Power of the Purse is Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest's biggest event of the year, packed with a POP Up Shop, live auction fashion show, dinner, and much more! 

Thanks to everyone who made power of the purse 2017 the most successful power of the purse in history! We raised over $430,000 for strong, smart and bold girls. 

For more than 10 years, Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest has had the pleasure of hosting our annual gala, Power of the Purse. In the months prior to the event, many of Portland's most notable leaders, artists, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists work with local purse designers to create a one-of-a-kind handbag. Each piece is a unique work of art that will be auctioned off during a live fashion show presenting the fabulous handbags, the creative individuals who inspired the design, and the bright stars of the evening: our Girls Inc. girls! With extensive media coverage and notable 'Purse-o-nality' participants over the years, Power of the Purse has positioned itself as one of the most innovative and talked about events in our community.

 

LEARN MORE:

2017 POWER OF THE PURSE FUNDED BY:

Please reach out to Charles Milne, Director of Development, at charles@girlsincpnw.org or (503) 230-0054 x102 for questions regarding Power of the Purse sponsorship.

Tiffany Boyd | Founder, What the Festival

Tiffany Boyd is founder, executive producer and co-marketing director of What The Festival. After years of moving to and from East to West Coast she finally found a place to call home in Portland in 2006. Inspiration for What The Festival came from traveling and attending music festivals including 10+ years at Burning Man. 

Tiffany has been involved in several non profits focusing on animals and children including Harper’s Playground. She loves photography, reading and traveling, but for her the best part of traveling is coming home to her two dogs, Caesar and Zoe. 

Tiffany has been matched with Leather Girl Kelley.

Tiffany with her matched Girls Council Girl, Audrey

Tiffany with her matched Girls Council Girl, Audrey

Eden Dawn | Style Editor, Portland Monthly

Eden Dawn (a rare born-and-raised Oregonian) used her bachelor’s degrees in English Lit and Fashion Design to elbow her way to the position of style editor at Portland Monthly. With a love for all things style she’s provided shopping guides for Portland’s vintage hunters, hung out in the glitter-filled closet of drag queen legend Darcelleinterviewed Tim Gunn on Project Runway’s love affair with Portland, and styled fashion features extravagant enough to make Jay Gatsby blush.

When she’s not writing do’s and dont’s for the city, she’s styling the fashion features for Portland Bride & Groom, giving advice on where to shop in Travel Portland, or starring in one of Portland Monthly’s Elements of Style fashion videos. In non-fashion moments she can be found in search of the perfect picnic location or hunkered down at home with her handsome boyfriend and two (borderline dictatorial) girl cats.

Eden has been matched with Mari Lassa.

Eden (right) with her matched Girls Council girl, Tizzy

Eden (right) with her matched Girls Council girl, Tizzy

Stacey Dodson | Market President, U.S. Bank

Stacey Dodson is the President of U.S. Bank in Portland and Southwest Washington, serving as U.S. Bank’s senior executive for the region.

Stacey grew up on the Oregon coast and has lived in many parts of the state including Newport, Salem, Bend and Portland.  During her 32 years with U.S. Bank, she has held various leadership positions in Retail Banking, Business Banking and Middle Market Commercial Banking.

From 2007- 2012, Stacey was a member of U.S. Bank’s winning team of women leaders who were recognized by American Banker Magazine as the country’s “Most Powerful Women in Banking” team.  She was recognized for her outstanding performance as leader who managed one of the nation’s most distressed markets, demonstrating compassionate leadership, a fierce commitment to the client experience and delivering strong financial results. 

Stacey earned B.S. in Political Science & Speech Communications from Willamette University and holds a commercial lending degree from Western Banking School.

Stacey has a long history of giving back to her community through her involvement in nonprofit, civic and professional organizations.  Currently, Stacey serves as a committee member or on the board of directors of the following organizations:

Class Wines Auction, Inc.

Oregon Business Council

Oregon Business Council Healthcare Roundtable

Portland Business Alliance

St. Charles Hospital Facilities Authority

U.S. Bank Foundation – Chair

U.S. Bank Advisory Board - Chair

Stacey resides in Portland with her husband, Chris, and their teenage daughter. She is an avid cook and enjoys great wine and entertaining. She also enjoys gardening, skiing, mountain biking and hiking with family and friends.

