Hayley and Blair Griffin design unique, sleek clutches, handbags and more at their Maine company, Eklund Griffin.
Finding inspiration in their childhood memories of growing up on the Maine coast, Hayley and Blair Griffin, the sisters behind Eklund Griffin, use the beauty around them as inspiration for their one-of-a-kind handbags and totes. “Maine is everything to us: it’s our color palette, our work ethic, our backdrop, our context, our support system,” says Blair, noting the sisters spent summers lobstering and camping with their father, who was a lobsterman.
Eklund Griffin—a combination of the sisters’ last name and that of their great-grandparents—has been in the works since 2012, although it didn’t officially launch until 2016. The Griffin sisters realized after completing college and working for other companies that they “wanted to make something together,” Blair says.
Blair says Haley was more sure than she was of the need to lead a creative life. Haley started a small Etsy shop after graduating from Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland, always knowing she wanted to go bigger. But she needed a business partner, so she waited for Blair to graduate with a business degree from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts.
What started out as a plan to only launch one design (The Infinity Tote) has turned into a collection. “It was a slow progression, bootstrapping the research and development phase for four products,” says Blair, but “through conversations with mentors, we went back to the drawing board to offer a stronger collection.”
The duo initially wanted to design bags with no black color option. But after listening to customers repeatedly ask for a black version, they had a lightbulb moment and were reminded black is classic and will never go out of style.
The sisters create in their studio, which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. “We’re fortunate to have a family home big enough to accommodate all of us. We live together in the house my father grew up in and have converted the master bedroom into our home studio,” says Blair. “It’s a beautiful space with tons of sun and a view of the Atlantic. We’re looking forward, and simultaneously not looking forward, to the day we have to find a workspace outside of the house.”
Hayley and Blair Griffin- handbag designers, Eklund Griffin
Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Top image, Rope Wristlet. Photo by Hayley Griffin.