Minnie & George

An Accessory to Change

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My biggest pieces of advice is use the tools in the room. When you’re forming a non-traditional business, stop looking for traditional answers to a nontraditional problem.

__Lori Caldwell

For many, becoming a craftsperson means embracing a tool or material you love, finding your passion in the process of molding a product or idea with your own two hands. But as a career entrepreneur, starting your own business means embracing an entirely different role in the world. You are not only a consumer, but a producer, impacting the market from both sides of the fence. In this way, you impact the society you inhabit by offering it alternatives: a different style, a new perspective, a greater spark of humanity in the products they fill their homes and lives with. What you make is a mark of what you see missing in the world, and what you offer is an opportunity to partner in altering the world economy one small purchase at a time.

Named in honor of her parents, Minnie & George is Lori Caldwell’s statement in action. For her, becoming a maker began as a dream and became the biggest risk she had ever taken. From her Portland studio, Lori produces a range of high-quality leather bags and goods that embody the values her parents passed down to her and defy some misplaced norms within the maker’s movement at large. But before Minnie & George, Lori wasn’t exactly playing it safe. At 30, she was living in Vermont and decided it was time to make a change in her pace of life. “I decided to travel the world, I moved out of my apartment, got rid of all of my possessions except for two boxes, and started traveling for 6 years on and off. I would travel for a year and then come back to the states for a year and then go back. On my last stint I had been living in Argentina for a year and came back to the states right as the economy was tanking.” Returning to a depressed economy, she decided to look for a job near her parents in California.

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