Stacey has been matched with Ellington Handbags.

Stacey with her matched Girls Council girl, Eleanie

Stacey with her matched Girls Council girl, Eleanie

Jessi Duley | Owner, BurnCycle

Jessi Duley is on a mission-- A mission to move you.  This pint-sized powerhouse of positivity is the founder of BurnCycle, Portland-based spinning studios that specialize in whole body cycling. Through a fierce commitment to positivity and the belief that significance is the new success, BurnCycle has set out to the change the way people work out. By creating an experience unlike anything else through unparalleled customer service, an unwavering commitment to culture and community and the highest quality coaching, BurnCycle has raised the bar on experiential wellness.

As a woman that finds her power through empowering others, she has grown her company nearly 300% in the 3 years since it’s inception and was just named 2016’s Pearl Business Person of the Year. She is a natural mentor for entrepreneurial women in her city and is deeply committed to philanthropy. The BurnCycle vision mirrors that of Jessi, who believes in the profound impact and ripple effect of positive energy. Instilled within BurnCycle is the intention that if you can change someone’s day, maybe you can change their week, their month, even their year, ultimately helping them find a better version of themselves. And for the 9,500+ Portlanders that ride in her studios every month, those are results that can’t be measured on a scale. 

Jessi has been matched with Looptworks.

Jessi Duley with her matched Girls Council girl, Kaitlin

Jessi Duley with her matched Girls Council girl, Kaitlin

Susan Fairchild | Designer, S. Fairchild Designs

Susan started designing handbags in 2010 when she decided she wanted to learn how to make leather shoes.  She needed to learn how to sew with leather and her love affair with bags started then.  Since then she has built her custom business and is now showing evening bag collections on local runways in addition to recently opening her own retail shop in the Pearl district of Portland, Oregon. She also designed and made a collection of solar powered bags in a collaboration with Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest and FashioNXT and is excited to explore the realm of wearable technology.

Susan Fairchild is both a Purse-o-nality and a designer!

Susan with her matched Girls Council girl, Pootnavi

Susan with her matched Girls Council girl, Pootnavi

Paula Hayes | Founder and CEO, Hue Noir, LLC

Paula Hayes is the founder and CEO of Hue Noir, LLC. She is an entrepreneurial cosmetics chemist with a degree in biology, an MBA and a life-long love of makeup. 

Through Hue Noir, she is sharing her passion for beauty by expertly developing luxury, skin-friendly color cosmetics in a rich palette and premium color effects specifically for women with deeper skin tones. 

Paula began her career as a Research and Development Chemist at American Fruit Processors/Mutual Flavors in Los Angeles, CA. She specialized in new product development for companies in the food, beverage and cosmetics industries. Some of the most notable products she developed included projects for clients Quaker Oats, Snapple and Hanson Beverage. Using her flavor, fragrance and color formulation experience, she branched out to hone her cosmetic formulation skills, while earning her MBA and cross-training companywide to master business operations. 

Her success and business acumen led to senior management positions in business development, finance, marketing, strategic planning and operations at companies including Jobete Music, Ajilon Financial and Northwestern Mutual. 

In 2009, Paula founded Hue Noir and began to meticulously build the business from the ground up. Hue Noir is now finished product ready; it operates its own small scale production facility; it is actively innovating new product ideas; it is building healthy relationships with advisors, industry experts, beauty influencers, marketing executives; and is now poised to become a dominant force in the beauty market for women of color. 

Paula graduated from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR, where she earned her B.S. in biology and was an all-star track and field athlete. She earned her MBA at the University of Phoenix while working full time as an R&D chemist. Currently, she is a member of the Board of Trustees at Lewis and Clark College where she is co-chair of the Academic Affairs and Student Life Committee. 

Paula has been matched with Christina Castillo.

