Steele Canvas

Steele Canvas is the quintessential American company.  Recently, I had the extraordinary experience of visiting their 25,000 square foot factory in Chelsea, Massachusetts. I know my way around a factory after decades in the fashion industry, but this one is truly impressive. Steel Canvas counts Shinola, Best Made, Kule and …USPS (yes, the US Postal Service) among its clients. Having seen the Steel Canvas crew in action, I understand why their disparate clients are so devoted: each piece of every basket, bin and tote they make is produced by the hand of a skilled worker, many of whom have been with the company for decades. The high point of my visit was getting to see the first sample of Milton Market’s most recent collaboration, which I'm thrilled to introduce here: our custom Garden Tote. The perfect union of functional and timeless utility and Steele Canvas's extraordinary quality, I couldn’t be more proud to add this quintessential American product to our lineup. 


Follow along for more insights into the gem of a business from their president and owner, Paul Lordan...


You make baskets and totes for everyone from the United States Postal Service to some of the chicest brands around. How did that evolution from utility to the fashion world come about? 
Through chance and necessity. The 2008-2009 recession hit our industrial customers pretty hard, which meant our phones got awfully quiet. Fortunately, around that same time Martha Stewart Living reached out asking for permission to feature a blurb on our small square canvas truck in their September 2009 issue. The only catch was we had to make the cart available for purchase on our website. At the time, our site was little more than a landing page with our basic info and zero items available to purchase. After a scramble to refresh the site, the article was published and we suddenly had our first online sale. Thanks to the exposure from that one little article, our brand began to become synonymous with quality American made home goods, our website expanded to hundreds of items and we've developed fantastic, long lasting partnerships with top notch national retailers and boutique fashion labels.

Steele Canvas has been around, and family run! for over 100 years, what keeps you inspired?
The short answer is my brother and I are pretty sure no one else would hire us. That said, there's definitely a thread of willful stewardship running through our commitment to holding ourselves and the business to the same high standards originally set by our parents. Although the customers and industries as well as the size of the company have unquestionably changed over the years, we have done our best to retain the core values and collegial spirit that's pervaded Steele since as far back as I can remember. It's the daily challenges and projects, along with our dedicated crew and collaborative customers that keeps us energized and inspired.

I feel like Steele Canvas represents the best of American manufacturing... How do your core values translate to products? 
It's a simple recipe: quality materials and skilled craftsmen. We don't skimp on what goes into our wares and we treat our team with respect and appreciation which ultimately results in a peerless product we can all be proud of.