“Digital marketing has gotten us the most efficient results and allowed us to grow rapidly in a short period of time.”Beth Shissler
President & COO
Sustainability is sewn into the very fabric of Sea Bags’ business, from the products they sell to the processes they use to make them. Since their founding in 1999, the Portland-based company has kept nearly 600 tons of retired sails out of landfills by transforming them into nautically inspired tote bags and accessories. They have also created 100 jobs for local sewers, artists, and craftspeople. “Manufacturing here and sourcing materials locally are the cornerstones of our business,” explains President and COO Beth Shissler. “Maine has a rich history in the cut and sew industry, and we’re passionate about bringing it back.”
A major engine of Sea Bags’ growth is their online business. “It’s grown about 500 percent over the past five years,” says Vice President of Marketing and E-commerce Laura Hnatow. “And Google has definitely been a part of why we were able to achieve that.” The company uses AdWords, Google’s advertising program, to market their bags to customers looking for eco-friendly fashion statements. “AdWords brings in one of the largest percentages of new users to our site, and a lot of these customers are visiting more pages per session than those from other channels,” she shares. They also use Google Shopping campaigns and YouTube ads to visually showcase their products across the web. And with G Suite tools, such as Gmail, Docs, and Drive, “we’re able to scale our operations as we grow,” Laura notes.
With over 18,000 online orders and half a million unique visitors to their website annually, Sea Bags is preparing for new horizons in 2018. They plan to pursue international markets and are opening four more retail stores along the East Coast, in addition to the 13 currently in operation. Yet as they expand, their greatest focus continues to be at home. “We always talk about the ripple effect of making our products locally,” Beth says. From designers to manufacturers, Sea Bags proudly supports Maine jobs across the board, and aims to create a brand that Beth hopes will “stick around for generations way past us.” To echo the words of their mission, “Every sail has a journey. At Sea Bags, we make sure that journey never ends.”