Burgundy District carries handbound environmentally friendly journals, vintage envelope books, sketchbooks, and other paper goods. Each piece is meticulously created with the highest quality sustainable components, and they donate a portion of their proceeds to NativeEnergy’s Windbuilder’s program. The program supports the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and their efforts to build the St. Francis Wind Farm in South Dakota. The shop's own Leslie Vandervort stopped by to tell us more about Burgundy District.
Tell me about how you originally got into your craft, Leslie.
One winter after being diagnosed with mono, I was sitting at the computer trying to find a new creative way to amuse myself while I recovered. I found a bookmaking tutorial on accident, and I spent the rest of the evening working on my first book. It was very small and made from a leftover cereal box and waxed thread.
After the first unremarkable attempt, I became more successful with every new book. I started creating my own templates and designs, and I stretched myself to think of ways to recycle everyday items into high-quality journals and sketchbooks.
What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
I love to sell my books! Everything that is involved with craft shows is fascinating to me... designing the table setup, preparing the packaging and items for sale, presenting my books to customers, and seeing people appreciate and find use for my creativity.
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
Publicity is one of the hardest things to figure out when it comes to running a small business. It's not just a matter of buying a newspaper advertisement or distributing business cards... it's so much more complicated than that. Branding your business takes time, consistency, and patience. I am constantly thinking of new ways to get the word out about my business.
What item in your shop would you most like to receive as a gift if someone were shopping for you?
I love the colorful, thick journals in my shop. I would especially like to receive this item as a gift:
When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
When I was four, I dressed up my teddy bear with a face mask and stethoscope. I went through stages like all young children, but all of my dreams included being someone creative!
What other shops or artists out there do you love?
Fine Flowers Design - (Adorable handsewn accessories)
Idea 2 Lifestyle - (Incredible handmade clothing)
Elephant and Chickpea - (Great little shoes)
Ashley G and Drew - (Wonderful art prints)
What does your future hold?
I love being in Portland, but eventually I would love to complete graduate work at a design school in the Netherlands. I will continue to make books every single day and work toward improving my craft. Whatever happens, I hope my future holds plenty of sunshine, laughter, and ridiculously good days.