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One of the really cool things about the sock business is that we have a slow season, and although it’s rather less slow these days than it used to be, it does give us time to take field trips to some more exciting photo locations! We recently showed you the new Gelato cart behind our shop, and now we’d like to share another great reason to come visit Sellwood: Oaks Park!
A lot of Portlanders don’t even realize that we have our own wee amusement park down in Oaks Bottom. If you live in Sellwood, though, there’s no mistaking the sound of children screaming (with joy!) that fills the summer air. What’s really special about the park is that many of its buildings have been there since it opened in 1905, advertised as “Portland’s Coney Island on the Willamette”. The oldest remaining ride was built just a few years later, in 1911. In fact, that’s just the ride we chose for this photoshoot – the Carousel!
We were lucky enough to be let in before hours by their lovely and highly knowledgeable manager, Mary Beth, who told us a little bit about the carousel. It’s called a menagerie carousel, because it is comprised of various animals, including a few that are quite unusual! An all-horse carousel is called a Merry-Go-Round, but the hand-carved creatures on this one go above and beyond!
We had so much fun with this shoot that we’re going to have to go back! If you ever find yourself visiting our shop in Sellwood, be sure to check out Oaks Park. It’s a place of wonder and nostalgia for all kids, even if you’re only a kid at heart!
Big news for Portland locals and visitors: our brick and mortar location just got even dreamier! Now when you come down to Sellwood to check out our socks, you can get yourself some delicious gelato, from the Atlas Scoops cart, which is now located on our lot, right behind the shop.
Those of you who may recall that we used to have a neighborhood gelato shop will be glad to know that the new cart is supplied by the same company – Staccato Gelato! We’re indescribably happy to have gourmet gelato from locally sourced ingredients, in our own backyard.
Needless to say, this is great for morale. If you’re not familiar with gelato – it’s basically a fancy type of ice cream from Italy. It’s typically a little bit smoother in consistency, and is traditionally made with milk instead of the cream which is used in normal American ice cream.
Not only is the gelato delicious, but it’s turned our back lawn into a lovely outdoor sitting room! We chose this location for our shop because we love the Sellwood/Moreland neighborhood with its family-friendly atmosphere and pedestrian accessibility, so it’s really an honor to host our friends, neighbors and visitors as they enjoy some sweet treats. We hope to see you there!
Time is so strange. Somehow it feels like our headquarters have been stationed at the Indigo building forever, but it also seems like just last week we were on Powell and just starting our brick and mortar store in the lobby.
The first year we were in Indigo HQ was a time of settling into a new space. The second year has been one of exploring the little neighbourhood around us, finding great places to eat and fabulous places to take pictures!
I’ve got my favourite places nearby, but mostly I stick close to home, wandering at most across the street to the better shade (and often nicer grass).
I have started wandering a bit farther, mostly to some lovely steps Niq has found. They have a sweet flagstone seat next to them that I’m sort of enamoured with.
It’s Niq though, since this is her neighbourhood, who finds the best little spots! For the M45s she took several of us to a little spot where one of the roads end in a sort of cul-de-sac by the river (or stream? I don’t know the taxonomical classifications of bodies of water), that is just utterly verdant.
And she’s found this little path area that is super charming by the currently-under-eternal-construction-park.
Niq has tried to tell me where some of these spots are, but with my terrible sense of direction they may as well be magic shops only accessible if I’m the protagonist in a fantasy story who is being chased by bullies. I mean, check out some of these weird, fun little spots!
And thanks to Zaffie (who you may also know as our Tumblr Fairy) we’re getting even more shots in more fun places, like nearby businesses! I like that these two Gumball Poodle shots were Niq shooting Zaffie (on the left) and then vice-versa (on the right)!
As time goes on our little pool of fun places to shoot nearby will expand, another wonderful gift as the Indigo building turns 2 this year!
With Spring underway and new items rolling in, we felt it was the perfect time to introduce you to the part of our stockroom team that deals with new and seasonal items! While our house brands — Dream Stockings and Dreamer Socks — usually vary only when our yarn supplies run out, our other suppliers are constantly changing! And so it falls upon the part of our stockroom team called “Upstairs” (a holdover from when Sock Dreams was first starting out in a multistory house) to make room for the ever changing selection of new styles!
While we have a lot of hands from various departments assembling orders in the stockroom, the actual organization of this department as well as the huge responsibility of receiving and keeping track of our incoming shipments falls on the shoulders of two ladies: Brenna and Tori.
