When I lived in Grand Rapids I started a side business selling hats and bags made from old sailcloth. I took all the old, worn-out sails from the local sailing club, washed them and cut them into strips of cloth that could then be sent to the manufacturer to be made into hats. They were very cool, but posed a significant manufacturing risk. Most hat material has a certain degree of elasticity. Sailcloth, however, is designed to be rigid. This caused problems for the manufacturers who kept breaking dies when they cut the cloth. It took me a while to find a manufacturer that would make them at all. Most of them wouldn’t complete more than one order.

I advertised in magazines and online. I sold quite a few, but not enough to make the venture worth the time and effort. Several years later another company emerged that appears much more successful. The company, SeaBags, makes mostly bags.

The name With Anchovies was the original name of a company I started in college called Bananagraphics. The idea was to put little fish on the designs so everything would come “with anchovies.” I abandoned the name when the fish I drew looked more like dolphins.


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