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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.”
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER
Five years in the making, the Portland Mercado — the city’s first Latino public market — will celebrate its grand opening April 11. A $3.5 million public-private partnership spearheaded by Hacienda CDC, the market will house 15 to 20 businesses in the food, retail and service sectors. It has some big-name funders, including the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and JPMorgan Chase. The project goals are equally ambitious: to improve cross-cultural understanding, alleviate poverty and spur community economic development.
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY APRIL STREETER | OB CONTRIBUTOR
Leslie Carlson channels the big idea.
Friday, March 20, 2015
BY OB STAFF
Join us to celebrate and network with Oregon’s best green workplaces!
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
The big news at Oregon Business is we’re getting a ping pong table. After reading the descriptions of the 2015 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon, a disproportionate number of which feature table tennis in the office, I decided it was time to bring our own workplace into the 21st century. It was a tough call, but it’s lonely at the top, and someone has to make the hard decisions.
Friday, February 27, 2015
BY OB STAFF
Oregon Business held its 22nd annual 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon celebration Thursday night in the Oregon Convention Center.
Friday, February 27, 2015
PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN
Images from the 2015 celebration of Oregon's great workplaces.
Thursday, March 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
Everyone knows cell phones and driving are a lethal combination. The risk is especially high for teenage drivers, whose delusions of immortality pose such a threat to us all. Enforcement alas, remains feeble; more promising are pedagogical approaches aimed at getting people to focus on the road, not their devices.
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