The official start to summer is about a week away! The season of road trips, seaside visits, pool days, beach days...lazy days. Summer to me means adventures, big and small. I love exploring those places that are off the beaten path...camouflaged in their environment, . It's a local restaurant, a natural spot or a place near to your heart. Custom House Wharf in Portland, Maine is that place.
Boats come and go, with fisherman unloading their bounty and yet, throughout the hustle and bustle, it's a peaceful scene by the sea. Years ago I discovered a shop, tucked away, among the working waterfront that instills everything that is good in American design, make and green sustainability. After years of visiting and admiring from afar, I asked Sea Bags if I could stop by for a behind the scenes look at a company I'm proud to say is 100% American Made.
Upon walking through the front doors you're greeted with colorful totes and accessories, featuring fun appliques and classic prints. At first glance you assume you've entered into a charming boutique, but peek behind the displays and you'll notice a full production workshop.
What makes Sea Bags unique is that all their goods are handmade from authentic recycled sails...making no two bags alike...yeah, that's pretty remarkable! And every single product is made here, in their Custom House wharf location. The shop's footprint is much smaller than you'd expect, especially for a company that is now known globally. Upon entering, you're met with the soft hum of sewing machines and quickly notice rope neatly hung from hooks and meaningful, vintage sails artfully displayed on the walls.
Hanging from the wood beams are totes that have special meaning to a company that already has so much history.
With fifteen years of experience and over 500 tons of recycled sails, Sea Bags has found a way to perfectly blend form and function.
The day we visited we were greeted by a happy, hardworking team of people. They walked us through the steps it takes to turn a sail into a Sea Bag . From splicing and whipping each handle, to hand cutting, to adding grommets, every step is handcrafted with the highest standard of quality and attention to detail.
But beyond the beauty and appreciation for recycled products, this is a company that employs more than 40 employees right in the heart of Portland, Maine.
Order a product online and more times than not it's made to order! Once complete it's shipped directly to you from this seaside workshop!
And when they tout their location as being part of the working waterfront, they're not kidding. From the Sea Bags back porch, we witnessed a local lobsterman pull up his daily catch...literally.
You don't get any closer to a local community than that!
I hope one day you can make the trip, to see for yourself the hard work and superb craftsmanship that Sea Bags is committed to in their Custom House Wharf location.
But in the meantime, know that supporting a great American company is just a click away. There online shop offers all their designs including options to customize your own tote and rare sails, bearing the original insignia, are added weekly to the vintage section. Regular auctions provide a chance to bid on one of kind, collection pieces, although, if you ask me, all their products are collectible! So, whether you're needing a new beach tote, travel bag or hostess gift, please consider buying American made!
A big thank you to Sea Bags for hosting us all morning, allowing us to ask way too many questions and giving us access to photograph a behind the scenes look!
Au revoir to my favorite little wharf that resides by the sea!