The unprecedented past two years of COVID-19 and the ensuing pandemic brought difficulties beyond what many could have imagined. Luckily for world-famous guitar manufacturer, Taylor Guitars, their mission to produce both luxurious and sustainable guitars led them to form a special partnership with tree care company, West Coast Arborists, Inc. (WCA), which took on new meaning and purpose during the pandemic.
A few years ago, Taylor Guitars began grappling with the idea of using local, urban wood to help manufacture their guitars. Expressing a commitment to sustainability amidst the global tightening of regulations for the use and production of foreign wood, Taylor decided to try sourcing local wood from California’s urban forests. Teaming up with fellow-local California company, West Coast Arborists, Inc., Taylor’s vision of sustainability has been realized.
WCA made an ideal partner for two main reasons. First, WCA uses an extensive and unique tracking technology to help locate trees nearing the end of their life, allowing Taylor to easily find and source the wood needed for a luxury guitar. Second, and similar to Taylor, WCA pledges to practice sustainability and actively seeks out socially responsible market alternatives to keep trees out of landfills through their urban wood recycling program, Street Tree Revival. Taylor’s and WCA’s dedication to sustainability and protecting the environment perfectly aligned, making their decision to partner an easy one.
Flashforward to 2020, and the world’s businesses and industries took a turn for the worst. Following difficulties across all industries, companies in need of wood faced lumber shortages and halts to foreign imports which greatly altered lines of production. While many companies were struggling to find needed material, Taylor turned to WCA. By not relying on the foreign import of wood and, instead increasing their focus on utilizing their sustainable partnership with WCA, Taylor survived what many could not and sustained their business throughout the pandemic.
“Our ability to utilize urban wood over the past year, especially with global supply chains being so disrupted, helped us overcome major production challenges.” Said Taylor Guitars co-founder, Bob Taylor. “I can say with confidence that we’ll be integrating urban wood more broadly into our guitar line for the foreseeable future.”
In January 2020, Taylor Guitars released the Builder’s Edition 324ce guitar, their first guitar model made with urban wood, specifically, Shamel ash trees found in communities across California. Following the success of this model and the difficulties of the pandemic, later in the year Taylor released three other guitar models featuring urban wood. From 2020 to 2021 the company sold 9,551 urban wood guitars. While so many production lines came to a halt, Taylor’s production of luxury guitars not only continued but developed even further into a sustainable future.
Taylor and WCA’s partnership showcased the many benefits of urban wood policy as we head into an uncertain future. Taylor’s success at selling luxury guitars made of urban wood makes it clear a sustainable, environmentally friendly approach to luxury is not only possible but necessary.
“We are grateful for the ability to showcase the endless possibilities of the urban trees we plant in California’s urban forest alongside Taylor Guitars,” said WCA’s Urban Wood Manager, John Mahoney. “It is really incredible to see our joined efforts and goals turn into a successful enterprise.”