Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams is setting the standard for sustainability in the interiors industry with a holistic approach.
Bob Williams and Mitchell Gold
“From the beginning, we have been making sustainable furniture,” says Allison O’Connor, president and CEO of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. “When Mitchell and Bob started the company, one of the things that was absolutely paramount in how they wanted to venture into furniture was to do it in a way that our customers could be proud of.” Today, the brand leads the industry in terms of its sustainability efforts—think eco-friendly fabrics, ozone-friendly foam and padding, back pillows partially composed of recycled fibers that were once plastic bottles, and water-based biodegradable glue used with springs and mechanisms made from 65% recycled metal—plus extensive efforts to use environmentally responsible packaging and reduce its carbon footprint. “As a company, we believe in doing good and certainly are committed to honoring not only our customers, but the community and world we share. We think ‘made in America’ is more than a catchphrase. It’s a testament to the time, honor and craft of furniture-making and the lasting quality that comes from making something by hand,” O’Connor says. “We’re home to hundreds and hundreds of artisans in our North Carolina-based factory who have lifelong, multigenerational experience and skills that simply cannot be replaced. Now, we’re really pleased that we have a mentoring program for the next generations of makers to follow in their footsteps. It’s a core belief for Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. We believe we’re making furnishings for our planet, and with that comes a great deal of responsibility. Being environmentally conscious defines who Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams is.” We checked in with O’Connor for the latest ways MG+BW is consciously building the furniture of the future.
Why do you think sustainability is so important now more than ever? Customers today are more educated and more concerned with where their products are being made. With 2020 and now moving into 2021, we have all had time to pause and look around our four walls and really start to focus on how we can create the healthiest home. That starts with the precious things we put in it. Home is such a sacred place; it is our place of refuge, our place of sanctuary, a place we keep our loved ones safe. I think that now more than ever we’re all concerned about that. I think there are many customers who believe companies should have a commitment to quality. They should be committed to details that allow customers to confidently shop. We have a lifetime warranty on our upholstery frames, our springs and our cushions, and we stand by what we make, which is really central to who we are, and always has been. When we think about a healthy home, it starts with who we are as an individual; it starts with those products we put on our face and ingest, and the products we sit on and lie in. I think we’re all becoming more educated. Quite frankly, there are so many more choices. People really do want to know that they’re creating the safest home possible for them and their loved ones.
Mitchell Gold Bob Williams rattan pieces and Ariel six-drawer chest
How is the industry shifting to craft pieces that will stand the test of time? We have done a lot of work over many years. ... We use ozone-friendly and certified pure U.S. composition. We have wood frames and springs that are built with wood sourced from domestic suppliers compliant with that. We use earth-friendly and water-based biodegradable glue. Our springs are made from 65% recycled metals. And the list goes on and on. The ability for people to shop virtually, since the pandemic started, allowed companies to be quite conscious of how they can define themselves and educate customers of the choices they have. We talk a lot about the comfort of being you, and within our team and company, we gather together to decide what we should say to our community, certainly for this season. Truly, it’s a moment of belief and reflection, and we ask ourselves, ‘What do we believe in?’ From that place of emotional and inspirational conversation we created concepts, color schemes, designs, sourced fabrics and accessories, and we crafted together ideas into products, and products were taken on this journey, which, ultimately, we hope creates peace of mind for our customers and allows them to create beauty in their home while at the same time making them feel safe in their home.
The Finn daybed
What else is next for MG+BW? We are having probably the greatest creative surge the brand has had in a long time. We just launched our exclusive European bedding collection, which we’ve been working on for quite some time, and we are really proud of the collection we’re bringing to customers. Again, all of the pieces have been woven in our intergenerationally owned artisanal factory in Europe. We have selected bedding that we know will enhance our customers’ sleep and create a really beautiful place of refuge. At the end of February, we launched the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams home fragrance collection. It is artisanal-based and made in the U.S., in Los Angeles, for us. Essentially, we looked at some of our favorite places that we normally travel to and created scents that are in celebration and in memory of those places. There is one scent that is incredible and really reminds us of California. There’s another one that celebrates the Lowcountry of Savannah. There’s another one that speaks to Joshua Tree and being out in the desert. The last one is a beautiful part of the New England coastline called Watch Hill, which is in Rhode Island. In March we launched a beautifully gift-packaged candle and diffuser collection, which will be online and in our stores.
There are lots of other things to come, from product launches to collaborations. The message is we’re expanding in categories based on feedback we get directly from customers and our trade designers, builders and developers that expands into rooms of the home, and potentially to the outdoors as well. We’re excited about the future of the brand.