This week we are very excited to feature Designer/Owner of Caravan Pacific, Shannon Guirl based in Portland, OR. Her handcrafted lamps are beautiful, sleek, and extremely versatile for any space. "Our goal is to create beautiful lighting that creates a warm glow to live by"
KSD: It's so great to see Caravan Pacific growing, and doing so well. Aside from having a beautiful product is there anything you think is key to your success?
SG: Thank you! Plain, old hard work and endurance have been key factors in building Caravan Pacific. I think many people make the assumption that because you have a beautiful product, you'll have a successful company. There are so many other elements that go into making a great business tick. Launching my initial lighting design (The Alberta Table Lamp) on Kickstarter gave my company a great start. It gave me confidence in my design, built a following for it, and allowed me to tell my story the way that I wanted to. I also feel I've been lucky to be in Portland at this time. My business has really grown in the last year due to the excellent skills of the craftsmen and tight-knit community of small businesses located here.
KSD: Do you have any advice for others who want to take a leap of faith and start their own business?
SG: If you want to create your own business, you have to have the passion and grit to drive it. Don't do it for the money. Do it because you want to share an idea that you're truly excited about. Every business faces tough problems, and decisions on it's way to success. You need to have a vision and passion for what you're doing that keeps you going through those tough times and connects you to others.
KSD: How many prototypes did you go through before knowing that you hit the mark with your lamps?
SG: The response to my first design, The Alberta Table Lamp, still surprises me! It's been our best-selling lamp by far over the last few years. We made one prototype and haven't really altered the design since it debuted in 2011. I was just making something that I really loved, I'm so glad others love it too!
KSD: Who/what are your biggest inspirations?
SG: I'm lucky in that many of the people who inspire me are just a phone call or bike ride away. There are so many businesses in Portland that are killing it with their style and smarts and have lent me a hand along the way. Among my favorites: Mazama, Nell & Mary, Red Sail, Wood & Faulk, and so many more.
A big inspiration for the style of my products some from Gordon Martz, a prominent lighting designer/manufacturer during the 1950's. He's taught me a lot about running a ceramics business and inspires me with the width and breadth of the designs he created during the Mid-Century era.
KSD: Are your designs reflective of your personal style?
SG: Absolutely! Caravan Pacific was created because I needed a new table lamp for my home. I couldn't find any table lamps I truly liked, so I started making one. I like living with my own designs and seeing what I can do to make the space around me more comfortable and beautiful.
KSD: What's next for Caravan Pacific? Are there any new designs/products we should look out for?
SG: We released some new accessories in March: Part & Parcel Cutting Boards, made in part with a local woodworker, and our Lucky Porcelain Horseshoe. We'll be releasing a new table lamp design in April, along with some new glaze colors for our current lighting collection. I also have some pendant lights in the works that I'm excited about. I feel like I'm just starting to scratch the surface of what I can design. It's going to be an interesting year.
Shannon, thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions. We LOVE your lamps, they have that Mid-Century feel that we die for, and we can't wait for what's coming next for Caravan Pacific. Everyone take a look, and get your hands on at least one, because your home deserves it.