Update (1/31 9:00am): @ASourAppleTree is our winner, thanks for entering our Small States giveaway.
Small States offers us an opportunity to showcase unique companies that we’ve discovered here in the United States. Telling the story of those who’ve made the conscious decision to create something here rather than there. Today, we bring to you Schoolhouse Electric of Portland, Oregon. A company that has been around for over a decade creating beautiful home goods that remind us of every style over the last 120 years.
From hand-blown lights to meticulously designed clocks, well designed home goods abound from this gem in the Northwest. What was born out of a desire for quality products has become a true American story that Small States is all about.
This is Schoolhouse Electric.
It all began in the basement of a retail store where founder and owner Brian Faherty first began developing his vision for Schoolhouse Electric. For the former Realtor who made his way selling historic homes, he began to notice that many of the fixtures and antiques that dotted his homes held a much higher quality in design than its modern equivalents. Brian set out to change that, updating these last-on-the-list lighting to something that standout amongst its surroundings.
Since 2003 Schoolhouse Electric has experienced steady growth, with ebbs and flows during the recession. Built around the belief that quality lasts, Brian’s crew has become quite the success story in Portland. Gone are the days of the retail basement as they now design, prototype, manufacture and sell the majority of its goods in a beautiful Northwest side of Portland riverfront factory. If the visuals of the products are not enough, the tour of the building will make you want to visit. Certainly, it is easy to see where the inspiration comes from.
When looking through the inventory that Schoolhouse has to offer, the intentionality of design is not lost on the viewer. Every piece of the puzzle seems to be carefully placed, offering a wide range of goods depending on the needs of your home. They’ve made a conscious effort to manufacture the vast majority of their line-up at the Portland location. If they feel that someone else makes it better, then they’ll reach out and offer a medium to sale that good. Schoolhouse utilizes a wide network of vendors across the United States that not only provide completed products but pieces needed for manufacturing certain goods as well.
A big part of what makes Schoolhouse Electric so unique is the manufacturing process. For example, they’ve gone back to using iron casts for blowing glass lamp shades, which was a very popular way of creating lamps in the early 20th century. By doing so, each piece of glass comes out as unique as your own fingerprints. While modern manufacturing techniques aimed to create a more uniform product, the one-of-a-kind charm was lost along the way, Schoolhouse aims to bring that back.
We spoke with Lifestyle Developer Jorie Garcia, she highlighted the many ways that make Schoolhouse standout amongst the crowd.
“For me, Schoolhouse is a modern lifestyle inspired by vintage objects. It is rooted in the appreciation for quality, and the idea that well-built objects get better with time.” She said, “Our products transcend time and trend, and we mix the high with the low and the new with the old to create a look that’s classic, yet relevant to our modern ways of living.”
By putting all of the manufacturing, design and sales into one location, this has allowed Schoolhouse to create a very unique working environment. The ability to see every part of the process at a moments notice is key to its success, something that certainly cannot be said about those that choose to manufacture elsewhere.
“I love being apart of the product development process from start to finish. From initial idea, to sampling, to material testing, to styling product for our catalog, we tweak the product in each of those phases until it¹s just right. Our processes and departments are interconnected, which ultimately allows me to work on a variety of teams and meet new people”
Ultimately, Schoolhouse Electric is a purveyor of quality home goods that make a powerful statement. They utilize manufacturing techniques that have been left in the past with many of the products. In addition to creating gorgeous accessories for your home, they’ve made a strong commitment to doing so here in the United States.
This week we are giving away an Ion Lamp from Schoolhouse Electric. This unique table-top lamp has a throwback design that is minimalistic in nature. It has a glazed porcelain base (available in black or white) with a color rope cord. The base sits upon a piece of cast iron that is proudly branded with a Schoolhouse Electric tag. The Ion Lamp is inspired by the original design Thomas Edison used to test the first lightbulb.
To enter this giveaway, follow @9to5Toys on Twitter and retweet the article. If Facebook is more your thing, Like us and share this article with your friends. Additionally, you can enter the giveaway by leaving a comment at the bottom of this article. We’ll choose a winner next Saturday. Good luck!
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