Re-Cap: BYOB Welcome Event

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After months of planning and anticipation, the BYOB series is now officially underway! On Saturday, August 27, on a lovely summer evening, we gathered in the Klum House backyard, where the series launched with a storytelling event called Personal Passion to Creative Business. Series founder and skill-building educator, Ellie Lum of Klum House, was joined by her co-teacher, fashion designer and musician Heather Treadway, and partner, Dustin Klein, founder of lifestyle cycling brand Cadence, to speak about each of their unique creative business journeys.

Greeted by a gorgeous, hand-lettered, sidewalk chalk sign on the driveway (thanks, Lauryl Grimes!), we congregated in the backyard, surrounded by colorful, hand-painted and shibori textiles, twinkling lights hanging in the trees, spreads of snacks and drinks, and a group of enthusiastic, interested and interesting people. We could not have asked for a more perfect way to get this series started. 


As I walked around the backyard, encountering a mixture of new and familiar faces, I caught snippets of honest, supportive conversation, people already exchanging tips and experiences, making connections and forming new friendships. It was clear that this was the beginning of something very special. In true Portland style, the event embodied the idea of 'community over competition,' of openness, generosity, and mutual empowerment. Among the group were jewelry designers, screen printers, bag makers, photographers, textile designers, fine artists, fashion designers, musicians, a book binder, a hand-letterer, a brick-and-mortar shop owner, a furniture designer, a career coach...A plethora of creative pursuits, each with a unique story and set of business goals, made for a vibrant exchange of energy and ideas. 

As liberating and exciting as Braving Your Own Business can be, there are also moments of fear and loneliness that inevitably crop up along the way. That's where the whole "Bravery" thing kicks in, and it's also where having a support network can be hugely important. When we hear long-time creative entrepreneurs like Ellie, Heather, and Dustin talk about their own experiences--jumping headfirst into self-employment at age 17 (!), learning to adapt to a changing economic climate, and being a true one-man-band, with a paintbrush in one hand and packing tape in the other--we are reminded that we are not alone. 

There are raw, knitty gritty moments that underly every flawless Instagram feed, but the joys and success are real too. As we hear each other's stories, and become more bold in giving voice to our own, demystification leads to empowerment, and all of us are made stronger. Plus, we just really enjoy drinking wine and eating guacamole together, because that's important too ;)


by Ellen Julia Brown, textile artist, maker + Klum House intern

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