Friday, January 2, 2015

Fridays With Foz

Leland Duck & Chelsea Howard Duck
In our first installment of "Fridays with Foz" I will be interviewing the owners of Revive Upholstery & Design: Leland and Chelsea Duck. From what I have gathered, having lived with them for almost three years, the two met in Southern California in 2007. Having had their fill of the California life, they decided to move to Portland in May of 2009. 

Fozzie: What made you decide to move to Portland?

Chelsea: I had lived in California my whole life and always wanted to move up North. When we met, we realized that California wasn't where we wanted to base our lives, and decided to leave. I had a close friend who lived in Beaverton, so we visited her for a weekend and just decided to go for it. 

Leland: The economy had taken a nose dive and there were no opportunities for us in California. I had two rather crappy jobs, and it was pretty miserable. So we decided to move to a city with the highest unemployment rate...

F: So I take it you moved to Portland with no jobs?

L: Well, Chelsea had a job and worked from home for a company in California, unfortunately it only lasted a month. I did not have a job, and pretty much spent every day searching for employment. I started selling at flea markets, and swap meets, spent a lot of time on craigslist finding cool stuff to sell. Every day I would dedicate a few hours to walking into town, introducing myself to each business and asking if they were hiring or knew someone who was hiring. 

C:  It was actually on one of these walks that Leland kind of found his way into furniture upholstery.

F: How so?

L:  There was a building that was a few blocks from our house, and one day I walked by and there was this cabinet or table, I can't remember, on the curb. I was all ready to grab it, when the owners (Jim & Donna Moulton) came out and told me it wasn't a freebie. We got to talking and they mentioned they were looking for an upholsterer. I had gone to school for automotive upholstery, but had never done furniture before, but I told them I could do it. 

F: And Revive Upholstery was born!

C:  Not quite. We both ended up finding full-time jobs, but Leland would do projects for Jim and Donna to make extra money. When he first started, he was doing everything out of our living room and garage. We used to have couches in our hallway, and there would be staples all over the floor. It was kind of a nightmare, but he started getting really good at what he was doing and more people were seeking him out. Pretty soon he was spending all his free time doing upholstery.

F: So when did Revive become an actual business?

L: I spent about two years doing the upholstery out of the house, and also selling vintage items online. I had a cabinet on craigslist, and Robert (Robert Rahm from Beam & Anchor) came by to take a look. We got to talking and he mentioned he had a building and was looking for people to form kind of a shared creative space. I immediately jumped at the opportunity. We met with Robert & Jocelyn a few times and in July of 2011, I moved into Beam & Anchor and formed Revive. 

F: Were you both excited?

C: I was actually terrified. Leland originally was going to keep his full-time gig and transition slowly into his new career. However, he abruptly quit his job about a month and half later, and I admit I freaked out. I knew he was talented, but I was so scared of the unexpected and the economy was still pretty bad. I gave him a hard time about quitting. He made the right decision though, and I have never been so happy to have been so wrong.

F: What made you change your mind?

C: There were a lot of reasons. Leland is one of the most talented, driven men I've ever met. He's extremely determined and watching him take this huge leap was really inspiring. Incredibly scary, but inspiring. We also had this great community of people who were all kind of in the same boat. It was an amazing support system for him, and I will never be able to thank all the lovely people from Beam and Anchor enough.

L: I also think that the city itself had a lot to do with changing her mind. Portland is such a supportive city for small businesses. The people here generally want you to succeed and are willing to help you in any way they can. We could have never started Revive in California, and I'm so glad we ended up here.

F: So how have things changed since 2011?

L: Well we've grown a lot. We have a great clientele, and have had the chance to work with some amazing interior designers, and other craftsmen. We hired a full-time employee, Kelly Rogers, last year which has helped us so much. She's an incredibly talented designer. We also have a great part-timer, Carson Brom, who helps with tear-down and keeping us current on whats hip in music. Chelsea got to join the team this year too, working on all the behind the scene, admin, business-y stuff. We're also concentrating more on one of kind pieces that we get to design and produce. I'm also focusing on producing a product line in 2015. It's been a long journey, but I feel like we're finally getting where we want to be and having fun.

C: We've also had some amazing opportunities just in the last year. Rejuvenation invited us to have a pop-up in their Portland location. It has been such a huge deal for us! We'd never had a showroom before and were only able to display a few items here and there in different spots. Having a whole room of just our pieces has just been such an amazing experience. It's led to Rejuvenation carrying a line of our pillows, which is awesome. We also were invited to show a piece at The Museum of Contemporary Craft, which is just an honor. It's one of my favorite museums in town, so it's so cool to say we have a chair there. 

Kenton: Home of the Paul Bunyan Statue
F: Speaking of showrooms, I was told you have some big news?

L: Yes, we are excited to announce that we will be moving into our own building in Kenton this spring.

F: That is exciting! I hear there's a pretty nice park near by...

C: Yes, there is. It's a fantastic building, and although we are sad to be leaving our home at Beam & Anchor, we are really stoked to be making this move.

F: Well it seems we just have time for one more question, so seeing it's the new year, do you have any resolutions?

C: I have quite a few, but the biggest one is just to be more organized. Boring, but with the move and all the things we want to accomplish, it's definitely a necessity.

L: I don't know! Eat more candy? I just want this year to be one of the best years for Revive. There's just so much to look forward to, it's exciting.
The Revive Crew at the Feet of Paul Bunyan:
From Left: Fozzie, Leland, Chelsea, Kelly and Carson

Next week: Join us for a small glimpse into the wondrous life of Kelly Rogers. 


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