Little Boxes: the end of an era... for us. :)
Posted on August 30, 2017
Back in 2011 (when we were babies, almost 7 years ago...whaaaa!?), just after Will and I had opened the brick & mortar b&i shop, we got a wild hair to start a crazy community shopping event called Little Boxes. We saw a need for an event that would bring attention and focus to all the awesome little/special local shops in Portland on an important shopping day that had historically been dominated by the big stores. We thought there was room for all shops to do well on Black Friday, not just the big ones.
Turns out, we were right. We had the idea in the beginning of November just a few weeks before Black Friday weekend and somehow we were able to rally 90 shops, who believed in us and the event, that first year. That blew our minds and motivated us to keep on going–bigger and better every single year. We eventually launched a beautiful new website, iPhone and Android apps that help folks navigate the shops, and ended our tenure by launching in Seattle last year with over 300 total small shops participating.
Below is when we walked with Senator Jeff Merkley and Commissioner Nick Fish to several local shops. Proud moment.
We are proud of that and proud of the shop owners, the beautiful shops they run, and the customers/communities that have embraced this event as their own. Little Boxes grew way way bigger than us. Oftentimes, even people who have become good friends don't realize it was us who started it. That is exactly how we wanted it and we are thrilled that that is where we leave it.
Over the last few years, we've learned these things: we've loved seeing this event get huge, we love our local shopping community and customers, betsy & iya is seeing constant growth, and running both businesses at the same time during the busiest part of the year was a lot to manage. The birth of our sweet baby girl last December might have been the last thing that convinced us it was time for us to put this great business into the hands of someone who could give it the focus and attention it needs to make an even bigger impact.
We found the best possible buyer for Little Boxes and could not be more pleased with where it's headed. Built Oregon is an Oregon non-profit that focuses on local innovation and entrepreneurship. They have been a longtime sponsor and supporter of Little Boxes and we know they are well positioned to take the special event to the next level. We can't wait to see where it goes and we will continue to be one of the shops on the Little Boxes list and hope you all will continue to visit us.
We are so very grateful to our staff for having our backs when we'd be burning the candles at both ends, to the shop owners who believed in the event from the beginning and became champions for it through the years (and who made it so awesome to be a part of!), to the customers who have used the event as an opportunity to further their engagement with their local community–and just be awesome shoppers :), and to each other for pushing and pushing to make it what it is today. Thanks, everyone. We love you!
-Betsy & Will