Tricia Rose of San Rafael’s Rough Linen wins North Bay Women in Business award

Tricia Rose


Rough Linen

1925 Francisco Blvd. E., #12, San Rafael 94901


Tricia Rose values trust more these days with suppliers and customers. She is a 2020 North Bay Business Journal Women in Business Awards winner.

Professional background: Video Producer

Education: Bachelor of Arts degree,History and English; Dip.Theol, King's College London.

Staff: 18

Tell us about yourself and your company: Rough Linen was a kitchen table startup in 2009, founded on our signature Orkney fabric with its homespun texture. First we made bedding, then branched into tableware and decor, and we have just celebrated 10 years of making beautiful home items and clothing in Marin County.

Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?

Our clothing line Touch by Rough Linen is a runaway success.

What is the achievement you are most proud of?

I started the company when I was 62, out of a love of linen, and have grown it to where it is today. I still love it!

What is your biggest challenge today?

Sticking to our principles of high quality, local production in the face of impersonal, venture-capital funded, off-shore sourced competition.

Words that best describe you: Committed, engaged, aware.

In what ways have the pandemic and the shelter-in-place orders changed who you are as a person that will be a part of you long after the pandemic has passed?

I have discovered just how pleasant it is to lie in bed drinking coffee instead of a 6 a.m. yoga class every morning!

Also, what ways do you think it will change the way you go about your career and your business?

I love working from home, all hours. Fortunately Rough Linen has always been an online business.

And when it comes to the COVID-19 issue, what are some of the lessons learned for the business community?

We appreciate more than ever the importance of having strong, trusting business relationships with our suppliers, customers, even our competitors.

As a successful female professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?

I have always been self-employed and love the flexibility that affords me, and in the relatively gender-neutral media world I worked in for forty years, the obstacles were not too bad - you stayed agile and worked around them.

By the time I started making linen I was old enough to have some gravitas.

How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?

I think customers will seek a connection between what they buy and their own values, to the extent of changing where they shop if they sense a dissonance. The lesson of the last four years has to be to look beyond the words.

Who was your most important mentor?

I strive to be the mentor I wish I had had myself. Since our employees are overwhelmingly women, we consciously accommodate their needs as women and mothers of families. I enjoy female values in a workplace.

What advice would you give to a young woman entering your profession or the work world today?

Get a business degree! You need to know the basics, no matter what your field.

Most admired person outside the organization: Warren Buffet’s down-to-earthness appeals to me. In day to day dealings with people I often find something which makes me warm to them, with genuine respect. I prefer that to hero-worship.

Typical day at the office: Coffee and a quick triage of email, consult calendar, catch up with staff. Morning at my computer and on the phone, we have set meetings three times a week, lunch at my desk. Afternoons are much more free-form. I prefer to do creative writing in the small hours.

Best place to work outside of your office: I have a little desk at home overlooking the water; peaceful and the best place for Zoom calls.

Current reading: “Humankind” by Rutger Bregman, “East Wind Melts the Ice” by Liza Dalby (year-round), anything by Scott Turow for relaxation.

Most want to meet: The Obamas.

Social media you most use: I don’t really.

Stress relievers: Music, my friends and family, nature. Physical work.

Favorite hobbies: My garden, drawing and executing plans, diagrams, sketches, memorizing poetry.

What would parents or significant others say if asked to brag about you?

They would say I am complex.

Tricia Rose


Rough Linen

1925 Francisco Blvd. E., #12, San Rafael 94901


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