Back in 2001, Shannon Cramer saw something that would change her life, she just didn’t know it at the time.
The then freshman in high school laid eyes on the movie "Lord of the Rings."
“I was like, oh my gosh, what is this movie?” said Shannon.
Her fascination with the film would first influence her choice of hobbies, medieval combat sports and battle games, played here in Portland and around the world. Then, after graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in art, it would eventually become the center of her business.
“I was searching to build an art practice, but I definitely did not intend to build medieval shields.” Shannon told us.
But after mastering a technique to make the shields tough, her artistic creations were in great demand. Each one starts with a foam core that can be embellished with intricate designs. The shields are then covered with a durable rubber coating often used on cars. It’s a difficult process, but it means her shields can take a beating. It also means they are expensive.
“When people are questioning our price point, I’m like, 'here, let me show you the process,'” explained Shannon. That price point can run from $200 to $500 depending on the size and the design.
The price doesn’t seem to be slowing down sales at the Shield-Shop, though.
“My custom work is steady enough that I myself am sustainable.” Shannon says.
Shannon would love to see her shields carried in sporting goods and toy stores, not just online. She thinks structured leagues for kids and sponsorships for advanced players would be a great way to get more people involved in the games. There is no question, Shannon’s freshman infatuation is still going strong.
“Oh my gosh, it’s so fun to swing full force at someone. It’s so fun, it really is!”