Chuck was selected as one of MaineToday Media's 40 Under Forty: Forty Under 40
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Charles Friedman, 23
“Carry The Future” is the motto of Flowfold, the Peaks Island manufacturer of wallets made from high-tech racing sailcloths.
“It’s a play on words, certainly,” says 23-year-old Charles Friedman, Flowfold founder and co-owner. “All the things we make are used to carry something – money, or an iPad, or whatever.
“We try to do everything locally and sustainably, to help ‘carry’ the future. So the motto alludes to sustainability, keeping things good for future generations.”
As Friedman’s colleague Nick Power notes, “All Flowfold products are sewn in Southern Maine; all our sailcloth scraps are sourced from New England sailcloth manufacturers , and the company meets high environmental standards that Charles insists on improving regularly.”
Friedman, (Portland High ‘06) earned a degree in engineering at UMaine Orono, and began making sailcloth wallets one summer during high school, after his grandfather’s leather model fell apart.
“Friends started asking Chuck for wallets, and before long he had sewn hundreds of different designs. Each time he refined the design a little, to be stronger, lighter, and thinner,” Power says.
Flowfold is now producing four items: a simple min-wallet, business-card holder; a billfold wallet “the latest and greatest version of the first one I made”; a trifold to accommodate larger, European currencies; and an iPad sleeve. “Those use sailcloth on the outside, and the padding inside is made from recycled soda bottles, a material made by a company in New Hampshire,” Friedman said.
Flowfold products are sold online at flowfold.com, and in about 70 brick-and-mortar locations so far and not only in Maine and New England. “We did a trade show in Orlando last fall, and picked up more than 20 accounts there, including on the West Coast, the Caribbean and Florida,” Friedman said.