PORTLAND, Ore. -- It’s an iconic Oregon symbol, an outline of the state with a green heart in the middle.
So you might be surprised to learn that when Chris Bucci first came up with that sticker, he could barely give them away, let alone sell them.
It all started in 2003 at a coffee shop on Northwest 23rd in Portland. Bucci was out of work and thinking about leaving Oregon. That’s when he saw an 'I love Portland' bumper sticker.
“I want to make a sticker," Bucci remembers telling his friend. “And she said, 'Go ahead buddy, make a sticker.'”
So Bucci drew the outline of the state on a napkin. He said the whole time he was thinking, “My heart is here, my heart is in Oregon.”
A heart everyone but Bucci insisted should be green.
“The only person who ever said the heart should be red was me!” said Bucci.
With his last few dollars, Bucci had 1,500 stickers printed up and he hit the streets trying to sell them. He couldn’t sell even one. Until he took out a pair of scissors and started cutting them out in the shape of the state.
“Then someone comes up and says that’s a really cool sticker. Where’d you get that?" He said. “And what they didn’t see was I’m down here cutting away at stickers.”
Just as the sticker was picking up interest, Bucci landed another job and pretty much put the idea on hold until 2008. Then he decided to go all in and make the Heart in Oregon brand his full time job.
Now, even he is somewhat amazed by the demand for his simple design that seems to show up on just about everything.
“Hats, pints, growlers,” said Bucci. “I mean, who doesn’t love a growler, right? Especially in this town.”
Bucci says he has had a lot of help and made a lot of mistakes along the way, but there is no doubt his heart has always been in the right place, in Oregon.