IF THE RIGHT idea and passion are present, training is secondary — at least, that was the case for San Rafael’s Tricia Rose, founder of Rough Linen. Inspired by a homespun pillow slip passed down from her Scottish grandmother, Rose decided to bring the handcrafted, elemental linens of yesteryear into the present day. She launched her company in 2009 with no formal design background.
“I started with one fabric and one product and made it exactly the way I wanted it to be,” Rose says. “Sheets were logical [as a starting point] and the company has been growing in a harmonious and logical way ever since.” Before linen was associated with luxury, flax was a staple domestic crop, and even small farms set aside a field of plants homemakers could harvest, spin and weave for their own use. The company draws on this tradition, and according to Rose, rustic or finely woven linen is the best fiber for the home.
Rough Linen offers bed, table and window linens, sewn in a small, recently expanded workroom in San Rafael. The entire team is female and well taken care of — each employee has a 401(k) and health benefits.
Rough Linen customers span the world: Australia, Ireland, England, Mexico, Canada and even Singapore. “Most business is on the East and West Coast, though,” says Rose.
WHAT THEY SAY
Linen’s luster, easy care, stability, strength, straight grain and texture are such that it doesn’t elicit many complaints, yet Rose appreciates feedback and stays very hands on. “I answer a lot of customer emails personally,” she says. “I want to keep in touch with what’s going on.”