The organic revolution has wrapped its preservative-free fingers around nearly every facet of commercialism. But like so many other trends in Austin, this lifestyle was a vital part of the fiber of this city long before the mainstream dubbed it “the next big thing.”
Accordingly, Austin’s Wildflower Organics was one of the pioneers of organic living in Austin. In fact, Cori and Gunnar Hedman, who opened Wildflower 18 years ago, were experts in organic bedding long before the term "green living" ran rampant.
The couple bought a space in what is now the heart of Lamar without an ultimate vision in mind, but shortly after opening the store, Cori and Gunnar saw the first organic mattress from The Natural Bedroom at an environmental show in California. “You’re asleep for eight hours a night, if you’re lucky. You want a more comfortable, breathable surface,” Cori said. It wasn’t long before they had a specialty.
The Hedmans quickly began filling Wildflower with furniture and accessories that fit a certain philosophy: “[Wildflower] kind of kept growing and changing while keeping that organic, environmentally friendly and artisan-type feel that we love.”
Cori and Gunnar have since packed their beloved space with carefully selected, timeless pieces and built a nationally-recognized design hub for eco-luxury. Although not every product Wildflower carries is certified organic, the owners try to purchase only sustainable and natural lines that are made in the U.S.
Cori believes that style is equally as important as quality in the purchasing process and keeps their inventory current. “You look at clothing and see what’s happening in fashion there. Home fashion comes right after that.”
But long-time employee Celeste Quesada says that Cori is the real trendsetter. “She’s a visionary,” Celeste raves. “This store is a favorite because of Cori’s eye for setting the styles.” As proven by their early adoption of the organic mattress, Cori and Gunnar’s ability to identify trends early on puts Wildflower at the forefront of design innovation. Not only that, but the thoughtful design of every display makes it easy to envision the pieces in your own home.
Cori considers Austin a city of "casual luxury" and strives to provide high quality in a casual, relaxed environment. While organics commonly cost more money, Cori and Gunner, along with many Austinites, might argue that the increase in lifespan make organic products a far more economical purchase. The lines sold at Wildflower — Legna, Bella Notte and Sferra Milos, to name a few — are among the finest products available on the market. “[Austin is] a special town, and people support this kind of product. . .These hand-crafted pillows are so popular. They’re not cheap, but they’re the best,” Cori explains.
The creativity and cohesiveness of the tenured staff adds to the unique experience of this specialty boutique. “Everyone here is very gifted with design, so there’s a great team of people,” says Quesada. Cori considers her staff family and credits their work for making Wildflower such a special place. In addition to providing assistance in the store, the staff offers in-house consultations and custom orders.
Whether or not organic options will continue taking hold in new markets, Wildflower will forever be a part of the healthy, sustainable lifestyle that is inherently Austin.