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Path of Support for Wildlife Through Design

Picture it. New York City 2007. Living the hipster life in Williamsburg, Brooklyn of partying by night and perusing high end fabric and design showrooms in Manhattan by day, with coffee and sunglasses.

I was designing lobbies, choosing marble slabs for countertops and sourcing antique dining room furniture for upper east side mansions that cost more than most people’s net worth. Most of the condo buildings that popped up in Williamsburg at that time had at least one porcelain tile, countertop, or light fixture I had sourced.

As Design Director for a prestigious architecture firm, I loved color and mood boards, hand drawing plans, sketching details and my very favorite, selecting fabrics for clients’ interiors.

But! Then, my personal life became an even stronger focus, so I bid adieu to that high energy world and turned to building a family. And, as one does, retreated to apple orchard scented, beachy weekend life of nearby, CT, where I had grown up.

As you might have guessed, I quickly realized I needed a creative outlet. Instead of obsessing over brushed nickel doorknobs, I was obsessing over newborn books and learning infants can see high contrast black and white.  I still had my fancy black pens and decided to draw farm animals for our daughter’s nursery. 

Friends would come to visit our bundle of joy and remark that they loved the drawings, and I should sell them. This inspired my high-octane self to go from 0 to 60 and I was drawing animals any time I wasn’t mothering. My favorite was a series of critically endangered species. I became deeply attached to the wildlife as I was drawing each little line. The new mother thing also kicked into high gear, and I felt a profound need to help protect the animals I was drawing. If I was going to make money on this artwork, I simply must give back to the animals pictured. It should be required!

Knowing very little about conservation, I chose one of the large well-known charitable organizations at first. But now you are getting to know me a little! Do you think I stopped there? Noooo.

Art shows and craft fairs and drawing and mommy and solid foods and Goodnight Moon and researching wildlife conservation.

Life was also happening- my mother passed away in Florida leaving my dad a widow after 50 years of marriage and my family decided to move down to be near him (and the beach and palm trees after our picturesque CT home experiencing ice dams and snow blowers breaking from overuse for the last time)

Around this time, our daughter was starting preschool and I was ready to go back to work and fine art alone was not cutting it. Since I could not teleport back to the lush life of my former career and balance being a mom, I looked to new adventures and interests- wildlife conservation! 

After my family all got up off the floor from processing rockstar Design Director to starting at square one, I took a job at a local zoo in conservation and development, leading a group of inspirational women in a grassroots effort to help.

Suddenly, I was learning about dozens of incredible organizations all specializing in protecting individual species- some that I had even drawn. This was as exciting as a custom herringbone backsplash!

Now I was full tilt invested in wanting to give back to the nonprofits I was working with. I was exploring more by night as well as growing from fine art to figuring out how to get my artwork on fabrics (hello, fabrics, I missed you!) and make things to help not only the animals but the planet. 

After a few fun years at the zoo, hearing siamang gibbons’ calls instead of dogs barking while I worked, I was able to turn my side hustle art business into a full-time gig.

The flood gates opened and I began designing patterns for species and matching them with conservation partners hoping Charles Darwin would be proud of my documentation efforts. Naturally, products reducing disposables and single-use plastic to help not only ‘our’ planet but the wildlife on this planet rose to the top of my to-do list.

Today, I continue to add patterns, partners and products consistently as I seem to enjoy not relaxing even though I work for myself and could easily incorporate naps. Lots of long naps. But, I don’t!

The End…. For now, as I pursue bringing all of this journey together through wildlife surface pattern designs that give back and exploring fabric designs from my designer days. Stay tuned to find out where you can find my new work!


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A little of the formal version: 

Brand Passion: To Delight with Use and Purpose

You care about the health of our planet and its wildlife and want to make an impact. Shopping with intention to have your dollars do more can give you that positive shift from feeling helpless to generous.

I vet conservation partners worldwide working to protect all species so you can proudly shop knowing you are supporting good people doing great things for our planet all in one place.

Brand Core Values:

  • Impactful
    • Each customer participates in wildlife conservation via a give-back model.
    • Partners are provided monetary and product donations to further their missions.
  • Intelligent
    • Considering our brand's affect and role on our planet.
  • Intentional
    • Give back in service to our planet.
    • Connect customers to conservation efforts.
  • Inspiring
    • A roadmap for brands to emulate resulting in cause-related purchases and limiting purposeless consumerism.
    • Provide customer opportunities for involvement in conservation.
  • Improving
    • Continuously evaluating new ways to solve issues of awareness and disposability with reusables.


Are you a fellow entrepreneur looking for guidance on your own path of giving through your brand? Happy to help you! Contact me here: service@wendybarnesdesign.com