Leanne’s guest today is Claudia Raessler, Director of the Saco River Dyehouse in Biddeford, Maine. In this episode, they discuss the history of the dyehouse, the state of yarn mills in the U.S., and scaling a business.
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#1 I was so impressed with the history of the mill and I’m fascinated by mills in general so can you share with us a bit of that history? [2:50]
#2 Tell us a bit about how you came to be involved with the mill? Were you interested in dyeing or did you emerge from the milling side of things? [4:51]
#3 Have you always been a Maine native? [6:14]
#4 And your husband is also involved with the mill, is that correct? [7:16]
#5 I read that in January, 2013 e Saco River Dyehouse was organically certified under the GOTS International Textile Standards and recently joined the U.S. based Organic Trade Association. What does that mean exactly? [8:10]
#6 What is different about an organic dyeing operation than a conventional system? [12:34]
#7 What percentage of your dye products are coming out as organic or GOTS certified? [14:25]
#8 Can you tell us about the name change from Saco River Dyehouse to Maine Dye and Textiles and the reasoning behind it? [16:56]
#9 Your dyehouse is also pretty well-known for Paternayan yarn. Can you tell us a bit about that line? [18:47]
#10 Tell us about the new dyeing and winding equipment that you brought in last year. [23:30]
#11 You were unable to dye technical textiles before you purchased this new equipment? [26:21]
#12 Were there other mills in the U.S. doing technical textiles? [27:02]
#13 Where does your greywater go? Have you incorporated that in the new systems as well? [29:34]
#14 I read the dyeing machine of this caliber is the only one like it in the entire United States is that correct? [30:43]
#15 I also read your goals were to scale to three times within one year. Have you been able to achieve that level of growth? [33:32]
#16 What challenges have you had to deal with in scaling? [36:08]
#17 Almost every person I’ve interviewed for this show has faced some sort of failure in the business but then said it was a valuable lesson. Do you have one of those experiences? [39:14]
#18 What do you do now to help you with the challenge of outlining expectations? [40:30]
#19 In the Press Herald article you were quoted as saying “I don’t think small. I want to be the best-commissioned dyehouse in the country.” What hurdles are you still jumping over to achieve that success? [41:48]
#20 Can you tell us a bit about recreation on the Saco River? [43:33]