West Elm, new to Calgary, offering locally-made products

American home decor chain West Elm is putting down roots in Calgary.

Brooklyn-born home decor chain partners with home-based artisans at its stores around the world

Calgary graphic artist Alison Hui checks out some of her own creations at West Elm, marketed as part of the company's LOCAL program. (Meg Wilcox/CBC)

American home decor chain West Elm is putting down roots in Calgary.

The Brooklyn-based company, owned by the same corporate group as Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma, just opened in the newly renovated Mount Royal Village at Eighth Street and 16th Avenue S.W.

The store sells furniture and accessories such as bedding, rugs, lighting and frames.

But it's also offering products made by Calgary artists and artisans as part of West Elm's LOCAL program.

Local graphic designer Alison Hui says she's thrilled to see her bright illustrations of Calgary's skyline on store shelves.

"It was awesome," she said. "You know, people would look at my work, pick it up, and kinda like 'oh, they want one of those' and it just gives me such satisfaction."

The locally-made products also include handmade soaps, pillows, coasters and signs.

Manager Raheel Rajput says it's one of the most popular sections of the store.

"We want to give people a table and a space where they can help build their brand, and ideally we want to work with people local to Calgary and represent the Calgary culture," Rajput said.

Retail analyst Jim Harady says going local is a growing trend, particularly for department and grocery stores.

"This is another way, especially in a smaller format, to say 'we recognize we're the new neighbour and we're trying to fit in,'" he said.

Hui says she's hoping the new exposure will take her side business to the next level.


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