Pendleton preserves its century-old tradition of Western blankets and connection to the outdoors.
With some designs being almost 100 years old, the look and feel of a Pendleton product is instantly recognizable. We’d argue that no cozy-campfire night is complete without the iconic, colorful wool blanket that’s been woven beautifully by Pendleton for over 150 years. Throughout the decades, the brand has expanded product offerings while both, honoring tradition and keeping itself relevant and timely to the Western lifestyle and those who live it. We talked with Pendleton’s April Rodgers about that enduring connection.
Tell us about the brand – who do you make products for?
Pendleton is a heritage lifestyle brand based in the Pacific Northwest. We make products designed to last for generations, from our made-in-the-USA wool blankets, timeless women’s and men’s apparel, versatile accessories, even adorable kids and gift items. Pendleton customers find their most authentic self in a Pendleton product. Many customers feel a personal connection to Pendleton, whether that is through the iconic designs, community and philanthropic relationships or made-in-the-USA craftsmanship.What is your brand philosophy?
Pendleton’s brand philosophy revolves around authenticity, integrity, and quality. At Pendleton’s core is a connection to the West with an enduring style. We have a promise to our customers that their investment will be rewarded with timeless American design and the highest standard of quality - we call this “Warranted to be a Pendleton.”
What is new and noteworthy from your latest product release/line?
We have many exciting releases for fall 2021.
For home items:
- Pendleton’s Preservation Series has expanded to include a third blanket. Each blanket purchase from this series helps fund Native American art and education programming and outreach at the Fort Lewis College Foundation and the Center for Southwest Studies.
- One of Pendleton’s most popular blanket designs, Harding, is now available in a deep navy colorway which offers gorgeous contrasts with the rest of the Jacquard design. This design will be 100 years old in 2023 - truly an enduring pattern.
- The Courage to Bloom blanket was the inaugural winner of the American Indian College Fund student blanket design contest. Crow Nation member and student at Little Big Horn College, Deshawna Anderson designed the blanket.
In apparel, there are an assortment of new items and a few bestsellers have returned.
- The most notable bestseller is the Harding Archive Blanket Coat, styled from the archives but with an updated fit. It’s made in the USA with blanket-weight fabric and [is] truly a beautiful coat. This year it is available in tan, bronze and the Rock Point pattern.
- The women’s Diamond Peak Denim and Wool Jean Jacket is new this year and offers the simplicity of a jean jacket but with the added accent of woven-in-the-USA Pendleton wool.
- In addition to our bestselling Westerley Sweater, menswear added more novelty sweaters to the line, the first of many to be released in the coming months is the Callister Cardigan, which offers front and back Pendleton pattern.
Have any products stood out as a retailer favorite/best seller?
Home items are always a bestseller. Customers really connect with our made-in-the-USA woolen mill products, including jacquards, plaids, stripes and National Park Collection items.
Pendleton’s iconic yet timeless blanket designs are carried over into our luxurious and OEKO-TEX-certified towels, which are really a favorite right now! We have supersized jacquard spa towels, beach towels for two, and hooded towels for the entire family.
Are there any trends you’ve noticed in the market lately?
In apparel, we’ve noticed a general trend of slow fashion and really investing in pieces that will last! People are being mindful of where they spend their resources, whether that is their time, energy or money. They want to invest in quality products from companies that they align with. This last year there was an increase in people investing in home products after spending so much more time at home, making their home a sanctuary or oasis and being mindful of the products they surround themselves with. Comfort is a big deal. Colors that promote calm, warmth, connections to nature - all of which Pendleton wool blankets have.
Do you set up at major market events? If so, which ones?
For 2021, Pendleton will be at the following market events, would love to see you there!
Atlanta Gift Show – July 13, Pendleton Showroom, Atlanta
NY Now – Aug. 8, Javits Center, New York City
Outdoor Retailer – Aug. 10, Colorado Convention Center, Denver
NY Market Week – Oct. 4-7, Pendleton Showroom, NYC
After the ups and downs of 2020, do you feel buyer confidence is returning?
Customer and retailer partner confidence is not just returning, it has completely returned! We’ve seen a continual increase in demand since late 2020. Once our stores reopened last year, we noticed the consumer really values and wants to have that customer experience and product connection that comes with shopping in-person.
What is your advice to retailers looking to gain ground in 2021?
Commit to sustainability, philanthropy, and transparency. Younger consumers require all three. Provide proven products that stand the test of time, but also offer new styles and freshness, so it's a balance. We really encourage retailers to personalize your approach to each consumer. Get to know them, and they are receptive to being appreciated and valued. In order to gain ground in 2021, retailers should place orders early and plan out the year.
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