Coyuchi CEO on sustainability and standing out

CEO and president Eileen Mockus tells Retail Brew about the brand’s newest sustainability programs and the very particular Coyuchi customer.
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· 4 min read

DTC brands are commonplace across categories like fashion, beauty, and wellness. But when it comes to home goods, there is perhaps one brand that is arguably the gold standard in the category.

Founded in 1991, Coyuchi has been known for its line of luxury organic cotton bedding, towels, and more recently, sleepwear and baby wear. Over time, the brand has also added table linens and robes to its roster. Alongside the newer categories, the retailer has also adopted a renewed focus on sustainability by accelerating the use of recycled materials, introducing zero-waste programs and regenerative agriculture.

But as it continues to expand its presence both online and offline across its flagships and the ~200 boutiques it currently sells out of, competition remains stiff as does the pressure from inflation and rising costs.

In an exclusive conversation with Retail Brew, Coyuchi CEO and president Eileen Mockus tells us about its unique customer demographics, how it plans on standing out in the business and the evolving role of sustainability.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Who is the Coyuchi customer?

She is multi-generational. It’s a fairly wide span, easily kind of 35–55. We can skew a little bit younger than that, or older than that. The common thread aside from age is we really attract a woman who is in a home that she really cares about. If it’s on the young end, it might be the first apartment that she cares about…we’ve all lived in those living situations that felt a little transitory, but she’s putting down some roots, she’s happy where she’s at, and she wants it to be hers. That continues to be the appeal, even to the 35- to 40-year-old female who’s curating her home—sometimes it’s homes in the plural—but she’s curating for herself and her family. She’s shopping online, in store, direct to customers, she’s shopping, and the higher end of the online marketplaces. We’re selling to Anthropologie, we’re at Nordstrom—these sites that are able to offer the breadth, but then appeal to some of those just shopping directly on a brand’s website as well.

What is your key differentiator at the moment?

We view it as we refer to it as luxury, sustainable living without compromise. Our roots are in organic [that] we are still very committed to and that’s a growing methodology. A way of making the product, all of the processing, also has to have a certification by global organic textile standard. But we take it a couple of steps further, wanting to make sure that we’re really making products that feel great and that are going to last in your home…The second differentiator we refer to as being inspired by the raw power and beauty of nature. We’re very committed to the best in natural fibers, and everything that they can bring to your sleep experience, your bath experience, and what goes on in your home. But aesthetically, we think that it gives us a look that is also different from our competition. That is, picture that kind of beach house that’s elevated and luxurious, but is also really comfortable. [We’re] wanting to get that mix for our customers.

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How has sustainability evolved for you over the years?

We’ve really incorporated not only a standard, the organic standard for where our fiber comes from. We’re also working on regenerative agriculture with some of those practices that can really apply to the fiber that we’re growing. Then it’s always combined with those food crops farmers are growing as well. So a little bit of that food and fiber focus.

We’ve got mills that are recycling their water. We want them to use the safest chemistry that’s available. And in order to make sure that we’re addressing the waste that’s created out of textiles, we’ve got our second home program that is both a take-back and a renewed program. So you can buy renewed Coyuchi products, that kind of secondhand market that continues to grow in apparel.

We also introduced what we called our full-circle blanket, where we actually took our own fiber that came back through that program, it couldn’t be sold as renewed. And then we made new yarn and a blanket using that yarn in our assortment. We’ll continue to work through those opportunities to use our own recycled materials, as well as our flannel right now is pulling in what would be waste from when you know, the cut and sew of the product. Just so it’s that holistic component.

Retail news that keeps industry pros in the know

Retail Brew delivers the latest retail industry news and insights surrounding marketing, DTC, and e-commerce to keep leaders and decision-makers up to date.