“We sell experiences”, says Robin Murphy, owner of Oregon Coast Glassworks. Robin, an accountant by trade, and her husband William, both Native American, started the business from scratch about 10 years ago in Newport.
Meals 4 Heels, owned by Nikeisah Newton, originally started as a late night healthy eating option for exotic dancers and sex workers. As Portland is both known for its eclectic food and high number of strip clubs per capita, Nikeisah sought to combine these two themes into a niche industry that could supply healthy eating options for late night workers. Beginning in January of 2019, news of Meals for Heels traveled via word of mouth and she took orders directly from Instagram direct messages, texts, calls, etc. Additionally, by being able to directly message Meals for Heals, Nikeisah was able to remove the “creepy guy factor” that comes with ordering from a food delivery app and having a complete stranger deliver food to a club.
When Ruth Flores of RLF Ceramic Design Center LLC discusses her small business, she tells a compelling story full of grit, hard work, and surprises. Ruth’s business makes aquarium décor from ceramic materials. To grow her business over the past 28 years, Ruth underwent a remarkable journey. She built a national company from scratch, made an incredible discovery, was ousted from her own company after a legal dispute, and eventually was able to regain much of what she lost through federal trademark registration and hard work.
We’re excited to highlight The Big Elephant Kitchen, a Fijian Indian restaurant that opened in May of 2017. Owned by Saleshni, Deon, and Deepak Sundar, the business is a family undertaking. The owners decided to go into business for themselves after gaining experience managing other food businesses. They wanted to bring their unique and delicious cuisine to Portland. During the process of opening the business, they convinced their mother and father to join them. Rajni, their mother, is working magic in the kitchen while Shailendra, their father, can likely be found searching for breadfruit or some other unique ingredient.
Summit Wood Creations is a local small business specializing in hand-crafted custom wood furniture. The owner, Reyna Badillo, started building custom furniture largely because of her childhood experiences seated at a handmade dresser. Gifted to her by her grandmother, the dresser holds a lot of sentimental value and has been in her family for four generations. When Reyna realized that she can create the furniture through which clients’ own special memories might be made, she discovered her passion. She turned this passion into a business back in 2001. While the business previously focused on residential custom furniture, they have expanded into custom furniture in the commercial arena.
NW Ferments is a new up-and-coming Portland-area business. Sue and Wendy have fermented foods for many years as a hobby. When the fermenting company that they worked for decided to move to another state, they decided to open their own company that would bring fermenting to every type of person. They came to the Small Business Legal Clinic in early 2016 to start their own businesses and negotiate the end of their work with the previous business.
Lindsey Alonzo is the creative force behind Luna Sol, the home of beautiful, handcrafted jewelry. Luna Sol, her solo venture, began just over a year ago. Lindsey has been designing jewelry since 2002, however. She originally received a degree in textile design, but discovered her love for designing and crafting jewelry while working in a local boutique. After learning more about the ins and outs of business, she decided it was time to begin her own business.
Lindsey creates original designs, drawing inspiration from the ethnically diverse cultures she meets as she travels. She especially enjoys the creative aspects of her business, such as crafting the first pieces of her collection. She has placed her collections in local stores such as Haunt, Altar and Flora. Her designs can also be seen online at http://lunasoldesigns.net/.
Lindsey first came to the Small Business Legal Clinic, Pro Bono Project in the summer of 2014 for advice on properly forming and registering her businesses. She returned this summer to learn about the process of copyrighting her designs.
Head’s Up Hair is a salon in east Portland that has been in business since 1959. Many of the stylists have been there 15-20 years. Their mission is to help clients feel great about themselves. The salon offers haircuts, color, perms, extensions, highlights, lowlights, nail services and waxing. Maria Ramirez purchased Head’s Up Hair in March of 2013. In the last year, she has transformed the basic hair cutting salon/barber-shop into a day spa atmosphere with positive results and feedback from customers. She is currently working on replacing the furniture, adding more stations and hopes to add a private area for waxing in the fall of 2014.Part of developing the business meant making big changes. Maria came through the SBLC Pro Bono Project in April of 2014 and met with Attorney Audrey Tam. After the initial meeting, Audrey helped Head’s Up Hair by reviewing their lease and participating in lease negotiations. She also assisted with the restructuring of Head’s Up Hair with the state and drafting an independent contractors’ agreement
Artico Lite Inc. is a family-owned, full service sign company owned by Peter Cao and Jennah Lee. Since 2000, they have manufactured, installed, and maintained indoor and outdoor lighted and non-lighted signs in Portland. Jennah handles the administrative, design and planning work and Peter builds and constructs the signs. Peter began learning about the craft of glass work many years ago. In 1980, just months after moving to America, Peter took a temporary job in New York doing industrial glass work at $3.25 an hour. His boss was so impressed with Peter’s work that he quickly gave him a 25¢ raise. Over the course of many years he worked to improve both with speed and skill to become a master craftsman. Eventually he started his own business, bringing his skill in neon to the Portland area. In June 2014, Artico Lite came through the SBLC’s Intern Program and worked with Intern Silvia Tanner and Professor Susan Felstiner. Silvia researched the tax consequences of converting from a corporation to an LLC, and drafted the conversion documents and an operating agreement for the LLC.