Chances are when you buy a necklace or dress at your favorite department store or boutique, you aren't provided with any information about the person who made the item for you.
But at Inspired Luxe, an e-commerce site that highlights artisans from throughout the world and their work, each designer who sells something on the website gets their own page where you can shop all their products and read about their inspirations, where they're from and much more.
"I launched Inspired Luxe to provide a platform to showcase the human handprint of jewelry, accessories and home décor by artisans of color, women artisans and all those artisans inspired to make a difference with their creativity," Inspired Luxe founder and CEO Denise Bradley-Tyson told us.
After falling in love with all the unique pieces for sale on Inspired Luxe and reading about Bradley-Tyson's dedication to supporting global artisans, we decided we needed to learn more about the e-commerce site and its founder. Keep reading for our full interview with Bradley-Tyson, and check out Inspired Luxe here.
1. What made you want to launch Inspired Luxe? Where did the idea come from?
"It was a direct outgrowth of my years of traveling internationally for work and pleasure and my time as a museum director. I was always finding beautifully handcrafted work that I never saw when I came home and people constantly [were] asking me where I got it. And then when I learned that many of the pieces I was buying for my own personal collection were truly making a difference in the economic lives of the artisans, I wanted to figure out a way to make a difference through establishing a more formal distribution channel. And of course, being in San Francisco, one naturally thinks about the power of the Internet to power the distribution engine."
2. What were you doing before launching Inspiring Luxe?
"I was consulting with governmental agencies and non-profits on various arts projects — from providing strategic support on the pre-development of the San Francisco Mexican Museum to developing a sustainable programming framework for one of the city's oldest cultural centers to fundraising for and working with artists on public arts projects. Prior to that, I opened and [acted as] executive director [of] one of San Francisco newest museums, the Museum of the African Diaspora. For many years prior, I worked in Hollywood in international marketing and brand licensing development."
3. What do you look for when searching for new designers?
"When searching for new artisans for Inspired Luxe, I am looking artisans with a unique voice and point of view and who have passion for their work. Because Inspired Luxe is also committed to having its customers 'look good while doing good,' I also try to assess whether an artisan's work is making a difference in the communities where they live and whether they respect the environment as part of their work practice through recycling or upcycling or not engaging in using harmful dyes or other things that destroy the earth."
4. How often do you change/add new designers to the site?
"Based on my time in the art world, we use a gallery model in which we present a curated presentation of master, mid-career and emerging artisan talent. As a result, we are constantly adding [artisans] and showcasing for limited runs. I find them through my travels, local and abroad, and through referrals from clients and the artisans themselves. It is a very collegial environment since the artisans featured on Inspired Luxe each have a unique point-of-view with their work and aren't in direct competition."
5. How would you describe the overall aesthetic of the products featured on the site?
"The four key words that embody and inform the overall aesthetic of the products featured on Inspired Luxe are empowerment, education, enhancement and environmental-consciousness. As I mentioned earlier, I want our customers to look good while doing good by supporting artisans and brands that make a difference in the lives of others and in the communities where they are based. I have found that the beautiful artisanal creations we feature on InspiredLuxe.com — particularly the jewelry — are truly transformative for the wearer. They carry such powerful references that they imbue the wearer with that protective power and pride."
6. What's in store for the future of Inspired Luxe? Any plans to expand or open a permanent store?
"Yes, we absolutely plan to expand: add more artisans to our jewelry and fashion sections and build out our home décor sections. And we are finding out from people who come to our pop-ups or see me and others wearing some of the beautiful jewelry and accessories from Inspired Luxe that 'to know us is to love us," we've learned that they love exploring the world through our collections and touching and feeling and trying on. So in terms of establishing a brick-and-mortar retail outlet, our expansion plans may take the form of a showroom. Stay tuned..."