Designed and made in Canada, VERDUN provides stylish handmade throws, hats and cowls made from 100% merino wool.

Owned by husband and wife business partners, Kevin and Lindsay Cato, Verdun is dedicated to creating products that bring physical and spiritual comforts while standing the test of time.

The Canada based brand’s mission is to create products that are both a wise investment and aesthetically pleasing.

We’re in love…

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INTERVIEW

brandnewdaydesigns: Why make throws?

LINDSAY CATO: Throws are an item in the house that can be so much more than their intended function. With current interior design trends taking more clean and neutral toned styles, designers and enthusiasts are looking for items that can provide texture within their color palette. That’s why our chunky merino throws are so eye catching – the extreme sized stitches are attention grabbing and with the size of a familiar knit pattern customers are often taken by the coziness aspect of the throws. We live in Canada where we are known for our winters. We have to stay warm somehow! Throws are a staple in most Canadian living rooms and bedrooms. We wanted to provide a product that everyone needs, but is also a luxurious item that leaves an impression within the space it resides.

bndd: Tell me about the materials and what your inspirations are for their design?

LC: Verdun believes that simple, classic patterns and designs stand the test of time. Every product in our brand is handmade, using 100% merino wool sourced from Australia, Italy, and Spain. We decided to combine timeless designs and stitching with beautiful, soft, plush wool that would appeal to customers, knowing that these products will be a part of their home and life for years to come. Our inspiration for our products is family. We aim to make something that will be present throughout the years and memories made.

bndd: How does Canada inspire your design style?

LC: Canadian winters are cold [laughs]! While style and fashion are a wonderful part of our world, sometimes you just simply need to stay warm. Wool items do just that. Aside from the thickness of our throws, our accessories line also uses thick and soft merino wool that keeps your head warm while you are outside. Canada inspired us to design classic products that customers can reach for every time fall gives away to winter cold, and not worry that it is no longer in style.

bndd: How did you come up with the name ‘Verdun’?

LC: This is actually, we think, an underwhelming story. (We have been told otherwise). We are husband and wife business partners, and were staying in Montreal, Quebec for an anniversary trip, and after much talking, sharing, and dreaming, we decided we wanted to start a business together. We decided to do knit items, since I had been knitting for several years and was curious to see if I could make some money off of it on the side while studying to complete my PhD program. Kevin is an entrepreneur at heart and jumped on the idea once it sounded like I was actually interested. Verdun happens to be the name of the neighborhood in Montreal that we were staying in at the time. It just stuck. We honestly haven’t looked back or floated any other names since.

bndd: Do you think consumers underestimate the impact design has on their daily lives?

LC: Often. However, I think there are two aspects when addressing product design. The first being how an item is actually made and designed with the consumer in mind. I think everyday consumers underestimate the amount of time and effort that is put into the smallest aspects of the items we interact with. From doors to buildings. Handles are placed in very specific ways, shapes, directions, etc. to intuitively indicate to push or pull or sometimes, painfully, they aren’t!, to the sound a car door makes when it closes. A relative of mine actually worked on this for his job at a car company. I think the focus on intuitive products – because who reads instruction manuals anyways – separates consumers even further from understanding the amount of design gone into a product. However, isn’t that part of the goal of a designer? To allow customers to use and experience their product and integrate it into their daily lives, without having to think about how it was designed – that in itself would likely make a successful product.

LC cont: The second aspect is the more artistic and aesthetic side of design. What does the product look like, feel like? What lines and shapes does it create? What texture or temperature does it add to a space? How does it make one feel? I believe that strong emotional ties can be made to items in the home and daily life, based on the design of the item. For example, a sheepskin rug will always remind me of my grandmothers house, in front of the fireplace, where I often laid on the floor in awe of the fire. It may not have been the intention of the company that produced the rug, but it impacts me by reminding me of those happy times in my childhood. I think that seeing a rug like that and feeling that pang of memories, is the underestimation of the impact of design in our daily lives. This is the same kind of impact that we hope our products will have on our customers. Touching and using one of our throws is a stimulating and tactile experience and one that we hope will touch the emotional side of those who have one in their home.

bndd: Which is more important? Function or design?

LC: The rational side of me says function, the emotional side says design. In reality, the best products are a harmonious blend of beautiful design and functionality. This is our goal with all of our products. —

DISCOVER: Verdun

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