This female-run indie lifestyle shop in Middletown, Connecticut, is creating eco-friendly art using almost zero waste.
Rachel DeCavage is one of the lucky ones.
“I’m fortunate to have always known what I wanted to do with my life,” she says. “As an artist and environmentalist, it’s long been my calling to create eco-friendly art. I have a strong entrepreneurial spirit, and a love for design and fashion; all roads led me here.”
So as soon as she graduated from Bennington College with a degree in Fine and Studio Arts, DeCavage started building the brand now known as Cinder + Salt.
“It was never a question of if,” says DeCavage, “just a journey trying to get here.”
Named for “the residue of a weekend well spent; the scent of campfire on your clothes and the taste of saltwater on your skin,” Cinder + Salt is a low-impact lifestyle brand that strives to design and create innovative, stylish, and fun products out of landfill-destined clean waste and reusable materials. While the flagship store in Middletown, Connecticut has almost achieved this goal, DeCavage hopes that in 2017, all of their stores will be closer to achieving zero waste.
“We believe small steps and actions add up to a lot of good work, so we take time to consider every design decision and its impact on the Earth before we move forward,” says DeCavage.
Currently, Cinder + Salt is recycling all kinds of clean waste into window and in-store displays, and they’ve even implemented collection bins for ‘unrecyclables’ in their stores so customers can bring things to them as well.
“Our print shop has always been about low impact,” she says, “so we use biodegradable and water-safe materials in our printing process, and all the fabrics we source for garments are organic, of eco-origin, or are made in the USA.”
When DeCavage began searching for her flagship store’s location, she sought out space with a retail storefront, but also an industrial back room so that Cinder + Salt could have a store and print shop in the same place. She saw the space in Middletown and was immediately sold.
“Middletown is very small, business-friendly, and entrenched with artists. The community is great for our brand,” says DeCavage.
When DeCavage set out to create Cinder + Salt, One of her career goals was to create meaningful jobs for artists; so everyone on her team of nine is an artist or creative person in some regard. (It’s also worth noting that her team is all female #GirlPower.)
“Work is a big part of our lives, and I feel that people should actually enjoy going to work,” she says. “Our flagship store has a 140-square-foot sandpit so we can pretend we’re at the beach year round. Oh, and we always have a cold bottle of champagne in our fridge—you never know when you’ll need to celebrate!”
With these kinds of office perks and job titles like Chief Awesomeness Officer, Print Shop Ninja, and Flagship Tribe Luminary, it’s clear that only good vibes are to be found at the Cinder + Salt stores.
Speaking of good vibes, this spring Cinder + Salt is launching a new women’s tank called “Good Vibes,” which DeCavage claims is her absolute favorite of all the designs she’s ever made.
“I think the drawing, the ink colors, the shirt fabric, and cut all just work perfectly with each other! We’re all a little obsessed with it right now,” she says.
Outside of women’s apparel, Cinder + Salt also produces clothing for little ones and men—including some awesome skinny ties—as well as accessories, bags, stationery, and home goods.