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The Cultivated Thread

The Cultivated Thread, Hilary Crowell

Title / Role: Founder
Formed in: 2020
What inspired you to start your business?

TCT is the brainchild of Hilary Crowell, a visionary artisan with a passion for creating small-batch, handwoven towels that are as functional as they are beautiful. Hilary's journey to TCT started in 2020, following an impressive 13-year career as an organic farmer. While farming brought immense joy, Hilary realized that the challenges of nature and the constant unpredictability of each season were taking a toll on her mental well-being in an unsustainable way.

Drawing on the skills honed during her farming years, Hilary embarked on a new creative path—crafting handwoven towels with the utmost care and attention to detail. Each thread is meticulously placed by hand, resulting in intricately designed towels that are soft, absorbent, and machine washable for your convenience.

Hilary Crowell of TCT


What's special about your business?

But TCT is more than just a business; it's a value-driven venture deeply rooted in community, collaboration, and sustainability. Hilary's background in organic farming has instilled in her a strong sense of responsibility toward soil health and human well-being. These values shine through in every TCT product, where beauty, durability, and function come together harmoniously.

TCT Towels

Since its inception in February 2020, TCT has experienced remarkable growth, thanks to Hilary's unwavering commitment and ingenious production systems. In fact, TCT stands as a trailblazer among handweavers in Maine and sets an example for others across the country. Hilary's ability to maintain the integrity of small-batch, handcrafted products while operating at an impressive scale is a testament to her dedication and resourcefulness.

While pursuing a career as a maker and crafter is not without its challenges, Hilary's persistence and continuous refinement of processes have laid the foundation for a financially viable business. TCT's sales have seen significant growth, with a remarkable tripling of sales in 2021 and an 18% increase in 2022. This trajectory sets TCT on a path toward long-term success and sustainability.

How SCORE helped.

One crucial factor contributing to TCT's achievements is the invaluable support and guidance Hilary received from her SCORE mentor, Linda Diou. Through their collaboration, they developed a robust marketing plan for 2023, with a primary focus on increasing website sales. Linda's expertise and insights have already made a tangible impact on TCT's growth. For instance, website traffic and online orders more than doubled in the last quarter compared to the same period in 2022, thanks to the strategic guidance provided by Linda.

TCT Towels 2

The mentorship provided by Linda extends beyond marketing strategies. Through regular meetings, Hilary gains the tools and organization needed to manage administrative tasks effectively while keeping the production of these exquisite towels going. With Linda's guidance, Hilary can break down larger goals into manageable, bite-sized tasks, ensuring a balance between creativity and business operations.

With immense pride, SCORE Maine announced The Cultivated Thread as the recipient of the prestigious 2023 SCORE Maine Home Business Award. This recognition celebrates Hilary's unwavering commitment, resilience, and remarkable achievements in TCT. The award is a testament to the potential of home-based businesses and their impact on their communities and beyond.

SCORE Mentor Linda Diou and Hilary Crowell
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My mentors
Headshot of Linda Richardson Diou
Linda Richardson Diou

I have mentored many startups and enjoy helping clients attain their dreams. I can lead profitable...

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125 Manley Rd
Auburn, ME 04210
(207) 772-1147

Copyright © 2024 SCORE Association,

Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

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