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SOUTH STREET LINEN

American Made Since 2010

JANE RYAN & LYNN KRAUSS & MARY RUTH HEDSTROM

PORTLAND, Maine
Three artists, median age 60, give up art on canvas for art on linen, Dec '10. First block-printed scarves now womens' clothing, all made in ME .

Tell us about your business.

After a successful block-printed scarf launching we three worked from our studios for one year making more scarves and adding table linens which we sold online. We then moved our operation into a small studio/shop in Portland's Studio District. We bought a small press and two commercial sewing machines for making prototypes and experimenting with new designs. We found local stitchers and a master printer to handle production. We gave up table linens to focus in womens' clothing. This summer we hired our first shop and shipping employees. In July we had 8 times the sales of the previous year. We have taken calculated risks advertising where we believe our over 45 yr old customers will see us and it has paid off usually more than three fold. We have a huge interest in bringing the textile industry back in Maine and have started conversations with other local textile workers about what it would take. We are fully committed to keeping our production local.

What makes your business stand out?

Our age, now median 63! Our products are "All in linen.Made in Maine." Our commitment to designing for women who are generally forgotten by the design industry. Our love of linen. Our designs are hip yet ulilitarian; many can be worn four seasons. Our commitment to keeping it local and finding and assisting more textile businesses to expand their horizons.

What's the best business advice you've received?

We had a great consultation with the former owners of Brahms Mount of Maine late winter this year. They had recently sold their business after more than 25 years of hard work. After talking about all parts of the business but especially the financial aspect they told us what they were told early in in their business: 'It's not really a business if you're not getting paid!' Since then we have paid ourselves a small weekly wage making us feel much more legitimate as a business and as appreciated as the people we pay for goods and services. We were all shocked at the boost it gave us.

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  • WINNERS ANNOUNCED
    Oct. 17, 2014

    2014 Award Winner and Audience Choice Winner announced.

    See past Award Winners
  • AMERICAN MADE MEETUP
    Nov. 7, 2014

    Join Martha at the American Made Summit kickoff cocktail party.

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  • AMERICAN MADE SUMMIT
    Nov. 8, 2014

    Don’t miss our networking event and maker lecture series in New York City.

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  • RENEGADE CRAFT FAIR
    Nov. 15 - 16, 2014

    Shop for holiday gifts at the Martha Stewart American Made Pavilion.

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