Alexandra Gray Bennett and Jocelin Johnson share a love for reinvention. When they first met, while working for russell+hazel, they relished being part of the product team that produced office supplies with a design- and trend-forward sensibility. The two recently reunited as business partners to push the boundaries of tradition, this time with quilts. Bennett, who learned how to quilt at a young age from her mother, and Johnson, a graphic designer and art director, launched Louise Gray quilts in March.
“I have a long family history and heritage in quilting,” Bennett says. Even the business’s name pays homage to her family: “My maiden name is Alexandra Louise Gray, and my mom’s name is Karen Louise Gray, so it’s very much a family name. Louise is very traditional, and Gray has more of a modern, contemporary feel. The juxtaposition of those two names felt in keeping with the story.”
Handcrafted by local artisans and assembled in Minnesota, the debut collection of Louise Gray quilts is minimal and refined, with what they describe as a “Scandinavian color palette” of mostly neutrals and pastels. The idea with each quilt, Bennett explains, is to enhance an interior, not overpower it, with the quilt acting as accent décor.
Like paintings or sculptures, Bennett and Johnson promote their pieces as an investment. Sold both online and at local boutiques Forage Modern Workshop, MartinPatrick 3, Wilson & Willy’s, and Mille, each of the first six pieces range in price from $395 to $425.
“People are buying with more of a purpose now. It’s not just mindless consumerism,” Johnson says. “There’s a story behind our quilts. I think people are gravitating toward that and it’s changing how we want to be able to reach those customers.”
The quilts have a practical side to them, too: They’re 100 percent cotton, making them easy to live with pets and kids, and to clean by just tossing into the washing machine.
Quilts are just the first chapter of the Louise Gray story. Bennett and Johnson plan to expand into a home and lifestyle brand, with items such as prints and pillows. They’re currently designing an acrylic hanging mount so customers can transform their stylish throw into a piece of art. “Hanging textiles is something that we believe is going to be trending very quickly,” Bennett says. “It’s a really inexpensive way for people to afford art.” louisegray.com