covering our community

Collective creativity: Portland Made launches local business

Bikes, bees and belt-makers collaborate in a new local initiative.

By Enid R. Spitz

ADX artisans built Portland's light-up Sizzle Pie sign. photo: omfgco.com

ADX artisans built Portland’s light-up Sizzle Pie sign. photo: omfgco.com

Portland Made design collective is swelling the ranks of Portland’s local business proponents. April 18th the new organisation will launch, backed by the established “indiepreneurs” at Supportland and ADX, another manufacturing community.

“We are Portland Made,” the launch video proudly states over footage of tattooed designers welding and woodworking. It’s “a fresh, grassroots effort to build the local manufacturing base, promote job growth, and help export Portland Made goods to the world.”

The intent is three-fold: connect customers to products, support business, and introduce retailers to manufacturers. All completely locally-made.

Black Star Bags. Photo: portlandmade.com

Black Star Bags. Photo: portlandmade.com

Portland Growler Company, Queen Bee bags and baby retail, and Tanner Goods leatherworkers are among the first small companies to join Portland Made.

“We kind of missed making stuff,” said Sam Huff of Tanner Goods about his local business beginnings. Rebecca Pearcy of Queen Bee Creations said, “I didn’t have a business plan. I didn’t take out any loans. I just started in my room. There was no Etsy, there was barely the internet.”

Beginning April 18, the pipe dreams and bedroom startups will connect with Supportland’s 149-business local network.

Supportland itself began as a startup out of St. Johns in early 2010, the dream of Katrina and Michael Scotto di Carlo to give small businesses “a level playing field with huge chains.”

“Portlanders are stoked that buying local will be easier,” Supportland’s 2009 launch announcement said.

“Easier” means more rewarding, with swipes of the Supportland card earning shoppers points at participating retailers. With the card and newly-released apps, customers build up points to collect rewards. A recent count of users hit 60,000.

Portland in the palm of your hand? photo: portlandmade.com

Portland in the palm of your hand? photo: portlandmade.com

Portland Made capitalises on this existing system, piggy-backing its own check-in card onto the Supportland network. So, the two organisations remain separate but their customers can use either card across Portland’s local business network.

Other Portland Made goods include sliding doorsbee balm from backyard honey, and squid-inspired knapsacks. It’s Portland.

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