MULETOWN ROASTED COFFEE + THE FACTORY BLEND

MULETOWN-04-BW

My mornings always start with coffee. Like many of you, the act of drinking coffee has long been a part of my daily routine. So, I was excited when approached with the idea of crafting my own organically-sourced blend. If you’ve visited The Factory lately, you’ve probably enjoyed a cup of our house coffee, which is roasted by Muletown Roasted Coffee, based in nearby Columbia, Tennessee. I drink it at home, in the car, at work (and I’ve noticed most of our staff does as well. If you happen to drop by when we are having a meeting, you’ll find most of us taking sips between taking notes). We have several former baristas and coffee aficionados on our team and we all agree: our Factory blend is borderline addictive. The flavor is smooth, yet dark, with a buttery feel and a slight dark chocolate finish. Delicious.

MULETOWN-03-BW

Continue reading

Bookmark and Share

MAKESHIFT + JACK SANDERS

JACK-SANDERS-MAKESHIFT

Long-time friend and artist Jack Sanders is also an architect, filmmaker, and baseball enthusiast. He is the founder of Design Build Adventure, a full-service “design, build, and adventure company” that focuses on collaboration.

I first met Jack when he was a student of Samuel “Sambo” Mockbee of the Rural Studio.  I sent him a box of t-shirts (which he never returned) in the hopes that I could convince Rural Studio to come up to Florence and build us a production facility. (It turns out that work outside of the Black Belt wasn’t possible.) But Jack (then known as “Jay”) and I remained friends.  Years later, he co-produced a feature-length documentary on Sambo, called Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio which won many accolades.

As you may remember, our MAKESHIFT initiative asks the questions: How do we define and transform the intersection of fashion, food, design, craft + DIY through innovation and collaboration for the better good? How can varied disciplines work together as one?
Continue reading

Bookmark and Share

MEN’S COLLECTION HIGHLIGHT

MEN-COLLECTION-01

The most recent Alabama Chanin collection features several new men’s garments. These pieces, like the rest of the collection, were inspired by photographs taken by the Massengill family in rural Arkansas just before the Second World War, as seen in Maxine Payne’s anthology, Making Pictures: Three for a Dime. Many of you have been asking for more men’s options, and as Alabama Chanin continues to expand as a lifestyle company, it is our hope to reach a larger audience with our collections and collaborations (and hopefully give you what you’ve been asking for in the process).

While all of these tops can be worn by both men and women alike, we designed them with a more masculine-driven wardrobe in mind. Browse some of our favorites below, or view the entire collection here.

MEN-COLLECTION-02

Continue reading

Bookmark and Share

THE FACTORY | THIS WEEK 3.10.2014 – 3.14.2014

THE-FACTORY-THIS-WEEK-W

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
-Marcel Proust

Hoping that you have a great week and that we see you soon,
xoNatalie

Here is what we have going on at The Factory Store + Café this week, Monday, March 10 – Friday, March 14:

STORE
Visit us at The Factory this week for our “Lucky Sale”. Save 15% on products and custom garment orders in Lime (in addition to fabric yardage in Emerald, Leaf Green, Moss, Ochre, and Forest).

*In-store purchases only, March 10 – 17.

Store Hours Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm

TOURS
Stop by any weekday at 3:00pm for a guided tour of our space, including The Factory, the Alabama Chanin production and design studio, and Building 14.

CAFÉ
Join us in the café for lunch, a sweet treat, or coffee. Our savory puff pastries have been a popular dish the past few weeks, and are featured as this week’s special.
Continue reading

Bookmark and Share

CO-WORKERS

COWORKERS-03---Photographer-Rinne-Allen

Each morning, when the rising sun (or my daughter) wakes me and I open my eyes, I begin to go over my plan for the day. This is a treasured time. Some days, I can’t wait to get going and the day’s tasks are joyous and fruitful; other days, work just feels like…work. Last summer, as I was writing a vision plan for Alabama Chanin, it became evident that having a solid team in place – a team that had the talent and the desire to carry out that vision – would be essential. Now, when I look around, I see that our team members are creating strong relationships that are enhancing our work environment and also enriching their personal lives.

History shows that workplace teams spark one another’s creativity and create long-lasting work. Colleagues Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the sisters behind the fashion label Rodarte, create some of the most original pieces each season. The New Yorker wrote that, though they have their differences, the sisters “act like a single organism,” which speaks to their specific communication skills. The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, known by music lovers as “The Swampers”, created such a successful working relationship that they became business partners and founded a storied recording studio, Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. Charles and Ray Eames are among the most important American designers of the last century. He studied architecture; she studied painting and sculpting; together they not only influenced the rise of modernism, but developed innovative ways of using materials and were champions of computer technology in design.

