True to its old-world craft and traditional artisan quality, yet delightfully of-the-moment, Nantucket Looms commemorates 50 years in business. And they have plenty of reason to celebrate! For starters, its weaving studio and retail shop, which was opened in 1968 under the ownership of Andy Oates and Bill Euler with the shared goal of supporting island craftspeople year-round and their exquisite wovens, is still humming today. Located atop the Looms’ historic 19th-century Main Street retail storefront, it is the last commercial hand-weaving studio in the United States.
The secret of Nantucket Looms success? A four-pronged approach, says CEO Bess Clarke, that mingles the weaving and textiles arm, the retail shop, interior design services, and an e-commerce presence that celebrates the Nantucket island lifestyle.
Clarke is the daughter of Liz Winship, who joined Oates and Euler in 1974 and stayed for a 40-year tenure, expanding the year-round store to include varied local products, fine arts and a full-service Interior Design Studio known for its elegant coastal style. It was Winship who insisted on keeping “classic, simple Nantucket at the heart of everything they do”—a legacy prized today by its three owners: Clarke, 20-year veteran Stephanie Hall and master weaver Becky Jusko Peraner.
Left to right: Becky Jusko Peraner; Stephanie Hall; Bess Clarke
This winning formula is the reason why, in 50 years, the Looms hasn’t once put a staff member on unemployment, shares Clarke, which is all but unheard of in a seasonal town where the population increases fivefold during the sweet summertime months.
Nantucket Looms is poised to enter the next half-century with the same commitment to art, tradition and forward-thinking that has served them and islanders well. A marriage that means that guests to their shop can find exquisite mohair throw blankets, shell-laden Sailor’s Valentines and resplendent oil paintings of sand and surf, as well as their own private label bedding and the home goods of a new wholesale program with Annie Selke.
And, for those of us who don’t inhabit the idyllic island? We can still share in its carefree mystique and special brand of conviviality via the Looms’ online storefront. As much as Nantucket Looms is about luxurious textiles, beachside essentials, and tableware made for impromptu and special occasions, it is also about a charmed and blissful way of life.
Click here to view a short video on Nantucket Looms' community and craft....