How do creatives stay true to themselves? Let's be honest: it's hard to stay grounded to yourself and there are always doubts creeping in, making you question your creative pursuits.
But in Portland, we're rich with creative people that flourish despite the potential of doubt. They succeed in what they set to do and blaze a trail for those that are following their footsteps. We partnered with Hobo to interview Portland women who have paved their own non-traditional careers through a strong sense of personal expression. Their creative energies stretch far beyond the corners of this city.
I chatted with these women about their inspiration, how they stay true to themselves as creatives, and asked them the very words they live by—all with a Hobo bag at their side. If their faces don't look familiar, their plays, poems, and products might.
Sue Mach: Playwright & Teacher
Susan Mach is a playwright, teacher, and mother. Given her background, it may come as no surprise that she is "perennially interested in the idea of voice—helping my writing students find and be true to their own, and working on doing the same for myself."
When I ask her how she advises that creatives discover their own, she tells me this: "What I advise others to do is to know yourself. What was the time in your life when you were more afraid than you've ever been? Or in love? Or ashamed? Answer these questions honestly for yourself and for the characters you're trying to create. Trust that your experience matters, and it will be both unique and resonant."
Her words to live by? "The only way out is through." Mach believes that when facing a difficult creative block, or within a relationship or work issue, learning to take on obstacles directly will help you become a more relaxed and uninhibited person.
Bella a known poet in Portland. She is an accomplished writer, decorated as the 2019 Portland Poetry Grand Slam Champion and she has performed at WeMake Disrupt Conference, Invisible Spectrums and Intersect Fest (among many other places).
Her most recent accomplishment her book Side Effects of Remembering the Little Things (Lightship Press, illustrated by Shannon Christie), publishing Oct. 15. It is about toxic love, abusive relationships, and healing. "This book is about validating experiences that when you are in that type of relationship you tend to question if it really happened like you thought it did," she explains." This book is that love story I went through and the aftermath of how it affects me today, and the hopeful future of healing and figuring out what that even looks like."
When I asked her how she stays true to her roots, she says that her poetry is her roots, and that she's never been more herself than she is on paper. She writes solely from her life experiences—it's how she navigates her feelings and makes sense of the world. As somebody in love with exploring the little things, she's not interested in the ending of things, but rather the process of how things got to be that way.
Ironically, she claims that her words to live by are not poetic at all. "I always tell myself before anything I do 'If all else fails, fail in a good outfit,'" she says. "I always say that before shows or competitions because I'm like 'If I forget my whole poem right now they can't say my shoes weren't cute at least.'" Touché, Bella.
Ladies of Paradise: Cannabis Entrepreneurs
This set of creative women are a dynamic duo. They are the faces of Ladies of Paradise, a female-run creative agency and brand house in the cannabis industry.
Jade Daniels founded Ladies of Paradise as a fashion brand in 2014 in Houston. She transitioned to the cannabis industry after moving to Oregon in 2015, which is when her co-owner and creative director Harlee Case joined her. They've since grown into a six-woman team with the motto, "together we can do any fucking thing." They've cultivated a growing community (and over 40,000 Instagram followers) across the country of like-minded cannabis enthusiasts.
First on their agenda? Ending the stigma surrounding women in cannabis. Daniels explains, "When we first started out, we noticed that the advertising trend for cannabis involved a lot of half naked women and really cheesy marketing tactics. Considering that women make up more than half of the consumer population, we felt a need to market cannabis with taste and in a way that respected them. We quickly established ourselves in the community as a women-positive cannabis team."
Case attributes their success with this to leading by example, always looking for a female option in any hire or collaborator, and putting on community events. "You should always be doing things with and for your community," she remarks.
She lives by the words, "Try to have endless love for everything."
And as for her business partner? "Stick to your values and stay true to your mission. Don't change for anyone and keep your eye on the prize."
Hobo celebrates and is inspired by those who express themselves with freedom and conviction. Meet more of the Portland creative collaborating with Hobo. You can shop Hobo Leather Goods to find your perfect bag to live your most authentic self.