Paula with her matched Girls Council girl, Nina

Paula with her matched Girls Council girl, Nina

Kathleen Lewis | Philanthropist

Kathleen Lewis has been involved in every sector of the non-profit community for over 30 years as a board member chairing numerous advancement committees and fundraisers, and serving on campaign committees. She currently serves on the boards of the Portland Art Museum and Humane Oregon. Kathleen advocates for animal welfare at the state and national level, and works toward changing management practices of wild mustang herds. In addition to spending time outdoors, Kathleen loves to ride her horses and hang out with her dog Zooey.

Kathleen has been matched with Lourdes é Eva.

Kathleen with her matched Girls Council girl, Mia

Kathleen with her matched Girls Council girl, Mia

Peggy Maguire | Senior Vice President, Corporate Accountability and Performance, Cambia

Peggy provides leadership and strategic direction to several key areas at Cambia, including ethics, compliance, strategic planning, corporate performance, enterprise risk management and corporate social responsibility. She also serves as president and board chair of Cambia Health Foundation, where she works with a wide range of stakeholders to improve palliative care leadership, quality, access and understanding through Sojourns, the Foundation's signature program.

Peggy joined the company in 1997 as an associate general counsel and has held several posts, including chief of staff to the CEO, vice president of Legal Services, and director of Litigation & Risk Management prior to being promoted to her current position. Previously, Peggy worked as an attorney at Garvey Schubert & Barer, and served as a judicial extern to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Aligned with her commitment to advance palliative care, Peggy is a member of the PEW Charitable Trust End-of-Life Collaborative, and serves on the advisory council for OpenIDEO’s End-Of-Life Challenge. She also serves as chair of the national board of Friends of the Children, chair of Start Making a Reader Today (SMART), as executive vice president of Doernbecher Children's Hospital Foundation board, and as a member of the All Hands Raised Leadership Council.

Peggy was honored by Dress for Success Oregon with its Athena Award in 2016, by the Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington as a Woman of Distinction in 2015, and by the Portland Business Journal as a Woman of Influence in 2014.

She received her bachelor's degree in philosophy and anthropology from Lawrence University and her law degree from Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College. She has also completed the Stanford Executive Program, and is a member of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Alumni Association.

Peggy has been matched with COLTY.

Peggy with her matched Girls Council girl, Avery

Peggy with her matched Girls Council girl, Avery

Hon. Adrienne Nelson | Judge, Multnomah County Circuit Court

Judge Nelson describes herself as a "people person." She loves talking and meeting with people. That trait is very obvious when you first meet her and are drawn in by her engaging smile and warm-hearted demeanor. Nelson also exudes confidence which was gained not so much by the position she recently achieved but by her good heart, her determination and some of the obstacles she endured to get there. She was appointed by Governor Kulongoski in 2006 to fill Judge Sidney Galton's vacant position on the Multnomah County Circuit Bench.

Judge Nelson was born and raised in Arkansas by her mother. Her father was killed by a drunk driver when she was an infant. Her mother, a school teacher, was adamant that Nelson and her brother be raised with a positive attitude about themselves, about others and about what they would achieve in life. Until her senior year in high school, Nelson toyed with one of two career options. She would be either a pediatrician or an attorney. Two things directed her toward the law. First, Nelson could not stand the smell of formaldehyde. Although she might have overcome that problem, an event that happened as she was getting ready to graduate from high school sealed her fate.

Nelson was enrolled in the gifted and talented program and had the highest grade point average of her 1985 high school graduating class. As one might expect, she was slated to be the valedictorian - the first valedictorian of color. Some school board members apparently were not ready for that. So, the board announced the honor would go to the very close runner-up, a white student. Nelson's mother would not hear of that. She decided to fight. She retained a local law firm and sued. In the end, the school principal resigned and Nelson received the honor she deserved. Nelson describes the entire experience as "awful and hard" but has never let it interfere with her determination to make the best out of every circumstance life throws at her.

After graduating from high school, Nelson attended the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where she majored in English and Criminal Justice. She graduated summa cum laude. She then enrolled in the University of Texas at Austin where she earned her law degree. After graduating from law school in 1993, Nelson moved to Portland to be close to her mother, who had located here a few years earlier. It was important to both Nelson and her mother that Nelson's daughter be raised near her grandmother.

