Solabee Flowers, located in the quaint town of Kenton, will surely inspire you to fill your space with natural beauty. Solabee recently moved into a space with Boys Fort and Salvage Works...lucky girls. All three companies share a similar design aesthetic along with similar goals which create an incomparable experience with flawless operation.Collaboration and community are the heart of Solabee. Sarah and Alea, the founders of the shop, work together seamlessly on all projects that come through the door. Four hands fly across the table as they work; collecting a variety of flowers, cutting the stems, soaking, trimming, and working to create arrangements that simply cannot be found elsewhere. After a careful but swift performance, Sarah and Alea have built two dazzling flower arrangements that complement each other beautifully with their differences and similarities.E+E: How did Solabee become an idea? Where did the inspiration come from?Solabee Flowers: Before we moved into this space together, we were making wall pieces with Preston from Salvage Works and we just got to talking. At that point Boys Fort had a pop up shop downtown and we all happened to be looking for a spot in Kenton. The pieces fell together quickly. Our common aesthetic and common values allowed the three businesses to seamlessly blend together. Weall have a similar work ethic and had a connection to the community from the start because a few of the guys lived here in Kenton. We looked all over for a space in Kenton but didn’t have much luck in the time frame we had. Preston was then kind enough to offer the front of his shop to us. We gutted it and redid everything to make it into a retail shop. Two months ago this place looked completely different.This is a segway spot for us. In about a year we are moving down the street to a larger shop, but it will take awhile. We are self-financed and we are choosing to maintain a sustainable business model that works for our lives and the success of the business. We put in what we can take out and we try to continue to utilize the space as best we can.E+E: Why did you choose Kenton out of all the neighborhoods in PDX?SF: We didn’t want a large store downtown because we like to get out of the hustle and bustle of it all. We feel like this is a country store, and growing up in the country this makes us feel at home. Kenton is historically an old cattlemen’s town, cowboys would drive in with their cattle from all over Oregon and would host auctions here. People here have always been independent, and they still are. It has an off the grid feel that we love and the people here are very into a natural, northwest aesthetic, which is perfect for us. It just feels comfortable and right.E+E: We enjoy asking our staple question. So here it is: What is your favorite thing about Portland?SF: We both were born and raised in Oregon. We love the accessibility to the natural world. Sarah’s family has a beautiful piece of land out by the Sandy River, which allows us to grow some of our own products local to the area. We can get great stuff at the markets, which is unusual, but everyone has access to that.Being able to grow our own flowers gives us access to a large variety of favorites. We love growing plants that are a bit more fragile and natural to the northwest. We can grow things year round without a problem. For our career path, it makes life much easier to be able to create at all times without constrictions. Of course, we forage for a lot of stuff as well. We even love to get oak balls and acorns from the nearby parks.
E+E: We can picture the two of you doing this as babies, practically. When did flowers strike your fancy?
SF:We both grew up in the country so the natural world has always been something that intrigues us. At a young age we would go around picking things up from the ground to create bundles of whatever it was that was blooming. We met at a store and always worked well together so when the thought of opening our own business came around, it was only natural.
We love working with what’s fresh that day and getting a beautiful piece together. We just want to get it done and have a good life. Quality of life is very important. Love what you do. Solabee Flowers2030 N Willis BlvdPortland, OR 97217