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Making The Cut: Our Curation Process for Emerging Brands

February 29, 2016

Making The Cut: Our Curation Process for Emerging Brands

As a child growing up in West Marin, I was surrounded by Makers. I learned early on to pay close attention to the quality and craftsmanship of handmade wares.  Where and how was it made? What’s the story? Wheredid the raw materials come from?  This has informed my curation process for the retail we carry at International Orange. When looking to bring in a new brand, I always ask myself first if I easily find it somewhere else in the Bay Area. It's important to the DNA of the IO brand that we honor local and regional makers, and that we feature an edited selection of product that cannot be purchased just anywhere. That's what's so alluring about IO. There's always an element of surprise.  

We have a very small retail space so I'm forced to be very discerning.  Some of my best finds are from places like West Coast Craft and Echo Park Craft fair which showcase artisans, craftspeople and designers working in all kinds of mediums. One new addition I'm particularly excited about are the beautiful, handmade linen tunics by Rachel Craven, one of the founders of the Echo Park Craft Fair. 

I care about knowing the founders. I appreciate most when my correspondence with a potential vendor happens directly with the person responsible for creating it. This is the case with the majority of our offerings - May Lindstrom Skin, Josh Rosebrook Skin and Hair, Mauli Rituals, Vintner's Daughter, Rachel Craven Textiles, Heather Taylor Home, Small Trade co. She.Rise, Selina King and many more.  We are looking for a connection to the product, its story, conception and development. We want to love it and trust it so we feel safe and happy selling it to our customers. 

Above all else, I am committed to ingredient integrity, aesthetic, performance, personality, story and exclusivity. And sometimes, I just plain love something and know we have to have it.

Social Media has played a critical role in my curation process. Its a sign of the times. I follow all of my favorite makers on Instagram and, of course, this leads me to all of the emerging artists that they are supporting. I could have never imagined the density of incredible makers all connected through this massive network and community. I'm happy to feature many of them in The Cut: Emerging Brands, a special feature on our Webshop. 

~Written by Yolanda Porrata