Nelson's first job was with Standard Insurance Company, where she worked as a contract analyst and a compliance analyst. Two years later she went to work at Multnomah Defenders. She worked there for two and one-half years and then joined the Bennett, Hartman, Morris & Kaplan law firm, where she practiced mostly family and labor law. She then accepted the position as Senior Attorney in Student Legal and Mediation Services at Portland State University.

Judge Nelson is enjoying her work more than she ever imagined. She goes to work happy every day and leaves exhausted, but happy. Since being appointed to the bench, most of her work has involved criminal trials, including felonies and misdemeanors. She will gradually begin sitting for criminal trials and then civil trials. Although some training was provided, she gets most of her help by reading various manuals and bench books. Other, more experienced judges are a tremendous help to her and the attorneys appearing before her have also been very helpful.

What surprises her most is how jurors see their role in the legal system. Although some people see jury duty as an inconvenience, others see it as an honor and privilege. Most take it seriously. However, there is a significant number who vocalize their disagreement about how government works. Jurors frequently question the law and want to change it. For example, one juror said he wanted to know what the sentence was before deciding guilt.

Adrienne has been matched with Minou-Minou.

Adrienne with her matched Girls Council girl, Brazil

Adrienne with her matched Girls Council girl, Brazil

Kate Norris | Founder, Winemaker and General Manager at SE Wine Collective

Kate is a co-winemaker, leader, strategist, marketing expert, operational guru and all around organizer at SE Wine Collective. Her detailed understanding and extensive experience in the wine, food and event planning industries has well prepared her to run the new company. Kate’s palate is as strong as many sommeliers and wine critics. she excels at paring food with wine, and drawing out the individual components that make for the best matches. Her favorite wine varietals are those with origins in Burgundy & North Rhone in France. If there was a definition in dictionary for “child of the world,” you would see a picture of Kate. Born in Bahrain to an English father and Malagasy (that’s Madagascar) mother, Kate’s exposure to food and wine is extensive to say the least. She’s lived in England, Switzerland, France and the U.S., and has traveled the world numerous times over. She graduated magna cum laude from Colgate University in Upstate New York and has since worked at management levels with event planning firms and wineries across the U.S. and in France. After an amazing year long experience working and learning how to make wine in France, Kate moved to Oregon determined to make approachable and balanced wines that are affordable to all that love it.

Kate has been matched with Denise Tjarks and the Traveling Machine.

Kate with her matched Girls Council girl, Grace

Kate with her matched Girls Council girl, Grace

Cassidy Quinn | Reporter, KGW News 

Cassidy Quinn reports on events going on around town on KGW News at 4 and Live at 7.

She is a video blogger who loves sports, travel, and technology, and is a bit addicted to social media.

Before coming to KGW, Cassidy lived in Seattle, doing freelance reporting and social media for various companies. Before that, she was in Boston for two years, working as the Director of Digital Creative & Social Media for Boloco, a New England restaurant chain. At Boloco, she traveled around the country and the world, to places like Uruguay and Tokyo, to create videos about the origin of the restaurant's menu items and ingredients.

Her love of travel has also taken her to two Olympic Games. She reported for the Olympic News Service at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games, and worked for the Website & New Media team at the London 2012 Summer Games (where she lived in a tent for a month). She's a bit of an Olympics junkie - if the Games are on, she's live-tweeting it... She also vlogged at Super Bowl XLV, and reported at Super Bowl XLVI.

Cassidy attended Emerson College in Boston, where she majored in Broadcast Journalism and Acting. She is also a wakeboarder, snowboarder, foodie (tweet her which restaurants she should try in Portland!), and music fan.

Cassidy has been matched with SOREL.

Cassidy with her matched Girls Council girl, Kamryn

Cassidy with her matched Girls Council girl, Kamryn

Angela Sheehan | Principal, CFO, Glumac

A 2014 Oregon Daily Journal of Commerce Women of Vision award winner, 2014 Portland Business Journal Women of Influence Orchid Award Nominee, and 2011 Portland Business Journal CFO of the year honoree, Angela Sheehan has served as Chief Financial Officer of Glumac since 2007. She became Glumac’s first female Principal and CFO and through her leadership has worked to empower women and girls within the company and beyond. A formal and informal mentor within her organization, Angela encourages and inspires individuals to pursue STEM focused studies and careers. In addition, she volunteers for several STEM based organizations and mentorship programs, including Girls, Inc. of which she has been a finance committee member and mentor since 2014. She also volunteers her time within the industry providing advice and leadership to industry peers and encouraging career development and networking through various groups. Angela currently holds the position of CREW National Delegate and supported the development of the Portland Chapter of the Deltek Vision User Group.

