With Love, From PDX
Inger McDowell-Hartye is the curator behind With Love, From PDX. She’s combined both her passion for community and locally-made goods to grow With Love, From PDX into a successful company. Launched in 2015, her company curates gift collections with some of our city’s most adored brands.
What inspired you to start your business?
Actually, failure inspired me to start my business. Prior to starting With Love, From PDX, I co-owned another gifting company and because of creative differences, I decided to move on. Instead of quitting something I really enjoyed, I launched my own company and continued to design gifts inspired by locally-made goods.
What is the hardest lesson you learned during your first year in business and how did you overcome it?
I think the hardest lesson I’ve learned is that building a business is hard when you work a full-time job. There are a lot responsibilities in running a company and I think that I’m more thoughtful about time management. I develop a work plan for activities every week for my business and do them methodically to help my business grow.
What was the most useful lesson or advice you learned at MCNW?
I think the most useful advice I received was at a recent MCNW workshop. The instructor asked us, “How we fit into the lives of our customers?”. I think that question really resonated with me because in my industry, you’d think anyone could be a customer but marketing and finding my customers have been one of the most challenging hurdles of my business development.
What excites you about doing business in Portland?
I’m receiving more business from around the country which is exciting! With Love, From PDX is a reflection of the city’s local maker movement. As the city’s regional and national influences grow, I think my business will grow and continue to offer some of the city’s best goods and products in designed gift collections. I’m proud to represent Portland’s makers!
If your business had a spirit animal, what would it be and why?
I think it would be an elephant because they’re smart, strong, and patient. In business, I think some of these characteristics are vital if you’re going to go the long haul.
If you could travel back in time, what advice would you give your pre-business self?
Slow down. It all doesn’t have to happen today. I’ve got lots of energy and it’s the first thing most people notice about me and sometimes that works to my disadvantage. When I first started I was trying to cater to too large a market and people weren’t biting. I really needed to slow down and figure out who my ideal customer was and tailor my boxes for them.
How have you personally grown since starting your business?
I have grown to better understand my priorities for my business and focus on what matters to me. I think about the impact my business can make in the region and I want to inspire young people of color living and growing up in Portland to see that owning a business is a possibility. I’m very committed to giving back to my community and I hope my business will continue to grow as a result.
What lies in the future for you?
I’m not sure but I’m sure I’ll keep gifting until I figure it out. My business has been operating for two years and is growing every year, I’ll probably triple my revenue this year over last. I have also been focusing on developing a deeper relationship with my clients and learning how I can better serve their needs.