• Andrea Lillo

Coyuchi seeks organic growth

POINT REYES STATION, CA -At the end of winding roads amid rolling hills, an hour's drive north of San Francisco, bedding manufacturer Coyuchi has more direct plans for the future.

Founded in 1991 by Christine Nielson, whose background includes handweaving and community work in Mexico, the company began as an organic cotton converter for apparel, and moved to offering finished product in 1998, beginning with organic percale sheets, selling mostly to green, eco-friendly retailers.

But the product line-as well as the list of more mainstream high-end retailer accounts-is growing. Rugs, throws and baby bedding have recently debuted, and other categories, such as table linens and natural dyed prints, could be produced in the future.

Nielson said she is also working with a mass retailer in developing a designer brand, which would blend both organic and non-organic cotton. In addition, the company is expanding its supply agreement with its factory in India, allowing the company to become vertical this summer and reduce prices.

The mission of the company-whose name comes from the Aztec language of Nahuatl and means the color of brown cotton-is to promote the natural cotton fiber and to avoid using toxic substances, she said. "Cotton is the most heavily sprayed fabric in the world," she said, compromising 25 percent of insecticide usage internationally. The company uses organic cotton grown in Turkey, Uganda, and India, and finishes it in the U.S.

However, the company is stressing the product's high quality, in addition to its organic nature. Coyuchi's flannel sheets are "practically pill-less," she said, and its 230-count sateen has a "great hand." Sheet fabrics include 230-count percale, 240-count damask, 250-count sateen and 6-ounce flannel. The wholesale cost of a damask queen sheet set is about $120.

The baby bedding, offered in ivory and white, is available in the same fabrics as the adult bedding, in fitted crib sheets, bumper covers, crib duvets and simple shams. The sateen fabric, however, is available with embroidered whimsical animal and plant designs-no two of which are alike-in duvets and shams. A fitted crib sheet wholesales from $18 to $27.50, and duvet from $26 to $30, while an embroidered duvet is $69. Baby bath twill terry towels include receiving blankets, hooded baby towels and bath mitts in ivory or white.

The company also premiered a handspun wool rug in two colorways (in sizes of 30" x 48", $75 wholesale; 36" by 60", $110; and 48" x 72", $170), and two throws-one of a patchwork wool ($130) and the other of 95 percent organic cotton and 5 percent alpaca ($58).

Since the holidays, the company has also offered its products for sale on its website, www.coyuchiorganic.com, pricing its products in line with their retail accounts.

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