During Angela’s tenure as the CFO of Glumac she has helped grow the number of company-wide female stakeholders and engineers, and has opened seven new offices including Glumac’s, first international location in Shangahi, China. Currently, Angela acts as not only the CFO, but also the Treasurer and she is a member of the US, Hong Kong and Shanghai Board of Directors.

Angela has been matched with Looptworks.

Angela with her matched Girls Council girl, Nehema.

Angela with her matched Girls Council girl, Nehema.

Kelsey Troy | Senior Vice President, Human Resources, KinderCare Education

Kelsey Troy is Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Community Partnerships at KinderCare Education (KCE). KCE is the nation’s leading private provider of high-quality early childhood education and school-age programs, serving more than 170,000 children from six weeks to 12 years old
at nearly 1,900 locations nationwide. KCE is the parent company of the KinderCare, KinderCare at Work, and Champions brands. As SVP of Human
Resources and Community Partnerships, Kelsey oversees human resources for more than 600 employees, most who are based as KCE’s National Support Center in Portland, Oregon. Part of her role includes managing the total rewards, compensation, and benefits for 32,000 employees
nationwide. She also oversees the company’s Community Partnerships program, which is responsible for charitable donations to nonprofits and community organizations in and around the Portland metro area. Under her leadership, the Community Partnerships team also creates programs and volunteer opportunities for KCE’s National Support Center employees to participate in.

A firm believer that engaged teams produce the best work and drive business, Kelsey challenges her team to build an environment where people are proud to work and continually pushes for experiences that are authentic to the company’s location in Portland and connected to the early childhood education field. Prior to joining KCE in 2014, Kelsey worked in retail, most notably for eight years at ANN Inc. in New York City. While there, she rose from Organizational Effectiveness Project Coordinator to Vice President of Human Resources. As Vice President, Kelsey was responsible for managing
business partnerships with corporate departments and driving a focus on talent and performance management, organizational investment, employee engagement, and employee relations.

Kelsey earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration and leadership studies at the University of Richmond. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she represents KCE on the Oregon Business Council and on the Council’s Education Taskforce. 

Kelsey has been matched with Hand and Hide.

Kelsey with her matched Girls Council girl, Kennedy

Kelsey with her matched Girls Council girl, Kennedy

Susan Wilkerson | Vice President & General Manager of Strategic Global Accounts, Lam Research

Susan Wilkerson has spent over 20 years in large account management for the semiconductor equipment industry and is currently Vice President and General Manager of a strategic account for Lam Research. Arizonan by birth, she studied chemistry at UC San Diego. She self-identifies as a nerd and loves to laugh, mostly at herself. Her supportive and loving husband also works in the technology industry. Susan took eight years off to raise her two awesome daughters, one of whom is now heading off the medical school and one of whom is a mathematics major at Cal Poly. During that eight year “break” she played amateur golf and was six year consecutive club champion. She also served on her club advisory board and was nominated president of the board of the predominantly male country club. Susan is also a co-founder of an outsourced risk management consulting firm and sometimes co-leads medical mission trips to Honduras.

Susan has been matched with Mo&Co. Bags.

Susan with her matched Girls Council girl, Christina

Susan with her matched Girls Council girl, Christina

CHRISTINA CASTILLO*

Christina Wright is a long-time Power of the Purse designer and founder of Bespoke Accessories Group (B.A.G.). With not even a decade under its belt, the Christina Castillo brand is now recognized globally for its trend-setting handbag designs and superior quality leather goods. Each collection is a tasteful mix of feminine meets function and is a tribute to Christina's appreciation for style, quality, and convenience.

