Tell us about your business.It started as a project to make one rain cape to help me and my stuff get around my little city of Providence, by foot and bike. Designed on wet nights walking dogs, riding my bike in a sudden storm... Finding suitable fabric and components was a challenge, that is when it become a mission. I started to find out more about fabrics, sustainability issues and struggling US manufacturing. The process has been interesting, filled with lots of reading, attending conferences on textile manufacturing, visiting and speaking with sewing manufacturers all over the country. Beyond being US made, Cleverhood is designed to suit the needs of a new emerging market of city bikers. We have shown at numerous bike shows in Berlin, London, Munich, Velo-city Vienna (largest Intl Bike Conference) and all over the US. Forbes put us at the top of the 2013 Gift list for bikers... lots of other nice media (see media on our site).
Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.The Cleverhood team consists of Albania, our amazing office manager and shipping guru, John our marketing and clean tech expert (my brother) and me and my dogs. Our office is in the old jewelry district of downtown Providence. It's filled with fabrics, zippers... capes, and squeeky dog toys. Our neighbors are all fellow entreprenuers in Medicine, Technology and even beer (Hi Neighbor!), it's a great community.
What inspires you?The slow bike movement and the simple, elegant way that the bike is affecting broad change in our cities. Bikes bring people closer to their local surroundings. It means more open space, more interest in local shops, new expectations — and certainly a new sense of style and function.
What makes your business stand out?Cleverhood is a a small company making a unique, high quality product made in the US. Our focus is on livable cities — at the intersection of culture and sustainability. Our product, the way we make it, our service and connection with our community is uncompromising. We aim to make an exceptional product and provide exceptional service, we believe that sets us apart.
What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?We love to encourage makers to consider local production and sourcing. We also encourage them to reach out to fellow makers not only to ask for help but to give assistance, share not only your woes but your sources, your leads, your experience. We have found that by doing so you create a much needed community and you support those that are making US components and the manufacturers. We are grateful to those that have given us advice and help and happily do the same for anyone starting out.
What does American Made mean to you?US made means (re)connecting the makers with the process of creating superior and responsive products. We feel strongly that to make a well designed product that suits the needs of your buyers it is important to be connected to the manufacturing process. In the case of apparel design and manufacturing, it is important to discuss and confer with the pattern makers, the sewing team...to be able to adapt, tweak and even conserve materials... It also means keeping jobs local and maintaining/developing skilled workers that have pride in their work. It also means paying workers a fair wage in decent conditions. All these things help create a balanced community, developing and fostering pride in what is made with correct value of those products.
Mark Your Calendar
NOMINATIONSJun. 17, 2015
Nominate yourself or other aspiring entrepreneurs.Learn about American Made
VOTING BEGINSSep. 21, 2015
Vote for your favorite makers.
WINNERS ANNOUNCEDOct. 23, 2015
2015 Editors' Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.See past Award Winners
AMERICAN MADE SUMMITNov. 7, 2015
Don’t miss our networking event and maker lecture series in New York City. Tickets available July 2015.