Alder & Co. $500 Giveaway

by Grace Bonney

One of my favorite memories of living in Portland, Oregon for a summer was heading across the bridge every week to visit my favorite shop, Alder & Co. I first visited Alder & Co. in 2010 when I was in town to speak at IDSA and immediately felt at home when I walked in the door. Owners Carla and Rebecca have created a shop that embodies all of the things I love most about design (handmade goods, one-of-a-kind designs, pieces from across the globe, dreamy textiles and beautiful ceramics) and made it approachable. Then, to top it off, they invited florist Hilary Horvath to join them in-house to create gorgeous flowers. Throw in a bakery and I’m pretty sure I’d be ready to move in any time. During every trip to Portland since, I’ve visited Alder & Co. and picked up at least a few pieces to bring home for friends and loved ones. It’s quite simply one of my favorite places ever. So I’m honored and so thrilled that Alder & Co. kindly agreed to join us for our BIG 10 anniversary and donate a $500 gift certificate to one lucky Design*Sponge reader! xo, grace

To enter the competition all you have to do is answer this question from the Alder & Co. team in the comment section below!

We love to travel and our store is a reflection of the places we have been. What is your most treasured souvenir?

About Alder & Co.: Alder & Co. is a space of timeless and transportive things, as useful as they are beautiful. For us, having a store is about the discovery of the artist: traveling to different neighborhoods, different states, different countries. It’s also about the discovery of the customers: those from around the corner and those from across the world. Our hope is that it is magical for everyone when it comes together under one roof, or, in the age of technology, under one website.

Photos by Leela Cyd

Click through for an interview with Alder & Co. owners, Rebecca and Carla after the jump!

**Giveaway disclaimer: Shipping within the United States. Gift certificate must be used within one month of issuing and is only valid online. Not redeemable for cash. Cannot be combined with any discounts or promotional offers**

What inspired you to start Alder & Co.?

I co-owned a clothing store in Los Angeles for 5 years but we sold it when my husband was transferred to Portland in 2006. I promised myself that I’d never own a store again, but I should really just promise to never say never. I always loved the West End neighborhood and found the perfect spot for Alder & Co. right next to Gruner Restaurant in May, 2010. Rebecca was there from the start and we’ve been shopping together ever since!

What was the hardest part of starting your business?

The hardest part of starting Alder & Co. was the RECESSION. It certainly wasn’t the best time to encourage people to shop, and the goose egg days were so depressing. Looking on the bright side though, the timing allowed me to get a great space in a great neighborhood as I was one of the very few looking at that time.

What are you proudest of (or your biggest success) as a business so far?

I’m very proud of our growth. It’s been very thoughtful and measured but we outgrew our space and our website last year. We moved into a larger space in April, and launched our new website in November (a giant thank you to our friends at More & Co.) Also, Hilary Horvath joined us with her beautiful flower shop in May and the store has never looked or smelled better! I’m also proud of the relationships the store has allowed me. I’ve made lifetime friends here and it makes for a nice way to spend the day.

What are your next big goals or projects coming up?

We are working on a few proprietary Alder & Co. offerings including a line of coasters, napkins and placemats. Also we recently collaborated with Oui Presse on a small knitwear collection that should arrive any day. I love seeing the Alder & Co. care labels – we are legitimate!!! Never say never….






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  • A brass pendant that held a wax profile found at the Torino balon flea market. It was probably a souvenir for church visitor or pilgrimage and now it is a souvenir from my trip in Italy. 8-)

  • Back in college, I spent a semester in Norway, where I befriended some older ladies I met in a knitting club up in Trondheim. We met every week, almost without fail, to just sit, chat (well, I listened mostly, as I didn’t speak enough Norwegian to contribute much…) and knit. I really began to love these ladies and their commitment to their knitting projects and to each others’ lives. At the end of the semester, just before I left to return to the States, they presented me with a beautiful Marius sweater they had worked on in secret, in order to give me a little bit of Norway to take home with me. I think so fondly of these ladies whenever I wear my beautiful Norwegian sweater. I feel so blessed. <3

  • My most treasured souvenir is a recent acquisition. My fiancee took me to NYC after I passed our state’s bar exam. We had never been to NYC together and we spent all of our days walking around and exploring. While in Brooklyn, we stopped into a small shop with colorful paintings in the window. After talking with the shop owner about his relationships with the artists in Mexico, we walked out with a small Guadalupe art piece that says “Care for This Home” in Spanish. We recently moved and this art is one of the first things you see upon coming into our home. It constantly reminds me of our fun trip and how important it is to take time to explore.

  • I had many unbelievable and awe-inspiring experiences during my trip to Iceland last year, but riding an Icelandic pony up a mossy volcanic mountain was one of the most exhilarating and unique things I have ever done. The beautiful Icelandic Alafoss wool blanket I brought back has those adorable little horses woven into it and I smile a little every time I look at it at the end of my bed. I bought it at a beautifully curated store in Reykjavik called Geysir. ♥

  • When I turned 25, I spent a month traveling around New Zealand with my mom. I took a bit of a pilgrimage to the Weta Workshop (the guys that did effects for all of the LotR movies, among others) and got a small, wire weta (the native bug that the company is named after)… he lives on my nightstand and makes me smile every morning.

  • Even though it was such a small purchase, one of my favorite souvenirs is a postcard I bought at Pablo Neruda’s home in Santiago, Chile. It is a photograph of Pablo Neruda with his dog which surprisingly the same breed as the dog I have! I’ve framed the postcard and it reminds me of my first trip with my husband, my first international trip without family or school to plan it, and of finding some tiny miniscule connection to a writer that changed my life.

