Only a few shelves line the stark white walls of Make & Mary's newly opened flagship store on Northeast Sandy Boulevard. Still, the vibe at the cannabis skin care boutique is notably luxurious.
The centerpieces are not towering retail displays or elaborate altars to normalized cannabis commerce but a teal velvet couch, a glossy coffee table shaped like the state of Oregon, a bright, phallic-shaped copper still, and a botanical mural that spans the shop's street-facing accent walls.
It's a look that's very much on-brand. Make & Mary started in 2017 as a line of handmade, CBD-infused skin care, beauty and lifestyle products, founded by local art educator, designer and community organizer Yvonne Perez Emerson.
She began promoting the line with a series of DIY workshops, wherein attendees could learn how to create the same products she'd been making at home for much of her life. Make & Mary quickly evolved from homemade salves and candles to a singularly unique product line—aromatherapeutic cannabis inhalers, anyone?—now housed within an elegantly boutique brick-and-mortar.
Perez Emerson initially launched Make & Mary while serving as the founder and president of the local arts education nonprofit WeMake. She offered a heritage craft-making workshop series that incorporated cannabis both functionally and socially.
The handmade products took off among the mostly femme participants, and Perez Emerson leaned in, using her extensive design experience to build a holistic self-care brand around the established folk remedies of her youth.
"I'd moved my studio down to Tillamook Street and built out a gallery space for workshops and speakers," Perez Emerson says. "And it was great. I started doing these workshops based on heritage craft-making and medicinal cannabis. I was using CBD because I had a bad sciatica, and I was getting a little older, so I started putting full-spectrum CBD oil into some of my formulations. I would bring them to my workshops and people loved them. Eventually, I was like, wait a minute: I really want to be a woman in cannabis."
It was in 2019 when Perez Emerson took a definitive step toward realizing the full potential of Make & Mary. She was among the first participants in the Initiative, an accelerator program focused on women-run cannabis businesses.
"While there, I was having a hard time talking about the brand, because I think I designed it for someone else," she says. "I ride a motorcycle, I'm full of tattoos, I'm Hispanic. I need to be me. Initially, I think I designed it for the yoga mom who shopped at Whole Foods. But I do yoga high. So I redesigned the whole thing. When I drew the logo, I wanted it to feel mysterious. 'Is this a mushroom or is this a vagina?' I want it to be alluring but also very grounded."
Then the pandemic happened.
With in-person workshops no longer viable, Perez Emerson entertained the idea of opening a physical storefront.
"I need to do something," she says. "If I'm not making, I get sad, and that is not good for my mental health. And I've always wanted to do retail."
The sandwich board that greets customers on the sidewalk outside the new Make & Mary suggests that beauty can be holistic, feminine and radical all at once. The space is airy, with exposed ceilings that support low-hanging pendulum light, and a high-gloss concrete floor that reflects brilliant white walls and the three shelving units that sit inside the store.
Each shelf is thoughtfully stocked with Make & Mary's line, as well as select products from other BIPOC makers. Lush green plants drip from otherwise negative spaces. Perez Emerson hopes to one day offer plant starts alongside a growing inventory of handmade BIPOC products. She also looks forward to hosting workshops as she once did at WeMake.
Among Make & Mary's notable products are a duo of rose gold cannabis inhalers—slim, lipstick-shaped capsules filled with pink Himalayan sea salt that has been soaked in botanical and cannabis essential oils, meant to be inhaled deeply, aromatherapy style. There is a selection of CBD sticks, skin serums, roll-on oils, and a single pillar candle.
Each product is a symphony of layered aromatics that blends skunky cannabis notes with matching essential oil blends. The sticks and oils are designed for targeted muscle relief, while the serums are meant to be part of a skin care regimen. Even the fragrant candle melts away to leave you with a geometric stash jar that is both airtight and aesthetically pleasing.
The store is only a marginally scaled-up version of the process Perez Emerson has been using for much of her life. In fact, behind the shop's wallpaper-precise accent mural is a small, modified office that serves as the official Make & Mary kitchen. It's where Perez Emerson makes her candles, skin serums and salve sticks, many of which are also carried by department stores nationwide.
But global domination isn't part of her plans.
"I rather like making it myself. I like being connected to it, you know?" she says. "Can I make 500 units in a day? Yes. Can I make a thousand units in a day? Yes. Do I want to make more than that? No. I don't want to do that because to scale that quickly you have to get funding, so you have to go fundraise. And I don't like asking people for money, and I don't know a lot of rich people. There's something about building it on your own."
SHOP: Make & Mary, 2506 NE Sandy Blvd., 503-444 7608, makeandmary.com. 10 am-6 pm Tuesday-Friday, 10 am-4 pm Saturday.