Posts Tagged ‘SOFIA


I have a three-day weekend

This January, I created a job for someone.  I hired a lovely lady to help me in the shop part-time.  Adding an employee was a first to me but I feel good;  in this economy I was able to create a job and it feels like my business is ‘growing up’.

Another reason for this hire was also that I needed some time off.  The shop is closed on Mondays and giving someone just one day to work did not seem fair.  I now have a weekend form Sunday through Tuesday.  I work four days and have three off – does that not sound wonderful?  It is, and yet, I feel the need to ‘do something for the shop’ at least one of those days.  The plan was to work (design and sew) at least for one of those days so I can justify three days ‘off’.

Well, it has taken me from January until YESTERDAY to finally make good on that plan.  I mean, I did draw up patterns AND sewed the entire day.  It felt GREAT.  And here is the result:

tencel top
I made this top.  This Anni Kuan skirt beckoned for a top in that rusty, spicy color.  I had ordered it with the teal paper silk top but it seems teal does not look great on every skin tone.  I needed something warmer.  On Monday, I ventured out to the fabric shop and they had this beautiful Tencel fabric in just the right color!

I am pleased with my ‘weekend’ and how productive I was!


I can take a breath now

After having done it again, I can say that I am almost caught up with my life.  By having done it again, I mean that I was sooo wrong about the departure time of our flight home.  Again.  Off by a whole day.  If it wasn’t my trademark, I would cry.

Back to the store.  Entered receipts.  Paid bills.  Rearranged the socks.  NEW socks have arrived – yeah!  And also a new line – HAZEL.  I am thrilled.  Pretty pieces, wearable all by themselves.  I spent part of the day photographing all the new items.  How I love all the internet options!  Here you go:

For more detailed descriptions of the slide show items, mosey over to my flickr. page …. to the right.  Yes.


We are in the paper TODAY!

Lower Fremont

raising its profile

by J. David Santen, Special to The Oregonian

Thursday November 13, 2008, 3:00 AM

A sleepy row of nine storefronts on Northeast Fremont Street between 13th and 14th avenues needed some exposure. The shops/eateries are a short distance from better-known hubs such as Alberta, Beaumont Village and Mississippi. A Whole Foods/Starbucks center is just a block away.

So Kjell van Zoen, a self-described “frugal entrepreneur” and co-owner of artists’ shop Splurge, gathered the other owners to hash out low-cost ideas.

They came up with a moniker, Lower Fremont, and van Zoen built a Web site, Then they came up with an event: 2nd Friday.

Now the block is among business districts throughout the city — from Mississippi to Multnomah Village — with a monthly event that offers late hours, street vendors, giveaways and performances. The goal is to draw regular and new customers, and generate buzz.

Such efforts are labor-intensive but generally effective, says Jon Turino, executive director for the Alliance of Portland Neighborhood Business Associations, which provides grants, education and training to 35 associations.

“They provide local products and services that folks can get to without getting in the car,” Turino says. Neighborhood districts also contain the vast majority of the city’s 25,000 to 44,000 small to midsize businesses, he says.

Rachelle Markley, co-coordinator of the Hollywood District’s Third Thursday event that runs spring to fall, has seen crowds increase and new faces become regulars at her Second Glance Books shop.

“The point is not to make money on Third Thursday but to let people know what’s here and then to have them come back,” she says.

On Lower Fremont, business owners launched 2nd Friday in August.

At October’s event, neighbors, families and curious shoppers from Whole Foods chat with vendors and wander in and out of the stores. Diners (and drinkers) pack County Cork, an Irish pub, and La Bodega, a beer and wine shop. New Orleans bistro Acadia also does steady business.

Lower Fremont

December event: An expanded, holiday-themed event will be 4 to 9 p.m. Dec. 12 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 13 with vendors, musicians, Christmas trees, outdoor heat lamps and sales.

Learn more:; Alliance of Portland Neighborhood Business Associations,

“I love this neighborhood,” says Pepe Moscoso, 32, who’s one of a dozen or so vendors and is doing solid business with photo collages.

Sofia owner Michaela Hashitani, who opened her clothing shop almost three years ago, says the event has helped connect the owners, many relatively new to the street. And customers get to meet artists behind work at Sofia and Splurge. On this night, jewelry maker Kristin Gross keeps Hashitani company.

“I live two blocks away — I never get down here,” says Maina Ptolemy as she walks into Hashitani’s store. Her granddaughter, Paige Nelson, 8, wins a small door prize.

They’re just the customers Lower Fremont caters to: neighbors and families willing to shop locally but who may not be aware of “what’s lurking behind the trees,” says Poppy & Ivy’s Amy Hollands, who moved her home-and-gift boutique from the Alberta area in January. Business owners say they saw an uptick in customers on the days after 2nd Friday, too.

October’s 2nd Friday was the last regular event for the year; it will resume in the spring. Van Zoen, 31, plans a two-day, holiday-themed event in December.

The events take work. Markley, who has helped run Hollywood’s Third Thursday since it began in 2006, says networking, e-mails, phone calls, handing out fliers and other logistics constitute “another part-time job.”

Still, she says the long hours are worthwhile: “It helps keep money in the neighborhood” and strengthens relationships among business owners.

Zoen agrees. “A lot I do as a small-business owner doesn’t come back directly to me.”

J. David Santen Jr.

Flickr Photos


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