Parker Clay Expands with New Storefront at Denver’s Free Market

With handmade products sourced from the finest Ethiopian leather, Parker Clay recently opened their new location at Denver’s Free Market. The space features a curated collection tailored specifically to Denver customers.

The Parker Clay Impact

Parker Clay was created in 2014 by Ian and Brittany Bentley. In 2011, the couple traveled to Ethiopia and returned home with their first adopted daughter. In 2012, they moved to Ethiopia and adopted their second daughter while they were living in Addis Ababa.

While the Bentleys lived there, they worked with several organizations in the area that helped disadvantaged women. These organizations aimed to empower local women by helping them with rehabilitation, skill-building, and job creation.

“Meeting these women and witnessing the transformation that can come with just a teaspoon of opportunity deeply moved us. We were deeply inspired to continue growing this brand to celebrate local materials and Ethiopian craftsmanship and share it with a broader audience,” Brittany said.

Parker Clay offers bags made with intention. They create bags from their own factory in Ethiopia. The brand is made up of over 200 team members and 80% of the employees are women.

“We make a better bag for a better world. Over the past decade, the world has been very conscious of approaching the topic of where and how things are made, this has led more people to shop their values. Historically, it’s been hard to find something you both look good with and feel good wearing, knowing the people and products are both celebrated, that’s what we exist to do and where our impact is fused into our foundation,” Brittany said.

Parker Clay’s mission is not only to create beautifully crafted products but also to make an impact on their employees’ workplace and families, as well as the community. Parker Clay looks at the bigger picture when it comes to creating a business while striving to empower women and their families and support all the generations to come.

Ethically Sourced Timeless Classics

Parker Clay sources and manufactures full-grain Ethiopian leather at their factory. The brand’s leather goods are all handmade to reduce the impact that the industrial process has on the environment.

In the Parker Clay Ethiopian factory, leather is sourced from local tanneries. Production consists of cutting, stitching and finishings. Then, products are sent to the brand’s fulfillment center in Santa Barbara. Parker Clay operates their entire supply chain which provides the brand with an understanding of what happens in their spaces and also creates a more sustainable business.

Parker Clay offers timeless pieces. Therefore, Brittany looks at classic pieces when designing products instead of more modern designs. “We love to enhance designs that have an endless elegance about them. Our goal is for customers to have a premium bag for their every day,” she said.

The new Parker Clay store in Denver’s Free Market will display their bestselling Miramar Backpack and Merkato Signature Tote. They have tailored the products in the shop specifically to Denver consumers.

In the Denver Free Market location, Parker Clay offers an interactive art installation wall telling the story of the brand’s impact and how buying a product impacts a woman in Ethiopia. As purchases are made, the wall will continue to grow. “The installation is a true testament to the power of community and human connection,” Brittany added.

Parker Clay at Denver’s Free Market

Parker Clay’s first location is its flagship store in Santa Barbara, CA, which is also the Bentley’s hometown. The Santa Barbara location opened its doors in 2016. At this storefront, they can share their vision with a larger audience.

“This platform for growth allows us to create even more employment and empowerment in Ethiopia,” Brittany said. The Bentley’s pride themselves on creating jobs for women in Ethiopia and creating a safe and dignified workplace for all of their employees.

Coloradans are known for their love of nature and the environment. Parker Clay chose their new location to be at Free Market, in the heart of Denver, because many Denverites care about sustainability. The Bentleys loved how Free Market is an area where customers can explore new and upcoming stores and eateries.

Parker Clay also recently launched its Woven Collection – a zero-waste initiative.  Every product in this collection was sourced sustainably by using every extra piece of raw material to create them. “To accomplish this, our team focused on woven designs, using traditional methods to turn a handful of ‘useless’ scraps into a cohesive, functional and downright beautiful accessory,” Brittany said. 

Parker Clay’s Bright Future

Parker Clay currently operates out of four locations – three in California and one in Denver. They recently opened their third location in Los Angeles at the Free Market in Playa Vista, CA, following their grand opening in Denver. Through the brand’s continued growth, Parker Clay will continue to make an impact on the community and continue to empower women across the globe

“Through growing our community, we hope to create a lasting impact through sustainable employment for women in Ethiopia,” Brittany said.

Parker Clay’s Denver Store is located at 1801 Blake St. and is open Sunday to Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

All photography courtsey of Parker Clay