ONLINE CONFESSIONS: WOODZEE

Created in 2011, Woodzee quickly became a favorite for their stylish and environmentally conscious creations. For every pair you buy, Woodzee plants a tree. When your Woodzees are nearing retirement, simply ship them back to the company to be recycled and receive 40% off your next purchase. The packaging itself is made using 50% recycled paper printed using soy ink. It is constructed in a triangular shape to minimize the amount of paper used. And then, of course, there are the designs. These bad boys are always on-trend and very reasonably priced, starting at $60. Woodzee is a brand we have been following for some time, so we when we had the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes with President and Owner Luke Winter, we couldn’t resist. — Woodzee.com

LUKE WINTER | WOODZEE

What inspired the creation of Woodzee.com? After opening a clothing store in 2003 and selling an assortment of other vendor’s products, I became familiar with the fashion industry. Although I enjoyed having a brick-and-mortar, I witnessed the wasteful and destructive side of the industry and vowed to create a brand that went against the grain. Blending creativity, fashion, and ethics, I set out to create a brand that would foster a positive relationship between style and nature. Woodzee was a natural extension of my love for accessories and my vision for ecological responsibility. Through Woodzee, I want to inspire others to make the world a better place.

What’s the best thing about being involved in Woodzee? I love to inspire others through innovation, quality products, and good ethics. With Woodzee as my vessel, I am able to translate this message to consumers. Exploring my creative side has brought a lot of joy into my life. It’s amazing to take a rough idea and turn it into a finished product. Also, by owning my own business, I am involved in every aspect of production—from product development to packaging—it’s exciting to see our work come to life.

What does an average day on the job look like for you? Every day is different! We have a lean, but mean, team of seven employees and considering that we are building Woodzee on an international level with modest means, everyone wears many hats. This keeps our days fast paced and exciting! However, the majority of my day-to-day activities revolve around production, design, accounting and of course, answering emails.
 
What’s the most fun part of your job? Teaming up with other companies to come up with new ideas is one of my favorite aspects of my job. I love working with new people and working together to create great things. I also have an amazing staff that I refer to as the Woodzee family. Our team is close-knit and works well with one another, which allows for an office environment that is conducive to creativity and productivity.  

What are some of you favorite Woodzee products at the moment? My favorite products are the collaborative projects. Woodzee’s first collaboration was with Robert Mondavi Private Selection, where we re-purposed their oak wine barrels and transformed them into a special-edition line of sunglasses. After receiving such a great response worldwide, we decided to continue to give unconventional materials a fashionable second life through future collaborations.

What’s in the works for 2015? We have an exciting collaboration with Maker’s Mark, which will launch in August. I am extremely proud of this collection, as it is also our first line made in the U.S.A. It has always been a dream of mine to produce products in my hometown of Chico, California and the day has finally arrived! Having complete control of production enables us to ensure higher manufacturing standards along with fair wages, which in turn will produce better products. Not only is it made in U.S.A., but it’s made better. I am passionate about the products Woodzee creates, and I am continuously inspired by the ecological strides we have made so far.