DURHAM TURNED TO HANDBAGS. IT’S DEFINITELY DARKER, BUT I LIKE IT. STEVE: FROM FINE FOOD TO FASHONABLE LEATHER, NATASHA DURHAM STILL HAS THAT SPECIAL KNACK FOR APPEASING A CUSTOMER’S APPETITE. NATASHA: I REALLY LOVE THE PROCESS OF MAKING THINGS. WHETHER I’M MAKING FOOD, OR KNITTING A SWEATER, OR WHATEVER I DO, I NEVER WANTED THAT TO BE VERY FAR AWAY FROM ME. STEVE: NATASHA BEGAN ‘MAKING’ HER HANDBAGS ABOUT SEVEN YEARS AGO — FIRST, AS A LITTLE MORE THAN A HOBBY AT HOME. BUT AS INTERNET SALES UNEXPECTEDLY SOARED — NATASHA: VERY ORGANICALLY, THIS HOBBY TURNED INTO A COMPANY THAT NOW HAS 18 PEOPLE AND SHIPS ALL OVER THE WORLD. STEVE: THESE DAYS, ROUGH AND TUMBLE OPERATES A STUDIO/STORE INSIDE THE OLD RENOVATED OPERA HOUSE ALONG MAIN STREET NORWAY. EVERY LEATHER BAG HER COMPANY SELLS IS MADE EITHER RIGHT THERE, OR BY ONE OF HER LOCAL STITCHERS, NONE OF THEM WORKING MORE THAN JUST A FEW MILES AWAY. NATASHA: AS A DESIGNER, I REALLY WANT TO BE ABLE TO SEE AND TOUCH MY PRODUCT. I COULDN’T IMAGINE SENDING A FAX TO A FACTORY, EVEN IN ANOTHER STATE, LET ALONE CHINA, INDIA OR MEXICO, AND THEN GETTING 30 CASES OF HANDBAGS BACK IN FOUR MONTHS. STEVE: THOUGH SEEMINGLY WELL OFF THE BEATEN TRACK OF HIGH FASHON — NATASHA SAYS IT’S NOT RARE TO MEET SOMEONE WHO’S DRIVEN MANY HOURS TO SHOP HER SMALL STORE IN NORWAY. A CREDIT, SHE SAYS TO BOTH THE FINE LEATHER BUT EVEN MORE SO, THE MATICULOUS ATTENTION TO DESIGN. — METICULOUS ATTENTION TO DESIGN. NATASHA: OUR TEAM OBSESSES OVER THE GREATEST, SMALLEST DETAIL IN EVERY HANDBAG. STEVE: THEY’RE SOME OF THE VERY FEW HANDBAGS STILL STITCHED IN THE UNITED STATES, AND NATASHA VOWS IT WILL STAY THAT WAY — TAPPING THE LOCAL TALENT CALL IT HER LATEST RECIPE FOR SUCCESS. NATASHA: NO MATTER HOW HIGH THE DEMAND GETS, WE WILL NOT CHANGE THAT MODEL OF PRODUCING THEM HERE IN THIS CIRCLE AROUND NORWAY, MAINE. STEVE: WHILE, AGAIN, ALL THE MANUFACURING WILL STAY IN THE NORWAY AREA — NATASHA IS OPENING A SECOND ROUGH AND TUMBLE STORE NEXT MONTH IN PORTLAND, RIGHT ON MIDDLE STREET, SO LOOK FOR THAT TO

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Dennis Veasley

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