Beth Shissler | President and COO at Sea Bags
Beth Shissler envisions her company, Sea Bags, as part of a revolution to bring fashion production back to Maine, which has a long history of cutting and sewing. Constructed from recycled sails, the nautical carryalls are designed and sewn at Custom House Wharf in Portland. Sea Bags products rely on American-manufactured thread and New Englandproduced rope, and whenever possible, materials come directly from Maine. In the 11 years since she joined, the company has employed 180 different people, and it now operates out of 12 different storefronts across the country. She believes that it’s her responsibility as an employer to support the people who work for her. “We create career paths for folks,” says Shissler, who helps her employees find long-term fits within the company. Six of her employees have created businesses of their own, and although she doesn’t take credit for their ingenuity, she’s proud to have created “a business model that is replicable and sustainable.” Outside of Sea Bags, Shissler supports the community through her work as a board member at the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. “If you buy a product made locally, you’re supporting all your neighbors,” she says.