Products with stories. Goods for the greater good. Items with beauty and meaning. These are part of the DNA of GAIA.
GAIA founder Paula Minnis and Wisteria co-founder Shannon Newsom met about five years ago through their daughters, who became close friends through school and soccer. When the moms each discovered what the other did professionally, they knew they would work together.
“What stands out about GAIA,” says Shannon, “is that not only does the company empower women, Paula has an incredible sense of design. Her background in color and textiles and the design sense of the whole team and they way they put things together mean they can provide products that high-end companies like Wisteria can work with.”
What’s more, of course, is that GAIA’s purpose and Wisteria’s purpose are aligned. In the same way that GAIA exists to provide sustaining work to refugee women, Wisteria wants to create what co-founder Andrew Newsom calls “a virtuous cycle,” in which the company, its customers, its artisans, and the community all benefit.
The GAIA/Wisteria partnership reached a new level, however, after Shannon returned from a mission trip to Guatemala, where she was working with orphans. One day, she took a break to mill around a market, where she found gorgeous handwoven fabrics she wanted to turn into pillows for Wisteria.
She brought those fabrics — indigo mud cloths, embellished cortes, embroidered huipils — back to the United States. GAIA’s Lauren created dozens of one-of-a-kind designs from the textiles, determining the best ways to showcase patterns and embellishments and finding the right complementary accents. Our Syrian refugees, Huda and Bothina, brought those ideas to life with their sewing skills.
Those pillows are now available exclusively at Wisteria’s Dallas store.
“We are always interested in something that has a story to tell,” Shannon says. “We couldn’t have a better partner in that mission than GAIA.”