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Shopping Small For the Holidays: 11 Slightly Unexpected PDX-Made Holiday Finds


In follow-up to our previous post, “4 Ways To Shop Small In PDX“, I’ve been thinking about more ideas for holiday gift-giving ideas, so here’s a roundup of my top picks for slightly unexpected finds made here in Stumptown. and a few online options, too. To be clear, although some of these brands are current or past clients, most are not, and none of them have asked me to, or are paying me in any way, to write this; I just decided to take a moment and reflect on the many great brands and businesses I get to connect with through my work, and just had to share some ideas for anyone who might be in the same boat as I am with still very little holiday shopping done…enjoy!


Perfectly Portland…

Ah, Portland. To know you is to love you! Here are some of my favorite PDX-produced products and services for the holiday season…inspired by a few of the many local small business owners I’ve gotten the opportunity to work with and collaborate with over the past year. Enjoy!

1. Nomad Brush: Many of you have heard me rave about Nomad Brush. They’ve harnessed traditional brush-making techniques for a very 21st century purpose: creative activity on a touchscreen device. Founder Don Lee is a  fellow PDX biz owner who had the idea to bring digital tech to the artist, artistry to the techie, and both to budding artists (my daughters love, love, love The Nomad Play! You can even get ‘em engraved for gift-giving)  Check out their new blog, too!

2. Give Portland Gifts:  Inspired by the “100 Mile Diet”, Gwen (who is so great!)  from Give Portland Gifts  creates Stumptown-inspired gift baskets in a range of prices, and you can add on extras, like locally-made Hot Lips sodas, Extracto Roasters coffee beans, and letterpress Lark Press cards. She also donates a portion of proceeds to EcoTrust’s Farm to School Initiative so this is truly a gift that keeps on giving! Check them out here…


Best For Business Buddies

Since so many of us are small business owners in Portland — or know others who may be new to hanging their shingle — here are a few ideas for clients, professional contacts, or the local entrepreneur in your life..

3. SMO Books:  Getting started — or keeping up the momentum — is a challenge for many of us (even me, and this is what I do for a living!). The  “non-gurus” at SMO Books get this, and have created a set of great pocket guides to help. Shop here or read more in our Big smallTalk interview here. While you’re at it, check out Brandie’s Soho Tech Training services;  a membership or sponsored Teleclass could be a great gift for any tech-challenged entrepreneurs in your life…

4. Sarah Giffrow is one of the many great design professionals I’ve met this year (and the creative brain behind our beloved Books Make it Better logo). Her  “Get Invested”  list has a ton of ideas for spot-projects you might consider sponsoring for your favorite local biz contact, from WordPress installation to identity design to photography services. While you’re at it, check out her blog for great articles like a guide to Twitter shorthand and the role of color in branding, to name a few.

5. Amy McGeachy is an HR Consultant & Executive Coach who I’ve enjoyed collaborating with this year on a few fronts; she just rolled out a “Resolution Solution” package that looks pretty cool! While you’re there, she also has a review of a book I’ve been meaning to read on her blog, “How Full is Your Bucket” so at the very least treat yourself to her recap in between the holiday hustle and bustle….



Serious About Style 

6. Loving Eco: I’m honored to know Melinda & Justine, the fabulous Founders of this service, inspired by the notion of “Style for Change. They offer seriously gorgeous products with serious eco cred. Since we interviewed them on Big smallBlog I’ve loved watching them grow their daily deal collection of fair-trade and sustainably-sourced products for up to 70% off retail, with 3% of net proceeds from each purchase going to charity partners. Their “Team” page on their website is a great example of how to consider team bios too.


7 & 8! There are also many talented jewelry designers in PDX, I don’t know where to begin! I’m a big fan of Scarlet Chamberlin’s collection (and she’s also a personal stylist, and has an upcoming trunk show at Cargo in the Pearl, too). I also love GemKitty‘s personalized collection; Arwa is awesome, and you pick the style and the stones & she does the rest. She’s also the creative genius behind the Moyo Jasiri Strong Heart Necklace, to benefit global female entrepreneurship. (We interviewed them here in case you are curious…)



A Bit Different…

9. Memory and Meaning: Becoming an entrepreneur has opened my eyes to a lot of things — and my family is the inspiration behind it all. I happily trade relaxed evenings for late-night client work sessions, because it means I can pick up my daughters at school every day. Since I met oral historian Ryan White at a recent Mercy Corps seminar, I’ve been thinking a lot about what a cool gift his oral history services would be.


10. Collected Spaces: I have a confession to make: I may talk a good game about getting clear about your brand, but the actual workspace I’m writing this from is…um…lacking clarity at the moment. Teresa Nicola took one of our workshops this year and I keep kicking myself for not enlisting her help before I got to this point. A gift certificate for her services might be just what the doctor ordered (hint hint! anyone? anyone?).


11.I’ve had the opportunity to connect with local photographer Rachel Hadiashar at a few workshops this year, and just love the story behind her  Boudoir Fine Art Portraiture business, inspired by a photo from a photograph of her grandmother. What a cool gift idea!


So there you have it…certainly a lot more where these came from but reality and client deadlines call! I will leave you with one more reminder for the holiday season: Hunt Down Humor…we all need it this time of year! A good source is clips from the upcoming season of Portlandia…so I’ll close out with this important message from  “The Sanitation Twins.”..Enjoy!


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