Sunday, September 23, 2012

We make Portland awesome: Able and Free

"We make Portland awesome" is a weekly series. I’m interested building our community of artists by helping us all find out more about each other.
This week: Erika of Able and Free

Who are you?
Hi! My name is Erika, and I am the self-taught creator behind Able and Free. I am a Barista by morning, and love that it gives me the afternoons free to work on my business (except the part where I have to get up at 4am! Eek!)

What do you make?
I make aprons and bags with pretty, modern prints. I made my first apron when I was serving, and all of my friends at work encouraged me to make more, so I did!

Besides making things, what do you do?
I love to enjoy a good cup of coffee in the morning; I also love to work on house projects with my husband. When I have time, I love to read novels. Traveling is something I really love to do! I have been quite a few places, but there are so many more to see! I have fun indulging in tasty food (kind of easy to do in Portland ☺). I bask in the sun every opportunity I get, and I love to eat figs! (It’s fig season right now, and we have two trees in our backyard!). Swimming is also a top priority when the season arrives.

What inspires you?
The success of others really inspires me! I love to see how much happiness others get from the success of their small businesses. My husband is also very inspiring, with his positive outlook on life, and Zen vibe. He is so supportive, it really is very important to have someone believe in your talents. Sometimes all I need to do is go to the fabric store to find inspiration, and see all the other people there, excited about their projects. “We all have something in common,” I’ll think to myself as I walk through the store. Thinking of my future with Able and Free is also very inspiring. I am really looking forward to growing my business and seeing where it takes me.

Where can your work be found?
Although I do not currently sell any of my products in stores (although I would love to), my aprons can be found on the Sales Associates at Vosges Haut-Chocolat in New York City, as well as on the Baristas at Pine Street Bakery in Hood River, Oregon.

What do you love about Portland?
Oh what a question! What’s not to love ☺ As far as places go, I love to eat at Grain and Gristle, drink coffee at Ristretto Roasters, and get ice cream from Salt and Straw (amongst one hundred other places). I love to go to the Clackamas for swimming and camping, and seeing live music at the Wonder Ballroom is always a blast (drinks upstairs at Secret Society is always great). OMSI After Dark is so much fun; I love going to the Chinese Gardens downtown; and walking around in my neighborhood of Alberta is never boring.
I love the farmers markets we have here; the local artists and musicians; the commitment to sustainability that the city has (I didn’t realize how awesome we were until I visited some other cities around the US!).
I also appreciate how laid back and friendly the people are here. I feel very comfortable and welcomed in the place that I call home. That’s a very nice feeling ☺


  1. I love my bag from Erika at Able and Free! She totally gets how to create fashionable items that function well and for the duration! Quality and coolness. Two things that I look for in a product and a friend!

  2. I love reading these. And II love your aprons... and your outlook on life!


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