Press + Media
Delia helps influence manufacturing to become a sustainable process around the globe through imaginative collaborations and her business, http://www.chiceco.com/. Her mission is to help preserve our planet Earth by supporting designers and their businesses that recycle or create fashionable products in non-toxic manners and therefore enhance the consciousness of consumers. Her yurt home was erected on a tiny piece of Pahoa, Hawaii rain forest paradise early 2009 where she “walks the green talk.” For service details and more personal stuff, read http://deliamontgomery.blogspot.com/ with links to her sustainable living blogs that appease all forms of environmental enthusiasts!
How do you like to relax?
For more than 30 years, I’ve been a passionate gardener. Full-cycle organic and native with permaculture style is my favorite way to design and create. I actually enjoy sculpting with attractive weeds. What some people call “invasives” are gifts from nature to me. I greet each day with brilliant-purple morning glories and say goodnight with pristine-white moon flowers. It is important for me to have a gold fish pool and water lilies in my garden, then watch dragonflies appear from the unknown. Butterflies show up like messengers to say thank you. Whether solo or with a friend, my greatest gratification and form of relaxation is by admiring the results of my garden labor.
How do you help soften your footprint on our earth?
Determined to walk the talk, my tree-hugger lifestyle is serious in Hawaii. My 452 square-foot home office yurt is with conventional electricity, but I hold a strong vision to convert to solar. I’m pleased with typical water catchment plumbing in the rain forest that includes a tank-less water heater. Although there are screens on my windows, the doors and dome are usually open to wandering geckos that enjoy the sport of eating mosquitoes and flies. Composting is a natural in the tropics. Culinary linens are made from old clothes and my glassware consists of reused jars. In all, a vast difference from how I was raised as a blue-blood princess on a prominent Kentucky thoroughbred racehorse farm.
What is your routine before going to sleep each night? Any tips on how to sleep soundly?
Early to bed and early to rise is no longer an effort, but my preferred routine. In fact, I hold a strong desire to watch the sun rise with those morning glories each day. Yet I typically sense the full moon about a week before it peaks and sometimes look to nature’s gifts for help to sleep. In the pacific islands the kava plant blesses those who have difficulty snoozing. That works for me, but there are other plants and herbs. Lavender essential oil in my evening aromatherapy bath helps, for example. Thankfully, there are different strokes for different folks.
What is your favorite drink to help you relax?
Wine use to be my favorite relaxing beverage, yet my desire mysteriously shifted a few years back to lager beer. So glad there are organic options today. If my immune system is feeling fragile, however, hot chamomile tea with local raw honey does the trick.
Do you have a favorite song that helps you renew yourself?
By the power of association, “Summertime” is my favorite tune. The ultimate version is by the Ray Brown Trio (with Jeff Hamilton and Gene Harris): http://youtu.be/YuW26BKVJ3U
Do you participate in any outdoor activities that renew your mind, body or spirit?
I practice yoga or qi gong each morning with exception to guided monthly one-day hikes. Yoga is reserved for rainy days around my yurt home in this tropical rain forest. Qi gong is my outdoor exercise with feet properly balanced on Earth. Outside is my preference because I can exercise with many pauses to look closely at what’s going on in my garden. I may pull a weed, move a rock, or simply admire my blooms and produce. There are more than 23 climate zones on Big Island, which makes each hike a venture for the season. The treasured local guide includes recreation with each group hike, ? from swimming with sea turtles to bird watching near the volcano. When appropriate, I ecstatically bring an exotic plant home from the hike.
What is your favorite Naya shoe and why?
Presently, my fav is from the 2011 pre-fall collection. I adore the CASTALIA to easily compliment casual to dress fashions. Perfect for my warm climate and suitable for travel to colder temps. I can get clumsy on this rocky terrain between offices and home, so the suede is ideal for less obvious nicks and scuffs. Bordo is a grand practical and basic color that will match everything I wear. I’ve joined the Naya fan club because product developer and designer Kasey Gibbs proves that sustainable-conscious manufacturing enhances human creativity. It’s important for me to feel good about what I wear and Naya Shoes stylishly fulfills that need.
Naya’s Green Room, September 2011 Personal Interview with Delia
Chic Eco Going Green
by Amanda Hervey
You can almost hear the waves when Delia Montgomery answers the phone.
Her laid-back personality translates through the telephone line as a refreshing mix of sweet Southern hospitality with a touch of that hang-loose vibe that defines her home away from home on Maui.
