CSU alumna follows sustainable path in new textile business

Sustainability is playing an ever-increasing role in the field of textile design and merchandising, and one Colorado State University alumna is making a career out of it.

Sage Calamari

Sage Calamari, a graduate of CSU’s Department of Design and Merchandising, has started a business in Boulder called “BedStraw,” a shop providing sustainable textiles and design for the home.

Calamari was raised to be environmentally aware. Her family always recycled and she was conscious of environmental issues and the importance of sustainability. Calamari’s growth in sustainability, both in her life and her time at CSU, sparked an interest in sustainable textiles. She got her master’s degree at CSU in 2014.

She worked tirelessly with her thesis adviser, Karen Hyllegard, professor and program coordinator of CSU’s Apparel and Merchandising Program.

“Sage is a very conscientious and talented young woman who is truly committed to sustainable product design,” Hyllegard said. “She also is an accomplished scholar who worked diligently to complete her thesis and to publish two academic journal articles exploring the relationship between design practices and the environmental impacts of interior textiles.”

Thinking differently

“My research at CSU gave scope, and Dr. Hyllegard helped bridge a creativity gap,” said Calamari. “The research was intensive and encouraged us to think differently about textile design and production. You realize how few things are sustainable.”

Calamari completed a business plan in 2015 and took it to Boulder in hopes of creating a store there. It was there that she reached out to CSU alumna Lisa Slagle. Slagle grew up in Fort Collins and graduated from CSU with a BFA in graphic design in 2008. Slagle then started her own business, Wheelie Creative, in Crested Butte and then moved from there to Whitefish, Montana. Wheelie Creative focuses on sustainability and the outdoor industry.

“We understand the importance of working with sustainability because our business is based on the outdoors,” said Slagle. “Sage does everything with mindful craftsmanship, and she helped create awareness for indoor sustainability.”

Wheelie Creative opened another office closer to home, in Denver, on July 15.

Calamari and Slagle worked together to create a brand identity for BedStraw and helped turn Calamari’s vision into a reality.

“Lisa was so instrumental in helping me present this business on a higher level,” said Calamari. “She has her own success story, and it’s great to have that CSU connection.”

About BedStraw

BedStraw is a design studio and sustainable textile showroom in Boulder that provides sustainable interior textile products and design solutions to help consumers make safer textile choices for their homes, with less impact on the environment.

“We see sustainability in food, clothing, textiles and furniture,” said Calamari. “BedStraw is fueled by love of design and the idea that this small business can create big change.”

BedStraw sells home products that include blankets, pillows, rugs and wall hangings. The shop also has a baby line.