Itâ€™s a chilly midwinter day in Lunenburg, N.S., and the furnace at the Windbag Company has stopped working. Bundled in a down jacket, surrounded by piles of crinkled sailcloth, Pauline Dickison is wandering through her store, telling stories. This notebook cover? Made from an old sail retrieved from the tall ship SV Concordia before it sank off the coast of Brazil in 2010. That messenger bag? Covered in sailcloth from Tekema, a 22-foot, Ontario-built boat that still sails, happily, from a local yacht club.
This entrepreneurâ€™s story starts in late 2006, when a huge storm slammed into the picturesque Maritime town and the large plastic tent that sheltered Dickisonâ€™s boat was swept away. â€œSuddenly, the boat was bare and the tent was in the trees,â€ she says.
From the ruined material, she and a friend sewed bags to give as Christmas presents. By spring, she was selling them at a local garden centre, and Dickison knew she was going to run out of tent. â€œI thought, â€˜Whatâ€™s another tough material that could use another life?â€™ And then it dawned on me. Sails.â€