But life has not always been so peaceful for Montgomery. The Lexington native first fell in love with island life while on vacation nursing wounds left from her divorce, a recent health scare, and what seemed like a disappointing end to her eco-friendly business.
During that period of her life that she calls her “survival mode,” Montgomery embraced island life and all its simplicities. She was impressed with the care islanders took to protect the environment, an issue that became near and dear to her heart while volunteering for Gatewood Galbraith’s 1995 gubernatorial campaign.
It was that passion for the environment that inspired Montgomery and her friend Kim Eisner to establish Chic Eco in 1997. The duo wanted to be the first sales representatives in the region for designers and artists exploring eco-friendly fashion and personal products.
Montgomery put her experience as a fashion merchandising agent and former boutique owner to work representing designers of earth-friendly accessories and products. But retailers in Kentucky were not convinced, and the future of Chic Eco looked grim. Within a year, Eisner was forced to pursue other endeavors, and their partnership was dissolved.
“I kept Chic Eco active while I worked other part-time jobs,” Montgomery says. In 2000, she began compiling a list of artisans and craftspeople she had encountered who worked only with eco-friendly materials. By the end of the year, she published the first Chic Eco Directory, a comprehensive guide connecting designers and retailers.
The directory was a hit, and she continued self-publishing through 2004. It was at that time that Montgomery took a step back from her work to re-evaluate her own life. Before ending her Hawaiian vacation, she decided she would make the islands her new home.
Her plans were postponed after her mother was diagnosed with cancer shortly after Montgomery returned to the Bluegrass. She stopped producing the directories while caring for her mother and put Chic Eco on the back burner. After her mother died in September 2005, Montgomery set out for Hawaii, hoping to start over.
“I left Kentucky with a broken spirit,” she says. “I realized Hawaii was a spiritual magnet for me.”
The relocation was just what Montgomery needed to jump-start her personal life and business. “Chic Eco grows in many directions today,” says Montgomery. Her expertise in the market has made her the go-to person for eco-friendly products. She now works as a green-lifestyle consultant, doing everything from teaching people how to shop wisely to planning green weddings and events.
If you don’t have time for an eco-education, she is also happy to do the shopping for you, as she has for many movers and shakers. “Each new job brings discovery,” she says of her experience as an eco-shopper. She has shopped for items ranging from a certified organic Christmas tree for a customer in Beverly Hills to imitation leather made from recycled bicycle rubber for a rock band that wanted to make a statement about animal rights.
But her most high-profile project is still the Chic Eco Directory. From its humble beginnings here in Kentucky, the directory has grown to be known by insiders as the “ultimate green-design reference bible.” Its power to connect artisans and designers with retailers from around the world has brought tremendous praise for the once-floundering business.
Montgomery says her mission is the same as it has been from the beginning: to preserve our planet and enhance environmental consciousness. For more information, visit www.chiceco.com.
E – The Environmental Magazine, January/February 2006
Chic Is As Chic Does
by Starre Vartan
Chic Eco is the brainchild of Delia Montgomery,who recognized the need for a place for students, designers, journalists and others to find green resources and information.Montgomery publishes the Chic Eco Directory, which is chock full of such information. Montgomery also offers green lifestyle consulting, which includes event styling for parties and conferences. Montgomery was unavailable for comment, but according to company materials, Chic Eco specializes in assisting organizations with everything from developing mailing lists and websites with green themes to creating marketing plans. She also serves as a spokesperson, coordinates special events, creates travel itineraries that are “complementary to your environmental image,” acts as a personal shopping assistant and builds nontoxic and pleasant workspaces on large and small scales. The price for these services can vary, but is often around $50 an hour. For those people who are busy but don’t feel that they have the time for an eco-education, people like Rosie Haas, Danny Seo and Delia Montgomery are here to help. When you know what’s behind the shiny packages on store shelves (pesticide and herbicide-laced snacks, shirts made by children earning pennies an hour, ecosystem-destroying farming techniques) shopping loses some of its fun. But with on-call green guides, it can get its charm back.
On the Net: Go To Full Story
Scripps Howard News Service, March 14, 2005
More Couples Choosing to Make Their Weddings Green
by Joan Lowy
Traditionally, weddings are white. But increasingly the sentiments are tending toward green.
