The owners of a Newcastle clothing and home goods business are launching a new division: Citizen Maine.
Don Bostick and Danny Cain own Hello Sailor TMH, a gay lifestyle brand. Their new division offers items for a wider audience.
Citizen Maine started with a rollout of its holiday collection around the beginning of fall.
According to Cain, it was difficult to decide on a name for the new division because many names they thought of were too similar to existing trademarks.
Their final choice involves a play on words with the classic 1940s film “Citizen Kane” and Cain’s last name, but substitutes Maine for Kane/Cain.
Bostick said Citizen Maine clothing is for infants and up, and for all genders.
“We have a little something for everyone now,” Cain said.
Citizen Maine offers infant onesies; toddler, youth, and adult T-shirts and sweatshirts; and tote bags.
At this time, the clothing is unisex, but after the winter, they will begin to offer clothing in women’s sizes.
In addition, they want to offer pet products, such as dog coats, T-shirts, sweatshirts, leashes, and collars.
Bostick said they started Citizen Maine to expand their customer base. “It also gives us more creative leeway to do different things than we were focusing on,” he said.
With the new division, they are expanding their designs beyond nautical themes to animal and holiday designs, with more on the way.
“We are looking to introduce an environmental collection next year, with the idea that it would be a series of images and apparel that will focus on environmental protection and preservation,” Cain said.
The pair is also thinking of designs for products that will celebrate Maine’s bicentennial next year.
Citizen Maine designs do not bear much similarity to Hello Sailor products, but in the next retail season for Citizen Maine, some designs will feature a Hello Sailor image.
“We do try really hard to offer things that are innovative in nature, just not the same old,” Cain said. “It’s really hard to find a different way to do a lobster, but I think we have a couple of examples that are different.”
Some of the images on Citizen Maine products include a yin and yang symbol with lobsters and a lighthouse made up of the names of various lighthouses in Maine.
Like Hello Sailor, Citizen Maine intends to donate 10% of every sale to benefit a local cause.
For its lobster collection, these donations will go to the Lobstermen’s Relief Fund, an initiative of the Maine Lobstermen’s Community Alliance that benefits distressed families of commercial lobstermen.
“The part that I like about it is that it provides financial assistance to families in distress, so it’s a direct benefit to someone in need,” Cain said.
Cain and Bostick have yet to select a local organization to benefit from sales of other Citizen Maine items.
“We are hoping to produce products that people will feel good about wearing, but also, because of our give-back component, we hope that they’ll feel good knowing they’re contributing to a worthy cause,” Cain said.
Although people can shop for Citizen Maine products online, the owners also wholesale some of their products to local stores, such as The Beach Plum Co., in Newcastle; and The Chickadee Flea and The Shady Lady, both in Damariscotta. Cool as a Moose, in Brunswick and Portland, sells Citizen Maine holiday items. Wholesale customers can also choose custom designs for items.
Cain and Bostick will bring Citizen Maine pop-up shops to various locations during the holidays.
On Saturday, Nov. 30 and Sunday, Dec. 1, they will be at the Thanksgiving Weekend Christmas in New England Craft Show at the Augusta Civic Center.
On Dec. 14 and 15, they will be at the Last Call Christmas Arts Craft Show at the Portland Ramada.
On Dec. 21 and 22, they will be at the Last Minute Christmas Craft Show at the Augusta Armory.
They plan to have more pop-up shops in the future.
After starting Hello Sailor TMH at the end of 2016, Cain and Bostick moved from Maryland to Newcastle, along with the company, in July 2018.