Coyuchi CEO Karyn Barsa Gives Green Business Interview

Karyn Barsa, CEO joined Coyuchi as its chief executive officer in April of 2009. Prior to Coyuchi, she served as president and CEO of Investors’ Circle, a network of individual and institutional investors focused on sustainable business practices. Barsa’s previous experience includes being CEO of Smith & Hawken, and COO/CFO of Patagonia. She serves on the boards of Coyuchi; The Directors’ Organization Ltd.; and Embark Stores, Inc.

Barsa holds a BA in economics from Connecticut College, and an MBA from the University of Southern California. Coyuchi is the first company to bring organic cotton bedding to the United States. As part of its “aesthetic ecosystem” philosophy, all of the company’s products are produced using organic and natural fibers, free of the toxic dies, bleaches and finishes used in conventional textiles. All Coyuchi cotton is 100 percent certified organic.

1.      How was Coyuchi started? Coyuchi was founded by Christine Neilson over 20 years ago to introduce organically grown cotton products to the bedding and bath markets – quite an innovative concept at the time!  I joined Coyuchi as CEO about three years ago.  Since then we’ve expanded our assortment to include products made from other natural fibers as well as organic cotton, maintaining our commitment to use no harmful chemicals in our production process and to put as little as possible between our customers and the fiber from which our products are made.

2.      What got your kicks on organic? We recognize the unique ability of nature to comfort, support and rejuvenate our increasingly harried and urbanized population.

3.      How’s business? Coyuchi is growing rapidly!  At the end of this year, we expect our company to be four times the size it was just three years ago.  We’ve tripled the number of Coyuchi employees and have greatly expanded our product collection.  Most importantly, we’re delighted to know that we’re enhancing the lives of consumers suffering from chemical sensitivities as well as bringing nature into the homes of an increasing and loyal customer base.

4.     Where do I get your products? We sell our products directly to the consumer at our shop at ABC Carpet & Home in New York City; at our outlet store in Point Reyes Station, CA; and at www.coyuchi.com.  Our customers can also find us at several hundred specialty stores throughout the country featuring quality linens, and you might find yourself sleeping on Coyuchi sheets at a number of premium hotels focused on providing environmentally friendly experiences for their guests.

5.      Price points? Coyuchi products span a range of price points, starting as low as $225 for a queen sheet set in jersey fabric.

6.      Business model going forward. We are committed to enhancing our indoor and planetary environments through reverently sourced products that remain as close to nature as possible.  We will expand our product line to other areas of the home, including both textile and hardgoods items.

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