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Daniel Tagliamonte & Maria Sakran
“Right now, as a business owner and as a human being, the biggest fear is uncertainty with everything; what’s going to happen next? As a business owner specifically, it’s getting the best price for stuff and providing a good-priced product to the customer while using sustainable materials.” - Daniel
“Getting the product right is more of my fear. We’re not picking out of a catalog. We’re actually doing the designing ourselves and putting the product out there. Are people actually going to like it?” - Maria
Dan and Maria, lifelong residents of Central New York, went from being perfect strangers to opening a brick & mortar store together in the heart of Skaneateles as the calendar year turned from 2019 to the infamous 2020. So, while this partnership was embarking on a new and exciting adventure together, the world was unknowingly heading towards a
complete and total shut-down in just a few, short months. However difficult that position and timing may have seemed on its face, Dan and Maria chose to maintain a positive outlook while remaining steadfast in their mission to provide their customers with personally-designed apparel using eco-conscious materials throughout their journey.
You might be wondering though, how did these two strangers connect and decide to open a store together? Well, two words can best describe what pulled these two entrepreneurs to work side-by-side with one another: PASSION and DRIVE. Prior to opening their store, Dan and Maria were working on creating, developing, and growing their own brands individually. Maria is the co-owner and co-designer of Sakran & Shaw, and Dan is the owner and designer of Sea Culture. Each brand has its own clear identity, but their missions cohesively tie together making them a partnership that was just “meant-to-be.” So, after a brief encounter working side-by-side at L.L.Bean, the pair decided to take the leap of faith and open a physical location that housed both brands.
Maria (Sakran) and Elizabeth (Shaw) launched Sakran & Shaw in 2015, and they have been providing their customers with products that they design using animal-friendly and eco-conscious materials and methods. “We’re designing stuff that you’re actually gonna want to wear. So, really soft, really comfortable. Even before pandemic times, it’s things that actually fit. Elizabeth is very tall, and very thin, and I’m just so much shorter than her, but it’s stuff that fits both of us. So, things that you can wear all the time. We’re very like hike/yoga, so we’re very active. And, it’s things you can wear all day long.”
Dan launched Sea Culture in 2018, and has been providing his customers with men’s clothing inspired by life by the water. “I work with a lot of sustainable materials. Like, recycled polyester and nylon from fishing nets. Sustainable dyes and other things, and I like to relay that to a customer that appreciates it. Craftsmanship-wise, we do small-batch stuff. So, it’s super detailed and my customer likes being out by the water, but has a lifestyle in and by the city, too...so it works together. My clothing can fit in any occasion and I want to outfit that type of person for any occasion.”
Together, the store they’ve established is perfectly matched with their missions; it’s comfortable, cool, and a place for people who appreciate uniquely designed apparel & products that are produced with attention to detail and concern for their impact on the environment. It’s more than just a shop, it’s a vibe. From the hanging wooden buoys, the potted greenery, and the music permeating the air to the apparel and products that fill the floor, you will feel compelled to stay a while and soak up the environment they’ve created.
There is no better proof than this duo’s story that drive and passion can cause people to do great things. Dan & Maria demonstrated outstanding flexibility and resilience during one of the most challenging times in history, and it is evident that the beliefs they both possess in their missions have not wavered in the face of these uncertain times. Central New York is built on the backs of strong and adaptable people (we all make it through the winters here, am I right?), and these brands are no different.