Rustic Marlin has added a new element to its repertoire. In addition to its handcrafted signs and home décor of quality wood, the South Shore business, based in Hanover, will be offering several items on the softer side.
The company recently announced the acquisition of Marshfield business Marshes, Fields & Hills (MFH), known for its high-quality personalized pillows, tote bags and accessories.
“This strategic acquisition will strengthen our manufacturing capabilities and partnerships as we streamline production and operations,” said Brian O’Neil, who with wife, Melanie, is the co-president and co-founder of Rustic Marlin. “And, who doesn’t love a good pillow?”
Melanie feels bringing on MFH will strengthen Rustic Marlin’s relationship with its customers.
“After years of sharing best practices, we are excited to combine our talented teams and to cross merchandise our amazing new designs,” she said. “We look forward to better serving the needs of our core consumers as we become a one-stop shop for all home decor and gifting needs.”
This new business venture came about after the O’Neils, who live in Scituate, became friendly with Stephanie Baynes, the owner of MFH, through professional connections.
Baynes started her business in 2012 by combining her passion for handmade items with the inspiration of the natural beauty of the New England landscape and designed her first pillow.
“She wanted to spend more time with her family,” Brian said. “She asked if we would be interested in buying the business.”
Brian and Melanie thought it would be great, but at the time they were “super busy” with Rustic Marlin, Melanie said.
Rustic Marlin started in 2012 after the couple, who was refinishing a wooden floor in their home, used some of the extra pieces of wood – polished, painted, and with personalized words written upon them – as thank-you gifts for those who had attended their recent wedding.
These wooden signs were immensely popular and soon the O’Neils had turned their garage barn into a workshop, and they began selling their products at the Cohasset Farmers Market.
“We were making signs that said ‘beach,’ and signs with personalized last names and town names,” Brian has said. “It was very rustic.”
Hence the obvious first part of the company name. The ‘marlin’ comes from Brian’s love of fishing, having grown up in Scituate.
They branched out and began making items other than signs – flags, cornhole and more, using the same high-quality wood from Vermont.
In August of 2016 the business moved into the warehouse at the former Building #19 building in Hanover.
As for taking on MFH, Brian and Melanie thought it over, and decided to make a go for it.
“I think it is my job to be nervous about any risk we take and Brian always sees the benefits,” Melanie said. “Our skill sets, including our worries and risks, complement each other and that is what makes it work.”
The acquisition became official earlier this month, though the O’Neils had been working behind the scenes with Baynes for some time.
“It definitely took a lot of energy and effort, but the transition has been fairly easy thanks to our amazing team,” Melanie said. “The MFH and Rustic Marlin team members all stepped up to take on different steps of the integration process. We have beautiful new designs, items added to our website, combined marketing efforts and more. The physical move of the team and inventory was a sign of the full integration and involved many truckloads but it was also filled with laughs and ideas.”
Like Rustic Marlin, MFH did not have a storefront. Both businesses sell to boutique stores across the U.S. Customers wishing to buy directly can shop online.
“If you go to the Rustic Marlin website, you will see a section for Marshes, Fields & Hills,” Melanie said.
Rustic Marlin will be holding a Sample Sale from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, in the attic of the Hanover warehouse, 389 Columbia Road (the former Building #19 building). Only the attic will be open to the public. There will be no tours of the facility. Cash or credit.
“Rustic Marlin is entering this next part of its journey poised for growth in 2019 and beyond,” Brian said. “For the first time, Rustic Marlin is seeking investment capital to fuel revenue to a new level.”
For more information on Rustic Marlin and their products visit rusticmarlin.com. The company can also be found on social media including Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.
Follow Ruth Thompson on Twitter @scituateruth.