Going with the Flowfold
University of Maine alumnus James Morin ’10 has been named COO and president of sales of Flowfold, a startup retail company founded by UMaine classmates, Charley Friedman ’10 and Devin McNeill ’10.
Based out of Portland, Maine, Flowfold builds minimalist gear for everyday adventurers using some of the world’s strongest and lightest fabrics.
“We are thrilled to have James on board,” says McNeill, Flowfold CEO and a MBS alumnus who majored in accounting and finance.
McNeill started the company in 2011 with Friedman, Flowfold president and chief innovation officer, who earned a civil engineering degree from UMaine.
“Maine is such a big part of Flowfold’s foundation, so it is a bonus to have the opportunity to work with another UMaine classmate,” McNeill says.
Morin, who joined the company in July 2016, will focus on driving sales growth, developing the wholesale business line, and increasing operation efficiency.
“It’s hard not to want to be a part of the Flowfold story,” says Morin, who graduated from UMaine with a degree in biology and worked for more than three years as manager of commercial operations and analysis at Putney, Inc., a pet pharmaceutical company in Portland. When the firm was sold, he was ready for a new challenge.
“I wanted to work at a startup where I could have the biggest impact,” he says. “For me, Flowfold is a great fit and the right opportunity. I am incredibly grateful to be joining Devin and Charley at Flowfold. Like many UMaine graduates, they are committed to giving back to the university and to the state of Maine. I feel fortunate to have met them at the University of Maine.”
Flowfold started with one product from one sewing machine and now has more than 20 product lines, produces about 40,000 units a year, and averages 100 percent year-over-year growth, all with seven employees. Flowfold products are sold throughout the U.S. in retail stores, as well as around the world online.
In fall 2016, the entrepreneurs took Flowfold to a new level, establishing partnerships with L.L.Bean and Eastern Mountain Sports.
L.L.Bean, which has been carrying Flowfold wallets in their stores since summer 2016, has expanded its line to include exclusive olive green wallets, totes and duffels. The line is only available at L.L.Bean’s website and its flagship store in Freeport, Maine.
Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) has brought in Flowfold products that can be found at EMS stores in Portland, Maine and Portsmouth, New Hampshire, as well as online.
“Landing partnerships with both L.L.Bean and EMS is a significant milestone for Flowfold,” Morin says. “They are both large regional chains which carry a variety of products targeting customers who embrace the values on which we have built our products. We appreciate their experience and their mission to get people outdoors.”
Morin has long been interested in helping Maine entrepreneurs. In 2011, he partnered with three of his classmates, the Maine Business School and UMaine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation to create an annual student business competition called the UMaine Business Challenge. The goal was to give back to the university, contribute to the long-term growth of the Maine economy, and help student entrepreneurs realize their dreams.
He is happy to continue his passion for entrepreneurship at Flowfold.
“For me, success will be cultivating a culture where people want to work and contribute to an awesome team,” he says. “There is a lot of excitement around the Flowfold brand, and I am so proud that UMaine and Maine are part of our culture here.”
For more information about Flowfold visit flowfold.com.