Love makes people do crazy things: move more than halfway across the country, take risks, go after big dreams. That's exactly what it did to Katie and Ross Lipson, co-owners of Bryar Wolf—a wildly successful startup that began selling hand-made pillows in Bend just five months ago and has recently expanded its sales to several states across the nation.
Over nine years ago Katie and Ross formed a friendship that grew closer over time, taking them on adventures that would nurture both their passion for each other and the diverse world of textiles. "We've been obsessed with hunting for textiles from around the world for a long time," Ross explains. "It's always been a passion of ours."
No stranger to the entrepreneurial world, the pair moved to Bend together four years ago and found some success with a candle business that they eventually sold. It was only a little over five months ago that a crafting session would become the spark of inspiration that would lead to the conception of Bryar Wolf.
"We had piles of textiles we had collected sitting around and didn't know what to do with them," explains Ross. "We needed pillows so Katie decided to take some of the fabric, cut it up and make some. The pillows came out unbelievable."
Ross and Katie recognized the opportunity they had stumbled upon. "Katie began making pillows and our friends showed support and bought a few," says Ross. "Then we went out to the stores in Bend and they just kind of jumped on it."
Bryar Wolf currently focuses on three different lines of pillows. The first is their African Mud Cloth Collection, which uses fabric from Mali, Africa, where cotton is woven on narrow looms by the men and then the women use fermented mud from the Niger River to dye different patterns into the fabric.
Their Ivory Coast Collection uses fabric from Côte d'Ivoire of West Africa. The yarn used in the fabric is first dyed through a technique the Baule people use called Ikat, in which the thread is dyed and treated to resist the dye in certain areas leaving a pattern on the cloth.
Their third line is from India and is called the Indian Kantha collection. The fabric consists of several layers of recycled cotton or silk saris that have been hand woven into quilts and are held together by a simple, running kantha stitch that is applied row after row and gives the fabric its unique, slightly wrinkled effect.
Bryar Wolf has recently expanded and is producing throws. According to Ross, customers can expect to see more lines and products in the near future. When asked about their vision for the business, Katie says, "We want to grow Bryar Wolf into a recognizable brand that can be found in every state...similar to what Pendleton is."
870 SW Crestline Dr., Bend