COWORKERS-01---Photographer-Rinne-Allen

Continue reading

Bookmark and Share

SWATCH OF THE MONTH: MARCH 2014

BLACK-BEADED-FERNW

Each month, as part of our Swatch of the Month Club, we are demonstrating some of our most popular techniques so that you might try your hand at creating new designs and embroideries. If you join the Swatch of the Month Club, you will receive a ready-to-sew package each month with the supplies needed to make that month’s unique piece. Just provide your own needles, pins, and scissors (or purchase an Essential Sewing Kit from our online store). Techniques and instruction can be found in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.

The hi-resolution photograph above of March’s featured technique, for use as your computer desktop background, is available from our Resources page.

Continue reading

Bookmark and Share

THE HISTORY OF LANE (DRIVE) CAKE

LANE-CAKE-05W-(Angie-Mosier) (2)

Alabama Chanin’s first-ever sewing workshop took place in 2008 alongside a seminar on Southern cooking, organized and presented by our friend and collaborator, Angie Mosier. While the sewing participants stitched and chatted, the food preparers fried up some chicken, steamed collard greens and made pot likker, then baked the most delicious Lane Cake. At each meal, Angie explained the history of each dish and its significance within Southern culture. This is where I first learned the details behind one of Alabama’s culinary specialties, the Lane Cake.

Lane Cake was created by Emma Rylander Lane of Clayton, Alabama, as her entry into a county fair baking competition in Columbus, Georgia. She originally called the recipe, “Prize Cake,” but eventually leant her name to the dessert for all posterity. She self-published a cookbook called Some Good Things to Eat in 1898 and included the recipe as one of her featured desserts. Lane Cake is a white, layered sponge cake (originally designed for 4 layers) iced with a frosting that includes coconut, raisins, pecans, and bourbon. It is often found in the South at receptions, holiday dinners, or wedding showers. Chef Scott Peacock writes in The Gift of Southern Cooking that he was served a Lane Cake every year on his birthday.

LANE-CAKE-03

Continue reading

Bookmark and Share

NEWSLETTER #14

NEWSLETTER-#14

Newsletter #14 includes more additions to the new Alabama Chanin collection; it also features our manufacturing collaboration with Little River Sock Mill.

Find fresh, seasonal colors of our Cocktail Napkins and Organic Cotton Jersey Napkins – and a new workshop this May, the Alabama Chanin DIY Chair Workshop @ Southern Makers, Montgomery, Alabama.

We invite you to join our mailing list to receive our monthly newsletter and keep up with new products, news, and stories featured on our Journal.

Update your mailing subscription to include the newsletter here.

xoNatalie and all of us @ Alabama Chanin

AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

PURSUIT-OF-HAPPINESS-01

Illustrator and author Maira Kalman has long been a personal hero of mine. She visited The Factory a couple of years ago, along with Rosanne Cash and Gael Towey, for a two-day sewing workshop and some adventure. It was then that I learned Maira is not only a talented illustrator, but also an avid embroidery expert. I love everything she creates (but especially her drawings and unique storytelling perspective), and am happy to call her my friend.

PURSUIT-OF-HAPPINESS-04

In her book And the Pursuit of Happiness, Maira explores American democracy and its workings. Originally published as a 12-part online series for the New York Times, this complete bound volume tells the colorfully illustrated and hand-lettered history of America.

PURSUIT-OF-HAPPINESS-03

Continue reading

Bookmark and Share

THE FACTORY | THIS WEEK 3.3.2014 – 3.7.2014

THE FACTORY THIS WEEK

“Remember—if you’re up for reading and learning (and so many studies show that successful people almost always are), you have access to the most amazing minds and consummate creativity the world has to offer you any time you want. The stories we glean from what we read can resonate as powerfully as what we might hear in person. As Gary Snyder says so beautifully, ‘Books are our grandparents.’”
–Ari Weinzweig, A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Managing Ourselves

Tomorrow is Read Across America Day, and my love of books and reading is no secret. As a designer, I find inspiration inside books; as a business owner, I find critical information that has helped me grow who we are as a business and who I am as an entrepreneur. A few weeks ago, our staff began a study group to work through Ari’s latest book, and the excerpt above about the importance of books really hit home.

Hoping that you will all have a great week—full of reading and discovery—and that we will see you soon,
xoNatalie

Here is what we have going on at The Factory Store + Café this week, Monday, March 3 – Friday, March 7:

STORE
This week, in honor of Read Across America, we are having an in-store special on our selection of books. Come by and browse our library and receive 10% off of any book purchase.

Also, make plans to join us for First Mondays at The Factory, March 3 from 8:30am to 11:30am.

Continue reading

Bookmark and Share