Christina has remained committed to producing her line under the expert eye of local designers and leather craftsmen. A true maker and advocate of all things made in America, Christina ran into many roadblocks when looking for the perfect factory to manufacture her bags. She discovered that there were very few, if any, companies still producing handcrafted leather accessories in the United States. With a profound appreciation for the craft and a desire to keep her small business local, Christina founded the Bespoke Accessories Group, Inc., a leather goods design studio and atelier, located in Portland's historic East Bank district. Bespoke Accessories Group is not only the manufacturing hub and headquarters for Christina Castillo but the company is now producing handbags and accessories for a variety of brands from around the country.

 

COLTY*

COLTY is a gender neutral lifestyle brand centered around small leather goods and accessories. The brand was created by COLTON HELFRECHT of PORTLAND OREGON. He has been designing accessories and sewing leather for over 10 years. COLTON wanted to create a lifestyle brand that was androgynous and spoke to both men and women. Blurring the lines between gender and fashion.

COLTY creates timeless leather accessories such as wallets, portfolios, totes, backpacks & body harnesses. The mood of the brand is dark and mysterious but also very modern. Only small limited collections are released every couple months. Giving the brand an exclusive and unique vibe. COLTY mixes bold colors and textures with clean shapes to create a sleek modern look with his leather accessories. The brand is also known for its different use of surface treatments on leather to create intricate textures and patterns.

COLTY leather goods are hand sewn in PORTLAND OREGON. The leather is selected from the best tanneries across the UNITED STATES. Only the highest quality leather cow hides are selected for COLTY leather goods. Each piece is designed, hand-cut, and sewn in a small workshop in SOUTH EAST PORTLAND. A small team of trained craftsman carefully create each piece with precision and care. COLTY is currently only sold privately through Instagram. DM for pricing. A full-size website will launch this Fall.

 

DENISE TJARKS & The Traveling Machine

"My design journey has taken me from Paris, to Hawaii... to Oregon... from suits to bridal to handbags...

I've enjoyed designing just about every type of garment, and fell into the field of handbag design quite by accident a decade ago after turning a piece of precious fabric my aunt had given me into a handbag. While carrying that brightly colored pucci like fabric handbag on my shoulder around Honolulu...a local shop owner tapped me on the shoulder and asked me where I got it. I told her and she placed orders for a collection of bags from me on the spot. I've been running to keep up ever since.

I enjoy working with unusual types of fabrics, and have a fondness for vintage fabrics from the 60s and 70s.  I'll turn just about anything into a handbag from a men's suit... to vintage leather bomber jackets... to a set of silk curtains. Clients will often give me something sentimental to turn into a bag.

Recently, I've incorporated travel into my collections... this is where I see my business evolving for the future.

Life is short... buy the cute handbag."

- Denise Tjarks, Owner & Maker

 

ELLINGTON HANDBAGS

Ellington Handbags was founded in Portland, Oregon in 1986 with its showroom headquartered in its Portland location at 3620 Northwest Saint Helens Road.  It has since become the iconic label known as Ellington Handbags by Mission Mercantile. Establishing itself as a luxury handbag company over thirty years ago, Ellington is now recognized not only domestically, but internationally for its designs. 

The company continues to make its mark upon the handbag industry with various recognitions and achievements acquired over the years and is no stranger to the Power of the Purse event. 

Every piece at Ellington employs the highest level of craftsmanship to create its leather pieces. Generationally owned artisans help to maintain their commitment to exquisitely made purses, totes and satchels. From meticulously sewn handles to beautifully constructed pockets, no detail is overlooked. 

Boutique tanneries in Italy are some of the resources Ellington uses to hand select its fine leathers insuring that every bag becomes a timeless addition to the Ellington woman’s closet. 

Everyone at Ellington, including our master bag designer, Mike Eggleston and Lead Developer Nancy L. Simon, are honored to be a part of Girls Inc. and to participate in the annual Power of the Purse Project.

 

HAND AND HIDE

"Ten years ago I sat on a tiny stool in a small leather shop in the Marrakesh souq, watching as a craftsman sewed a large leather cushion. As I followed his hands rapidly moving back and forth, needles flashing, he happily explained everything he was doing. He kept offering me glasses of tea and I kept watching and listening - utterly fascinated. When, several hours later, I looked down at the tray full of empty tea glasses, I realized that I was hooked before I even started working with leather. 

