Business Spotlight #4: Etcetera
Etcetera Gifts & Goods was the dream of mother/daughter duo Sherry and Brie Wissler. Sherry was an experienced business owner and retail sales representative, having run Generations, a maternity and children’s clothing store on Hawthorne for 15 + years. Brie was an artist and stylist specializing in jewelry, home décor and furniture. With their powers combined, they launched in the smaller space behind Etcetera’s current location on Lombard in August of 2011.
At the time of their opening, Grammy & Nonna’s Toys occupied the front of the property but within the first 6 months of opening, the toy store closed and the duo jumped at the chance to move into the larger shop space. They didn’t have enough inventory to fill the space when they moved, but Brie said they “went with their gut” and didn’t let the doubt of “Why are we expanding? We’ve only been in business for 6 months” stop them from building the store of their dreams. Sherry’s business experience provided a great safety net for them to explore, experiment and expand Etcetera into the store that it is today.
Etcetera is filled with beautiful products for kids, men, women and the home. They specialize in products that are local, handmade, fair trade or sustainable. They have been a longtime seller of Betsy & Iya jewelry and Appetite bags, both of which are Portland companies that have experienced huge growth in the past few years. Brie explained that this is one of the most exciting things about working with local artisans. She gets to provide a retail space to highlight their creations and watch them grow and evolve their styles over time. It’s gratifying to be able to support artisans as they launch their careers.
Jewelry, cards, candles and beard oils have been best sellers, as of late, but Etcetera is also expanding the clothing section of the store, which features fair trade, organic and locally screen printed products. There are also baby clothes and toys, perfume, home décor, hats, purses, flasks and more! The retail space is family oriented and it has always been important to them to make sure there is enough room for strollers and wheelchairs to navigate the space. It was important for Sherry and Brie to create a space where everyone felt comfortable and welcome.
Earlier this year, Etcetera had a heartbreaking loss. Sherry passed away after a 4-year battle with cancer. Brie explains that her mother taught her so much about the ins and outs of running a retail business, and that their business was a true collaboration and friendship. It has been a challenging year, as Brie has taken on all aspects of running the store. She explains that she is even more committed to the business after having gone through a loss of this magnitude because she is still wants to do this. “You just can’t continue to take on this much work and responsibility if you don’t have the passion for it after such a tragic loss”. The store is a continued way to honor everything her mother taught her; and a tribute to the dream that they built together.
Etcetera is part of our local St. Johns economy. Brie lives just a few blocks from the store, she grew up in Portland and has watched the city grow and change. She thinks it is important to know where your dollars are going, to know the story of the shop owners and artisans that you are supporting with your purchases. Etcetera seeks to promote and highlight the work of local artists and fair trade international artists. Some of Brie’s favorite products in the store include hand woven baskets made by an African women’s collective that teaches the women business skills, vibrant wool purses by Manos Zapotecas, a women’s collective in Oaxaca, and St. Johns jewelry makers Frawn & Indigo Alice. There are also vibrant cruelty free nail polishes and matching flasks by Odeme, because who doesn’t need a matching flask made in the USA? This is just the tip of the iceberg for unique gifts. There are so many more treasures to find, so stop in today. Brie says that many people come in and say “I’ve been in St. Johns for a year and have never stopped in until today”. Well, if that’s you, the time is now. What are you waiting for? Explore all your local stores and businesses, you might be surprised at what you find! Etcetera is open Tuesday-Saturday 10-6 pm and Sunday 11-5 pm, and will have extended hours throughout the holiday season.
What’s next for Etcetera?
Join them for their 1st ever Fall Fashion Event, Friday, November 10th from 6-8p! Check out all the newest styles and new brands of Organic, Fair Trade and Local apparel and accessories. Enjoy discounts and refreshments and be the first to shop limited production items.
They will be participating in Little Boxes, a citywide shop local program that provides incentives and prizes for shoppers supporting local businesses on Black Friday! Go check out the adorable felted animal ornaments and other holiday decoration and gifts in the store.
Follow them on Instagram @etceterapdx. They do contests and drawings to win free products!
They are hiring a part-time salesperson for the holiday season. Drop a resume by the shop to apply!