For example, when philosophy professor David Jackson and photographer Kirsten Hepburn were married last summer, their 80 guests were served only locally grown, organic food. The couple checked to be sure the seafood selected for the main dish, a paella, did not include any species threatened by overfishing or high in contaminants.
Invitations to the ceremony held in an olive grove in Northern California were made at home on recycled paper, and guests were encouraged to donate to environmental causes rather than give traditional wedding gifts.
“We only gained by doing it this way,” said Jackson, 34. “If you minimize the extravagance, what you actually do is maximize the emotional dimension of the occasion.”
Jackson and Hepburn, who live in Salt Lake City, are part of a small but growing share of the 2.4 million people who marry each year in the United States who are choosing green weddings. From tea bags to table decorations, the weddings emphasize organic, sustainable food and fiber. Wedding bands made from recycled gold and eco-friendly honeymoons are part of the trend.
Some couples want to make a statement about living a sustainable lifestyle. Others are rebelling against the increasing excess of fashionable weddings. Author Carol Reed-Jones said she wrote her book, “Green Weddings That Don’t Cost the Earth” (Paper Crane Press), partly from concern that people spend so much money on their weddings that they start married life in debt. The typical wedding for 125 people costs nearly $20,000.
“We spend more time planning our weddings than we spend planning our marriages,” Reed-Jones said.
But green weddings can be every bit as stylish _ and expensive _ as conventional weddings.
“Any aspect of the conventional wedding can be done in an organic or green style,” said Delia Montgomery, an environmental design consultant and personal shopper in Lexington, Ky.
“Green weddings, just like organic fashions, are getting away from the Birkenstocks and burlap dresses, although that image is still there,” Montgomery said. “We’re getting closer to haute couture, especially in women’s clothing.”
Designer Crystal Miller, owner of Conscious Clothing in Santa Fe, N.M., makes soft, graceful bridal gowns and bridesmaids’ dresses using fabric that is 60 percent hemp and 40 percent silk. They range in prices from $575 to $2,200 or more for custom creations.
“I have moms coming into the studio with their daughters who say, ‘I had no idea that hemp could look like this,’ ” Miller said.
Fabric made from hemp is favored by the eco-conscious because the plant is naturally pest-resistant and requires no pesticides. It’s often blended with organically grown cotton and silk.
“I think there is more of tendency to be sympathetic to or conscious of using sustainable goods and services,” said Sasha Souza, a wedding planner with offices in Beverly Hills and Napa, Calif.
The most common aspect of green weddings is organic and locally grown food and flowers, Souza said. Some organic farms in Northern California have started hosting weddings, Souza said.
New World Catering near Woodstock, N.Y., offers clients the option of a “100 percent organic wedding,” from tablecloths made from organically grown cotton to wines made from organically grown grapes.
“We’re seeing more and more clients looking for a solid vegetarian option, not just a plate of vegetables, but a vegetarian creation as a dish,” said New World owner and chef Ric Orlando. His firm changes about $150 a person for a fully organic wedding, compared with about $85 a person for a typical non-organic wedding.
Toronto lawyer Paula Boutis, 34, and her husband, systems engineer David Elstrom, 33, nearly gave up on finding wedding bands because they didn’t want to support the environmentally destructive gold-mining industry. But then they found GreenKarat, an online company in Magnolia, Texas, that specializes in wedding bands made from recycled gold.
“People were aware of the mining issues related to gold, but they didn’t know what to do about that,” said GreenKarat owner Matt White, who founded the company two years ago after searching for wedding bands for himself and his wife. “They didn’t have any alternative.”
GreenKarat customers can offset the greenhouse-gas emissions created by the energy used making their weddings bands by paying an extra $1.75, which is donated to a wind energy company.
Boutis said she tried to keep every aspect of her nuptials as green as possible, from her menu of Greek-vegetarian dishes to the packets of organic tea guests received as wedding favors. The couple chose a restaurant on a car-free island in Lake Ontario for both the ceremony and reception, and Boutis’ whole family took mass transit to the ferry station for the island.
“It’s one day to make a statement,” Boutis said. “You have a lot of people there and you want to send a message that this is the way we live our lives, and we want people to know it. With any luck, maybe they will learn from that and think about their own choices.”