  • Every time I travel to a different country, I try and get one nice souvenir (rather than many small ones) to really commemorate my trip. Now that I am getting older, I am gravitating towards pieces that will become cherished parts of my future home. On my family’s last trip to Europe, we visited the countries that my great grandparents emigrated from. My favorite pieces from that trip are a beautiful porcelain jewelry box from Hungary (which is unfortunately not dorm room safe) and a fluffy sheepskin from Poland. I ended up loving the sheepskin too much to use as a rug, and it currently rests upon the foot of my dorm bed. I often find myself running my hands through it, and it almost (but not quite) works as a substitute for petting my dog, who is 3,000 miles away. It’s a wonderful reminder of my trip with my family, it reminds me of home whenever I’m feeling low, and from now on will be coming with me to every place I live.

  • My favorite souvenir isn’t one specific thing. It’s yarn. I knit and weave, so everywhere I travel, one of my must stop places is always a yarn shop that sells locally made yarn. When I get home, I knit or weave my purchases into small items like scarves or hats, things I can wear often and remember my trips every time I see them.

  • My most valued souvenir is absolutely my Diptyque candle container that I got the first time I went to Paris in 2001. It has long since burned out…but I now use it to hold makeup brushes. I will always cherish the memories it evokes when I see it on my desk!

  • We love to travel and our store is a reflection of the places we have been. What is your most treasured souvenir?

    I love to travel, too, but had only ever traveled in and around my home state of California (where admittedly there is QUITE a bit to do!) before I decided to give myself a chance to travel abroad. (I’d been to Canada as a baby, but that was the extent of my international travels up til age 20.)

    So at age 21, I applied for a short-term job working as a ‘helper’/stable manager/horsepacking guide/trail guide at a small horsepacking business in rural Greece. I loved horses growing up, hadn’t had many chance to ride in high school or college, but wanted to be able to work with them again and ideally be able to travel while doing so.

    After emailing back and forth with Daphne, the owner of the business (White Pegasus Trail Rides), I landed the gig! I spent December through March of 2011/2012 there, and I cannot even begin to explain to you what a life-changing, exhilarating, eye-opening, terrifying, wondrous time it was. I worked hard, 7am to nightfall, every day, and the tiny rural village we were in had lots of gift shops that were open during the holidays but I was always too busy to pop in.

    I always regretted never taking the time to actually buy the beautiful things I saw for sale in the little shops (not having bought the most amazing handmade olivewood honey dipper still makes my heart ache!), but I did bring home one souvenir that I prize above any other. Daphne, for Christmas, gave me a book of photography by Kostas Balafas, a famous Greek photographer. (The book is ‘Photographic Memories of Modern Greece’, and chronicles life in Greece from the 1940’s to 1990’s in phenomenal black and white photography.) The book is mostly in Greek, but that memory of receiving this beautiful little book from my employer who’d only physically met me three weeks before… it’s a cherished one, and I cherish this book quite a lot.

    Also, there is a silhouette of a horse on the cover of the book, so there’s that. Yay ponies!

  • My favorite souvenir is from our honeymoon to Seattle last year, a cheesy key chain with charms from the chihuly gallery, but because I see it all day every day, it helps keep alive our dream to move to Seattle.

  • My most treasured souvenir from a a vacation spot is this beautiful, two, finger banded gold ring, that I bought for nothing on Spring Street in New York from a street vendor. It’s so simple and bold at the same time and it’s unique to me. It always reminds me of the beautiful things about NYC.

  • What is your most treasured souvenir? My favorite would be this little doll I have that was brought back from Ecuador by my boyfriends father, he gave it to us and it means so very much to me…

  • a beautiful temari ball from Japan that my host sister gave me.. it is beautiful and I will treasure it forever!

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  • I’m seriously sentimental…So, it’s challenging for me to narrow down what my “favorite” personal souvenir might be. One of my most treasured objects is a journal I’d purchased from Target for less than $5 over ten years ago. It’s priceless and irreplaceable to me, because it’s filled with sweet messages that my husband and I wrote to each other during the first six-months of our romance. We met in college and had conflicting academic/work schedules. As a means to stay connected and do something cute for each other, we’d take turns having custody of the journal; and while one of us would be away, we’d enter our thoughts and emotions towards each other, into the journal. It’s not much to look at, on its surface… Just a simple cover made of green polyester. But its pages are lined with our first “I love you’s”…Our first fight…even sketches that I drew of him while he was sleeping.

    I look to read the pages and reflect on how much our relationship has flourished, since those early days.

  • My most treasured souvenir is the pieces of the Berlin wall I collected when I traveled to Germany in high school. It was the summer after the Berlin wall came down and such an exciting time!

  • I’ve collected penguins (ornaments, figurines) since college. Some in the vast collection are gifts from loved ones. The rest have been purchased during my travels. My most prized one is the antique penguin snow globe I found in a shop in Sydney, Australia. I’ve stopped collecting because I want to adopt a more minimalist lifestyle but now, those penguins have caught the attention of my adorable 2-year-old nephew Lucas and each time he comes to my house, I gift him whichever penguin happens to catch his eye that day! He now says “Auntie M. loves penguins” whenever he sees one in his books.
    Thanks for the opportunity to win a gift from this store. Wishing I could take a trip there to visit in person soon!

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