Meet Debbe from Tilde!

Oh, this is a fun one! Meet Debbe from Portland’s online AND brick and mortar shop, Tilde. I love Debbe–she is one of the HK sponsors that I am lucky enough to know in person. She’s so involved, informed and supportive of local artists and stocks amazing independent designers from all over. Debbe is truly a great member of our community, an inspiring businessperson and just so incredibly kind. Debbe runs her lifestyle shop and gallery with occasional fill-ins by her momma and a single employee, Joanna, who manages the shop and turns the cool window display ideas into reality.

★ BIG NEWS: Check out The Portland Collection by Pendleton scarves–you can buy them online! AND Sept 17th is their 5th Anniversary Sale with 20% OFF everything in the shop.

Lovely Debbe Hamada at her PDX shop, Tilde. She's wearing a rad scarf from The Portland Collection from Pendleton. Photo by me.

What’s your sign?
I’m a fish. A Pisces.

Where do you live? What’s it like?
I live outside the area called Multnomah Village, in Portland, Oregon. I live on the longest dead end street in the entire world! Or so it feels. It’s almost a mile long and meanders down a hillside. Dead ends rule! All the homes on the street were built in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s and we love our home! It’s a beautiful mid-century home full of wood amongst the trees. When I get home, I fully relax.

Tell us something people don’t already know about you.
I love old musicals. Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Doris Day, Danny Kaye, Ann Miller, Vera-Ellen, Cyd Charisse. I’ve seen them all. Favorite of all time is The Band Wagon. I met my husband through swing and salsa classes. We both even went to Miami just to salsa dance–though we ended up just staring at all the amazing dancers every night.

The Tilde brick and mortar shop in Portland, OR. Photo by me.

Current snack of choice? Current fave restaurant?
Snack: Cherry Garcia ice cream.
Restaurant: Bar Avignon

What’s your poison? Current cocktail or soft drink of choice?
A Cubano Americano from Blue Kangaroo Coffee Roasters to start the day and a dry martini with olives to relax in the evening!

Do you collect some specific things for your own home?
I do. I must admit, I am a collector. My favorite collection is are my hand carved wooden busts from the 1950’s. Most are from SE Asia I believe. I love them and have them spaced around my home. I also collect older framed Asian prints that are massed in my entry way.

Tilde. Photo by me.

What are your fantasy design scores for your home and closet right now?
I JUST scored an original G-Plan credenza for my dining room. I have been looking for the perfect credenza for at least 10 years. Had to be original mid-century, clean lines and the right place. Finally, two months ago, SCORE. It’s mine!

What are some other shops that you love? Any sort.
I’m a serious shop local gal. I pretty much do all my dream and for reals shopping in Portland or when traveling at a small local shop. My favorite shops in Portland are Noun, Garnish, Tumbleweed, Mabel & Zora, Mink, Seams to Fit, Alder & Co., Pie Footwear and Switch Shoes. Though I could name 20 more too–Portland is blessed with a ton of great shops.

Any shopping pro tips?
1. Buy that first item that called to you–it will always be the right one. I have seen countless people exchange that 2nd choice for the 1st one a few days after purchase. It caught your eye for a reason–it was the right match for you! 2. ALWAYS take the gift receipt for that perfect gift you are purchasing for a friend. You may think they won’t want to exchange it, but invariably that is the gift recipient that brings back the exchange. Then they get mad at the shop owner who can’t make the exchange for them. Small businesses can only exchange for a limited amount of time. Plus, you may have purchased your item on sale and we need to see when it was purchased and for what price. All these little facts are on that receipt.

At home. Debbe's new mid-century credenza score. Photo by Debbe.

What do you regret NOT buying that one time?
I’m a dork. I totally regret breaking up these two old wooden busts that were originally purchased by an older neighbor in the 1950’s. I only had the dollars to buy one at that time (and it was only $40!). I didn’t realize how in love I’d fall with these wooden people and every time I look at this one lone guy and I deeply regret breaking him up with his mate of 50+ years. Not to mention that he is surrounded by other couples (in wooden form).

