Talking Shop with Our Neighbors at Redux
In this series, Urban Nest sits down with local PDX business owners to talk shop about what makes their store or business fit so well with Portland. Learn about new neighborhoods, new businesses, PDX community and more!
East Burnside's Most Unique Boutique
Walking into Redux on 811 East Burnside, you're immediately greeted by a host of charming, strange, and perfectly "Portland" handmade treasures. These easily lovable goods are expertly curated and displayed by owner Tamara Goldsmith, who injects her passion for up-cycled innovation into every aspect of her business. We talked with Tamara about what operating a business in Portland means to her.
UN: How long have you been in business?
We just had our 10 year anniversary! Incredible. we had a killer party featuring a photo-booth (run by my amazing manager, Audra Osborne, who also runs her own special event business with her husband called “Party Cat” utilizing all handmade props and both order-able and on-demand insta-pics.) We were sponsored by a local distillery called Wild Roots, who donated 4 bottles of their finest infused vodka, and we rocked the house with sounds courtesy of our favorite DJ. At Dusk we handed out sparklers and had a mini dance-party on the sidewalk.
UN: What is unique about your business?
Redux boutique is a one-stop non-traditional artisan-shop. We do not carry traditional jewelry designs, but love specializing in recycled materials and unusual, edgy design. We strive to stay unusual, from our selection of curiosities and oddities, jewelry and objects made from unique and recycled materials, to the quirky way we display things in order to enhance the customer’s shopping experience. We have items made from bike tires, recycled bottle glass, typewriter keys, butterfly wings, animal bones and teeth, record vinyl, floppy discs, books, coins, resin, wood, seeds, leather, utensils, bullets, piano keys, antler, buttons, shells, watch parts, Legos, guitar strings and more. We feature handmade work by local designers as well as a gallery with a wall featuring a different local artist every other month. We love featuring locally handcrafted items, but understand the reality that not everyone can afford “boutique prices” so we also mix in similar objects and wearables from fairly traded import companies. We showcase a huge variety of work from over 300 artisans and companies, keeping a carefully curated blend of fabulous finds, staying not just on trend with what’s new and hot but also with classic, wearable designs.
Opening receptions are monthly every First Friday of the month, and we participate in this art-walk alongside similar like-minded galleries and boutiques in the area. These events are a ton of fun, often spilling over into the streets, featuring DJ’s and special events and trunk shows (usually in the summer), always highlighting local artists who are rooted in an edgy aesthetic or unusual design.
UN: For you, what is most important about the customer experience?
Creative inspiration! Since day one, I have always sought to inspire visitors with a unique shopping experience that incorporates our artful displays, often made from recycled and unusual materials, just like the merchandise. We adore the art of reinvention and have a bunch of lamps, cases, and display fixtures made from unusual parts and combinations of vintage materials. It’s important to me that we demonstrate our green sensibilities in every aspect of running our business. We promote social sustainability and creative reuse in every sense of the word. Even our tags are made from recycled card stock we get from a variety of sources!
UN: How would you describe the community that surrounds your business?
Currently, our neighborhood is blossoming with local designers, unique boutiques and interesting shops and restaurants. Sometimes our hood is called LoBu or Lower Burnside and it’s a part of the CEID or Central Eastside Industrial District. We are a member of the CEID business association, and attend the “Makers and Merchants” meetings in order stay informed with local happenings like the Night Market, and to get involved with community events like SOLV’s annual neighborhood cleanup.
UN: What do you think makes your shop a great fit for Portland?
Newcomers to Portland have a good sense of the unique flavor of PDX stores being heavily oriented towards the funky & unique, with an emphasis on originality, sustainability, green business practices and clever design. Our makers are clever and crafty, consistently making it easy for us to showcase their prolific work and represent them as members of a larger creative community. I like to think Redux exemplifies that flavor and represents the values and sensibilities of its local artisans to a “T”.
UN: What is your favorite thing about Portland?
Probably my favorite thing about Portland is the awesome mix of culture, arts, music and amazing restaurants in close proximity to so many kinds of parks and natural area. It’s the best of all worlds, both urban and rural, with so many great escapes so close to the city. Washington Park, The Rose Test Garden, Macleay Park, Tryon State Park, are all so accessible. It’s conceivable to cover all the bases in a single day… one could go for a nature walk and forget you are in the city, stroll through one of several amazing shopping districts, and then land a table at a 5-star restaurant (take your pick, there are hundreds), and top it off by heading straight for an incredible live music show, comedy club or nightclub to top off a perfect day.
One of my favorite places to spend the day is Edgefield, which is a McMenamins brewery, winery, theater, Inn, and Spa. So many things to enjoy there, it truly has something for everyone. In the summers they host some of my favorite flea markets, including Cracked Pots and Plucky Maidens.
UN: What part of town do you live in, and what do you love about it most?
I live in North Portland, on the corner of Williams and Alberta street. I renovated an old Baptist Church into a duplex about 6 years ago, and live in the front while renting out the back.
This was an enormous endeavor, but worth it every step of the way. This decision to renovate instead of demolish an aging building is congruent with my general philosophy of the importance of urban renewal. It is upheld by my belief in the importance of respecting the historical and cultural heritage in the area through preservation and renovation. Now I get to enjoy a truly unique home with tons of history, oozing with personality and quirks to match my own personal history.