Some of Our Favorite Moments from 2021

There’s no getting around it: 2021 was a challenging year for us all. But Eighth Generation also experienced some incredible “wins” this year that we want to celebrate with you. As we ring in 2022 and hope for great and beautiful things of the year, let’s look back together at 2021’s successes. 

Featured on Major News Outlets

Still from our Bloomberg Quicktake feature

We started 2021 strong with a feature on global news outlet Bloomberg’s “Quicktake” segment. This great video highlights Eighth Generation’s community dedication and gives a behind-the-scenes look into Eighth Generation’s (at the time!) headquarters. Throughout the year, we had coverage in dozens of major publications, including a feature on our made in Seattle "Gold Label" blankets in Crosscut, a story on Louie's retirement in the Seattle Times, and being named a Forbes ethical shopping option.  
Watch the Quicktake video here.
Read the Crosscut article here.
Read the Seattle Times article here. 

Supporting the Snoqualmie Tribe’s Vaccine Clinic

Snoqualmie Tribal Chairman Robert de los Angeles gets his vaccine; the logo our staff designed

In February 2021, the Snoqualmie Tribe—Eighth Generation’s owners—opened the Snoqualmie Tribal Vaccination Clinic in order to keep our community safe. “It is critical to the Snoqualmie Tribe that we are able to provide for our Tribal Members and Tribal Community by providing COVID-19 vaccines to anyone who wants to receive one,” said Snoqualmie Tribal Chairman Robert de los Angeles.

Eighth Generation staff members Josh (Salish-Kootenai) and Eric (Diné/Navajo) volunteered at the Clinic

Not only did some of Eighth Generation’s staff volunteer at the clinic, our team collaborated on designing a logo for the clinic that included elements of Coast Salish art as well as featured huckleberries—an important food for Snoqualmie people. 

Read the blog post here.

Blankets for Chief Seattle Club and Supporting the Houseless Community

Some of the amazing team at Chief Seattle Club 

Our friends and community partners at Chief Seattle Club do incredible work supporting our local houseless relatives. In April, we were proud to be able to donate wool blankets for the 58 rooms of their newest housing venture, Kings Inn Motel. 

“For Black, Indigenous, and people of color we know that when the support and solutions come from our own people, we have better outcomes,” wrote Derrick Belgarde (Siletz and Chippewa/Cree),Deputy Director of the Chief Seattle Club. “Our sisters and brothers are less likely to return to the streets when we are creating culturally relevant and appropriate spaces and support systems led by people from our own communities.” We’re honored to help our own people and support the Chief Seattle Club with warm, beautiful blankets. 

Read the blog post here.

Two of our Female Leaders Honored at RES

Serene Lawrence (Ojibwe, Hopi) and Stephanie Masterman (Tlingit) at RES

Not one but TWO of our incredible female leaders were honored with the “40 Under 40 Award” at the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s Reservation Economic Summit (RES) Conference in July. These prestigious awards are a true testament to the incredible work these key members of our team undertake, and we couldn’t be more proud of them. 

Serene Lawrence (Ojibwe, Hopi), our Chief Operations Officer, was honored for her pivotal role both in our company and in our community. Serene displayed an incredible dedication to our community in the early days of the pandemic, when she coordinated Eighth Generation's huge donation of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to struggling health clinics. According to National Geographic, Serene’s hard work meant that Eighth Generation "did in eight days what the federal and state government hadn't been able to do in four months." In addition, she’s been instrumental in the building of momentum our business has and is undergoing. 

Stephanie Masterman (Tlingit), our Retail and Special Projects Manager, was among the youngest recipients of the award. Stephanie (Sxhaalghen) is Alaska Native and belongs to the Tlingit Wooshkeetaan clan from the village of Hoonah. She manages special projects, as well retail activities at our Pike Place Market flagship store. In addition, Stephanie was chosen as a future leader by her tribal community and the city of Juneau.  

Read the blog here

Launched Full Size Throw Blankets Made in Seattle

Kim Kroker, Product Development Manager, Louie Gong (Nooksack), Founder and CEO, and Serene Lawrence (Ojibwe, Hopi) in front of our first knitting machine

In a long-anticipated move, we released full-sized throw blankets through our made-in-Seattle Gold Label line. This collection of wool textiles is made right in our Seattle studio, reclaiming production of wool textiles by Native artists. 

Our Family Floral Limited Edition Throw Blanket by Kira Murillo, Shoshone-Bannock

Our first collaboration, a limited edition blanket, was with Kira Murillo, a Shoshone-Bannock tattoo artist who is taking the tattoo world by storm with her bold colors and designs. We followed with a limited edition blankets by Jared Yazzie (Diné/Navajo), and Ahsaki LaFrance Chachere (Dine/Navajo and African American). Our first Gold Label blanket to enter the permanent collection launched just in time for the holidays and was made by Tshimishan artist David Robert Boxley

Read about the Gold Label Line here.
Read about Ahsaki’s blanket here

A Big Move for Eighth Generation 

Some of the team in our new warehouse

Louie started Eighth Generation by customizing shoes on his living room floor in 2008. As we grew, so did our spaces. From his coffee table to a tiny studio above a restaurant, from a small studio in Inscape Arts to several spaces in the same building, we grew to occupy two larger warehouses in SoDo by 2019. While this was a great temporary solution, we quickly outgrew even those spaces! We signed the lease for a gorgeous 27,000 square foot warehouse and headquarters in October and began the massive project of merging our two spaces into one. 

