Welcome to the Open Road

Open Road - A new blog from KAILU that brings to life the stories of explorers, makers, far-flung destinations, and exquisite objects that we encounter from around the world.

A note from KAILU’s founder 

Snuggled between the top shelf and ceiling of my small San Francisco closet is what started this journey. The outside is a white jacquard fabric decorated with what I can only make out to be ocean waves juxtaposed with sheep. (Yes, as in the baa baa variety.) And beneath the fabric is hand-stretched raw silk. 

I bought my first silk-filled duvet during my first trip to China, in 2008. I was 28 years old and working as an associate editor at ELLE when the magazine sent me to Beijing to write a story about the Olympics. During a sightseeing stop at Heng Yuan Xiang, a home goods heritage brand founded in 1927, I watched as four women stood around a table for hours, tugging, coaxing, and lengthening small pieces of raw silk into thin layers of fine filament that spanned the size of a bed. I was mesmerized. This was unlike any factory — or anything, really — I had ever seen. 

It was also a way for me to connect with a culture I’m a part of, but, for much of my born-and-raised-in-Wisconsin life, I was only able to participate in from afar. 

For the next 10 years, as I moved from New York to Beijing, to Hong Kong, and then to various U.S. cities working as a journalist, I brought that duvet with me, without ever giving a thought to turning it into a business. In 2018, I founded KAILU after an awful night’s sleep at a friend’s place in Los Angeles, under a comforter that made me wake up multiple times in a sweat. “Why don’t you have silk-filled blankets?” I asked. “Where can I get one?” my friend replied. 

Taking this road and starting KAILU (which means “open road” in Mandarin) was more than an entrepreneurial endeavor. It was also a way for me to connect with a culture I’m a part of, but, for much of my born-and-raised-in-Wisconsin life, I was only able to participate in from afar (manifesting in language, food, and duty). But this way, I could learn more about my heritage through craft, handmade goods, and travel. What better excuse to continue returning and reconnecting with the land and culture?" 

So, for you, the global explorers out there, this is Open Road — a new blog that brings to life the stories of explorers, makers, far-flung destinations, and exquisite objects that we encounter from around the world — and the possibilities they hold. 

LiLi, founder 

Follow our journey @kailu_silk 


 

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Heritage Duvet

KAILU's raw silk duvet is the product of old-world artisanal handcraft and modern design, resulting in a uniquely luxurious sleep experience. 

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When you pick out a KAILU Heritage Duvet for yourself, we’ll automatically donate a duvet to someone in our health care community.

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