BEST OF 2017: A scrappy Native-owned company's (multimedia) guide to changing the game

January 09, 2018 2 Comments

As you skim this list - which includes everything from national media features to hyper local service projects - keep in mind that our company was founded when Louie Gong (Nooksack) started drawing on shoes while sitting on his living room floor.  A few years later, we are proud to be dynamic proof that a small number of dedicated people can shake up old industries while still creating new opportunities - and physical spaces - for the next generation of artists and entrepreneurs.

Honorable Mentions

Blanket Donations

At Eighth Generation, we recognize the importance of giving back to the communities that have supported us. That's why, as a small portion of our broader giving, we donated 45 blankets over the course of the year in support of everything from cultural ceremonies to nonprofit organizations to family celebrations!

Community Events

The Eighth Generation store is more than just a retail space - it's also an art gallery and community meeting space. This year we were honored to welcome everyone from elders weaving baskets to Seattle's Office of Civil Rights Investigators, for a total of 40 different events at our Busted Knuckle Gallery, including 4 artist residencies!

Our 30th Blanket!

At Eighth Generation, every blanket we create is designed by a Native artist - that artist is always recognized by name, and is always paid for their work. That means the release of our 30th blanket this fall marked not only thirty blankets produced by a Native-owned company, but thirty new opportunities for Native artists. Now that's worth celebrating!

1. New, hand-painted neon signs

 

If you're looking for our Pike Place Market store, just find the neon hummingbirds! Our two brand new neon signs, which are hand painted by Louie and feature bold Coast Salish artwork, will illuminate the way to our store for many years to come.

2. Our first ever blanket design contest

Eighth Generation held our first ever blanket design contest, receiving more than 60 submissions from incredible Native artists nationwide. In the end, it was too hard to pick just one, so we ended up choosing two winners, David Boxley (Tsimshian) and Jared Yazzie (Dine), whose blanket collaborations you can keep an eye out for in the coming year!

3. New line of Made in the USA blankets

In October, we released the first offering in our line of Made in the USA wool blankets, the "Guardians" Journey Blanket! Durable and compact, our new Journey Blankets make the perfect companion for those inclined toward adventure. Keep an eye out for new releases in this line in the year to come, including our "Two Spirit" Journey Blanket, which we've started the development process for!

4. More studio space

We doubled our studio space by adding a beautiful new section of the Inscape Arts Building located in Seattle's Chinatown-International District neighborhood. It features our very own project management wall to help keep us organized - and looking pretty cool while we're at it!

5. Celebrating one year at Pike Place Market!

This August, we were honored to celebrate the one year anniversary of our Pike Place Market store with our friends, family, and community members! The event featured a big art giveaway and tasty treats from our unique ice cream collaboration with Seattle's Native-owned Central District Ice Cream Company.


6. Eighth Generation gets national recognition


This year, Eighth Generation was featured by NPR's All Things Considered and CNN'S Great Big Story!

7. Vanishing Seattle pop-up shop

 

This winter, the Eighth Generation store hosted a wildly successful Pop-Up Shop of popular social media project, Vanishing Seattle. #VanishingSeattle documents the displaced and disappearing institutions, small businesses, homes, and communities of Seattle – and is also a love letter to the history and cultures that gave our city its soul. The Pop-Up, which has been extended through February 2018, features a large interactive display where visitors can share "Seattle Places Loved and Lost" and purchase products developed in-house by Eighth Generation and in partnership with local street & graffiti artists.

8. Our Growing Team

We nearly doubled the size of our team!  Most recently, we added Serene Lawrence (Hopi/Anishinaabe/Assiniboine) as a new Sales Associate at our Pike Place Market store.  Unfortunately, we also said goodbye to Kendra Aguilar (Soboba Band of Luiseño), who left us to complete the final stages of her Ph.D. 

9. Launch of the Inspired Natives Grant

 

When Eighth Generation became the first Native-owned company to offer wool blankets in 2015, we made a promise that 5% of all blanket sales would go back to the community in the form of Inspired Natives Grants. This year, we fulfilled that promise with the launch of our nation wide grant program for Native artists, and awarded the first two Inspired Natives Grants to Pi'iali'i Lawson (Hawaiian) and Makade Anakwad (White Earth Nation)!

10. Brightening the walls of Seattle's Navigation Center

This holiday season, Eighth Generation got together local organizations, small businesses and local artists to fill the bare white walls of Seattle's new 75 bed homeless shelter with vibrant local art!




2 Responses

Monica Van der Vieren
Monica Van der Vieren

January 11, 2018

So glad I found you through Tanka Fund. I purchased most of my holiday gifts from your store and bought a beautiful “Tanka Returns” blanket for myself. And the more I learn about how community-minded Eighth Generation is, the better I feel about my purchases. If all businesses small and large took this approach, the world would be a vastly different place, don’t you think?

Malama
Malama

January 10, 2018

I’m celebrating Eighth Generation and all you’ve accomplished. You model a new way of doing business that’s grounded in traditional values of beauty and reciprocity. Thank you.

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