The Sundance Story
Sundance was founded in 1969 by Robert Redford when he purchased land at the base of beautiful 12,000-foot Mount Timpanogos in Utah's Wasatch Mountains. This pristine place of natural beauty radiates splendors of giant pines and aspen trees, gurgling streams, sweet fragrant air, and fields of wildflowers. It has become the Sundance Village. The goal of the Sundance Village is to offer a community art and nature that would foster artistic pursuits and recreational activity while preserving naturally beautiful and unique environment of Sundance. At the base of the Village was a tiny store which guests would frequently write to, requesting special items they had seen while visiting Sundance. The first edition of Sundance Catalog was mailed in 1989 to offer "the kinds of things that we have been privileged to collect, many of them handcrafted exclusively for Sundance."
Twenty years passed and requests for the store's unique offerings spread beyond the box canyon. People who had visited Sundance began to write back to the store from all over the country: "Do you have any more of that item, and could I get it sent to me?" and people they knew wrote, "I saw an item my friend purchased at Sundance. Would it be possible for me to buy one?"
Robert Redford called together a few of his colleagues to discuss starting a mail-order catalog to fill these requests and to make Sundance's unique items available to a wider audience. It started small. Four employees working from the old Sundance Village firehouse put together the first Sundance Catalog, which mailed in the fall of 1989 to a relatively small group of general store customers and friends.
Early years naturally held some uncertainties (Mr. Redford once quipped, "Let me say that if for any reason this Catalog should fail, I plan to change my name and move to Bolivia."), but customers soon showed their enthusiasm for the new venue, and a loyal Sundance Catalog following developed. Beginning with the first catalog that mailed in '89, Robert Redford has penned a special message that appears on the inside front cover of every edition. Here is a reprint of the message from our original catalog.
"In 1969, we founded Sundance. The next year the General Store was established. In the beginning for us there was no end. Now, it's hard to remember the beginning. One of the more insane journeys any business could make. We built things we shouldn't have, tried things that were beyond us, and planned things that were merely impossible. But happily, it has turned out. And along the way have been many varied and exciting moments. Today, 20 years later, we're celebrating that "spirit" with this first edition of the Sundance Catalog. Our General Store has established relationships with many special artists from across the U.S. This catalog offers the kind of things that we have been privileged to collect, many of them handcrafted exclusively for Sundance. When you purchase something from this catalog, we appreciate the fact that the prime reason is enjoyment for yourself. But you are also supporting American craftspeople and efforts to enhance and preserve the environment.
There is richness and diversity still in the American experience. I hope you enjoy the collection."