Our Story

  • Hello! Caroline and Laura here, founders of CICIL (pronounced SEE-CIL).

    At CICIL, we believe in utilizing natural, renewable materials, making products simply, knowing where things come from, and understanding their impact on the earth. We're textile industry veterans with experience in large brands, scrappy startups, and textile mills. After years of working with complex, carbon-intensive global supply chains, we wanted to try something different and more personal. Through CICIL, we will explore the textile heritage in our own backyard -- the American East -- and build new, beautiful, and sustainable paths for natural fibers.  

    We appreciate your interest in and support of our mission and we hope that you'll join us on this quest to make and consume products more sustainably. Read on to learn more about our process and principles.

Our Supply Chain & Process

  • It starts at the farm.

    We source our fiber directly from a farmers collective where small batches of wool are compiled from family farms around New York, Vermont, and Pennsylvania (pictured left: Foster Sheep Farm, NY).  This lush area of the country is great for sheep farming, due to their cooler temperatures and fertile grasslands. The sheep are typically sheared in late spring or early summer, to lighten their load for the hot summer months. Shearing is necessary for the sheep and yields a beautiful and renewable fiber, called ‘greasy wool’ -- or raw fiber that’s ready to be cleaned, washed, and processed.

  • Our Wool

    Our wool comes from Romney, Wensleydale, and Cotswold sheep. We utilize all of their natural colors, ranging from white to blond, grey, brown, and black. It's unconventional to use the dark colors of natural wool because it can't be dyed and greatly limits it's commercial applications (hence the term 'black sheep'). By using the whole color range, we’re able to divert fiber from the waste stream and add value for our farm partners. The result is a long, durable, and soft fiber that takes on shades of grey when blended -- perfect for rugs and home goods.

  • Cleaning (aka Scouring)

    After shearing, our fiber is shipped down to South Carolina to be cleaned. This process, called scouring, is necessary remove any dirt or vegetable matter in the wool. It's easy to forget that wool comes from animals...we're reminded when we see all the bits of hay in their fleece! The wool is gently washed with soap and water -- no other processing or harsh chemicals are used. After cleaning, the wool is shipped back to our home state, North Carolina, to be made into area rugs.

  • Combing and Carding

    Once the fibers arrive at our final facility in North Carolina, they are ready to be carded. This process runs the fibers through a series of cylinders covered with pins that begin to comb out and align the fibers. Our partners have some of the last remaining wool carding machines in the US and have carefully maintained them for decades, using spare parts sourced from old machines. The carding process creates a loosely aligned net of fibers that is condensed into a thick, untwisted rope known as a sliver. From here, the spinning process starts.

  • Spinning

    The cones of sliver are mounted onto a spinning frame that uses tension to pull and twist the fibers into strong yarns. The spinning frame can spin hundreds of bobbins of yarn at a time while an operator walks the length of the frame, tying in any new packages or repairing breaks by hand. This is one of our favorite parts of the process -- seeing the wool come to life in yarn form.

  • Braiding

    Our yarns are then tied into a machine that rapidly braids the wool around a core material -- in our case, it's Jute sourced from deadstock.  The core yarn is completely hidden in the final product but adds durability and shape to the braids. We've made sure that even the hidden parts of our products are natural, renewable, and have a low impact on the environment.

  • Sewing

    Finally! Each braid is sewn by hand using 100% cotton thread and zig zag stitching to securely lock the braids together. All of our pieces are made to order, to avoid the wasteful process of holding excess inventory. We ship the rug to you within 3 to 6 weeks -- and we hope it lives with you for a lifetime!

Our Principles

  • Nothing but natural

    Our products are made with all natural, renewable materials. No synthetic or petroleum based fibers, ever.

  • Low Impact

    Our fibers are minimally processed with low impact manufacturing methods to maintain the natural beauty of the fiber. No dyes or toxic ‘performance’ additives often found in home textiles.

  • Source close

    We source in small batches, working within our regional and domestic supply chains to keep our footprint minimal.

  • Traceable at every step

    Transparency and collaboration are key to our process. We work directly with our supply chain partners all the way down to the farm level to provide traceability at every step.

  • Last a lifetime

    We design and make beautiful, timeless, high-quality items that will last a lifetime (but not forever in a landfill.)