Following in the carefully curated footsteps of West Elm Market — a collaboration-heavy "general store" filled with “practical” household items such as denim garden aprons, wooden flashlights and Swedish hand soap — competing retailer Crate & Barrel has just launched its own utility-minded line called Clean Slate.
As its name suggests, Clean Slate zeros in more on cleaning, laundering, and home organization than West Elm Market which, despite the brand tagline “Tools To Make Work Wonderful,” also includes jars of artisanal pickle chips and hand-poured-in-Brooklyn soy candles for $30 a pop.
In addition to peddling mostly useful household items, the two offshoots share an emphasis on the handcrafted and the hard-to-find; the heirloom-quality and the eco-friendly; esoteric imports and domestically produced treasures — basically, stuff you won’t find at your local Ace.
When perusing the numerous Clean Slate offerings — “utility products built to get the job done, but designed to look beautiful doing it” — spread out across key categories such as cleaning, laundry, closet and storage, I couldn’t help but imagine the Brooklyn-twee spawn of Martha Stewart reading off a spring cleaning version of U.N. roll-call: Handcrafted feather dusters from South Africa ($25); gorgeous high-end step stools from Japan ($150); recycled fiberboard shoe boxes from Sweden ($13); artisan-produced carpet beaters from the Philippines ($13); pocket-sized tape measures ($5) and stainless-steel trash cans from Germany ($130); and, last but not least, a range of made-in-the-USA nontoxic cleaning products from Better Life. All present.
And although I'm not sure why anyone would really need a hedgehog-shaped crumb brush from Redecker, a third-generation family brush-making business out of Germany, I'm guessing the little guy will be a hot seller.
In addition to the above finds, Clean Slate shoppers will also find select products of decidedly less obscure origin from Casabella, OXO, and the always fantastic simplehuman. There’s also a decent range of exclusive modular chrome shelving options from MAX as well as exclusive offerings from New York’s eco-conscious laundry powerhouse, The Laundress. Sweater combs, linen spray and stain brushes, anyone?
Somewhat similar to the larger West Elm Market line, which is only available online and at a standalone brick and mortar "community market" in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn (I visited a handful of times immediately after it opened but have since practiced some restraint for the sake of my financial health), the availability of Clean Slate items will be limited to shop-in-shops at nine Crate & Barrel outposts in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Virginia, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The entire collection is also available through the Crate & Barrel website where free shipping is being offered through May 19 for Clean Slate items.
In conjunction with the launch, Crate & Barrel is holding a Clean Slate Pin & Win Sweepstakes through May 16.
Any initial thoughts on the latest from Crate & Barrel, my fellow clean freaks?
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