weather70° Clouds and sunHigh: 74° | Low: 57°Five Day Forecast
All Sections
Thursday July 31, 2014

> Return to the Forty under 40 index

    Charles Friedman, 23

    “Carry The Future†is the motto
    of Flowfold, the Peaks Island
    manufacturer of wallets made from
    high-tech racing sailcloths.

    “It’s a play on words, certainly,â€Â
    says 23-year-old Charles Friedman,
    Flowfold founder and co-owner.
    “All the things we make are used
    to carry something – money, or an
    iPad, or whatever.

    “We try to do everything locally
    and sustainably, to help ‘carry’
    the future. So the motto alludes to
    sustainability, keeping things good
    for future generations.â€Â

    As Friedman’s colleague Nick
    Power notes, “All Flowfold
    products are sewn in Southern
    Maine; all our sailcloth scraps
    are sourced from New England
    sailcloth manufacturers , and the
    company meets high environmental
    standards that Charles insists on
    improving regularly.â€Â

    Friedman, (Portland High ‘06)
    earned a degree in engineering at
    UMaine Orono, and began making
    sailcloth wallets one summer
    during high school, after his
    grandfather’s leather model fell

    “Friends started asking Chuck
    for wallets, and before long he had
    sewn hundreds of different designs.
    Each time he refined the design a
    little, to be stronger, lighter, and
    thinner,†Power says.

    Flowfold is now producing
    four items: a simple min-wallet,
    business-card holder; a billfold
    wallet “the latest and greatest
    version of the first one I madeâ€Â;
    a trifold to accommodate larger,
    European currencies; and an iPad
    sleeve. “Those use sailcloth on the
    outside, and the padding inside is
    made from recycled soda bottles, a
    material made by a company in New
    Hampshire,†Friedman said.

    Flowfold products are sold online
    at, and in about 70
    brick-and-mortar locations so far
    and not only in Maine and New
    England. “We did a trade show
    in Orlando last fall, and picked
    up more than 20 accounts there,
    including on the West Coast, the
    Caribbean and Florida,†Friedman

    > Return to the Forty under 40 index

Portland Press Herald

Member Log In

Please enter your username and password below.
Already a subscriber but don't have one? Click here.

Not a subscriber? Click here to see your options