Maine Success Stories - Charles Friedman, Founder and President of Flowfold
There couldn’t be a better success story for the UBC based on current circumstances. The UBC has just recently selected the 4 finalists for the 2012 Business Challenge and we could not think of a more motivating story than a fellow alumni and entrepreneur named Charles Friedman.
Charles “Chuck” is the President and Founder of Flowfold whose history began some 7 years ago with one hand sewn and uniquely awesome wallet. Flowfold has since thrived as an ecologically conscious lifestyle company with sales in nearly every state in the country and a wallet in every continent in the world! (yes, including Antarctica).
Chuck, who graduated in 2010, has shared with us how great of an opportunity this is. He hopes that students take advantage of not only the UBC but the Maine Business School, the Innovation Center, alumni, friends, family and everyone else willing to help!
And remember, “don’t be afraid of failure…Embrace it”
Carry the Future, with Flowfold!
UBC: So Chuck, what exactly is “Flowfold”?
Chuck: Flowfold is a lifestyle company that designs, manufactures, and sells ecologically conscious products. We stand for a style of ease, consequence, and deliberate simplicity. Flowfold promotes the reuse of scrap, blemished, and waste material. We advocate customer involvement in the process of creating and refining our products.
UBC: Flowfold Is headquartered on Peaks Island which is one of the most beautiful and unique places in Maine. Why Maine, and what are some of the benefits of working in Maine?
Chuck: The backdrop of rocky coasts, mountains, and tall pines blanketed in snow inspire us to craft a product that can endure the same elements as Mainers do. By employing local workers to produce our product, we hope to create opportunities that help preserve what is great about this state.
UBC: Flowfold is environmentally conscious. Why is that a focus for your young company?
Chuck: Flowfold’s standard of living is measured by our experiences. We want to help preserve the environment so that more people can benefit from the opportunities available. Part of Flowfold’s mission is to call attention to the economic invisibility of nature. We evaluate both natural and physical capital, making sure to measure the externalities of our business operations. Calling attention to the inputs involved in manufacturing a product allow our customers to see all the costs and benefits associated with the product life-cycle.
UBC: You are young yourself, graduating in 2010. Do you have any advice, based on your experience, for the young entrepreneurs in our competition?
Chuck: Ultimately you just need to put your ideas out there and not be afraid of failure. Trial by error is a very important process that every entrepreneur must go through. It is impossible to know or plan for all outcomes. Some of our best ideas have resulted from prior mistakes. Building a company is a process, and it requires a lot of hard work. Embrace failure, and make sure you understand the importance of cash flow!