Company: Rainwater Arts
Linda Rainwater, who goes by Rain, grew up in small-town Washington and learned from an early age how to make things herself. She honed her skills in UC San Diego’s Studio Arts department and later at Anthropologie, where she worked on the store’s famously creative displays.
After college, while training to earn a spot on the USA Track & Field team, Rain needed a more flexible work schedule and decided to break out on her own. "I had this idea of a dream job and I couldn’t find it, so I decided to make it," she says.
Although an injury sidelined her Olympic goals, her creative talents prevailed. Today she owns and operates Rainwater Arts, which builds eco-friendly window and merchandise displays. Using materials like Forest Stewardship Council–certified reclaimed wood, nontoxic organic paint from Europe, and a plant-based adhesive made in-house at her Oceanside studio, she partners with clients who share her values. Here, she puts the finishing touches on a display for local clothing line prAna.
With denim purchased from charitable thrift stores, recycled cardboard, organic cotton blossoms, and some biodegradable tape, a rough idea becomes a work of art. "The industry has a lot of room to be more sustainable," she says, "especially because what we make is up and down in a month."