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Portland Made: a place for emerging entrepreneurs to come together

If you were laid off or furloughed and now you're thinking of starting your own small business, Portland Made wants to help.
Credit: Portland Made
Portland Made: a place for emerging entrepreneurs to come together

PORTLAND, Ore. — Christopher Dixon discovered his talent for drawing in kindergarten.  

"Ms. Thompson, I remember it was Earth Day, I drew myself picking up trash and she couldn’t believe it, so that’s when I knew I had talent in drawing."

His talent won him the 2017 World Sneaker Championship, a contest by Pensole, a footwear design school in Portland.

After his win Dixon joined the Pensole Footwear Academy as a special projects designer.

"We were doing some really phenomenal things with Pensole with finding talent in diverse communities, in Black communities and we partnered with different brands," said Dixon.

All that came to a halt when COVID-19 hit. Pensole had to put its staff on furlough — tough times for Dixon, a father of two.

"And then, as time goes you have these little people looking at you, so you have to shake it off and continue to fight your way creatively."

With more free time Dixon shifted his focus to  a dream project — Constant Development, his upcoming brand.

"I’ve been working on it for a while now but I think now is the time that has given me the brain space to actually focus on how I want to roll it out," said Dixon. "It’s been a blessing in disguise."

If you, like Dixon, have a creative idea to start your own brand or small business, but don't know where to start, that's where Portland Made comes in.

"We are a networking organization that provides opportunities for makers to get together online and hopefully again someday in person," explained Meghan Sinnott, Portland Made's executive director.

The organization provides actionable resources and educational events to help grow local businesses.

"Anywhere from infancy stage to just an idea that they have about something that they would want to start making, to having been at it for 10 years," Sinnott said.

Portland Made members help each other, brainstorm and share ideas — something Dixon believes is essential to the creative process.

"That idea will eventually grow into something tangible, which is what Constant Development is all about — the thought bubbles of a hat can eventually become a hat that everybody loves."

Dixon is set to launch cnstntdvlpmnt.com later this month.

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