In summer 2008, Brooklyn television editor Shannon Guirl visited Portland and was floored by the tight-knit community of makers she found. “I just felt like it was my place to be,” she says, “like these were my people.” She returned to New York but kept dreaming of leaving the city, and her career, and moving to Oregon to make things—exactly what, she didn’t know.

As she was decorating her Brooklyn apartment (“I’m just a constant nester,” she says) she scoured shops and websites for a particular wood and ceramic mid-century table lamp she admired. She finally found it on eBay, but when it arrived, it had shattered. “I was a tiny little bit devastated,” she says, “but at the same time, the whole lamp kind of turned itself inside out, and I could see how it was made, and I just thought to myself, this probably isn’t really that hard to do.”

Guirl decided to try to reproduce the broken lamp herself, but there was one problem. “I had never picked up a ball of clay,” she says. “Just do this,” she told herself, “and just do it as if your life depended on it. Because it does. You’re dying at your desk job. And so my direction and my purpose became that lamp.” She took classes in wood turning and slip casting, producing a prototype before finally making the move to Portland in spring 2011.

Inspired by the Indianapolis designer Gordon Martz of Marshall Studios, who became a mentor, Guirl started Caravan Pacific, raising $50,000 through Kickstarter for the initial production run of her first lamp, dubbed the Alberta for the street in her newly adopted home. The Vanderbilt, named for the street she’d lived on in Brooklyn, and the Sullivan, for her Portland neighborhood of Sullivan’s Gulch, followed. In designing the Sullivan, she says, she modified the shape somewhat as she worked on the prototype. “My original idea was way more sharp,” she says, “but on the lathe, I noticed I was making this beautiful curve, so I just kind of let my gouge do some designing for me.”

Local manufacturers, including Mudshark, help her produce the lamps’ pieces based on her design prototypes. The ceramic portion is casting slip stoneware, while the necks are available in four wood types. Guirl assembles and ships each lamp herself, with an eye toward quality control. About three quarters of her business, she says, is wholesale, with about twenty retailers in the U.S. and Canada carrying her lamps and other home wares. A 2013 move to a new workshop, she says, will give her the opportunity to experiment with more prototypes.

The stress of running her own business, she says, is different from that of working sixty hours a week in New York. “I definitely wouldn’t trade it for the world,” she says. It’s only now that she’s been in Portland two years that she’s had a flash of realization: “Whoa, you’re in Portland now. You’re making stuff. This actually happened. You did it.”

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