Native Trails, Inc.
Address: 4330 Santa Fe Rd Ste A
City: San Luis Obispo
State: CA
Zip: 93401-8161
Country: United States
Fax: (805) 546-8248
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About Native Trails
Written by: Native Trails
Article Native Trails, a privately owned business based on the Central Coast of California, has been creating high quality, artisan-crafted kitchen and bath fixtures and home décor since 1996.

Naomi Neilson Howard, Founder and CEO of Native Trails, discovered her passion for diverse cultures, artisan crafts, and sustainable practices early in life during frequent family visits to Central Mexico. While studying at Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo, Naomi spent a year abroad in Spain, where she explored artisan villages in the region and became enthralled with the rich cultural traditions she experienced.

Naomi researched and traveled extensively throughout Central Mexico, searching out remote villages where artisans practiced ancient craft traditions. An advocate for indigenous peoples and fair practices, she realized that, with some design and operational guidance, this craftsmanship could provide a reliable revenue stream for local micro-economies and bring the artisan handiwork into homes north of the border.

An Industry Leader

Say the words “copper sink,” and the immediate association today is Native Trails. Copper sinks quickly became the mainstay of the business; in just five years, the company became the industry leader, and now sells in over 1,300 showrooms throughout the U.S. and Canada.

The Decorative Plumbing & Hardware Association (DPHA) took notice of the company’s fast rise and solid accomplishments by naming Naomi the Manufacturing Professional of the Year in 2005. Native Trails was the first company to have its copper sinks certified by the UPC and listed by IAPMO, where they assisted in writing the copper basin standards.

Naomi was determined that her company not only be socially responsible, but be environmentally responsible as well. As high-quality recycled copper became the raw material for the Native Trails line of sinks, sustainable wood became the material source for the accompanying lines of bath vanities and accessories.

Copper Artistry

Initially, Naomi worked with artisans specializing in ceramic tile and home decor, folk art of all types, and many different types of metals, creating designs that appealed to the U.S. market using their traditional techniques. When she enlisted the copper artisans to create the first copper sink prototypes, it became clear that this was an exciting new way to use a wonderful reclaimed metal and to blend ancient techniques with contemporary design.

Coppersmithing has been passed down through families in Mexico since the age of the Aztecs. Skilled coppersmiths in Central Mexico, utilizing an open forge for heating and softening the metal, produce each sink using thousands of hammer strikes over an anvil to slowly form it into the desired shape. It isn’t difficult to imagine the enormity of work that goes into creating a handmade Native Trails bathtub.

The element may be as old as the hills, but in 21st century decorating, copper is very diverse: part Zen; part country; part contemporary. It is also an incredibly eco-friendly and durable material, exceeding common expectations. All Native Trails copper sinks, tubs and accents are made from 100% recycled copper. Salvaged copper (electrical wire and pipes) is melted and formed into sheets, which are hammered by hand to create some of the most beautiful kitchen and bathroom fixtures on the market. Native Trails’ original and fresh designs work themselves easily into many aesthetics – traditional, cottage, modern or rustic. Some of the sinks, like the heavy 15-gauge copper Maestro Collection, endure up to 30,000 strikes of the hammer, bringing out the copper’s exquisite splendor.

Blazing New Trails

To diversify their selection of hand-crafted products, Native Trails now offers their copper products in a hand-dipped Brushed Nickel finish along with a growing line of bath vanities, mirrors and accessories. Its first addition after copper was a reclaimed wood bathroom vanity collection, which has been followed by additional vanities crafted from various sustainable materials: reclaimed or FSC certified woods, eco-friendly bamboo, and recycled, hand forged iron.

In 2011, Native Trails unveiled the Vintner’s Collection, a series of vanities and accessories that draws inspiration from California’s wine culture, and incorporates material that would otherwise be discarded —oak wine staves and barrels— into beautiful finished product.

The Renewal Series, launched in 2012, reaffirmed the brand’s commitment to finding alternative sustainable materials, relying on FSC certified bamboo as the primary source. The series features a substantial number of vanities and coordinating pieces that encompass a broad aesthetic and showcase bamboo’s strength, versatility and beauty.

In 2013, Native Trails re-introduced their reclaimed wood vanity as one piece of the Americana Collection, with storage components and accessories using reclaimed wood.

The company also returned to their home décor roots by unveiling a new décor collection, available through 20 percent of sales from select items benefit CASA for Children (Court Appointed Special Advocates), a nationwide non-profit foundation that helps abused and neglected children.

It’s been 17 years since she founded Native Trails, and Naomi and her team continue to find new trails to be forged, researching new offerings and traveling throughout the world, searching out undiscovered artisans who can bring life to Native Trails’ innovative designs.

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