While many small businesses closed in 2020 due to the pandemic, Phoebe and Nick Valenti decided to take a risk and open their own. And now, they’re helping other entrepreneurs follow their dreams, too.
When the couple moved from New York to Portland, the first thing they noticed was how friendly and supportive the small-business community was. Coming from artistic backgrounds, the couple quickly fell in love with city’s creative atmosphere and, in August 2020, launched Indelible Ink, a screen printing and embroidery company that focuses on high quality and originality.
And while their business has continued to grow despite the pandemic, the Valentis couldn’t help but notice that not everyone else was having the same luck.
“COVID-19 is messing with everyone’s businesses,” Phoebe says. “I talk to businesses all around the neighborhood, and you can see everybody’s having to pivot and try different business models. It’s a unique time in our history across the board to be a business owner.”
To protect the creative community they love, the Valentis decided to step up and give in a bigger way than ever before.
Helping Small Businesses Hit by COVID-19 in Portland
To give back to the community, the Valentis are partnering with designer Chloe Steinhoff-Smith of Nocturne Collective for a special campaign called Here for Good Oregon.
With Chloe’s clever designs and the Valentis’ high-quality printing, the Here for Good Oregon t-shirts and crewneck sweatshirts are a fun way to raise money for small businesses. And they’re only available for pre-order until March 12.
The best part is that whenever someone purchases a shirt, 50% of their money goes straight to two small-business grant programs called PIE PDX and Built Together.
PIE (Portland Incubator Experiment) PDX offers valuable mentorship and networking to local entrepreneurs so they can succeed, even during the pandemic.
In a similar vein, Built Together provides grants and mentorship to BIPOC businesses, which sadly have been hit the hardest during the COVID-19 crisis.
But what happens when the Here for Good Oregon campaign ends on March 12? Phoebe says Indelible will soon take yet another step to support local businesses by allowing them to create their own online shops through their platform.
“So if you want to sell a shirt or a bag or anything that needs to be printed, we will create a store for you on our website that has your personalized URL,” she says. “You don’t even have to have a website or set up an e-commerce store on your website. You can just sign up through our platform, and we will cross-promote you and give you the profit.”
What makes this such a great opportunity for small businesses is that there are essentially no upfront costs for merchandise since its all pre-sale.
“You just have to sell a minimum of 12, which is pretty low, and then the sky’s the limit,” Phoebe says. “And we’ll just keep making the merchandise. You get the check, and we’ll even ship it to your clients.”
Supporting Portland’s Creative Entrepreneurs
Phoebe says one of the biggest reasons Indelible Ink is pushing the Here for Good Oregon campaign and the online pre-sale platform is to fulfill the company’s mission: help create a creative community.
Since moving to Portland and opening their business, the Valentis have connected with several small-business owners whose passion for giving back inspires them.
Take Café Zamora, for example. The Guatemalan-owned coffee shop launched in 2019 and works directly with Guatemalan farmers to get fresh coffee beans. The goal is to cut out the “absurd middleman” and give coffee farmers the support they deserve, according to the café’s website.
Phoebe says Best Friend Juice Bar & Café is another inspiring example.
“One of the owners has started doing business workshops,” she says. “When I met him, he said, ‘Do you want to sit down and talk about business?’ And I said, ‘Yes, please!’ So in February, he started offering these workshops for other small businesses—and it’s free. He’s just giving away his business knowledge!”
That’s the kind of generous passion that makes Portland unique, Phoebe says—and that’s the one thing she hopes the city never loses.
“People in Portland seem to be very community-focused,” she says. “The attitude is ‘Let’s build up our community,’ ‘Let’s help each other out’ and ‘Let’s shop local,’ at least to a much higher degree than I’ve experienced elsewhere.”
Indelible Ink is working hard to make sure Portland never loses that spirit, and Here for Good Oregon is the first step toward that goal.
Have you gotten your Here for Good Oregon shirt yet? Make sure to snag yours before March 12 to support Portland’s small-business community!