The Examiner of Southeast Texas, August 21-27, 2003
Blinds, burros, buggies, and botanicals
by Brenda Cannon Stencil
Jerry McInnis of Port Arthur is truly a jack-of-all-trades and master of many. This week’s project is the gathering of the material and manufacturing of an order of environmentally-friendly old style wooden blinds for the Pond Foundation in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Chíc Eco, an environmental consulting firm in Kentucky, contacted McGinnis originally about the unusual order. “I told them I had never made the blinds that they were requesting, but since can’t is not in my vocabulary, I got busy. They are being stained now.”
The specifications called for the wood to be from sustainably harvested trees that had never been exposed to any chemicals or insecticide. Jerry found the source for the wood in Oregon. The tape and cord could not have any dye or synthetic materials, and this turned out to be the most difficult problem to overcome. McInnis found pure cotton Venetian blind tape, and a natural hemp cord. The finish became another hurdle to overcome. The client did not want any toxic finishes, which eliminated mainstream products. With the help of Chíc Eco, they found HempWood produced in Canada. Each slat in this order was hand stained, dried, wiped, and re-coated three times before assembly. To the best of their knowledge, these are the first wooden blinds in the country to be completely environmentally made.
Lining the wall of McInnis’ office are certificates from the Texas Department of Agriculture recognizing him for his many contributions, exemplary leadership skills, and his work with Future Farmers of America. His soil is often used for test gardens …
Vol. 8, No. 24 August 21-27, 2003
Natural Home, November/December 2002
A Little Help, Environmental Consultants for Consumers
by Vicky Uhland
Where do you turn when you don’t have the time to shop for hemp towels or research bamboo floor coverings?
Calling themselves environmental interior designers, organic landscapers, eco-friendly personal shoppers, or sick house analysts, environmental consultants do everything from answering questions about nontoxic paint to telling contractors what type of foundation to pour. Consultants can choose our clothing, demagnetize your house, or adjust its chi. You dream of it, and there .s probably a consultant who can make it a reality. The only problem is finding that consultant.
Delia Montgomery, owner of Chíc Eco consultation services in Lexington, Kentucky agrees with Mary Cordaro, President of H3Environmental, who notes that California, Colorado, and Texas are home to quite a few environmental consultants, particularly interior decorators.
“The same isn’t true east of the Mississippi,” says Delia. “It’s real slow coming to the East.” Montgomery does personal shopping for eco-friendly clothes and household furnishings. She mostly deals with precise requests such as planning an eco-friendly wedding or tracking down specific items.
Mary explains, “you really have to do some sleuthing to find the right consultant for your area.”
E Magazine, July/August 2002
Green Is The New Black
Everyone needs a makeover once in a while. Wouldn’t something eco-savvy look good on you? Chic Eco, a small environmental fashion-consulting firm, is the brainchild of Delia Montgomery, a former fashion merchandising and retail management student and ladies’ boutique owner. “My expertise is knowing who is making what in the environmental fashion industry,” says Montgomery. Kentucky-based Chic Eco provides development and marketing plans for new product ideas, and Montgomery serves as a personal shopper and consultant for environmentally sensitive consumers. Past clients include Willie Nelson and former Kentucky Governor John Y. Brown. “I’m like a fashion secretary for homes, bodies or gardens. I’ll talk to you about everything from house paint to shoes,” says Montgomery. Prices vary.
In Business, May/June 2002
Business Infrastructure for “Organic Weddings”
Delia Montgomery of Chíc Eco in Lexington, Kentucky is always spotting new trends and potential niches in the environmental fashion world. In her latest communication, she makes the following observations on what’s “in” — specifically when it comes to the summer wedding scene:
“More brides want natural home accessories, recycled glassware, organic cotton towels and hemp upholstered furniture. According to green retailers, it’s not just the environmentally concerned brides and grooms seeking these kinds of gifts, but that family and friends prefer these qualities also. Both famous and little-known designers are becoming hemp maestros and displaying their talents in weddings. Crystal Miller, proprietor and designer of Conscious Clothing in New Mexico, specializes in wedding attire. ‘My current favorite fabric to work with is a hemp and tencel blend,’ explains Crystal. ‘I just love the way it drapes and resists wrinkling.’ Tencel begins with cellulose which is processed with a non-toxic, recyclable dissolving agent, making a minimal environmental impact.
“The most stylish invitations and announcements are made from tree free papers. Selections vary from subtle glitter in recycled paper to handmade all-natural botanicals. And nowadays, nearly every printer offers preferred soy-based ink.”
For more information visit www.ChicEco.com.