Our Field Trip to Biddeford in late August was very fun. We started at Saco River Dyehouse, then visited Suger across the street, Biscuits & Company, and Angelrox. Read on for a fiber photo journey you can take, too.
Saco River Dyehouse
The team at Saco River Dyehouse welcomed us, split our group into three, and gave us very informative talks about their operation. Saco River Dyehouse is a new business reviving an old one, housed in an old mill that is attracting lots of new ventures. The company receives wool, cotton, silk, and even rayon from companies and individuals and dyes it the prescribed color, spinning it too if requested. They use commercial dyes mostly. They also have taken on the Paternayan line of yarns—a product designed and branded by two Armenian brothers who began selling the yarn in New York in 1916—and are working on reviving all colors. They employ 14 people and will hire more as they install new equipment imminently and move to expand their customer base. It appears there are only a few companies like this in the US. Claudia Raessler and her husband are the owners, and the business is growing under their passionate leadership.
Suger and Angelrox
Next, our group walked across the street to Suger, the chic apparel, yarn, and housewares store started by Roxi Suger, the designer and force behind Angelrox. Angelrox is a manufacturer of clothing fashioned from jersey knit plant-based fibers (organic cotton bamboo rayon knits) made into wrap dresses, flirt tops and bottoms, skirts and accessories. We all had a lot of fun trying on clothing and Roxi, herself, addressed the group about the charms and perils of textile manufacturing. (The night before, she had flown in from a trade show in Los Angeles, slept as well as she could on the plane, and was in her shop to greet us in the morning….All the while, she wore an Angelrox “playsuit” that looked great and never wrinkled!)
After a delicious bite to eat at Biscuits & Company (their motto: “it’s all about the biscuits”), we made our way back to the old mill to find Angelrox, the cutting, sewing and production facility for all the clothing we’d been admiring in the shop. It was interesting to see all that goes into taking a beautifully-designed item and ramping up production to manufacture multiples. Along with the cut-out tables, seamstresses, stacks of fabrics, and machinery, we found marketing materials, labels being surged, several computers, shipping area, dedicated photo setup, and neatly organized bins and racks of apparel. Several employees wore Angelrox designs and looked fabulous!
Notes: Saco River Dyehouse is located at 32 Main Street, Building 13-W; Suger is at 25 Alfred Street; and Angelrox is at 40 Main Street, Building 13-W all in Biddeford. We all agreed Biddeford offers quite a fun excursion for viewing fiber. Several of us are going back to pick up custom dresses ;).
Photography and text by Christine Macchi, with input on text by Sheridan Collins