In our Meet the Maker series, we're pulling back the curtain and revealing the secret sauce of the Flowfold brand ... our team! Take a seat and read on as we introduce members of our production team—the gifted folks whose hands, hearts, and minds form the foundation of all Flowfold products.
Maxine Harmon steps off the Casco Baylines ferry loaded down with a backpack, a tote, a new prototype bag, a pair of tap shoes, and a tray of freshly baked brownies. She’s flanked by her loyal bullmastiffs, Rally and Watson, all 270 pounds of them. She maneuvers everything and everyone easily off the gangplank, in her daily commute from Long Island.
Max is the first one to organize a Yankee swap for the holidays, bake a cake for your birthday, run an errand for her neighbor, or bring sweet treats to work, just because it's, say, Tuesday. Her dexterity in maneuvering multiple projects, steering big ideas, and designing new products, all while bringing fun, sweets, and a crew together, is what made her the Production Manager at Flowfold when she joined 5 years ago.
She’s a maker and a craftsperson through and through. Graduating from MECA she started working at Damariscotta Pottery as a potter and painter. After 4 years, when she had the opportunity to work closer to home, she took a position at a sail loft. There she met Charlie, the founder of Flowfold. The rest, they say, is history, and she joined Flowfold as its inaugural team member.
I grew up as a craftsperson, loving working with my hands, working with my body as a whole, working with my body to create things, whether it was dance, food, or art. I gained an appreciation for the material aspect of creating way later in life.
Her creativity started much earlier, as a kid, through dance. “Dance is my earliest memory of creating movement.” Max has been a tap dance performer for 27 years, and now teaches tap to all ages, from young children to adults. For her, dance is grounding because of its immediate gratification. “You see the movement, you feel the movement, you hear the movement. It’s an audible thing.” She explains, I grew up as a craftsperson, loving working with my hands, working with my body as a whole, working with my body to create things, whether it was dance, food, or art. I gained an appreciation for the material aspect of creating way later in life.”
She loves this physical, full body experience of craft. As a dancer who is very aware of how she moves through the world, she likes thinking about how to interact with the object she is making. “If I’m going to use this everyday, what’s the best way I can make it so it betters my experience using it?” She says that being a maker is something that also betters one’s life. “You expand physically and mentally at the same time. Reading a book expands your mind. Lifting weights you get stronger. Craft is the marriage, your whole presence is engaged.”
She says for crafters, working with their hands is a way of processing the world, “It’s like thinking through shapes, versus words.” As she guides the production team at the Flowfold studio, she’s taught everyone how to take these shapes and turn them into the many products you see today. When Max isn’t working on new designs at Flowfold, she’s cooking for friends, enjoying time with her dogs and husband on the beach, teaching tap dancing, or working in her garden.
1. Max, what is your favorite Flowfold product?
The Commuter Center zip.This is my daily, go-to, commuter bag. It can carry all my work supplies, a laptop, my tap shoes, and a 10 pound bag of potatoes for a family meal. It loads up easily, and wears well on my back. And I like the quick access pocket on the front!
2. What Flowfold gear do you take on adventures?
I've been using our Trailmate dog leashes to keep my two bullmastiffs, Watson and Rally, in good shape. We go for long walks through the woods and romp on the beaches of Long Island in Casco Bay. I also enjoy using our Maverick Fanny pack to keep dog treats in, or to keep my phone safe, and handy, during those long walks.
3. What do you love most about Flowfold product design?
100%, our durability. Mybags travel from my house, to a beater island car, to the Casco Baylines ferry deck, across a sidewalk in Portland, to the back seat of my Subaru, to the Flowfold office, to a dance studio, and then they do it again all the way home. I do this five days a week, so I need products that keep things clean, organized, and in good shape. I’ve been making, using, and testing Flowfold products for over five years, and they all get a double thumbs up!
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