Introducing ClothRoads-A New Source for Global Textiles

August 15, 2012 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
A marketplace for exceptional handmade textiles from all over the world, ClothRoads is the brainchild of five former coworkers who decided to start their own business.

The company's partners all worked together at Interweave Press, a Loveland, Colorado, publisher of high-quality arts and crafts media, before they banded together to form ClothRoads.

"In our travels we would meet talented individual artisans and entire villages of weavers, spinners, dyers, knitters or needleworkers," says ClothRoads partner Marilyn Murphy, former president of Interweave. "Again and again we heard that they needed new markets where they could sell their work for a fair price. When artisans can't support themselves and their families by their craftwork, often they are forced to leave their villages to work in factories or menial jobs."

ClothRoads, stocks fashion accessories, bolts of cloth and notions from seventeen countries in five regions. Products include cozy Estonian mittens, whimsical hand-knitted animals from Kenya, a wealth of handwoven shawls and table runners from Ethiopia and India, Indonesian sarongs, colorful embroideries from Mexico and gorgeous ikat-woven silks from Uzbekistan.

For do-it-yourself types, ClothRoads offers knotted silk buttons made by a women's cooperative in Morocco, naturally colored handspun yarns from Peru and Tajikistan, and hand-woven and naturally dyed silk cloth from India and Laos that customers can sew themselves.

The ClothRoads website ( is more than just a place to shop. It's a place to meet remarkable artisans, learn about different techniques, connect with other textile enthusiasts or just do a little armchair traveling along the cloth road.

"We like to say that 'Every product has a story," says ClothRoads partner and marketing director Linda Tiley Stark," and we are committed to telling those stories, in books, the ClothRoads Blog, museum exhibitions or directly to consumers when we sell at trunk shows." Through its affiliation with Thrums Books, ClothRoads partners with local organizations like the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco in Peru and Na Bolom, a cultural association in San Cristóbal, Mexico, to produce and distribute expertly researched and written books that help preserve traditional techniques that might otherwise be lost.

In addition to online sales, ClothRoads holds trunk shows throughout the country, with upcoming shows scheduled in Washington DC (Sept 20-22 at Textile Society of America Marketplace and San Francisco, CA (Oct 21 at Textile Arts Council Textile Bazaar). ClothRoads will hold its annual Holiday Open House (Dec 14-16 at ClothRoads Studio, Loveland).

"Although people knowledgeable about textiles recognize the quality of what we sell online, many people still want to see and touch fabrics before they buy, plus the trunk shows are a great way for us to tell the stories behind the individual pieces. We definitely plan to do more of them in the future." Stark says.