Hey there, we’re glad you’re here. Willow Ship was started in San Francisco in 2011 by Blake Kahan, a new mom at the time, working in the graphic design field. For some reason, the glow of the computer screen lost its allure and Blake began itching to start a studio practice, where she could work with her hands, and immerse in the study of colors, shapes and textures. Sketch books started to fill with ideas of handcrafted homewares that would celebrate slow meals and sustainability. Much fiddling and experimentation later, a small collection of block printed linen homewares–mostly napkins and pillows–emerged. A really sweet write-up by Design*Sponge happened pretty quickly and it seemed that people were into what they were seeing! A wholesale business started to unfold, which is a favorite side of the business here. After a couple more kids–and some much-needed breaks from the business to care for them–here we are in Portland, OR.
Inspired by Scandinavia, Japan, landscapes and mid-century abstraction, Blake designs the styles, hand-mixes the colors and prints all the goods on 100% linen in her Portland studio. Most items are finished locally by a woman-owned, ethical sewing house. In 2018, Blake’s husband Toby Tupper joined the Willow Ship team, bringing his expertise in Marketing and Product Development. Which means that most business decisions are made in the kitchen, while chopping parsley. They live with their three kids in Southeast Portland, where they keep busy (very) slowly fixing up an old Craftsman home.