The Artisan donates his whale tail clothing line to OCEANA
NEW BEDFORD – The Artisan gives a whole new meaning to a whale tail – along with its wealth of creative designs – by creating a clothing brand that includes a local LGBTQ+ business and helps sea creatures.
Inspired by the Whaling City, owner Mark Furtado said he wanted to create a brand identifiable with New Bedford. “I wanted to enter this apparel space and start something unique and different.”
Launched in 2020, The Artisan embraces the whale tail as a symbol, a cause and a gateway to a better world for all living beings.
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Most of the garments are 90% cotton and feature creative interpretations of whale tail designs on t-shirts, hoodies, beanies or tank tops, and water bottles.
By standing with whales, Furtado said, “we ignite our voice, our empathy and our wisdom.”
“Our value for the brand is to make waves. I want people to know that while we’re the ‘whale tail’ brand, I want this to be like the signature; the symbol of the power we have,” Furtado said.
The artisan donates 10% of the profits from each purchase to OCEANA and other local organizations. As of August 2022, they have donated nearly $200.
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Furtado, a native of New Bedford who grew up in the South End, said his mother is from Portugal and inspired him to work hard for his success as she did to support his family.
As the daytime secretary of New Bedford Public Schools, Furtado said that when he’s not behind his desk, he’s at his desk at home, working on new designs and doing marketing and photography for social media.
“I’m going to be an artist, but I’m also going to be the head of my own brand,” said the Greater New Bedford Vocational Technical High School graduate, who took a year off from Bristol Community College to focus on his new business.
The whale tail originally had New Bedford alongside the logo, but has recently stopped mentioning the Whaling City to make the brand less localized.
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“I felt like I was put in a box in the sense that I couldn’t be creative,” he added. “Now the brand has made it to Hawaii, Florida, Chicago, South Dakota, Wyoming in the past year so far.”
Supporting other LGBTQ+ organizations
As an LGBTQ+ owned brand, Furtado also wanted to make sure he was helping other LGBTQ+ organizations. Because of this, he said, The Artisan donates some of its clothing items to Project Codec, which in turn uses them to dress homeless youth.
“Our focus is on saving the oceans, but we want to do more and help where needed,” he added. “We preach to stay kind and make waves because those are our values as a brand, which is why we want to help with homelessness in our community.”
In an effort to keep making waves, Furtado invites everyone to apply to become brand ambassadors (dubbed “Wave Makers”) and share photos of them in The Artisan attire, which are then shared on their social media.
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With products available both online and at 3GenLove in Westport, 4GoodVibes at Kingston Mall and the Viva Fall River Pop Up, Furtado said he is very supportive of stores that offer products from local artists and brands.
At store 3GenLove, The Artisan shares a department with local jeweler Amber Waves Furtado said he wants to one day own his own shop with a similar concept dedicated to supporting local artists.
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“If you were to ask my younger self, I wouldn’t believe I would take the entrepreneurial path,” Furtado said.
“But knowing that I can create my own space on my own platform, how I want it, or at least how I want the world to see me, was… just wow.”
Standard Times editor Seth Chitwood can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @ChitwoodReports. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.