New England Maker: Woodboogah {+ Giveaway!}

As you know by now, I love sharing about companies and products we love on the blog and our Instagram - and most especially those made right here in New England!  Next in our little series to showcase some of these great New England Makers is Elizabeth Van Deavender from Woodboogah!  
{Psssst... Don't forget to see details on how to enter the Giveaway to win a pair of their new Cashmere Cuffs!}

New England Maker Woodboogah

Woodboogah is best known for their cashmere beanies and scarves and, new this year, their cashmere cuffs! They bring a touch of luxury to items that you can wear everyday.

Tell me a little about yourself and your business. 

I don't know if there is a short version because every job I held, every failure I overcame, every small victory I had, and every life lesson I was taught all connected when I created Woodboogah. 

Elizabeth Van Deavender of Woodboogah

Elizabeth Van Deavender of Woodboogah

My family built a company that manufactured in Maine so that was a huge influence as to why I got into my field, and why I choose Maine for Woodboogah.

I didn't go to college right after high school.  I started very young at the bottom in U.S. manufacturing.  Over the years, I quickly climbed the corporate ladder.  I later discovered I want to work in apparel manufacturing.  I received a scholarship to the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in California.  As I was studying fashion design in Los Angeles, I quickly realized how wasteful apparel manufacturing is.  I started working with companies to decrease their waste and increase their production in the U.S. After graduating, I worked with a company in downtown Los Angeles as a design consultant/product developer and quickly became the industry's go-to person for knitwear, especially cashmere working with a lot of US brands/labels, celebrities, musicians, and special projects for movies.  After falling in love with Eric, I blindsided everyone by quitting my job and packed up my life for Maine.  I created Woodboogah to be eco-friendly and grow and support our local community all while having a really amazing product that can stand up against the harshest elements and last for years to come. 

Made in USA Woodboogah

My career will hit 10 years in September.  I'm very proud to have contributed to U.S manufacturing and helped create American jobs.  I will be celebrating with a 'Made in USA' tattoo stamped on the side of my foot (you know how you usually have to turn objects upside-down to see where they were made). 

How did you start Woodboogah?

I had these ideas in my head for a few years to start a company and after I talked to Eric who's a full-time mechanical engineer and works a lot with companies to improve their U.S. manufacturing and he said I was onto something and I needed to do it right then. I knew I had to make the jump and make it happen. I quit my job and left my apartment on the curb in downtown Los Angeles. I sent three L.L.Bean duffle bags to Eric in Maine. I lived out of one suitcase for a month while I finished up my design jobs in Los Angeles. I flew to New York for Fashion Week in September to see my clients fashion shows and say my goodbyes. Instead of returning to LAX from JFK, I flew to Portland, Maine and Woodboogah was started.

Woodboogah Beanies

Where did the name "Woodboogah" come from?

Woodboogah was Eric's nickname.  When I was living and working in Los Angeles, Eric would come visit me when we were first dating.  I had clients from LA, New York, Japan, Italy, and Paris. Eric would rock a Boston Red Sox's hat with a huge smile and talked in a wicked Maine accent being a native of Maine Eric was so happy and nice to everyone he met.  He'd give you the shirt off his back.  (I always say Mainahs are the nicest people you'll meet).  All the clients were curious who this guy was and where he came from, so we thought of the nickname Woodboogah.  It stuck!  Everyone loved the nickname and loved Eric.  When Eric and I were talking about starting a company months later it was a no brainer to call it Woodboogah.

Eric and I are partners in business and in life.  Eric will always tell people Woodboogah is 120% all me and my company, but if I'm completely honest there would be no Woodboogah without Eric.  He has supported every single idea from the start.  He inspires me.  He pushes me.  He is the original Woodboogah.  I would still be working in downtown Los Angeles if it wasn't for him.  I can't imagine a better partner in business or life. 

Knitting with Woodboogah

Why cashmere? 

"Who doesn't like cashmere?" - Seinfeld

There are a few popular yarn companies the luxury apparel industry uses and we use two of them.  This yarn is usually going into garments that retail for $500 to $5,000 dollars.  This forced me to be really innovative with our manufacturing process with:   
1.  Creating a really durable product that people can wear and enjoy.  We have brand ambassadors traveling the world with our beanies, testing them, and pushing them to the limits.  Our cashmere/wool blend is actually machine washable.  
2.  Make this cashmere available for the average person to have.  It's only because of my relationships with these companies as a product developer/design consultant that they accept my small yarn orders.  I consider myself very lucky to be able to use this cashmere yarn for Woodboogah. 

Woodboogah Beanie

Had you been making beanies for awhile or was this a new leap for you?

As a design consultant/product developer I had been making knitwear for a long time.  I knew what did and didn't work.  The leap for me was inventing the tools I used to make our beanies.  It was a lot of troubleshooting for the first year. 

What does a typical day look like for you?

I wake up and beeline to the coffee.  I sit down and go through all of our social media accounts and emails.  I'm always looking for inspiration, brand ambassadors, and discovering new companies on social media.  I'm in the studio by 9:30AM.  Depending on where we are in the year, I'm usually knitting, planning photo shoots and meetings, or working on our website.  I usually leave the studio around 5:00PM.  Then it's dinner time!  I LOVE cooking.  Now that I own my own business, I get to invest more time into myself and learning to cook is one hobby I have dived into.  I love preparing big theme meals.  My friends and family have jokingly given me the nickname "Martha Stewart of Maine."  After dinner, it's our personal time. 

Woodboogah at Work

What is your favorite part about owning your own company?

I have more balance between my personal life and career.  Before Woodboogah, I was missing a lot of birthdays, graduations, holidays with family and friends because of work. 

Knitting for Woodboogah

And least favorite part?

As a "one-woman-show" I don't have a group of creative minds to bounce ideas off of like I did before, so I definitely miss those creative meetings.  I love it when companies reach out to me for collaborations or one-of-a-kind styles for their stores. 

What has been the most exciting moment for Woodboogah since you started?

Every time I get to hear about or see people enjoying my products.  I'm so thankful for all the love and support I receive, it means everything to me.

What advice do you have for people just starting out?

Persistence as Eric would say.  Never listen to anyone who tells you you can't do something to pursue your dreams.  I've had a lot of doors slam in my face during my career but I never let that stop me.  I still continued to achieve my goals no matter how ridiculous people think they are. 

Woodboogah Cashmere Beanies

What is your long-term goals?

Our Woodboogah homestead on a much larger scale.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I take it month by month.

Who's one of your favorite New England Makers?

I'm obsessed with C&M Ceramics right now. Ever since I found them on Instagram I've been trying to snag some of their Mariner mugs for my kitchen, but still no cigar. I love all their products. The flask is wicked cool.

All photos courtsey of Woodboogah


GIVEAWAY!

Please see this photo on my Instagram for details on how to enter to win a pair of their Camden Cuffs in Wicked Stormy Ombre. Perfect for adding the style of layers without the bulk for those warmer fall and winter days. Retail: $55.00


 

Do you own a New England-based business and would like to be featured in an upcoming interview?  Or would you be interested in having me style, review, and feature one of your products?  
Please drop me a note.  


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