Hello, I’m Marilee. I’m the founder of Gathre. We make bonded leather mats. Here’s our story.
Almost two summers ago my little family of four was living in a small apartment without central air conditioning. Cooking dinner would heat up our apartment so it became a nightly tradition to dine al fresco on our lawn on a blanket. Thanks to messy toddlers we washed that bulky thing all the time, and laundry isn’t really my thing. One day my husband came home with a packet of leather samples, it clicked. Why not make a stylish leather blanket that wipes clean and you don’t have to wash?
We made patterns out of poster board, manufactured, and took a test run to a local outdoor market. 1/3 of our inventory sold in one day. The rest sold out in 6 weeks. Shortly after, we launched a Kickstarter campaign in November of 2014. in 34 hours we hit our goal of $15,500 and raised over $78,000 in 30 days. People were wanting a foundational place to gather with those they love. Add style with the luxury of leather, and functionality with a waterproof, wipeable, compact product and we had a business.
There are three of us here at Gathre, my husband Devin and my partner Jessica. We all wear different hats and swap them frequently yet we rely on each other heavily in our little closely knit team. Between all of us there are five little kiddos running around our offices. They are the reason we are here.
My partner Jessica and I can attest, being a mother and a running a women-owned business isn’t all that glamorous. It’s more like a marathon and anyone who runs this race knows it’s not short on hurdles to jump. Our kids spend a lot of time with us at our studio. It’s hard but at the end of the day we wouldn’t change a thing. It’s not lost on us how fortunate we are to have this special opportunity to teach our kids hard work while showing them they will always be our number one priority.
Our children are the reason we do what we do. We hope to get down and connect with them in the grand and simple moments that are all around us. Those moments are often fleeting and go unnoticed but our mission at Gathre is to inspire people to recognize and appreciate those moments. We are encouraged by the call to gather. Gather memories. Gather loved ones. Gather adventure. And gather the beautiful! Ralph Waldo Emerson has said, “Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”