It took an incredible amount of hard work from our whole team to make the move. Our COO, Serene Lawrence (Ojibwe, Hopi) and Shipping & Production Manager, Josh Swift (Salish-Kootenai) went above and beyond to coordinate such a massive and well-orchestrated move and deserve special thanks. Our warehouse team earned applause from all for how hard they worked in physically moving two spaces as well! 

Now our administrative headquarters, working studio, and shipping warehouse are all under one (gigantic) roof. It’s so much easier for our team to collaborate, to share stories (and lunches together!), and to work as a team to provide our customers and supporters with the best art by Inspired Natives™, never “Native-inspired.” 

A Collaboration with Coffee Giant, Starbucks

Rhiannon Dempsey (Diné/Navajo), our Community engagement & Retail Specialist, with the exclusive Happy Hummingbird Jacket and Coast Salish Pattern Tumbler we designed for Starbucks' capsule collection

Seattle and coffee go together like Natives and wool blankets. So when we collaborated with Starbucks on a line of products for a Community Capsule at the Seattle Reserve Roastery, our designs included all of those things. We designed a special ceramic tumbler, espresso tasting cups, and exclusive print, a jacket, and—of course—a Seattle-made wool blanket. 

Beyond bringing beautiful products to a new market, this collaboration had special significance in the Eighth Generation story. This collaboration represented the first global company Eighth Generation brought into our ground-breaking Decolonizing Partnerships Model program, where we set the gold standard for how brands align with Native businesses. Native artists should control their art, their stories, and the narrative around their cultural art, and our Decolonizing Partnership makes those crucial actions possible. 

Read about our Decolonizing Partnership Model here
Read about the Starbucks collaboration here

Louie Announces His Retirement from Leadership…and Our Next CEO

We will miss you, Louie! 

We ended the year with a bang—our Founder and CEO announced his retirement from leadership! We are so fortunate to have had his guidance, creativity, and passion at the helm of Eighth Generation since its inception. While we are sad to lose his daily presence, Louie is staying on as one of our Inspired Natives™ collaborators, meaning you will still get to shop his gorgeous Coast Salish art with Eighth Generation. Be sure to follow Louie’s Instagram so you can share the next steps of his journey with him. 

Louie is passing the baton to another pillar of the Native community, a face and force many of you will recognize. Make sure you check out our Instagram and tune in to King 5 Evening at 7:30pm on Wednesday, January 12 for the announcement of our next CEO. 

New Year, New Products

Our Wild Plums Light Wool Scarf by Ojibwe artist Sarah Agaton Howes

We launched over FIFTY new products in 2021. That’s fifty new designs by Native artists, fifty new ways to highlight our creative Indigenous makers, fifty new pieces for your home, fifty new ways to support Inspired Natives. Among those designs were TEN new Gold Label products, which are our exclusive line of made-in-Seattle wool textiles. Our new tumbler and demi mugs were instant hits, each featuring designs by our Inspired Natives™ collaborators. We also had two wool blanket collaborations with longtime Eighth Generation supporters. 

Defend Wool Blanket designed by Votan Henriquez (Mayan, Nahua)

Launched on International Women’s Day, our collaboration with NDN Collective debuted in March, featuring a bold design by LA-based artist Votan Henriquez (Mayan and Nahua) that illustrates NDN Collective’s motto: “Defend. Develop. Decolonize.” The blanket, “Defend,” highlights the image of a strong Native woman taking action—a symbol of inspiration, activism, protest, and feminine power that quickly sold out on our website as well as NDN Collective’s website. 

Read the blog post here.

Honoring Friendships Wool Blanket designed by Louie Gong (Nooksack)

Eighth Generation's very first wool blanket—Thunderbird Arrives—was designed in 2015 by our Founder and CEO Louie Gong (Nooksack) together with artists at the Evergreen State College Longhouse. It was the first wool blanket designed and made by a Native company! Our company and staff have such an incredible and heartfelt relationship with the Longhouse, and their support of us goes all the way back to the beginning. So it was a true honor and privilege to design a new wool blanket with them in June, 2021 to celebrate the Longhouse’s twenty-fifth anniversary. Our Honoring Friendships Wool Blanket celebrates twenty five years of cross-pacific Indigenous friendships and collaboration, and draws inspiration from the artworks around the the Longhouse and college campus. These works of are are by a variety of artists, and feature the designs of Māori and Coast Salish artisans. 

Read the blog here

Check out our newest products here.

 Thank you for making 2021 so incredible. Here’s to a wonderful 2022!