That began a gradual learning process. Over the next few years as I was wandering around North Africa, Asia and the Middle East, fully a third of my backpack was stuffed with leather scraps, tools and powdered dyes. I continued to seek out local artisans, learning from anyone who was willing to share. I did leather work in all of my spare time, eventually replacing my camera pack with an ever evolving series of leather bags. When I returned home, my travels ended but my passion for leathercraft remained. 

Little did I know back then in Morocco, sitting on that stool, that today I would own a successful leathercraft business. My small company of 3 employees offers a range of hand-crafted leather goods, specializing in smartphone wallets, tablet covers, wallets, travel goods, bike accessories and handbags. We produce everything in our studio in the Ford Building in SE Portland."

- Jeff Amrhein, Owner & Maker

 

LEATHER GIRL KELLEY

"My name is Kayrene and I am Leather Girl Kelley. Thank you for dropping by my online store.

I started this deal in 2007, kind of on a whim. It was an accidental whim. Okay, I didn’t even mean to do it. But anyway, it turns out I just have a natural sense of organic-style, leather design which I have focused on ever since to craft as an art. I love designing and creating, and it delights me to have my creations end up in the hands —and on the bodies — of people who love my work.

I make everything by hand in my leatherwork studio, which is set up for wild, mad leatherwork production created in hurricane style.

Stand back — I am creating…"

- Kayrene Kelley, Owner & Maker

 

Lourdes é Eva

"I am a multi-faceted, thoughtful, and detail-oriented designer with extensive professional experience in healthcare. I draw inspiration from my Mexican heritage, my love for travel, other cultures, the arts, the simplicity, yet mysteriousness of life. I enjoy playing with asymmetry and different materials within my feminine-boyish aesthetic. 

LOURDES é EVA, inspired by my paternal grandmother, strives to create and develop the birth of a fusion between my Mexican roots (the soul, the core of my being) and a girl raised in an American world. LOURDES é EVA helps define the woman who is feminine with a tomboyish flair and uses understated elegance as a form of self-expression. The silhouettes are soft, organic, and architectural in design."

- Nora Matilda Suárez, Owner & Maker

 

LOOPTWORKS

Looptworks is a certified B corporation design brand that creates meaningful products from excess materials. Looptworks repurposes abandoned materials into beautiful, long-lasting and limited-edition products such as bags, clothing, and accessories. With industry experience at Adidas AG, Jockey International, and Royal Robbins, Co-Founder Scott Hamlin is considered a thought leader on the circular economy from a practitioner's perspective. His passion is focused on re-imagining product creation with a focus on zero waste and closed loop manufacturing methods. By re-using the world's pre- and post-consumer excess, the Portland, OR, based brand aims to rid the world of waste while inspiring a generation to reduce their impact on the planet.

Looptworks has been featured on Oprah's O List, The Today Show, The Guardian, BBC, NBC National News, The Washington Post, Fox Business News, and many other mainstream media, blogs, and websites. Looptworks has partnered with major companies such as Patagonia, Southwest Airlines, LUSH Handmade Cosmetics, The Dave Matthews Band, and Toyota - just to name a few. 

**In their first year designing for Power of the Purse (2016), Looptworks collaborated with Purse-o-nality and Grimm star, Claire Coffee, to create The Calvin (pictured first, below). The pack has been mass produced and continues to support Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest with a portion of its proceeds donated to support strong, smart, and bold girls!**
 

 

Mari Lassa

"My Great Grandmother, Mari Lassa, was strong and fearless.  Her life story is one I carry and draw from for inspiration.

Born in the late 1800's in Les Aldudes, a small village in France’s Basque country, Mari was one of 13 children who labored in the farm fields of the Pyrenees. After a leg injury from the hard farming life in the mountains she wanted a better life for herself. 

She came to America, settling in Los Angeles at age 19. She worked as a domestic, then she took a job cooking on a ranch where her older brother herded sheep. Here, she met and married fellow French immigrant Jean-Marie Coudures.

