The Founders of Lifestyle Label Blacksaw Talk Creating a Brand With A Eco-conscious BackboneLifestyle
As part of our ongoing Founder Series, profiling the people behind change-making and socially-responsible brands that we love, we spoke with the team behind Blacksaw to talk sustainability and living mindfully with less.
While traveling across Peru, Kyle and Steph Taylor knew they had found something very special when they learned more about Alpaca fleece. Its cashmere-like feel and remarkable insulating qualities, combined with the fact that it is 100 percent natural, eco-friendly and hypoallergenic made it truly unique.
On a long bus ride through the Andes mountains, the husband/wife duo dreamt up the idea behind what would soon become Blacksaw, a Toronto-based brand rooted in the appreciation of purposeful products with an eco-conscious backbone. “We knew we wanted to create something special, and blankets became the vessel” says Steph. “We had been given a beautiful blanket as a wedding gift from a dear friend, and we knew we would treasure it for the rest of our lives, and that we would pass it along to future generations.” It is this mindset that shapes the brand’s ethos of ‘discarding all that holds no meaning’ in favour of what they affectionately refer to as ‘meaningful possessions’.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SUSTAINABILITY
Blacksaw is a brand built around sustainability. It is at the core of everything they do. For Kyle and Steph, sustainability has become more of a necessity than anything else. “We owe it to the planet to make every effort in our control to make things a little greener,” says Kyle. “At the end of the day, we are visitors here and we need to respect this one Earth that we have, and never take it for granted.” The couple sees sustainability as a great motivator and driver to make better decisions. Making sure they are contributing to the solution and not to the problem is the cornerstone of the brand they have built.
From their commitment to using only natural and recycled fibers, to the conservation of the alpaca population, the factory manufacturing of their designs, and the reusable packaging that ends up in the customers’ hands, Blacksaw has honed their sustainability process from sourcing to retail.
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MORE THAN JUST A BLANKET
These aren’t just blankets, they’re art. And they’re for keeps.
Building a brand from vision to reality isn’t without its challenges, and arguably one of Kyle and Steph’s biggest was keeping their pricing as attainable as they possibly could. “Inevitably when working with a sustainable luxury fiber, the costs are super high” says Steph. Reinforcing their unwillingness to compromise on the quality, Steph adds that, “Obtaining fiber from animals that are in their natural environment, and being 100 percent natural and eco-friendly, while having such special and rare qualities made it obvious that this was the fiber we needed to build the brand around.”
A Blacksaw blanket is a minimal statement piece (think vertical striping, delicate line drawings and some foliage). It’s not surprising that with the help of a Blacksaw branded mahogany wall mount, a piece can easily transform into textile art.
“At the end of the day, we realized that when you create something of the highest quality and with all of the right intentions and details behind it, that people understand the value” says Kyle.
The notes from their journey by bus through the Andes where Blacksaw’s vision first took shape read: “We will not sacrifice who we are and what we believe in. This is a story about staying true to our vision and sticking to our belief systems.” This is a mandate that Kyle and Steph extend beyond their brand and into their own lifestyle.
“We designed a lifestyle that allowed us to work from anywhere, in an effort to get the most enjoyment out of every moment,” says Steph. For them, “an eco-conscious backbone was never negotiable, and the concept of meaningful possessions quickly became the foundation of how we live our lives,” adds Kyle. “Having a very small home, that is off the grid, creates an inevitable focus on this,” says Steph, who goes on to explain how “having less space makes us think twice about everything we bring into our home, and therefore allows us to thoughtfully curate every item.” They use a very limited amount of water daily, and operate on solar power as their sole energy source. The concept that less is more is always top of mind for the couple and woven into the fabric of their daily lifestyle.
Photography by Becca Kenzie for @halfspeedco