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PARK CITY, Utah. — Like many other business owners, Alexandra Gibson, founder and creative director of Sien + Co, a textile design studio in Park City, was nervous last March when the world came to a screeching halt.
Nine months later, Gibson is relieved that her business wound up thriving in 2020 with a flexible strategy adapted to the pandemic.
“In May, orders were coming in like they never have before. Things just exploded,” Gibson said. “We’ve been very lucky to be in one of the few industries that have actually grown since COVID rather than just trying to survive. We’ve seen a huge percentage of growth; I would say triple the business.”
Gibson attributed the growth to so many people at home recognizing their home’s needs, from new pillows to outdoor furniture. The textile company actually outgrew its current location and plans to move into a warehouse previously occupied by the Park Record off North Forestdale Ave. this month.
Pre-pandemic, Sien + Co had about 20 hospitality projects lined up around the globe, from Rosewood in Vietnam to Ritz-Carlton in Costa Rica. Just as travel restrictions shut down hospitality work, residential interior sales exploded, said Gibson. Now, the hospitality industry is beginning to rebound.
Sien + Co is one of about 40 businesses selling outdoor fabric by Sunbrella. Sien + Co’s offers an exclusive line of Sunbrella products line made to look and feel like interior fabric: hand-woven, thick, texturized, and soft, Gibson said.
Limited batch knitwear was the original vision of Sien + CO. Now, that makes up one small part of the business. The knitwear is available at Park City Mercantile on Main Street.
“It’s so great to be with these cooperative, women-owned businesses in Park City,” said Gibson about Park City Mercantile, which has several small businesses selling within the shop.
While Gibson loves the handmade knitwear aspect of the business, supply can’t keep up with the demand. She works with women in small towns in Peru and Argentina for high-end products, but human resources and materials are limited. Plus, as these families earn a steady income from work the business supplies, the amount of weaving work occurring decreases because the next generation obtains more education and often moves away to bigger towns.
“We’re improving the quality of life for these people and giving their children a better education, but none of these kids want to stay and continue the tradition,” Gibson said. “It’s a dying art form.”
Gibson lives in Summit Park with her husband, Brendan, and their daughters, Page and Sienna.
Anyone is welcome to request a design appointment and custom product requests at Sien + Co or head to Park City Mercantile for its small-batch goods.
Sien + Co works with interior designers including Hudson + Bloum, which uses the material to create custom pieces, including couches, draperies, dining room chairs, and more.