Portland Apron Company

American Made Since 2011

Erika Kelly

Portland, Oregon
Portland Apron Company products are made for hard working folks that appreciate not only the end result, but the effort it takes to get there.

Tell us about your business.

I’ve always loved to sew, so when I got a job as a server, I didn’t even think about buying an apron. It was a great excuse to make one. The compliments started to roll in the first day I wore it, and everyday after that. A co-worker told me I should sell them, so I did. I was definitely no overnight success story. It took many hours of photo tweaking, sewing mistakes, and a lot of patience to get to a point where I would be proud to say, “Look at my Etsy site!” I worked my day job in the mornings, and sewed in the afternoon. It made for a long day, but I enjoyed it. Plus, winters in Portland can be dreary, so staying inside sewing all afternoon was just fine with me. My process goes a little something like this: First, find fabric that makes me want to run a 5K and high five everyone; then, decide which apron style I want to make it in; then, cut, cut, cut, and sew, sew, sew. I see my business evolving into a well-known, local Portland business with a brick and mortar space.

What makes your business stand out?

My business is unique, because I am never doing just one job that can be clearly labeled. When people ask me what “I do” for a living, I tell them that I own an apron company. At first I thought this sounded silly, but now it makes me proud. I also tell them that I design and sew the aprons myself. This makes it easier for them to understand, because they can give what I do a title, “You’re a seamstress then!” they will say. Well, yes, I am a seamstress, but I’m also a business owner; and a business manager; and a photographer; and my brands ambassador; and a model; and a designer; and a pattern maker; and a post office delivery girl. I don’t normally go into that much detail though. People begin to get that glazed over look in their eye. So yes, in a nutshell, I am a seamstress, and I sew aprons ☺

What's the best business advice you've received?

"Do what you love, and the money will come." Great advice from my Public Relations professor in college.

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