The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation this week announced the launch of Craft & Forge, an innovative new lifestyle brand rooted in the esteemed traditions of American craftsmanship and designed for a modern world.
And to ensure a smooth launch, the Foundation says it has enlisted top licensing agency Thread LLC to lead its licensing efforts for the new line.
“Thread is passionate to be a part of the development, launch, and future growth of Colonial Williamsburg’s newest brand, Craft & Forge,” said Thread co-founders Cindy Elfenbein and Marcy George. “Inspired by authentic storytelling and our rich American heritage, we are excited to represent a relevant and modern brand that embraces a total home experience for the end consumer.”
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is a fascinating organization that preserves, restores and operates Virginia’s 18th-century capital of Williamsburg. The group specializes in developing innovative and interactive experiences that highlight the relevance of the American Revolution to contemporary life, and the importance of an informed, active citizenry.
The Colonial Williamsburg experience is one of the foremost historic site in the Western Hemisphere. It includes more than 400 restored or reconstructed original buildings, vibrant gardens, world class museums, and extensive educational outreach programs for students and teachers.
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation also boasts a renowned program of more than 20 historic trades, which has led to the development of the Craft & Forge line of home products.
“Our love of historic trades, our passion for the artisan-inspired products, and our desire to pass on artisan skills to a younger generation ignited the spark to create Craft & Forge,” said Kiri Franco, Williamsburg’s director for Brand & Licensing. “We look forward to partnering with like-minded brands to bring an outstanding assortment of product to the marketplace.”
With the historic archives, museums and artisans of Colonial Williamsburg as the brand’s north star, the Foundation says Craft & Forge will encompass a range of products for the home— everything from home décor and outdoor living to crafting, seasonal, food & beverage, and more.
Thread says the new brand will give consumers products that are unique, with direct ties to the origins of the United States of America.
“Bridging the past with the future, we draw inspiration from proprietary 18th-century artisan skills and artifacts, while tapping into a growing mindset that values sustainability and craftsmanship,” the agency says. “In conjunction with our licensed partners, influential artisans inspired by Craft & Forge, and retailers, we will strategically launch products that are as useful as they are beautiful and enrich our everyday lives celebrating the artisan in all of us.”
To further support the preservation and exploration of traditional trades, Craft & Forge gives a percentage of proceeds back to the development and education of historic trades at Colonial Williamsburg.
A unique aspect of the licensing partnership is that Craft & Forge is also creating an Artisan Exchange to be held Sept. 23–24.
The two-day event will bring modern artisans pursuing classic trades for the contemporary market together with the acclaimed tradespeople at Williamsburg, with the goal of preserving historic methods and practices.
The artisans will collaborate on site in the trade shops, sharing ideas, techniques and inspiration. Visiting artisans participating in the inaugural Exchange will include: carpenter/farmer/blacksmith Annie Briggs (@anneofalltrades), artist and weaver Lindsey Campbell (@hellohyrdrangea), metalsmith and award-winning writer Sara Dahmen (@Housecopper), with a special appearance by Culinary Historian, Author, and Interpreter Michael Twitty (@thecookinggene).
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