MANZANITA — Suzy Freeman walked around the store picking up different clothing items, explaining what makes the materials environmentally sustainable.
Freeman and her husband, Judson Moore, own Unfurl, an eco-friendly clothing store in Manzanita which celebrated its 15-year anniversary this summer.
The couple opened Unfurl in 2004. At the time, they owned a natural food store down the street called Mother Nature, which carried a small selection of eco-friendly clothing and goods.
After success with Mother Nature, they decided to open Unfurl. They ran both businesses for a couple of years before selling Mother Nature to focus completely on growing Unfurl.
The store specialized in hemp-based, eco-friendly clothing, which they saw as being an extension of natural food.
“If you care about what you put in your body, you should care about also what’s going into the environment because that ends up in your body eventually,” Freeman said.
“At the time we opened Unfurl, cotton was the second most highly sprayed agricultural crop in the world. It adds to a lot of pollution. And that’s why we also specialized in hemp, which doesn’t require any pesticides.”
Hemp was still taboo, so the store became a conversation starter, Moore said.
Over the years, their business has evolved as a niche for quality, eco-friendly clothing and goods that are made to last.
They hope to promote mindful purchases and start conversations about buying clothing that promotes environmental sustainability.
“With the holidays coming up, we’re trying to think of stocking stuffers that aren’t just a waste of material,” Freeman said. “Something that would be kind of a conversation piece and actually maybe make people aware of, ‘Oh, yeah, how can I use less plastic in my daily life?’”
Freeman said they try to be thoughtful about business decisions. She said they don’t simply want to put more “stuff” out into the world. As part of their passion for the environment, they donate 1% of their sales before taxes to local environmental nonprofits.
“It seems like if you come to Manzanita you probably end up in our store, which is why we try to have something for everyone,” Freeman said.
However, like many businesses along the North Coast, they have struggled to find staff. Freeman said housing prices make it difficult for people to work in the service industry.
She said they’ve had staffing challenges in the past, but never as difficult as it is now. She said it means owners are having to work more in their stores and businesses stay open fewer days a week.
“We’re all competing for the same workers it feels like,” Freeman said.