She created a big loving family and a large farming operation with her husband. She was a hard worker and was adamant to continue with French traditions and the French language in the household.  To this day we carry on the lovely French traditions that was such a part of her life and our family has all learned from her about the importance of hard work and perseverance.

Mari Lassa is my family, my hero and my inspiration.

For me, it all started with a little fabric bag I bought in New York.  I loved it so much I went back to the little boutique in SOHO to get another, of different fabric, for a friend. The thing I loved best was that I was the only one in the city that had this great bag!  It was a little way I could feel special and unique in such a big city.

This brought about a desire to design and sew bags.  My vision is to create something to make someone feel special and distinctive in this global world.  I want to design and make bags here in Oregon.  I want my bags to be functional, have simple lines and a raw beauty to them.  I want to be inspired and be inspirational.  I want to follow my dreams."

- Anne Scott, Owner & Maker

 

MINOU-MINOU

Janny Downey, Founder and designer, did her post graduate studies in Paris, France, where she received her degree in design from Le Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne - the world's highly noted school of haute couture. After working at Christian Lacroix and Chanel Haute Couture in Paris, she returned to Portland, OR, to launch her own line of high end children's wear in 1990. In 2003, she launched Minou-Minou, a ladies' handbag collection. This marks her 11th year as a Power of the Purse designer!

 

MO&CO. bags

Mia Scofield, Founder, was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, so nature is a huge influence in the designs for Mo&Co. bags. We use natural components like cotton canvas, antiqued leathers, and high-quality suede. The rugged look of our bags has been described as "not too girly" - which makes sense, as the inspiration for the look is in the celebration of the women's rights movement of the 1970's. 

All of the bags are made in India, so India is a strong influence as well. We work to bring handwork and traditional crafts to our bags to create a look that is rugged and functional... but pretty, too - just the right amount of girly!

 

S. FAIRCHILD DESIGNS*

 

Susan started designing handbags in 2010 when she decided she wanted to learn how to make leather shoes.  She needed to learn how to sew with leather and her love affair with bags started then.  Since then she has built her custom business and is now showing evening bag collections on local runways. Her design philosophy centers around the idea that a handbag should not only ornament its wearer, but make them feel bold, confident, unique, and empowered. She recently opened her own retail shop in the Pearl district of Portland, Oregon where she sells handbags, artisanal perfume, bath and body products, and runs fragrance workshops where clients can mix their own signature scent. She was inspired after a trip to Paris and a private lesson with a master perfumer, becoming captivated by the sense of smell and its power to trigger memories and emotions. She also designed and made a collection of solar powered bags in a collaboration with Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest and FashioNXT and is excited to explore the realm of wearable technology. 

 

SOREL

Founded in 1962 in Canada, SOREL brings its functionality and heritage of expert craftsmanship to the modern world of fashion, where it is inspiring a new generation of doers, builders, and creators. And though SOREL makes more than just boots, there’s a boot in everything SOREL makes. SOREL combines felt, wool, premium leather, and flawless construction with people who aren’t afraid to get their boots dirty.

 

*Girls Inc. is proud to partner with FashioNXT

FashioNXT brings Fashion Week to Portland, featuring talented designers from around the globe to showcase their collection(s) each October. Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest is thankful to be featured each year in one of the days of fashion for 'Girls Inc. Night'. Girls Inc. girls attend the show and sell raffle tickets to the crowd to raise money for Girls Inc. programming before they hit the runway themselves to read the Proclamation of the Day of the Girl and welcome guests of FashioNXT to the evening's show. 

As a part of our partnership, FashioNXT designers (*) participate in Power of the Purse to design one-of-a-kind pieces for our live auction to maximize our fundraising potential. Thank you to FashioNXT and the talented designers that participate in both shows for your dedication and support of strong, smart, and bold girls!

Every year, guests at Power of the Purse have the opportunity to shop their favorite local vendors in benefit of Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest. Shop the Power of the Purse POP Up Shop and donate 25% of purchase to strong, smart, and bold girls in the Pacific Northwest!

 

Fourteen purse-o-nalities partnered with designers to create one-of-a-kind purses. These are the results!

Read about the exciting items that come with each purse--from dinners at local restaurants to plane tickets to London.