The University of Maine had an exciting year in 2010 when it graduated three students with stellar business acumen — James Morin, Devin McNeill and Charles Friedman. McNeill and Friedman, along with other University of Maine alumni, officially formed the LLC “Flowfold” in 2010. Morin has been affiliated with the company since its creation and is the current Chief Operating Officer.
The company offers minimalist gear that is practical and functional for the pursuit of everyday adventures, including wallets, totes and duffel bags, dog leashes, hats and beanies. “Every item is handmade in the United States using some of the world’s strongest and lightest fabrics and backed with a lifetime guarantee,” Morin stated.
“Charley [Friedman] was working in a sail loft in 2005 and when his old leather wallet fell apart, he made himself a new one out of sailcloth straps. The company was founded on the very concept of environmental sustainability and responsibility. In part because we all grew up in Maine, appreciate the outdoors and want to take advantage of this four seasons, outdoor playground all around us.”
In 2014, four years after forming the LLC, a team from Flowfold represented the company across the country at national trade shows, gaining a presence in hundreds of independent outfitters. They began to focus on building a crew of “adventurous ambassadors” to begin pushing the brand.
Flowfold began raising money in October of 2015 to help scale what launched the company into its newest partnership with world-renowned company L.L. Bean. The partnership started over a year ago, with Flowfold participating in a holiday trial in four different L.L. Bean stores last winter. L.L. Bean appreciates Flowfold’s core values of a lifetime warranty, products made in the United States and minimalist design philosophies. The holiday trial went exceptionally and Flowfold products were moved into all L.L. Bean stores during the summer of 2016.
Inspired by peak experiences, Flowfold is based out of Scarborough, Maine and their items are available online at flowfold.com. The website offers limited products such as specialty wallets, backpacks and apparel — including shirts, hats and beanies. Free shipping is offered on orders of over $50. Flowfold has an Instagram account with the username “Flowfold.” The account posts pictures of people and their gear in action. The company also has a Facebook page that users can like for updates and announcements.
The two companies recently released an exclusive bag line featuring L.L. Bean’s select olive green coloring — a product both companies are extremely excited for, in part because of the dual focus of social and environmental responsibility. The line is now available in the Freeport, Maine store and on the L.L. Bean website. It includes wallets, totes and duffel bags available only through L.L. Bean. The items range in prices from $10 to $98.
Morin explained that Flowfold’s partnership with L.L. Bean is extremely important to the company and he hopes the partnership will continue into the future. He also added that each year, L.L. Bean gives away millions of dollars towards conservation efforts, something Morin and Flowfold hope to take part in the future. “They are a great company to work with and are important to Maine’s economy,” Morin said.
Currently, Morin is in the process of opening up business between Flowfold and Eastern Mountain Sports, as well as other industry leading outdoor retailers.
“Ultimately, it’s going to be an exciting year for this company owned and run by UMaine alumni. We hope to be able to continue to hire and will always be looking towards our alma mater for top level talent,” Morin said.