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    How I Built This

    September 17, 2019 2 min read

    How I Built This

    Picture this: 2009. I have just finished remodeling my beloved cabin on the water, I love my work making documentaries and corporate films with my husband. In my spare time, as always, I sew.

    I have always enjoyed hunting down rare and beautiful fabrics, especially linen, my obsession. One day I find a natural linen, quite heavy, with a homespun texture which is achingly familiar to me, exactly like the family linen I inherited through my grandmother. Straight away I know what I want to make: a duvet cover, for rustic comfort which takes me back to her stone cottage by the sea, always cosy, smelling sweetly of tea and coal fires, and representing everything nurturing and stable and orderly to the five-year-old I was.  

    I buy twelve yards, wincing rather at the cost, but the duvet was everything I wanted and more. It tapped into a deep yearning for something timeless and elemental, a nostalgia for simplicity and a sense of rightness, hard to convey. I just knew I slept better under this rough, fragrant, wholesome linen than I ever had in my life before. Yes, linen is expensive, but it is also a humble fabric…

    I took photos (as if I had been preparing all my life for this!), my husband made me a little website, and I launched this mustard seed of kitchen table enterprise, like many women before me. I had no idea what to expect, but I knew I loved it and believed in it. The first day I had ten orders, more the next.

    It is our customers who have driven this growth, a community created as much by shared values as an aesthetic, though both are important. We believe our choices matter in the larger picture, how we work, how we live, what we wear and eat and consume. Rough Linen has always been low-waste, only tissue and ribbon wrapping from the very beginning, no plastic.

     

    Ten years on, 2019: Rough Linen is now an airy, skylit workspace beside the bay, with a double-volume studio/showroom and a warehouse with a frivolous pink resin floor - well, we are an all-woman team! We have carefully built up a group of skilled seamstresses and cutters, as well as all the design, web support and admin that a dynamic business like this requires.  I love coming into work every day, what kind of gift is that? We have had the privilege of making a business the way we want it to be, paying a fair wage, flexible to accommodate families’ needs, with the benefits and stability we believe everyone deserves.

    What have we learned?  Selling is easy when you believe in your product.  There are so many people out there who love the simple beauty of linen, and it is our deepest pleasure to share with them.  It is not limited to any particular demographic, more like a community of values, people who choose carefully, who enjoy good things, and are satisfied when they have found what they want.

     



    18 Responses

    Daria
    Daria

    November 04, 2019

    Congratulations for your 10th anniversary! I have always loved linen ( must be my European roots 😊) I love your business as well and the way you brought it to life, helping all these women ar the same time create a better life for themselves and their families :) I live in Canada and follow you. I am hoping to order from you soon soon:) Blessings! 💐🙏🏼 You’re a wonderful person and I really enjoy your posts and blog :)

    Tricia Rose
    Tricia Rose

    September 25, 2019

    I am so touched by all these lovely comments, thank you all! It is such a privilege to work with wonderful material, wonderful colleagues and wonderful customers, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
    What will the next ten years bring?

    Bill
    Bill

    September 23, 2019

    Happy 10 years anniversary, enjoy the linen very much, indeed the best linen!

    Janis Olson
    Janis Olson

    September 23, 2019

    Thanks so much for the beautifull work you do, excellent! How did I live before Rough Linen? I’m enjoying every piece in my collection from you and am looking forward to the wonderful pieces I believe you will be creating in the future. Thanks for the backstory Trisha, I remember when you answered the phone yourself. Carry-On!

    Teresa Quick
    Teresa Quick

    September 23, 2019

    I’ve always been drawn to linen clothing and items for the home. When I accidentally found Rough Linen, I was ecstatic. Every piece of Rough Linen purchase came livingly packaged and ready for use. Adding to my Rough Linen collection was a recent purchase of the most beautiful sheets. They smelled freshly laundered and ready to use. Oh my goodness, the top sheet was so generously sized. The fitted bottom sheet was designed with only the ends elasticized. How ingenious and there’s no second guessing as to which side goes where. Last night. we slid into the smoothest and most luxurious linen sheets I’ve ever experienced. Thank you, Tricia, for these beautiful sheets, the wool alls and your generous discount. I can’t wait to get into bed tonight!

    Carrie Krumrie
    Carrie Krumrie

    September 20, 2019

    I bought my favorite linen outfits while on sale last year! I also bought different pieces for my daughters. My oldest returned them to me and said,” she did not have time for linen!”
    Oh, well! They fit me!!!
    I love, love aqua!!!! I bought the aqua linen summer bed throw!!!! Love it! I really, really wanted linen sheets; but you could make napkins!!!!
    Color me, so over the moon!!
    So excited to hear your back story!
    Love the floor!!!
    Carrie Krumrie

    Louise
    Louise

    September 20, 2019

    Congratulations on your great business!!

    Tracey Darden
    Tracey Darden

    September 19, 2019

    I have always been pleased and thankful of your linens. I have purchased the cherished pinny, sheets and pillowcases. I will purchase more. That is my goal and I strive to make sure it happens because I believe in good linen and a great American business with ethics and family in mind. Thank you for 10 years and I always look forward to seeing what’s new and upcoming.

    SF-dre
    SF-dre

    September 19, 2019

    Happy anniversary!

    I picked up a few things at the local sale last weekend and look forward to using them, as well as using vintage napkins and placemats inherited from my mom and grandmother.

    Tracy
    Tracy

    September 19, 2019

    I love this! Thank you for filling us in on the backstory. My duvet cover is everything I hoped it would be, and I look forward to expanding to sheets, towels, clothing….oh my!

    Wilma
    Wilma

    September 18, 2019

    Birthday Blessings! I love your beautiful linens. I own 4 sets of your sheets. I may have a bit of an obsession. Not sure who like them best me or my husband. Best wishes for the next 10 years.

    Sarah C
    Sarah C

    September 18, 2019

    What a wonderful story! So good to learn of a company that has grown and flourished while managing to remain true to its roots.

    Rhonda Niblett
    Rhonda Niblett

    September 18, 2019

    I love a good success story. And yours is. Happy Birthday, 10 years young! May your company continue to prosper is the best ways! I think it is so important to love what you do and love going to work and love the people you spend that time with. Most people can not say that. You have succeeded and have a following of many who appreciate your love and detail for all things linen and,,,you share it with us. I love to use all my Rough Linen items. They make me happy, like you described in a wholistic, comforting and timeless way. Thank you for the vision you had 10 years ago.

    Karen Richardson
    Karen Richardson

    September 18, 2019

    Congratulations on your 10 year anniversary! We love your rough, down-to-earth linens. Can’t wait to see what linens the next 10 years bring.

    Ellen Deffenbaugh
    Ellen Deffenbaugh

    September 18, 2019

    Congratulations on your first ten years! Thank you so much for showing us that amazing linens can be produced by a company with a social conscience. And thank you, also, for making our home more comfortable.

    Michelle deLongchamp
    Michelle deLongchamp

    September 18, 2019

    Love your linen! Bought 2 dresses while visiting your showroom and I wear them whenever I can!
    Congratulations 🎉 on your 10 year anniversary!!

    Pattie Meyers
    Pattie Meyers

    September 18, 2019

    Lovely story. Well told. Congratulations.

    Bryn Howlett
    Bryn Howlett

    September 18, 2019

    What a great post!

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