After six years in business, all on the east side, jewelry designer Katy Kippen has moved her custom, handmade jewelry enterprise, Grayling Jewelry, from the Bindery Building on Sandy Boulevard in the Kerns neighborhood to 1609 N.E. Alberta St. in the Alberta Arts district.
“We opened our doors six years ago in the Central Eastside, then three years ago in Kerns,” said Kippen. “This year, we moved our entire headquarters to Alberta and opened on June 26. Our official grand opening is planned for the weekend of September 10 and 11 – the same weekend as the Alberta Sidewalk Sale. We’ll have complimentary mimosas and local Coco Donuts all day to celebrate. As a way of giving back to the neighborhood, we will be donating 100 percent of the weekend’s proceeds from our popular Baby Disc earrings to Alberta Main Street.”
The road to opening on Alberta was long, and presented Kippen with several roadblocks.
“Even though Grayling is well-established, we had a difficult time financing the project,” said Kippen. “We also had a hard time locating the right space with the real estate market booming. We wanted lots of natural light and a size small enough to feel intimate, but large enough to house our jewelry-making studio. To top it all off, we needed great foot traffic from locals and tourists.”
Last fall, Kippen met Angie Heiney and Ali Wykhuis of Frock Boutique and they encouraged her to keep shopping for space in the district. With help from the Small Business Development Center at PCC, Kippen finally found the space she was looking for.
“It was worth the wait,” said Kippen. “Alberta has some of the most exciting energy in the city, due to the huge number of independent businesses. The folks at Alberta Main Street are doing a great job of ensuring a vibrant, local-centric community with their grant program, retail happy hour, and street fair. We asked our customers where they might want us to move, and time and time again the answer came up ‘Alberta.’”
The furniture for the new space was custom built by Absolute Construction and materials were sourced from about nine local businesses, including Pearl Hardware and Oregon Tile and Marble.
“I’m especially in love with our center display table – it weights 1,000 pounds and is wrapped in Carrara marble,” said Kippen. “Having great restaurants like Helser’s and Random Order nearby and fantastic fellow retailers like Barista Red Sail, Collage, The Shoe Store and Green Bean Books made the decision to open at 1609 an easy one. A salon will be opening right next door at 1607 next month, and we are super excited for that.”
Kippen’s grandfather, a professional stone cutter, encouraged her to take a jewelry making class in high school.
“Not long after that, I sold my first designs out of my locker,” said Kippen. “After a stint in the fashion industry, I founded Grayling in 2009. When I launched, I made a conscious decision to hand-make our jewelry in the U.S. – which creates local jobs and assures our pieces are of the highest quality. Every single piece of Grayling is handmade in Portland, and our line is sold in more than 100 independent boutiques nationwide. We don’t outsource or mass produce and nothing is done in a factory.”
Grayling’s collection focuses on modern pieces and convertible styles that can be worn in multiple ways. All Grayling pieces are crafted with nickel-free metals, for customers with sensitive skin. Grayling has a legion of loyal fans, including some famous faces like Courteney Cox and Amanda Seyfried. In 2014, Martha Stewart Living Magazine named the Northeast Portland business a finalist for their American Made Awards.
“We believe jewelry shopping should be fun, said Kippen. “Our signature open displays allow our customers to play with the jewelry, experiment and enjoy themselves. Most of all, I think we offer a beautiful collection of jewelry that I’m convinced every woman needs to try on for herself. To me, Alberta feels as authentically ‘Portland’ as a street could get. I apprenticed under John Rink – a longtime, well-known Alberta Arts neighbor who passed away this year – and my husband and I have called Northeast home since we moved to Portland in 2004. We bought our home in 2005 and never want to leave.”
Grayling Jewelry is open from 11:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and until 7:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. They offer complimentary champagne daily, and have a happy hour special every Wednesday from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m., which is announced on Instagram the day of the event.
For more information call 503-548-4979 or visit www.graylingjewelry.com.