Skip to content


Your cart is empty

Article: Interview with founder, Laurie Dunlap

Interview with founder, Laurie Dunlap

Transcribed from an interview with Blue Canoe founder, Laurie Dunlap

 Tell me about how Blue Canoe started.

 I started Blue Canoe by the seat of my pants while I was homesteading with my family in northern California. A couple of creative girlfriends had started a small swimwear business, which I nosed in on whenever I had a chance.  It was a gentle introduction to running a clothing business. I was able to start small and grow organically, learning as I went.

 Were you literally in your garage?

 Blue Canoe’s first home was a small historic cottage under redwood trees.I shared it with three industrious women all starting their own clothing businesses - from hemp hats to hand painted silk kimonos. The little space was bursting with machinery, supplies and the energy of new beginnings. It was a noisy, friendly place where the four of us brainstormed ideas, traded resources and information, helped walk-in customers, and hammered out ways to build our businesses.

 What was your first major investment?

 My first purchase was a $200 roll of un-dyed cotton/spandex fabric. I wore a dozen hats - doing all the designing, pattern making, sewing, bookkeeping, garment dyeing, purchasing, etc. Marketing meant going to craft fairs or cold-calling the small eco stores that were cropping up across the country.

 What were your first designs?

 My first designs were organic cotton two-piece swimsuits styled for comfort.  When women began buying them as bras and panties I realized I was on to something. It turns out there were lots of women looking for comfortable, cotton underwear, and I was set to provide it.

 What was the first year like?

 Gradually the line expanded and the business grew. I left the cottage under the redwoods and moved into a larger office beside a nearby river. That’s when I noticed a hand-made wooden blue canoe, which inspired the name of my company.

 Today Blue Canoe is thriving in San Francisco where we manufacture a full line of stylish eco-friendly clothing and lingerie. The years have not altered our commitment to organic cotton and manufacturing in the USA. We are still woman-owned and women-run.  We still do business from the heart, and a little bit by the seat of our pants.  We’re always learning, getting better, and  always put our customers at the center of our business.

Blue Canoe.

Life meets style.



Read more

Cotton for yoga

Cotton for yoga

Yoga is Cool – In Cotton Yoga is so cool, but did you know that your yoga clothes could be contributing to global warming?  Oil refining is the most prevalent cause of global warming, and many synt...

Read more
From Fossil Fuel to Fashion

From Fossil Fuel to Fashion

Have you ever wondered where your clothing comes from and where it goes when you're done with it?  Unfortunately, for the majority of fashion, the news is not good. But you can help change that. Be...

Read more