How + Why
Quince & Co. was launched in 2010 by Pam Allen in partnership with a historic mill in Maine. Pam has worked in the handknitting industry as a freelance knitwear designer, editor of Interweave Knits, and creative director at a major hand-knitting yarn company.
Before starting Quince & Co., Pam found that the traditional way that yarn companies produce new yarns – going to trade shows and choosing from yarns designed by spinning mills – was unsatisfying and ultimately did not yield great products. She wanted to work with mills to design yarns from the ground up. Pam was also frustrated by how difficult it was to have yarns made in the US, where there was once a venerable textile tradition.
Pam recruited fellow designer and yarnophile Carrie Bostick Hoge and, together with inventive and resourceful folks at spinning mills around the northeast, they created a line of classic, beautiful yarns from wool sourced and spun in the US. With those yarns they designed a line of modern knitting patterns for sweaters and accessories lovely in their simplicity, which echoed the “thoughtful essentials” nature of the yarn.
Since then, Quince has grown its offerings well beyond the core wool yarns and a few patterns, while maintaining the dedication to quality, history, and the modern, clean aesthetic that started it all.
What's Important to Us
Businesses do not exist in a vacuum. Every business is dependent on, and in turn is depended upon by the people, businesses and organizations around it. We think businesses can be good citizens—should be good citizens—without making too much of a fuss about it.
This is why we produce our products as locally as we can, sourcing and spinning our yarns in the US, as much as possible. All of our wool and wool-blend yarns are spun in historic American mills from territory wool. By sourcing our wool in the US and manufacturing our yarn locally, we minimize our carbon footprint and we help keep American ranches from turning into parking lots. Whenever possible we also source our alpaca, merino (fancy term for fine wool), and mohair here in America.
But, hey, as much as we want to work with American fiber, we also want to enjoy the pleasures of fibers that aren't readily available in the US. When we use fibers that aren’t from the US, we find out as much as possible about where they are from and how they came to be. If we're sourcing a yarn from a plant fiber, such as our organic linen in Sparrow and Kestrel, we want to know if it was grown in conditions that are healthy for the soil and for those who tend and harvest it. If we're looking for an animal fiber, we want to know if the animal was raised in a way that sustains the earth and preserves the culture of the people who care for it.
The continuous flood of cheaply and often inhumanely produced clothing, often referred to as “fast fashion,” does little to support the communities around it. From the makers to the customers, “fast fashion” is unsustainable and exploitative. Americans on average throw away 68 lbs of textiles each year. That “garbage” took roughly 145 million tons of coal and more than 1.5 trillion gallons of water to make.
We are delighted to see an increase in ready-to-wear companies interested in slow fashion, clothing meant to be appreciated, worn and maintained for a long time. We think that the care and effort that goes into knitting your own garment is the ultimate cure to cheap, disposable clothing. When we take something from yarn to sweater, we form a connection with the clothing. We make it our own, and we make it to cherish.