Movers & Makers is a new series about the people behind the goods that move the local economy.
Queen Bee Creations founder and designer Rebecca Pearcy has always had a knack for making and selling items. The progression from crafty preteen to savvy entrepreneur happened organically, much like the evolution of her now fifteen-year-old business. “It’s hard to know exactly where the beginning was because I was always making things as I was growing up and selling them as young as elementary school age. I think of Queen Bee starting with the first wallet I made for myself. It was born out of a need for something; I needed a wallet, and if I need something, I try and make it myself. I like making things that are useful for people in their daily lives.” Pearcy spent 11 years in Olympia, WA living among artists and drawing inspiration from the city’s DIY culture. Seeking a broader scope for her business, as well as a personal change of pace, Pearcy moved herself and Queen Bee to Portland in 2002. As of 2009, The Hive—the aptly titled headquarters—has comfortably settled in a part-retail part-production space on N. Williams where all of Queen Bee designs are made by hand.
Over time, Queen Bee has expanded its offerings to include several styles of purses, panniers, wallets and—in a feat that surely deserves some kind of award—brought back the fanny pack via the Hip Holster, which you will actually want to wear (and not in an ironic way). Continuing to base her ideas off her own needs and those of her friends, Pearcy modified the basic style of her cross-body satchel to start Chickpea Baby, a line of diaper bags and changing pads for parents on the go.
The success of her practical carry-alls has allowed Pearcy the opportunity to return to her fabric- and-print-loving roots with her self-titled textiles line. If bags and wallets are the meat and taters of Queen Bee Creations, Rebecca Pearcy Textiles is the heart. “I love prints and color and the process of creating the design of the fabric, printing it on, and then deciding what to make out of that fabric.” Pearcy’s hand-printed fabrics take the form of lightweight scarves, pillows, and towels, all available for purchase at The Hive.
Challenges & Rewards
“Like a lot of things in life, the rewards and the challenges come from the same thing. It’s incredibly challenging to figure out how to produce things in the U.S., but making that happen is also what is really rewarding to me.” Stress management, risk-taking, and adapting to a changing economy are among the many challenges Pearcy faces as a small-business owner. “But even when things get really hard, I can’t imagine not having this as my job.”
Take a virtual tour of The Hive and stay in touch with all things Queen Bee via Rebecca’s blog.
Queen Bee Creations, 3961 N. Williams, 503.232.1755