We had the good fortune of connecting with Erika Kelly and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Erika, what do you attribute your success to?
I’ve really focused on two things when it comes to building my brand- quality products and above-and-beyond customer service. When I reflect on it now, it wasn’t like I set out with those two focuses in mind, it’s just how I generally do life. I’m detail oriented, and I’ve always approached others in a very “golden rule” type of way. Thankfully, this translates to good business practices, and has absolutely helped my businesses grow steadily and organically over the years.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve always enjoyed sewing, it was something I grew up doing with my mom. It never occurred to me it could be a career, but after college I started sewing again for fun. I had no expectations, I just wanted to do something creative. I educated myself on proper sewing terminology, I bought sewing books, I watched countless youtube videos on sewing techniques, and I spent hours at the local fabric store learning about different types of fabrics. It was really fun! It felt good to be excited about something and dive in completely without expectations. I wouldn’t say it was necessarily easy, but there is something to be said for being truly interested in a subject that makes learning fun, and at times feel effortless.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I moved to San Diego from Portland a few years ago, so I’ve had the chance to play tour guide to friends and family that have come to visit since moving here. I’m by no means an expert on this city as I haven’t lived here long, but this is a sample of how some days have looked like: -Start the day with a coffee from Cafe Moto and a chilaquiles brunch at El Carrito in Barrio Logan. Afterwards, go for a walk to Chicano Park to see the beautiful art murals. -You really do need to see Balboa Park. You can visit the Zoo, which I very much enjoy for both the animals and plants. But you can also just go see some areas of the park. My favorite spot is the Botanical Building, I pretty much make everyone that comes to visit see it. -South Park is my favorite neighborhood in San Diego, so I would suggest going there and just walking around. There are a lot of cute shops to see, and if you get hungry I’d go to either Fernside or the Fish Taco truck in the Target parking lot called Ocean 97 Seafood. -Obviously go to the beach! I go to Coronado often because it’s the closest beach to my house, but I also really like going up north to Encinitas or Solana Beach. You really can’t go wrong.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
When I was first starting out in my business I was on Etsy. I’m no longer on Etsy, but the local group of people I met in those early days through Etsy meetups was incredible. I’m still connected with some of them to this day, and feel like the handmade community back then really kept me moving forward and trying new things. It’s helpful to be surrounded by people that are on the same track as you in the beginning for moral support, friendship, and perspective.

Website: www.portlandaproncompany.com
Instagram: @portlandaproncompany

Image Credits
photos by spencer soderlind

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