Our Story

Flowfold Founder Charles Friedman


In 2010 we launched Flowfold to make your gear lighter, stronger, and last longer—but our story began with one adventurous teenager growing up on an island in Maine.

"I started thinking about designing gear while growing up on Peaks Island. Daily commutes involved travel by boat, bicycle and foot. It was challenging to carry everything I might need throughout the day, and I discovered problems with the gear I depended on. Seams blew out, bags didn’t fit correctly, and they were often heavier than they needed to be.

We started Flowfold to solve these problems."

Charley Friedman



Our First Product: The thinnest, lightest, and strongest wallet.


Every great product has a great story. Founder Charles Friedman was a teenager working a summer job in a sail loft in Yarmouth, ME. It was there he was introduced to sailcloth and learned to use industrial sewing machines making and repairing boat sails. One day, his grandfather’s hand-me-down leather wallet finally fell apart, so he crafted himself a new one out of scraps of racing sailcloth from the factory trash. The wallet was super thin, lightweight, and tough as nails. And just like that, trash turned to treasure, and our first product was born.


Charley started making wallets for friends and family as gifts, building hundreds of prototypes to perfect a lighter yet stronger wallet. Each design iteration removed superfluous materials and replaced them with carefully designed functionality and superior durability. Soon enough, word about the wallets spread and he knew he was onto something.



The Idea Grows: Minimalist Outdoor Gear

Charley got more and more requests for gear designed with the same minimalist approach that he had used to re-invent the wallet. 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 evolves, the team develops a design language of minimalism.


Every product concept involves a meticulous approach to shaving down ounces, choosing materials that last longer, and taking the time to build it better. During these early years, some of most popular products underwent thousands of revisions and tests.

New products start to surface, and the team begins to expand their reach to share them with the world. From road trips across the country to trade shows across the world, the Flowfold team shares their vision of lighter and stronger outdoor gear. All the while, they celebrate a fun-loving atmosphere as part of a developing startup culture.


There are only so many careers that allow you to surf or go hike during your lunch break, and the crew takes full advantage.



Gaining Traction: Partnerships and Collaborations

After earning a reputation for building rugged & reliable outdoor gear with early-adopters far and wide, major outfitter stores start to carry the brand. Flowfold hits the shelves of big brother L.L.Bean just up the street, and shortly after releases an exclusive collaboration collection with the iconic Maine brand that is available nationally. REI, Eastern Mountain Sports, Backcountry.com, and other major retailers pick up Flowfold.


Flowfold LLBean Collaboration Collection
Flowfold LLBean Collaboration Collection Logo


Meanwhile, the stoke pours in from customers and a tribe of Flowfold ambassadors assembles organically. These outdoor innovators and optimistic adventurers ruthlessly test the gear and ignite the brand from coast to coast and beyond.

 Flowfold Ambassadors


Looking Ahead: Sustainability and Core Values

With some solid distribution in place, an extended family of brand ambassadors, and a focused collection of core products the Flowfold team becomes stronger. 

They become hell-bent with changing the outdoor industry for the better, and the company culture reflects that commitment. Flowfold partners with 1% for the Planet, and also launches a bag in collaboration with Women United Around the World, an organization that provides training to newcomers to this country. Every Flowfold employee is given two days PTO to volunteer at a cause of their choice.

With over 36% of their materials being recycled, the Flowfold crew works to introduce more and more sustainable materials into products. By auditing traditional manufacturing methods, the team is able to cut down on material waste by 15%.

As the brand grows, the crew stays committed to a core set of values while building stronger and lighter gear.

Our Values

1. Celebrate Everyday Adventures

Build a company culture that celebrates everyday adventures.

2. Support our Community

Connect with our communities to build sustainable and rewarding relationships.

3. Promote Environmental Responsibility

Take on our responsibility to promote environmental conservation.
Getting outside is the best way to educate and foster environmental stewardship.

4. Build a Sustainable Business

Create a healthy and sustainable business that makes investments for the long term.