Today we’d like to introduce you to Barbie Lynch.
Barbie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Breakwater Blue started with the idea of creating a company that truly gives back to our oceans by selling eco-friendly, recycled and repurposed items. I have always felt the pull the ocean creates on you when you walk up to the water on a beautiful warm day at the beach. When I was a kid I was always the first and last one in the waves and forced to get out when the day was over. The ocean has been a part of me since I could remember.
As time went on my love for not just the water but what lives within it formed. However, I could see how the actions we take every day had an effect on the vast sea that surrounded us with trash and plastic floating in the water. I started Breakwater Blue in 2013 after my two daughters were born. As a stay at home mom with an entrepreneur spirit and a business background, I loved the idea of creating a store that not only gave back but also showed my girls that anything was possible.
With the support of my husband and family, I participated in my first “show” at Weir River Farm in Hingham, MA selling handcrafted bags made from recycled sails. My oldest daughter even made her own bracelets that she sold for donations to a local marine center. As time went on I quickly began to see that I was on the right track and BWB grew rapidly.
The following summer at a local sidewalk bazaar I came across a booth selling eco-friendly apparel that was not only beautiful but gave 5% back to the ocean. I knew right away they were a perfect fit for my company and began carrying their sweaters, t-shirts and hats. The passion of this small business gave me the push to find more ways to give back and our beach cleanups were born. Hosted every month in the spring and fall we have kept our local beaches in the South Shore clean of debris to protect our oceans and marine life.
With many plans in the pipeline including our recent focus of giving a percentage of sales to the National Marine Life Center in Bourne, MA as well as giving talks to local schools on ocean conservation we are proud to say we have accomplished a lot in a small amount of time.
Over the past five years of owning BWB, it has been a journey of seeing how far I can go and how much a small business can really give back. We now sell not only our recycled sail bags and eco-friendly clothing but also carry upcycled light switch plates, sunblock bags, bracelets made from recycled glass and plastic and our newest product Reusable Glass Straws.
What started off as simply bringing a trash bag I walked the beaches with my children has turned into an amazing online retail store that has and will continue to make an impact on our oceans and the amazing animals that live within it.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Being a stay at home mom and owning a business has definitely created struggles that many stores may not face. I knew when starting Breakwater Blue I would need to find a balance between family life and business to make it work. From the very beginning, my two daughters have been involved as I wanted to show the hard work and a little grit can pay off as well as teach them about giving back to their community.
Please tell us about Breakwater Blue.
Breakwater Blue is an online retail store that sells eco-friendly items that fit into our mission of keeping our oceans clean. Each item sold gives back in some way.
Our clothing line is made by a small business out of the North Shore that is very involved with not only keeping our beaches clean through beach cleanups funded from 5% of all sales but has started initiatives with local marine organizations in keeping trash out of our oceans in the first place.
We are most known for our Recycled Sail Bags hand sewn in Gloucester, MA. Durable and machine washable our sail bags can hold up to any beach day or weekend getaway. Made from donated recycled sails each bag is hand sewn with creative and fun images to suit anyone’s interests including octopus, lobsters, sand dollars or my favorite the skull and bones. The bags come in many sizes from very large for the beach or boat all the way down to a zippered pouch to hold your sunblock or wet bathing suits. They aren’t just a beach bag either as they fold up small to fit into a suitcase for a vacation or great for a day trip into the city.
Our newest item our reusable straws is something I am very passionate about as plastic straws are the one product picked up most on our beach cleanups. Straws, as many have seen in the news do not break down easily and are lightweight and blow out of trash bins ending up in our waterways. In a 45 minute clean up at Nantucket Beach this spring I picked up 72 straws. We are hoping our reusable glass straws (made from pyrex) will help make an impact on this number. With a choice between straight or bent each straw comes with a cleaner and an option to purchase a carrying case.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite memories as a child is definitely jumping the waves on a hot summer day in Maine with my family. I will never forget the day at short sands with my three sisters and Aunt as a hurricane off the coast produced the most amazing waves I had ever seen. We stayed in the water the entire day barely drying off to grab a quick bite and forced out of the water as the sun was setting. I am pretty sure we slept the entire ride home.
- Website: www.breakwaterblue.com
- Phone: 781-908-4367
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instragram.com/breakwaterblue
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/breakwaterblue
Kelly Gorra, Sarah Hinchey