Cape Porpoise Trading Co.
Minimizing footprints, in your home and the environment
Whether you’re fishing for sport, for game, in salt or fresh water, it’s important to remember that the fish are only as safe as their environment. That’s why this conservation week, we’re putting the focus on some environmentally minded companies helping to keep the water bodies a pleasant place for both the fish and the fisherman.
Up on the sea coast of Maine, Michelle Kinerson, founder of Cape Porpoise Trading Co., is making doormats that keep your floors and the ocean clean. Made out of recycled lobster rope from the traps of Maine’s famous lobster boats, the company’s specialty is a nautical flair and commitment to conservation.
About 8 years ago, whale entanglement issues forced a change in regulation requiring lobstermen to switch the rope they use to connect their buoy to the trap from one that floats to one that sinks. Lobster men all down the coast were left with a major excess of ‘float rope.’
“There’s still tons of lobstermen along the coast that have piles and piles in their yard that they have been sitting on for years or they never used before,” says Kinerson. “Even the stuff they did use is still in great shape.” It’s this rope that Cape Porpoise uses to construct their wildly popular doormats.
After seeing some similar mats at a shop in Kennebunkport, Kinerson thought, “I could do that,” and after making a few for friends and family, they soon became a hit. She quickly found her way into a consignment deal at a local shop and not long after expanded her operation, employing two helpers during the busy times (one the wife of a local lobsterman) and pushing mats through the online retailers and over 25 brick and mortar shops across the U.S. where you can find her handiwork today.
Cape Porpoise Trading Co. are by no means the only ones making mats out of lobster rope these days, but there’s two strong differences that set them apart. The first is a strong composition of color patterns consistent throughout all of the designs, with lines that span from the rainbow inspired Don’t Worry Be Happy, to the darker, accent toned Dapper.
The company is also known for their commitment to conservation. Due to the limited resources of float rope, certain colors can be hard to come by, and not having certain colors means that specific styles of doormat become unavailable. After a few instances purchasing new rope, Kinnerson committed to using only rope acquired from fishermen.
“Whether to buy those colors was a moral dilemma for me. I’ve decided it’s more important to only use recycled rope than to have a guaranteed stock of inventory,” explains Kinerson. “I’m going to look at what I have for rope and have that be a creative challenge for me… I think people value that a lot.”
Kinerson purchases all of her rope off Maine lobstermen at 50 cents per pound, allowing her to pay fishermen for a resource that would most likely otherwise end up in a landfill. Through her partnership with Maine Lobstermen Association, she’s able to connect with lobstermen all down the coast.
And the conservation doesn’t stop there. Kinerson also utilizes as much of the rope as possible, using left over scraps to create letters, garland and ornaments in the shape of anchors and hearts. It’s her way of making sure there’s as little waste as possible.
Watch this beautiful Cape Porpoise video
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