Brenna started at Sock Dreams in 2007, and does a crazy amount of behind-the-scenes work here, including writing a weekly Sock Journal – somehow she never runs out of inspiration! Her main duty is that of Stockroom Manager, though, and it’s a good thing that she’s a multitasking expert – as she puts it, “The Stock Room team works together to receive stock from our dozens of suppliers, enter it so our awesome customers can buy it and get it put away so us Dreamers can easily and quickly grab what we need for folks’ orders.”
“We also do behind-the-scenes work keeping up with figuring out if a style is gone forever or just for a season, making styles easier to find when searching and keeping an eye out for changes in product.” Whew! It’s okay though – this job can be very satisfying to the right type of brain: “Working in the Stock Room is like playing Tetris, only with way more fun variables to sort and swap and fit.”
Unfortunately, there are some limitations to what advanced Tetris skills can achieve. “It’s sad stuff, but we haven’t cracked the science of wormhole storage space, so we are limited in what all we can fit into our stockroom (and still make it easier for Dreamers to get at for orders—a lot of us are short). That’s why sometimes we won’t carry all of a supplier’s styles, or all the colours and variations of a style.”
Brenna’s favorite items (shown above, on the right) are the Harajuku Arm Warmers and Easy Does It midcalves. “The Harajuku Arm Warmers are so perfect I have to keep from singing their praises constantly on the Sock Journal. About one million great colours, a solid fit for a wide range of hands, so soft once they’re washed! And, and, they have held up through the endless attack I put them through. Sure, they will pill a little as the world rubs up against them, but that’s what sweater shavers are for. I have a pair that I got because they had a hole in them and in the probably 3+ years of regular wear that hole has never gotten bigger.
“But, if I’ve got to pick a sock, then it is the Sockwell shorter styles, like the Easy Does It Relaxed Fit Striped Midcalf. They are seriously comfortable crews that cushion and don’t bite in at all. I have had a crush on the Plush Relaxed Fit Midcalf for a while, because they’re full terry inside and I’m a sucker for terry.”
Brenna’s assistant, Tori, is a newer recruit, starting in 2012. Tori’s primary concern is keeping everything stocked, and that’s a big job for one little lady! Of course, sometimes the ability to stock socks is out of our control, but Tori has some tips on how to be proactive while waiting on stock: “To be notified when an item is restocked, just go to the product page for the item you want, enter your email address, and we’ll notify you when it’s here!”
Tori’s favorite legwear is the Floral Bloom Lace Tights from Leg Avenue. “The pattern is so elegant, but adds and extra flare to make any one of my outfits complete. Because of their elegant design I was able to wear them in my last semi-professional job, and everybody loved them! I can wear these any time of the year, although in winter I’d layering them with some color tights, but I wear these a lot more during the warmer months under skirts and shorts. Even with a lot of wear, what little holes I get haven’t gotten much bigger, but with the design of these tights, I don’t really notice them.”
When asked what her favorite part of the job was, Tori’s reply was in classic Dreamer style, “Being surrounded by so many awesome socks I never knew I love, but most importantly it’s the people I work with. It makes coming in to work fun every day!” Indeed, Tori. Indeed.
Really, you could argue that anything human hands finish or help machines produce is “handmade.” However, when things are knit or sewn by hand, or an artisan’s hands take a machine-made blank and turns it into a little work of art, we consider that hand made or altered and we have a category just for that!
Our Hand Made and Altered section is filled with delights that make for lovely gifts (for others or yourself) that have a personal touch. From hand screen-printed or dyed to hand-assembled or knit, these styles are produced in small batches, often just for us!
Silk-screening is hard work! We know from printing our logo t-shirts! But, a t-shirt is pretty simple to print on. The skill and quality of both Nylon Journal and Polonova in printing their pretties continues to impress us.
Nylon Journal’s USA made tights are hand-printed in New York city!
Polonova’s gloves and trouser socks are hand-printed much closer to home for us, right here in Portland, actually! And, just like Nylon Journal, both the knee-high trouser sock blanks and the glove blanks (fingerless or otherwise) are made in the USA, too.
A trippier option is Love Lite Precision Tie Dye, hand-dyed confections of glorious and brilliant tie dye on (mostly) our house brand styles.
Una, based just North of us in Seattle, are hand-sewn and silk-screened. We also get to pick the colour combos, based on seasonal availability, so a little bit of us is in there too, but just a little, most of it is the wonderful folks of Una!
Texture Clothing’s arm warmers are not only hand-made, they’re produced with scraps from Texture’s clothes-making process, where “nothing is wasted and everything is wanted”.
Of course, because these styles are all hand made or altered in small batches, they run out quickly, so grab what you love while you can! If you miss out, just sign up for email notification and you’ll know the same day we do that a fresh batch is in stock and ready to buy!