Birds of a Feather: Beam & Anchor
We find inspiration in other businesses and organizations who, like us, work to promote a love of good design and an appreciation for fine craftsmanship. In this series, which we call Birds of a Feather, we'll share stories and ideas from around the world that reflect our own values. We hope that you find them as inspiring and thought provoking as we do.
Beam & Anchor is a perfect example of ideals in action. Founders, Jocelyn and Robert Rahm have created a retail and work space in Portland, Oregon that artfully combines product with process. When I contacted Jocelyn about this post, she shared that she wore our shoes for years and attended nearby Syracuse University. It's a small world, I tell you. Small.
Beam & Anchor is such a wonderful example of synergy in action. How did you hatch the plan to create this innovative space?
Beam & Anchor originated a couple years ago when we both got disillusioned enough with our respective career paths that we decided to start taking our passions more seriously. We took our love of design and community and merged them into what is now Beam & Anchor. Robert has a background in wilderness therapy and I have a background in teaching and life coaching. This is where the community piece comes into play. We both are passionate about the idea of building community and challenging what's possible within that realm. Robert has been reclaiming furniture for years and I am a painter so we wanted to create a space where makers and artists could commune, collaborate and ultimately thrive. We also wanted a space where we could sell unique and beautiful things to the community.
You have said that Beam & Anchor is not just about "craft", and that "good design is critical" (via this Dwell article). What design rules or principles do you live by?
We don't adhere to rules or principles, perse. What we're looking for is a certain feeling. Objects, not unlike people, have an energy and the energy has a resonance so we're looking for a certain resonance. We love the juxtoposition of new and old for this reason. Old things have a history and carry stories with them. We have a couple old opera chairs from the 19th century in our shop right now and they have such great, old texture. Their history is almost palpable when you sit in them. Then we have new lamps that are handmade locally by Shannon Guirl of Caravan Pacific and they're innovative interpretations of mid-century designs. What we're after is great design and good stories. We've also tried to keep our collection as local and hand-crafted as possible.
Your shop combines vintage goods and handmade items. What is the unifying element or philosophy behind this pairing?
I think it's about the relationship between history and innovation and how they interplay together. There's so much wisdom that comes from history and so much possibility that comes from innovation. They are mean't to work in harmony with one another.
I have always found that creative energy leads to decisions and directions that I never anticipated at the start. How has Beam & Anchor responded to the creative energy that you've nurtured?
Beam & Anchor has taken on a life of it's own. We may have "birthed" the concept and we will influence the course of its trajectory, however the genesis of Beam & Anchor will be very much informed by what shows up along the way. We are very excited to see where it goes from here.
We're very excited to see that you have plans to create an online shop. Do you have any updates or information to share with those of us way over here, on the East Coast?
We'd love to have our online shop up and running by 7/1/12. No promises but that's our goal.
What advice would you give to others who are inspired by your business model and want to create their own collective?
The heart of a collective is always the people that are involved so find good people. When you do something that's a little bit off the beaten path, you'll always face criticism or folks that don't get it. That's all part of the process and it's meant to test your commitment to your vision. Above all, find the joy in making it happen. Don't let what's not working derail you as that's part of the creative process too.
Thank you for inspiring us, Beam and Anchor!
« Previous: A Letter Worth Sharing | Back to Blog articles