PRESIDENT CLINTON VISITS WEST ELM AND TOURS ARTISAN WORK

  PRESIDENT CLINTON VISITS WEST ELM AND TOURS ARTISAN WORK

  Visit Highlights West Elm’s Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action

Business Wire

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- July 7, 2014

President Clinton visited home furnishings retailer West Elm in Brooklyn last
week. He viewed West Elm’s work to support artisans around the world and offer
handcrafted products under the brand’s 2013 Clinton Global Initiative
Commitment to Action. During the visit, West Elm President Jim Brett
introduced President Clinton to many of the brand’s key artisan partners and
shared the stories of the impact that West Elm’s collaborations are having in
Haiti, India, the Philippines, Guatemala, Peru and the United States. West Elm
also announced that it will be the first home retailer in the world to offer
Fair Trade Certified^TM rugs, handcrafted in India and available to customers
this holiday season. West Elm is a member of the Williams-Sonoma, Inc.
(NYSE:WSM) family of brands.

President Bill Clinton with West Elm President Jim Brett at the West Elm
Headquarters in Brooklyn, N ...

President Bill Clinton with West Elm President Jim Brett at the West Elm
Headquarters in Brooklyn, New York (Photo: Business Wire)

“I am grateful for the impact that West Elm’s CGI commitment is having all
around the world,” said President Clinton. “Not only is West Elm supporting
the creation of good, sustainable jobs, but they’re also ensuring that the
tradition of important crafts such as textiles, pottery and papier-mâché find
new markets.”

“Consciousness is not a short term initiative for West Elm, it is a core part
of our business strategy,” said Brett. “We are at a tipping point in consumer
demand for transparency, and West Elm is leading the way in the home
industry.” Brett joined West Elm in 2010 and made commitments to supply chain
transparency and artisan partnerships. Under his leadership, the brand has
reported 17 consecutive quarters of double digit comparable brand revenue
growth, proving that, “Doing good is not just our responsibility, it’s good
business.”

"West Elm really respects our process, our needs, and our challenges in
growing an artisan business,” said Theresa Kabigting, Marketing Director of
Asia Ceramics, one of West Elm’s artisan partners. “They are a true partner
and are helping us bring back traditional craft techniques and elevate craft
employment in our country."

In partnership with its largest rug supplier, Raj Overseas, West Elm has
established the first Fair Trade Certified factory for handcrafted rugs in
India. Fair Trade certification ensures that the rugs are made in safe working
conditions and that workers are justly compensated, delivering a premium back
to the worker to invest in causes of their choice. Employees at the West Elm
Fair Trade factory have chosen to fund additional health care coverage. Fair
Trade Certified rugs will be available this holiday season at West Elm retail
locations and on westelm.com.

Additional projects and progress under West Elm’s consciousness initiatives
and CGI Commitment to Action include:

- In 2013, West Elm committed to purchasing $35M in handcrafted products over
the next two years. The brand has nearly met this goal in one year.

- West Elm is building a network of artisan makers and currently working with
more than 35 artisan groups in 15 countries. Over half of the artisans West
Elm works with are women. The brand makes long-term commitments of 3-5 years
to each maker.

- To further support artisans, West Elm recently launched an adult literacy
initiative in Haiti in partnership with the Clinton Foundation and ProDev,
teaching artisans reading, writing, financial literacy, and vocational
training. The brand hopes to replicate the program with additional vendors and
in other countries, including the Philippines.

- In August, West Elm will launch the We Love Local Small Business Grant as
the next phase of its West Elm Local program. The grant, which will be awarded
by West Elm with feedback from customers through online public voting, will go
to one U.S. based small business and includes a $25K cash prize and ongoing
business support from West Elm.

About West Elm

Mixing clean lines, natural materials and handcrafted collections from the US
and around the world, West Elm creates unique, affordable designs for modern
living. Headquartered in Brooklyn, NY, the brand introduced its first catalog
in 2002 and opened the doors of its first retail location in 2003. West Elm’s
complete collection of furniture and accessories for living rooms, bedrooms,
kitchens and dining rooms can be found in 58 retail stores in the United
States, Canada, Australia and the UK and around-the-clock at www.westelm.com.
The brand also offers international shipping to customers around the world and
has an unaffiliated franchisee that operates stores in the Middle East. West
Elm is part of an active community on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and
Instagram and a member of the Williams-Sonoma, Inc. portfolio of brands.

About Fair Trade USA

Fair Trade USA, a nonprofit organization, is the leading third-party certifier
of Fair Trade products in North America. It audits and certifies transactions
between companies and their international suppliers to ensure adherence to the
rigorous Fair Trade standards. Fair Trade USA also educates consumers and
provides farming communities with tools, training and resources to thrive as
international businesspeople. Visit FairTradeCertified.org for more
information.

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Contact:

Contacts for West Elm:
Abigail Jacobs, 718-780-4488
ajacobs@wsgc.com
Nicole Sutliff, 718-780-4416
nsutliff@wsgc.com
 
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