Sisters start business from childhood home

Posted by Dr. Karl Ruegg on 2018-01-13

CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine (NEWS CENTER Maine) — What if your commute to work was just a few steps away from your bedroom? That’s the deal for two sisters who run their own business that bloomed from a blog they created just for fun.

Since 2015 they’ve been designing and selling handbags and luggage from their childhood home in Cape Elizabeth, which still serves as their main source of inspiration.

The studio was Blair Griffin’s bedroom as a child.

As they say, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Our great grandparents came to Cape Elizabeth from Sweden and we never left.

For Blair and her sister Hayley, home is not just where the heart is, but where the business is also. They even gave it a family name, Eklund Griffin.

Their relatives have looked out the same windows for four generations. The sisters design and sell handbags, clutches, and luggage. The leather is sourced in Maine and everything is hand-stitched in Connecticut.

Hayley, who moved back to Maine after graduating college, was taught to sew by her mother and handles most of the designing. She most recently worked as a designer for L.L. Bean.

Quite a transition from silk dresses that I was designing back in college.

She uses an inspiration board, complete with some of her favorite family photos. Her father, a lobsterman, is not only her roommate but one of her main sources of inspiration. Especially for the Buoy Block Clutch.

Going out on the water with Dad, we definitely had a lot of fun like calling out all the different buoy colors we would see on our trips out to Peak’s Island in the summer. And I’ve always been drawn to the color blocking of the buoys. So taking that inspiration and reinterpreting it with the clutch. Instead of the 3rd solid stripe we broke it down into a thinner collection of 5 stripes to create something that was a little more sophisticated and that you didn’t necessarily need to know was inspired by a buoy.

Hayley says some of their inspiration is a little more obvious, like with the wave weekender bag.

You see that iconic wave at the base.

The sisters store all of their inventory in every nook and cranny of the house.To an outsider, the studio looks neat and organized.

You’re not going into our bedrooms. Don’t open the doors on you way out.

Before the business, there was a blog: Sea Salt and Chambray.

The blog has given a multi-faceted benefit to our business was have connected with incredible entrepreneurs and other creatives locally and abroad. It’s also given us a great opportunity to show the behind the scenes of the business and how we’re building our brand.

The women try to update the blog as often as they can, but the main focus now is the business, and of course… getting along.

My favorite part is that I get to fire her. Whenever I want. Because we don’t have an HR Department there’s no paperwork involved so I can fire her at whim. Usually I have to re-hire her within 60 seconds because we’re working on something that requires both of us.

In all seriousness though, I couldn’t’ imagine doing this with anyone else. And Blair, is my sister, we have our moments but she’s also my best friend.

I know everything about her. One way or another our paths are going to go like this, but we’ll always be together.

Copyright 2017 WCSH

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