Quality Everyday Products Made in the USA
We launched Flowfold in 2010 to make everyday gear that is lighter, stronger, and lasts longer. Over the years we’ve explored new materials, new designs, and expanded our team and our products. We started with one wallet, and grew to bags, backpacks, totes, pouches, and even dog gear. A decade in, we’re manufacturing something we would never have hoped for, but are immensely proud to make—plastic face shields. Through everything, we remain dedicated to three foundational principles: sustainable and durable materials, quality craftsmanship, and making all our products in the USA. Whether we’re sewing lightweight wallets from recycled sailcloth, or making protective face shields for hospitals in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our mission remains the same:
To make quality products that improve the everyday lives of the individuals and communities who use them.
The First Wallet
Working at a sail loft in Maine, our founder, Charles Friedman, was introduced to sailcloth and learned to use industrial sewing machines repairing boat sails. One day, his grandfather’s bulky, hand-me-down leather wallet fell apart, and in a moment of innovation, he took some scraps of racing sailcloth from the factory trash and sewed himself a wallet. This original wallet was super thin, light, and tough as nails. Just like that, trash turned to treasure, and our first product was born.
Charley realized the potential and started sewing more wallets. Each iteration was stronger, lighter, and more simplified than the last. Friends and family started asking to buy his wallets. Soon enough, word spread and he knew he was onto something.
Charley began getting requests for gear beyond wallets. His innovation on an everyday product had struck a chord—and fans wanted more gear with the same minimalist approach and quality. Deciding to go for it, he teamed up with a close-knit crew of friends, sold his car for seed money, and together they launched Flowfold with their first product: the Recycled Sailcloth Vanguard.
As the brand gained traction and evolved, we advanced our design language of minimalism, quality, and durability. We started making wallets so light they could float, storm-proof backpacks, and tote bags designed for rain or shine.
Every new piece of gear was crafted to solve problems, to be lighter, more versatile, and less bulky than other versions on the market. We still use that meticulous design approach today with every new product: shaving down ounces, choosing sustainable materials that last longer, and taking the time to build it better.
We chose the name Flowfold to highlight the lightweight, pliable nature of our products, from the unbreaking sailcloth fabrics we use, to the strength found in our versatile designs. In geology, “Flow fold” describes layers of rock that fold smoothly over time without breaking.
Strong but flexible, light but durable—this describes not just our products, but also the ready-for-anything mentality of our small business.
Small Business, Big Impact
As we’ve grown, we’ve maintained our small, mission-driven business philosophy. At the heart of our brand is a tight-knit team of makers, problem solvers, and business innovators, each bringing expertise and commitment to our mission. This culture allows us to design the products our customers need or quickly test and incorporate new sustainable fabrics. We’ve remained adaptable and ready for all challenges.
In March 2020, as hospitals faced dire shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, we chose to help. Most PPE is made overseas, and we found ourselves in the unique position to be a part of the solution. Working with local doctors, we prototyped a protective plastic face shield. A week later, our facility had been retooled and we were producing thousands of Flowfold face shields to be sent to hospitals and clinics across the East Coast.
The demand for face shields grew and we grew with it. We opened a second facility, grew our team, and brought on other US manufacturers. We sent face shields to businesses, schools, and families all over the country, and contracted with the State of Maine CDC for one million more.
Through it all we continued to make our products in the USA, proud to meet an essential need and partner with other US brands committed to the same mission.
Born in Maine, Made in USA
Even as our brand has grown through supportive fans, partnerships, international awareness, and unprecedented PPE operations—our dedication to Maine and its people has never wavered. For us, Maine-made is synonymous with quality, and we will continue to base our business in our home state.
With our mission to create better, longer-lasting gear, we have always been adamant that 100% of our products are Made in the USA. We are a Maine-based brand with a global reach, committed to supporting our local communities and maintaining full control of our design and production. We seek the highest quality materials, explore new sustainable fabrics, invest in cutting-edge production technology. We continuously audit our manufacturing methods to reduce excess waste. We listen to our customers, ready to respond to feedback, redesign products, or even pivot our entire business to support our community in the face of a pandemic.
That's what we've always done and will continue to do at Flowfold.