Client Spotlight: The Citizenry

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Client Spotlight: The Citizenry

Things are looking up for Rachel Bentley and Carly Nance who founded The Citizenry. Uninspired
by options from mass retailers, they decided to start a company. In 2014, Nance and Bentley
launched The Citizenry, headquartered in Dallas, Texas. They had been friends since their
freshman year in college so they knew that they would work well together. 
Carly Nance says, “When we thought about it, we realized the things we treasured most in our
homes were the pieces filled with stories: we had either met the makers or picked the item up
during our travels.” 

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Rachel Bentley says their unique business model is designed to “build long-term, sustainable
partnerships with our artisan partners so that as we grow, they do as well.”
Nance explains that, “Each season we create a new collection inspired by another corner of the
world. We built that into our model because we’re both so inspired by other cultures and
international design.”

So as they seek to find items handmade with the highest quality materials from all over the
globe, we sought out to find out more about The Citizenry:
 

Why the name The Citizenry?

We set out to build a company that celebrates the people behind our products. Our name is a
reflection of the collective of individuals – artisans, designers, and dreamers – who rally together
across cultures and continents to craft our collections. The Citizenry is our way of sharing these
stories and products with you.

Where are all your store locations? Current pop-ups, upcoming pop-ups, etc. 

We currently have a showroom in the Knox-Henderson neighborhood of Dallas, TX. This holiday,
we opened our first brick-and-mortar pop-up in New York though! Located in the West Village.

Are there new products that you're excited about?

We’re especially excited about our new winter textiles from Peru. Handwoven from super soft
alpaca wool, these pillows and throws are incredibly warm and cozy, the perfect layer for adding
a bit of texture and dimension to your home. 

Are there trusted favorites that you always carry? 

With every artisan partner, our goal is to establish a long-term partnership where we are
providing sustainable income for years to come. Even though we introduce a new collection
inspired by and crafted in a different corner of the globe, we offer staples from each one of our
country collections – lumbars from Mexico, butterfly chairs from Argentina, ceramics from
Ireland, baskets from Uganda, etc.  

Any specific back story on any product that you'd like to share?

On one of our first trips to Peru, we met the Lurin Artisan Cooperative. They are now our
weaving partners behind some of our best-selling rugs. They're a tiny, incredibly talented group
that does everything from start to finish – from picking berries for the dyes, to hand-spinning the
wool and hand-looming these, huge beautiful pieces. 

Each rug takes about six weeks to complete. Watching this group execute every detail, you really
start to understand why. After spending a day with them, talking about how important it was for them to keep their culture alive through this craft, we knew we had to shine a light on their story
and talent.

Any history of the brand or company story that you want to share?

The Citizenry is a socially conscious home decor brand bringing time-tested craftsmanship to the
modern home. They travel around the globe, partnering with master artisans to create exclusive
collections sold direct-to-consumers online - with no extra middleman markup. 

Co-founders, Rachel Bentley and Carly Nance, started The Citizenry three years ago – when
shopping for their own homes, they found themselves uninspired by the products and
experiences offered by most mass retailers. When they thought about it a bit more, they realized
the things they treasured most in their homes were full of stories: they had either met the
makers or picked the item up during our travels. The most interesting items actually checked
both of those boxes, and they thought: maybe we can deliver an experience online that’s the
next best thing to traveling abroad and meeting these amazing artisans. That idea was the
creative spark that started it all.

What was your packaging inspiration or design inspiration for the store?
 

Since we are an online-only brand, our packaging is especially important to us. We want to be
sure that it is a tangible representation of our brand – that it communicates our love for travel,
design, and craftsmanship. 

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Is there a feeling you want to capture when people walk into your store or go on your
website?

Our goal is to inspire people when they shop with The Citizenry. Whether it be discovering a new
corner of the globe or learning about a new craft technique, we want our customers to be
inspired by the whole process. 

Does your company donate to any non-profits, hurricane relief or sponsor any little
leagues or anything that you'd like readers to know about?

We believe our collections are only as beautiful as the environments they spring from. Every
dollar you spend supports fair wages, safe working environments, and a direct investment into
artisan entrepreneurs. We invest 10% of proceeds directly back into artisan communities through Entrepreneur Development Grants. These grants help our partners take their businesses to new places.

This past year, our artisan partners were impacted by severe natural disasters – from floods in
Peru to earthquakes in Mexico City. In the wake of each tragedy, we have donated additional
proceeds to help in relief efforts.    

Is there something you pride yourselves on that other companies don't have? 

Our business model is different. We work directly with artisans and sell directly to consumers (no
additional wholesale markups) so both parties benefit. Some of the world’s most beautiful
products and artisan cultures are disappearing because there aren’t enough ways to build a
sustainable income with their craft. We’re proving that thoughtful design – for products and
supply chain – can change that game.  Our products are also different. As more and more things are mass-produced with lower standards, we believe there’s a group of people that are fed up. They want to invest in fewer, better pieces that they’ll treasure for years to come. The Citizenry makes it easy for customers to find the highest quality products, handcrafted in ethical environments, at prices that are not outrageous.  

If you want to see their smart modern design infused with authentic international style, the
Dallas showroom displays products like their Adia Planter, La Brisa Throw, DelCampo Blanket,
and Baya Lumbar Pillow. And you can always check out all their products online at The Citizenry.

Caleb Lummer