2016 was a big year for Walnut Studiolo. We hitched up our britches and made the big move from Portland to our dream home on the Northern Oregon Coast. In some ways the year flew by, but in other ways it felt long and drawn out as so much tension and sad world news flooded in this fall.
We, however, will always remember 2016 as a year of hope and resilience. For Walnut Studiolo, it represented a time to embrace our dreams and commit ourselves 100% to a life well lived (even if that means we have to work our tails off for it). This year illustrated the importance of neighbors and community, and the relentless power of quiet moments. We emerge from 2016 feeling stronger than ever, as a wife/husband team, and as a business.
We’d like to take the time to reflect on some of our favorite happenings of 2016.
A Snowy Move
We started the year off with major drama as we moved our entire life and leather goods business in the midst of a rare snowstorm. We had to put our workshop back together from scratch, take all our systems and stations apart and re-assemble them without significantly disrupting the flow of orders or shipments. And then there was that matter of the one ton work table welded by our friend Ashley… but fortunately five burly movers were able transport it into our new workshop.
Broadening our Community
We’re making new friends out here at the Oregon Coast, but keeping the old in Portland. In the Nehalem-Manzanita-Wheeler area, we started featuring photography of our new products from a local photography studio and began creating community with other artists, makers, food producers and crafters located on the Oregon Coast. For those coming to visit the gorgeous Oregon Coast, here are a few of our new friends and favorite local businesses: Broken Banjo Photography (check out his 2017 handcrafted knife calendar!), Nehalem River Ranch, North Fork 53 (for cannabis fans, check out their Bud & Breakfast events), Oregon Coast Cannabis, Community Supported Fishery, Longevity Massage, Cloud and Leaf Bookstore, and Source: A North Coast Industries Collaborative Project.
We are happy to say we’re still a deeply involved part of the Portland maker community even though we’re a little further away. We go regularly to Portland for supply and vendor runs, and Portland media and tastemakers have continued to embrace us and feature our work, including the Willamette Week, Oregonian, MadeHerePDX, LocalPDX, and many others. We remain fast friends with a number of Portland makers – check out Portland Made for the growing roster!
Celebrating Eight Years
We began our 8th year of leathercraft business in October. They say once you make it seven years you’ll probably survive the long haul, and we have only gratitude to our Walnut Studiolo customers and fans for this. Our sales were strong and constant. It feels like this little seaplane is flying on its own now.
Good News From Around the World
Portugal powered the country for four straight days with renewable energy alone, a major milestone for the clean energy movement.
More than 90 countries participated in a monumental conference on ocean conservation that resulted in a 5.3 billion dollars for conservation and huge swaths of newly protected oceanic regions – much needed in this time of overfishing, climate change and ocean pollution.
In low and middle income countries worldwide, the number of girls in school has increased by 5%. As we get closer to gender equality in educational access, we will likely see a very different kind of global society.
Women and minorities enjoyed record wins at the Rio Olympics.
Protesters at Standing Rock successfully halted the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline after bravely enduring blizzard conditions and below freezing temperatures for weeks.
British Columbia protected 85% of one of the world’s largest temperate rainforests, home to the wonderfully named ‘Spirit Bear,’ a move that was declared “A gift to the world,” by Greenpeace’s Richard Brooks.
To all of our customers and supporters: thank you!
Running a small business dedicated to quality manufacturing that lasts a lifetime isn’t easy, but it is possible with your support. Every order that came through this year made a difference, and made us smile. We appreciate your business and would love to hear from you – your feedback and ideas keep us stitching here on the North Oregon Coast.
We wish you all the very best in 2017!
~ Valerie and Geoff of Walnut Studiolo