How do you unwind?
I love my weekly yoga class. I’ve been a regular for 5 years. The reminder to focus on the moment and not to let your mind wander is the right mantra for me. I’m also so lucky to have a husband that cooks me a good dinner many nights of the week. Nothing is nicer than coming home to a good dinner and then unwinding on the couch with two furry kitties cuddled nearby.

#1 dream vacation?
I’d love to explore more of the art and food scene in Mexico. Especially with a friend that is fluent in Spanish! There are many older towns whose architecture beckons me. And, true confessions, I’ve never been to Europe and really would love to go. A dream vacation for me would be a city vacation, a place to explore old architecture, wander through museums, window shop (with a few real items purchased too!) and great dinners every night.

#1 pet peeve?
The Put a Bird on It commenters. Just stop. Do you know how many times a day we hear someone say that sarcastically?

One of the art walls in Debbe's home. Photo by Debbe.

What is your ritual for keeping your shop updated?
As much as I try to get work done early, a looming deadline gets it done for me every time. I’m never late, but I’m always right up to the deadline. I try to schedule things out so I know when deadlines are arriving, but you’ll inevitably find me working late into the night to meet deadlines that seem to come up multiple times each week.

Dream concert. Living or dead, Top 5 bands who are playing for you?
Stevie Wonder was the all time best concert I’ve ever seen. Today I love Priscilla Ahn, Rufus Wainwright, Viva Voce, Jolie Holland and Aimee Mann.

Are you reading or watching anything lately that inspires you? (books, mags, film, tv, art, theatre, etc)
Just saw Priscilla Queen of the Desert on Broadway in NY. The costumes were ‘craft-er-ific’! I love a good musical, but those costumes gave me creative material for a hundred great window displays!

If you could have a super power, what would it be?
To engage my Star Trek powers and transport to places instead of flying. I hate flying.

Debbe's cuddly kitties. Photo by Debbe.

Do you have actual dreams that involve your business?
YES! I dream to make enough to pay myself a decent wage. Though the shop is thriving and growing, all money seems to go to expenses! Another dream would be to expand the business to include home furnishings. My dream would be to expand into the building next to me and make that a separate Tilde store of home goods and, perhaps, expanded tabletop items. Complementary to the Tilde accessories. More stuff!

What is the #1 most awesome thing about owning your shop?
Being able to surround myself with hundreds of items I love! I may not be able to buy them all for myself – but it feels a bit like buying them when I purchase them for my shop and then get to watch someone else fall in love with them as much as I do. Also – I’ve met a ton of dear friends through owning my shop: friends that own their own shops, customers, artists & designers. My life is complete with my sweet little shop.

Do you have any shop announcements?
I’m very excited that we will be one of the few local stores to have part of Pendleton: The Portland Collection in our shop. We will have the scarves and they’ll be available this week! Pendleton was excited to place an element of this collection in Sellwood because this is the neighborhood where members of the Pendleton founding family initially lived when coming to Portland. Sellwood used to be its own little town with a Pendleton store on its border.

Also, Sept 17th marks our 5 year anniversary with a big sale. 20% OFF EVERYTHING in the shop + a free gift with purchases over $20. Every year we work with a different local artist to make the free gift for the anniversary sale. This year, Branda of Molly Muriel (the maker of the beautiful cut crystal candles, lotions and soaps) is making large individual bath sachets of all natural ingredients. Beautiful, reusable and relaxing.

8 Responses to “Meet Debbe from Tilde!”
  1. Bria says:

    So fun to see an inside peek! And now I am dying to see these wooden busts she mentioned. And to try a Cubano Americano from Blue Kangaroo Coffee Roasters.

  2. Colleen says:

    Tilde is one of my absolute favorite shops in Portland! I love that Debbe stocks work by local glass artist Lynn Read now!! Great interview. xoColleen

  3. Great article! I can relate to what Debbe says about the #1 most awesome thing about owning her shop. When I make earrings, I like to think that I’m making them for myself and feel really good when some one falls in love with a pair. The first time I sold a pair, the woman who bought them, put them on immediately. It feels good to love what you do. If I’m ever in Portland, I would love to visit Tilde.

  4. talia brown says:

    I love this article, Tilde & Debbe!! Tilde is one of my favorite local shops.