MEET THE MAKER
The Ropes' Shana Ready takes inspiration and materials from her coastal surrounds in Maine. What began as a childhood hobby, making jewellery for friends, is now an incredibly successful business and brand.
"For me, jewellery has always been a vehicle to keep memories alive – some of my favorite pieces I inherited from my grandmother and I've always respected the power jewelry has as a tether to a certain person or time.
As a child, I was very interested in weaving and beading. So, basically as far back as I can remember I've been making jewelry for myself and for friends, but it was just a hobby that I never thought much of. The Ropes was actually born from this habit: one snowy winter day I was fooling with some of my husband's lobster gear that was lying around the house and made two bracelets, that would later become the Kennebunkport and Portland styles.
From the time I was 8-years-old, growing up in Maine, I knew wanted to be a fashion designer. I went to RISDI and got a job in New York shortly after graduating. I loved New York City, and still do; the nearly effortless access to art and culture is unparalleled. Untimely though, it was just that, the sheer saturation that I loved as a consumer, I found challenging as a creator.
In Maine, inspiration is less obvious, it needs to be sought out, unearthed, earned a bit more, and that's where my creative process lives. Its funny, because for a log time I thought that my love for Maine, for my home and fashion were irreconcilable. When, in reality, Maine, has been the catalyst for the career that I always wanted.
I think that sometimes in ethical fashion there is an emphasis on passivity, on creating low or no-impact products, but I am also interested in the more active approach. How can I create something that has a positive impact?
For this reason I try to source mostly local or Maine materials to support the businesses and craftspeople that call the state home. All the rope I use is authentic dock line, quite literally the stuff you would use to tie up boats. You could walk down to any marina and you would see it. The clasps are also marine hardware. I think there is enormous beauty in utility.
Having my own business is definitely not an easy road. I feel like there is such pressure out there on women to not only manage kids, marriage, a household, and successful career, but to make it all look effortless in the process. Owning my own business and raising a family has pushed and challenged me in every aspect of my life and grounded me in so many ways. It forces you to let go of perfectionistic attitudes, embrace the messy stuff and hopefully, to be kinder towards yourself.
My proudest achievements so far, (besides my children of course!) is having built a design career for myself in Maine. I am so glad that I listened to my heart and didn’t compromise when it came to doing what I love in a place that I love."