using organic fiber and processing is our way of ensuring we have the safest product for our customers.
4. What about Coyuchi For Life?
Ten million tons of textile waste end up in landfills each year and Coyuchi for Life is one way we are trying to reduce waste. CFL is a circular subscription service where our customers get new sheets or towels every 1-2 years and we take the used sheets and towels back, all for a low monthly cost. It’s a great way to afford, high end organic sheets and towels while being responsible about how much we consume and never risk the product ending in a landfill.
5. What are some of your favorite Coyuchi must-haves?
Mediterranean towels – ridiculously absorbent for a towel without pile and they dry fast too; 300 Thread Count Organic Cotton Percale Sheets are a classic and crisp percale; Organic Linen duvet cover is relaxed yet luxurious and can be with or without a top sheet, and the Topanga blanket is the perfect lightweight blanket and has a gauzy look that I like on the top of bed too. My new favorite in our basic bedding is the Climate Beneficial Wool Mattress Topper. Wool is a year round layer to sleep on as it regulates temperature so I sleep more comfortably. And, we support Fibershed’s work towards preventing climate change with our 1% for the Planet contribution for our wool products.
6. How do you feel Coyuchi exemplifies California style/principles?
Our design inspiration is the northern California coast – the colors, the design details and the attention to how every product feels. I grew up on the California coast and there’s a relaxed lifestyle that we’d like everyone to feel; that’s what we’re creating for our customers, the relaxed feel of life by the coast. Our commitment to organic fiber is also closely tied to living in California. Coyuchi started in Point Reyes Station and it’s no coincidence that the origin of organic food, slow food, and life with intention all stems from Marin County.
7. What’s your idea of a perfect Sunday?
A perfect Sunday is when I squeeze in a walk on the beach and be back before my kids are up.
8. Which musical album has had the biggest impact on your life and why?
There isn’t just one, but there’s a theme: female artists from the eighties – Chrissy Hynde, Blondie, Madonna.
9. Favorite Netflix binge show?
10. Go-to breakfast?
Yogurt with fruit and granola.
11. First celebrity crush?
Never had one.
12. Favorite book of all time?
I can’t pick one, most recent read with staying power is “Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming” by Paul Hawken and a large team of climate experts.
13. Ice cream flavor of choice?
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