Adorn opens doors in Steamboat, around the world
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When customers walk through the doors of Adorn at 1015 Lincoln Ave. in Steamboat Springs for the store’s Nov. 14 grand opening, they will be greeted by unique, handmade goods from places around the globe.
However, Adorn is more than just another retailer hoping to make its mark on downtown. Owners SaRa Cobb and Lilly Wilson have partnered with artists, refugees and charitable partners to develop a business model that will result in ethically produced goods that bring livable wages to communities where the minimum wage is not enough to support a family.
“We design home decor and accessories,” Cobb said. “We work with Syrian refugees and locals in Turkey who are doing reconciliation work. We work with a ministry out of Thailand that brings women out of prison and sex trafficking, and we partner with the two people that started an orphanage in Albania where my sister was adopted from.”
The list also includes basket makers out of Ghana and Uganda, a beading ministry out of Tanzania and many international partners hoping to improve the working conditions for people in struggling countries. Adorn also sells handwoven coasters, works with gold and clay jewelers in the U.S. and ceramics makers to offer a one-of-a-kind selection. The store also hopes to offer coffee from Honduras and Columbia.
“Everything is handmade,” Cobb said. “We have a lot of international partners, but then we also have local U.S. artists as well. But almost everyone that we partner with is mission-based in some way, and they’re trying to relieve people that are in destitute situations.”
Adorn actually designs the products and works with some of the groups on production to keep small businesses sustainable financially, environmentally and ethically. Many of the partners Adorn is working with were not even in business before Cobb and Wilson reached out.
“Our partners in Thailand didn’t actually have a business. They just offered some things for their local market,” Cobb said. “We actually were able to do some fundraising to get their sewing machines. We are now operating a full business, and they have opened a storefront as well.”
Among Adorn’s partners are the Olive Wood Project, Naomi House and Kendra Lovins, who connects with people and businesses around the world to help create sustainable business solutions for those who have been displaced and are seeking to build new lives outside their native country.
Other partners include potter Kimmy Rohrs, photographer Sarah Ellefson and Sam Maloy, who designs and creates handcrafted polymer clay earrings.
Adorn also partners with Building Leaders 4 Peace, which is dedicated to developing young leaders who are passionate about building a future of peace through friendship, reconciliation and service.
“Building Leaders 4 Peace has been running peace camps all over the world, and they were like, ‘There’s so many people that create all these beautiful products, but there’s no one place where they can sell it,’” Cobb said.
Cobb and Wilson, who is Cobb’s sister-in-law, launched Adorn online at theadornco.com in May in an effort to create that place. Cobb then was offered an opportunity to open a brick and mortar store on Lincoln Avenue this summer, and it was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.
“Everything aligned, and the Lord really provided for us to get this space,” Cobb said. “We got an investor, and we’re able to put a lot of that into our inventory, and it really has been a huge blessing to us and our partners.”
The store will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays.
“Not every partner we have is faith-based,” Cobb said. “But I personally am.”
It’s one of the reasons Cobb plans to open the space up for prayer and worship sets in the mornings and evenings. Cobb said her faith is a driving force behind Adorn’s mission, but the end goal is to provide livable wages to people around the world who struggle to put food on the table and provide for their family.
Not all of Adorn’s partners are Fair Trade certified, but Cobb said the standards set by Adorn exceed those standards.
“I literally video chat with every single person when they’re making the product,” Cobb said, “I talk to the artisans and work with them during the process. We will not carry products that are mass produced, and we will never work with anyone that we don’t directly source from.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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