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New Website to Put the Joy Back Into Our Purchases

Wooly wants to be the Sotheby’s for a new generation--while quietly taking part in the sustainability revolution.

Wooly's first offering.

Rudy Adler, a long-time friend of GOOD, formed Wooly to create an alternative to rampant mass-consumerism.

Rudy Adler has spent the bulk of his adult life building. 10 years ago he took part in a program called Wieden + Kennedy 12, a hybrid "school/freak show" provided by the prestigious ad agency. Here he learned how to build brands for socially conscious institutions and causes that couldn't afford the W+K agency fees. Taking this knowledge into the real world, Rudy left for the U.S.-Mexico border where he distributed disposable cameras to two groups on either side: undocumented migrants crossing the desert into the United States, and American Minutemen trying to stop them. This became the Border Film Project,a book published by Harry Abrams and a touring international exhibition. In 2010, he moved to San Francisco with two friends and started the software company called 1000memories, their first product an app to remember friends and family that had passed away. For his most recent project, Wooly, Adler has built a site he hopes will slow down the glut of consumerism, providing a better way to enjoy the things we buy.

Wooly hopes to spur a new type of conscious consumerism, seeking items that are special, have histories, and can perhaps provide deeper meaning. “We think of ourselves as Sotheby's for a younger generation,” Rudy recently told GOOD.

We scour the world for extraordinary things you may never see, in places you may never look.” The site, which launched yesterday, will feature items like first edition books, 70's Japanese robots, vintage NASA photos, and a unique collection of rare Swedish rugs from the 60's.

A sneak peek at what's to come: a Japanese robot.

How the site works is simple. The creators and curators find one-of-a-kind objects, culled by a group of designers, editors, artists, filmmakers, musicians, and dry humorists, some objects even coming from friends’ collections, auctions and private dealers. “Everything we choose has a few common characteristics–quality, authenticity, uncommonness, and story,” says Adler. “We look for the most original objects in their best condition. We look for really well-designed things and/or things that tell an interesting story.” From there, Wooly members are notified via email when an object goes on sale.

A pretty cute logo, IMO.

For now the site will be offering new goods only once a week in order to maintain quality control. “We believe everybody should own a few truly great things–things that say something about where you've been and where you're going,” says Adler. “Sometimes it's not enough to admire these things from a distance. To really understand how and why something was made, you have to hold it in your hands and look at it every day. Because the things we surround ourselves with influence us more than we know."

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