Vermont native Curtis Williams’ first ideas about bike bags came as he pedaled along Route 7, returning from New York City, where he was studying theater design. He had some panniers, he says, “but I wasn’t that jazzed about them. I liked their system, but they looked like gear. I wanted to create something that had a little bit softer, more stylish edge to it.”

The opportunity came a few years later, in 2007, at a Berkeley, California nonprofit called Waterside Workshops. Besides the bike shop where Curtis helped people fix their rides, Waterside had a woodworking shop and a sewing studio. He developed his first design, a bag that converts from pannier to backpack. When he moved up to Portland in 2009, bought a Juki industrial sewing machine on Craigslist and started working in the basement of his Woodward Avenue home, that design became the Woodward Convertible.

Williams launched North St. Bags, named for the Montpelier street his grew up on.  Working alone, he made bags for two of his best friends. “The look of joy on their faces,” he says, “motivated me to keep going with it.” He credits the BikeCraft show, which he first attended just a few weeks after opening his Portland shop, with connecting him to the local market. “I literally only had like two bags on the table, because that was all I had made,” he says.

Today, Williams employs three other people, working on ten sewing machines, in his workshop and showroom off Southeast Clinton Street. The help has allowed him to step back from production and focus on new products. “I’m pretty hands-on when it comes to design,” he says, “I like to get in there and get my hands dirty on something.”

To manage the shop, he uses some lessons he learned studying set construction, lighting design, and rigging in New York. “Getting a set amount of work done on time and on budget was a very big part of putting a theater production up, because you had this schedule you had to meet. It’s all just happening.”

From the union of cycling and working with his hands, Williams has created a thriving business. “I really believe in cycling,” he says. “Bicycle transportation is the key to making our cities more sustainable, and I just want to make products that make it easier to do more trips on a bicycle.”

Portland Made Branding

More and more consumers are valuing independently made, locally sourced goods. Let customers know you are Portland Made by branding your website and product packaging.

 

Portland brands

GROWTH MEMBERSHIP

Designed for more established businesses who want their products seen and their story told, our Growth Membership offers the greatest online exposure, including products, related content, and links directing consumers back to your website. Showcase your products in our online Shop, include your photo in our Featured Maker Gallery, and add your logo to our Brand Gallery. Your Featured Bio tells your story, has a slider of your brand images, and highlights any related blog posts and products you may have on PortlandMade.com. Share your news, events, and product releases in our blog, newsletter and social media channels.

STARTUP MEMBERSHIP

Our Startup Membership includes a one on one session to check in about your business and get some free feedback to remove obstacles and/or develop your business. It includes your logo in our Brand Gallery, as well as your brand’s Bio Page, where others can see a brief overview of your business, and a link to your website, Etsy shop or Instagram account. Looking to show off your products or for added services? See our Growth Membership, and/or optional add-on services.

IDEA MEMBERSHIP

It all starts with an idea. This stage of membership is designed for those who have an inkling for what they want to do, but may be hazy on the details. Maybe you want to connect with other makers, or you need product photos or a business consultation to help get you to the next level.

Brand Bio

When visitors click on your logo in the Brand Gallery they are taken to your Brand Bio page. This page includes your logo, a product photo, brand story, and link back to your website or shop page.

Portland maker Membership

Maker Meetup

This monthly, one-of-a kind networking event is FREE for members; $15 for non-members. Crafted to be the most useful hour and half a maker can spend on their business each month, this event aims to: expose makers to new workshops, connect makers with each other, and learn from experts.

portland maker events

 

Access to Vetted Resources

Connect with talented professional service providers and subcontractors, offering the range of services small businesses need to thrive. Our online Resources page highlights those we recommend and trust.

Portland Made service providers and vendors

Inclusion in Brand Gallery

Add your logo to the collective’s Brand Gallery. Visitors can peruse brands by category, and click to see your Brand Bio page (for Startup tier), or Featured Bio page (Growth tier).

Portland Brands

Featured Brand Bio

For makers looking for greater exposure, your Featured Brand Bio includes your logo, a slider of images, your brand story, and link back to your website or online shop. As well, this featured page showcases products you have in Portland Made’s online Shop and any related Journal posts you may have on our site.

Visitors can navigate to your Featured Bio from the Brand Gallery and, for those with a professional photo included in Featured Makers, from this gallery as well.

Maker Membership

Your News & Events shared in our Blog,
Newsletter, and Social Media

Broadcast your news, product releases, upcoming events, job openings and more, across Portland Made’s website and social media outlets. Share news content with Portland Made’s consumer audience and maker communities.

Portland maker news

Your Products in our online Shop

Showcase your goods in Portland Made’s online Shop. Visitors can see your product/s and description on the Shop page, and are directed to your personal website. Your product detail page is great for added SEO and as well directs visitors to your personal site.

Inclusion in Featured Makers

Add your maker photo to our Featured Makers gallery. The most prominent page in the Discovery menu, this gallery highlights you as a Portland maker, shows your business name when hovering on your photo, and clicks through to your Featured Bio page where visitors can get an in depth look at your business and visit your personal website.

Portland Made membership perks

Complimentary Business Consultation

Meet for a one on one business consultation to assess the health of your business and identify areas for improvement. 

Jim Hassert, Portland

Preferred Creator Market Vendor

We’ve teamed up with WeWork to produce Creator Market, a semi-annual event hosted in their beautiful westside location. All Growth members can apply first (no application fee), and if you get accepted you vend for free as well.

Portland Made market

 

Product Detail page

Show off your goods! This page is where consumers can see your goods in more detail. It includes a photo, description, and prominent link to your site where they can buy directly from you.

Portland Made goods