It’s refreshing to find companies working with local artisans and makers of beautiful things. Portland-based company Cloth & Goods is a perfect reflection of this idea. Exquisite Japanese and African pillows, placemats that’ll be sure to leave a great impression, and other home accessories like pottery can easily be added to your home furnishings. Melissa Newirth has created something special for all home décor enthusiasts to swoon over. She granted us the opportunity to ask more about Cloth & Goods.
A&H: Cloth & Goods is a brand new company with fresh ideas on textiles, interiors, and decoration complementary to one’s home. Tell us about your motives to open the shop.
Melisa Newirth: I wanted to open an interior store for a long time. Not knowing where was always the problem. It just started evolving naturally; meeting artisans locally and from my travels, I started putting together product lines and inventory. One thing led to another. I found the perfect studio in the old Film Exchange in Portland where I decided to start with an online store. The space is beautiful with lots of visibility and walk-ins are welcome to buy, but no it is not a full on brick-and-mortar. The studio really lends itself to creativity.
MN: Ever since I was little I loved textiles and as I grew older began collecting vintage textiles. I found a source of unused American vintage cloth still on the bolts and began making pillows. I also began traveling around the world and always came home with a pile of vintage textiles from various countries. I worked as a stylist for editorials and home catalogs and started doing interior design through word of mouth.
A&H: What inspires the selection of goods you choose to stock in your shop?
MN: Japan and Africa has always been an inspiration. I like Japan for its refined design aesthetics and values. Africa for more of a rustic look. You can see this in the cloth and the weaving of the threads. I also love indigo and both countries have been working with is natural dye for centuries. I also have selected wares that have not been showcased before supporting small companies and artisans. I work within a particular range of indigo, grey natural, brown, and blacks.
A&H: Do you have any business principles?
MN: To keep it simple and support traditional methods and craftsmanship developed into modern ideas.
A&H: Let’s talk about my favorite color blue—it’s on a lot of Cloth & Goods products. Is there significance behind this?
MN: Not really, I just love the color and the natural dye. It is magical because its water resistance has been around in various countries for a long time.
A&H: What is your one piece of advice you’d give to a homeowner seeking to simply beautify their home with unique interiors?
MN: Mix it up, old and new, rustic and modern. The look should look like your home has not been decorated.
A&H: What Cloth & Goods product do you feel every home, office, and workspace needs?
MN: It is hard to choose just one of our goods or art. I love them all (that is why I have chosen them to be part of our store), but I must say I love the Japanese indigo pillows. The stripe vintage textiles are such a variety of shades; the indigo color and the weave is refined yet grainy. They are beautiful in person.
A&H: Beautiful decoration represents…
MN: …the people who live in the space.