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|Articles - September 2013|
|Monday, August 19, 2013|
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Before there was Schoolhouse Electric, Faherty worked on the other side of the home-furnishing economy: buying, refurbishing and selling houses. This was during the restoration craze, and Faherty, who has lived in 12 houses in the past 25 years, noticed there were limited quantities of certain materials and products, especially lighting and, notably, “cool, glass schoolhouse fixtures.”
After researching the American glass-blowing industry, he stumbled on a company in upstate New York with a warehoused collection of cast-iron molds for hand-blown glass lighting. “So I bought the collection and had them restored and put back in production. I knew I had something that was the start of something. There was some authenticity around the process and the material, and that was the thing I was looking for.”
That’s how it all began. Faherty opened a small storefront on Northeast Martin Luther King Boulevard and eventually rolled out a collection of 100 pieces, putting the glass together with brass parts made in Los Angeles. As the business grew, the design evolved too; instead of fashioning look- alike period reproductions, Schoolhouse began to experiment with a more modern aesthetic, “such as Edison bulbs on sockets or grouped in nature,” Faherty says.
With only three employees, Schoolhouse Electric had no marketing department to speak of. Even today Schoolhouse remains an introverted company, Faherty says. “We don’t really know how to talk about ourselves. That’s probably because I’m sort of that way.”
But if Faherty is reticent, the home design bloggers who created a cultural zeitgeist starting around 2008 were not. Schoolhouse Electric “became the little darling” of Remodelista and Design Sponge, among others, Faherty says. And business began to take off.
The momentum inspired Faherty to expand the company to include home furnishings. “What was serving the market was big-box, corporate housewares companies, and our customer wants more authenticity. They want to know who made it and what was the inspiration.” So in 2010 Faherty purchased a four-story, 125,000-square-foot brick warehouse in Northwest Portland for about $1.5 million, remodeled it to house a flagship store, as well as a factory and office space, then launched Schoolhouse Electric as a comprehensive lifestyle brand selling home and office goods.
The catchall description for the Schoolhouse Electric style is “domestic utility,” Faherty says. “Not just pretty things, but things that are useful in everyday life.”
Thursday, July 09, 2015
The sweltering weather didn't keep the crowds away. Although the numbers were down slightly from last year, the Oregon Food Bank raised $850,636 to fight hunger. About 80,000 people attended despite temperatures in the upper 90s.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
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The state’s angel investing fund gets hammered in Salem.
Thursday, August 06, 2015
Car and ride sharing services have taken urban areas by storm. Low-income and suburban communities are left at the curb.
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY GREGG MORRIS
Rita Hansen aims to scale natural gas vehicle innovation.
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY CAMILLE GRIGSBY-ROCCA
Can the brave new world of neurotechnology help an OHSU surgeon find a cure for obesity?
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
In 2010 Vanessa Keitges and several investors purchased Portland-based Columbia Green Technologies, a green-roof company. The 13-person firm has a 200% annual growth rate, exports 30% of its product to Canada and received its first infusion of venture capital in 2014 from Yaletown Venture Partners. CEO Keitges, 40, a Southern Oregon native who serves on President Obama’s Export Council, talks about market innovation, scaling small business and why Oregon is falling behind in green-roof construction.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Oregon's roads are crumbling, and revenues from state and local gas taxes are not sufficient to pay for improvements. We asked readers if the private sector should help fund transportation maintenance and repairs. Research partner CFM Strategic Communications conducted the poll of 366 readers in February.
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Oregon Sick Leave is here, and changes to the federal white-collar worker regulations are on the way. This workshop will prepare you for both. We invite you to participate in an interactive discussion on how to start planning now for the future impact on your operations and finances.
Presented by OEN + CENTRL + YESpdx.
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