Mattapoisett resident crafts maritime minimalist bags
Though “maritime minimalist” may not immediately come to mind when you think of handbag styles, Mattapoisett resident Anderson Gray hopes to change that, with some help from the business accelerator EforAll.
Gray works at Sperry Sails in Marion, and about two years ago started noticing that the materials and styles that he uses in sailmaking could be easily adapted to a more wearable product. He also loves and wants to preserve the history of southeastern Massachusetts.
“I really want to continue this New Bedford and greater Cape Cod maritime tradition, which is so rich, through modern minimalist bag form,” Gray said.
Gray’s company, Anderson Gray & Co, was one of 13 selected for EforAll’s winter accelerator course, which includes business classes, business support, chances to meet with mentors.
Besides the name of Gray’s New Bedford Maritime Collection, the maritime theme appears in the collection throughout the bag’s design and construction of the tote bags, ditty bags, dopp kits and bucket bags that Gray constructs.
“For example, the ditty bags are kind of two feet tall cylindrical bags with grommets around the top and line that cinches as you swing it over your shoulder. That is what whalers were allotted to carry their personal belongings on trips, and it also has a lot of army navy history,” Gray explained.
The theme also makes itself apparent in the materials and process of making the bags.
“There’s a lot of hand stitching and reinforcement that you would find in sails, as well as the leather and brass fixtures,” Gray added.
For the young entrepreneur sees his business as a way to eventually gain more of the independence that he values.
“I’ve always wanted to be self-employed,” Gray said, “and this is the first thing that I’ve found that I love doing enough and is also potentially financially sustaining.”
However, the business side of the company includes an entirely new set of skills for Gray.
“I was very well aware that I have a music and English double major from Amherst College, and I don’t have a business background, so that’s where EforAll came in to play for me, thankfully,” said Gray.
“These past few weeks have been all about… a whole wealth of business terminology and strategy that I wasn’t even aware existed,” he said, of the experience in his new classes.
Though the classes have been invaluable to Gray, he likes the mentoring portion of the program even more.
“The mentoring is where I’ve been getting the most excited. It’s been a very intense conversation, but it’s been very special for me to get feedback from various small local business people and my mentors from EforAll, who recognize this, and my goals for this business as totally viable,” Gray said. “It’s also special for me to see pieces of mine that I’ve created be appreciated.”
Far future plans for the business include a second line of bags that draw on his ties with Western Massachusetts and Maine for a more mountain-themed line of bags.
Gray hopes to put up a website for Anderson Gray & Co within a month, but in the meantime can be reached at email@example.com