Jun 22 2017

Local Business Spotlight: Tori Tissell

Tori Tissell, founding owner of Storiarts, maker of literary soft goods, has the kind of internet success story that entrepreneurial dreams are made of.

It started with a personal project. For holiday gifts in 2011, Tori created her first run of book scarves — an excerpt from Pride and Prejudice silkscreened onto a square of super soft, off-white (think the pages of a classic book) fabric. She gave most as gifts and listed a few for sale on Etsy.

Tori in her home workshop cutting material for a scarf.
Tori Tissell cutting out some Alice in Wonderland in her workshop.

Tori had been living in Portland since 2008, when she moved here in pursuit of a career in fashion design. She was working four days a week at an office job in the dental field, and worked on her creative projects with her time off. The book scarves were the first item she’d put up for sale on the peer-to-peer e-commerce site, which focuses on handmade and vintage items.

As a fashion accessory, the scarves were a perfect statement for Tori and some of her friends. One of the things that she likes about designing wearables, in addition to the utilitarian aspect, is that “no matter what, what [a person wears] expresses aspects of one’s personality.” A self-identified bibliophile and introvert, Tori liked that she could spark connection over one of her favorite things though her apparel choices, and keep her neck warm in our cool PNW winters, too.

Screen printing a scarf with Maya Angelou’s poem, Still I Rise.
Screen printing a scarf with Maya Angelou’s poem, Still I Rise.

The Pride and Prejudice scarves sold quickly on Etsy, and Tori received many requests for more. The scarf got shared on Pintrest as well, further boosting interest. After three months, Tori was able to leave her office job and make scarves full-time.

Rising Action

Since 2011, Storiarts has expanded their catalog to celebrate more than 27 titles on scarves, fingerless writing gloves, t-shirts, pillows, and baby hats. Staying rooted in the Pacific Northwest is a key value in the company, and most of their products are printed, cut, sewn, warehoused, and shipped in Oregon, with some milling and cutting happening in LA. All of their products are handmade in the US, even though production has scaled up quite a bit since Tori made everything by hand in her garage. Now that the manufacturing is off her plate, Tori can focus on design of new products, as well as drawing all of the illustrations for their scarves, writing gloves, and t-shirts.

Though Storiarts was born through e-commerce sales and continues to sell through several online retailers, it wasn’t long before they expanded into sales at brick-and-mortar stores. The Library of Congress shop was the first to approach Tori about carrying book scarves, and today you find them in the New York Public Library as well, along with dozens of other libraries and boutiques across the US, and in Australia and New Zealand. 

To Be Continued…

Woman reading a book outside a coffee shop.
Amber modeling a lightweight summer scarf outside of our neighborhood coffee shop.

Upswept Creative does much of the marketing photography for Storiarts, from clean product shots to lifestyle photography like this one featuring Amber Nicotra, wearing a new scarf from their Spring 2017 collection. 

We love working with Tori and her co-owner and husband, Chris. Their company embodies so much of what we value in working with independent businesses — from their commitment to keeping it local, to the thoughtfully-crafted, pleasantly nerdy products they sell.

What’s your next creative venture? Let’s talk about discovering your authentic and compelling brand story that will help you connect with your ideal audience. The first step to schedule a free clarifying consultation is clicking ➡︎ here. ⬅︎

Jul 13 2016

The Hard-To-Spot Problem in Your Photos That Could Cost You–and How To Fix It

Being an online seller is already a lot of work, even when your customers are happy. Your day-to-day hustle can turn into a huge headache when your customers get a product that isn’t what they expected–or worse yet, if they aren’t buying at all!

What’s the one hard-to-see thing that can save you from that headache? White Balance.

These four images are all of the same product! They just have different white balance. Which one do you think is the best?

What is White Balance? It’s the balance of hues in your photo that makes the object look the most natural to your eye. Digital photos have different levels of tints and tones, and it can make a real impact on the final photo. It’s not the easiest thing to see, when you look through your photos one-at-a-time.

Take a look at the four images to the right. Those are all the exact same photo, of the exact same product! The only difference between them is that they each have a different white balance. (bonus: can you tell which is the best-balanced one?)

From there, you can see one problem right away: someone could easily buy this product online expecting one color, only to receive it in a different color. And that means an unhappy customer.

And, if your photos are inconsistent, that can make YOU look inconsistent. You only have a second to build trust online, and if your photos are all over the map, online shoppers won’t feel as comfortable trusting in your product.

“I See The Problem! But How Do I Fix It?”

Product Photos Made Simple will include some specific apps and techniques you can use to adjust your photos for better results, but a couple of things you can do right away:

  • Make sure to compare your photos. Look at other photos from this batch of products, and look at older product photos, and see if they’re consistent with each other.
  • Ban fluorescent lighting from your shoots! Fluorescent lights–particularly those long, tube-style lights you’ll see in stores and offices–very often make people and products look sickly and green. Look for a different lighting source to shoot your products–you’ll likely be much happier.

Want more, better, in-depth help for your product photos? Support our IndieGogo campaign, and you’ll get Product Photos Made Simple, a How-To Guide specifically for people who DIY and don’t have time to waste!

Learn how to take better product photos, even if you don’t own a real camera!

Get Product Photos Made Simple! »

Got an extra Second? Share this with your people.

Your help getting the word out is valuable beyond words! So, share our e-mail tips with others who might benefit, encourage folks you know to check out the IndieGogo campaign, and share it on social media. The more who jump on board, the faster you’ll get this guide delivered straight to you!

Jul 06 2016

Take Better Product Photos and Make More Sales

Can Better Product Photos Help You Make The Sale?

IMG_1354You have a killer product, and you know how much time and sweat you put into making it just right. But, making your product amazing is only part of the battle. Showing off your products with beautiful, high-quality photos can also make the difference between getting that sale or losing it.

When you’re selling your goods online, perceived value helps you make that sale. When your product photos are of good quality, you build trust in your customer. And, if you’re selling on marketplace sites like Etsy or Amazon, or selling via Pinterest, you need to stand out. A good product photo makes online shoppers want to choose you over all the others.

Take Better Photos and Make More Sales with Product Photos Made Simple.

Team Upswept is working on Product Photos Made Simple, a whole collection of simple, do-it-yourself tips that anyone can use to create better product photos, more consistently, and in less time. Even if the only camera you have is a smartphone, you can get photos that make your products more crave-able, so you make more sales!

Take Better Photos and Make More Sales!

Get Product Photos Made Simple! »

This guide is designed for you–not for pro photographers.

This guide is NOT for professional photographers! Product Photos Made Simple is a How-To for busy small business owners and creatives who want better-quality photos with minimum fuss.

We’re working on Product Photos Made Simple because we know how it can be when you’re just starting out. We’re thinking of Etsy sellers, startups, small businesses, emerging fashion designers, creatives who do custom commissions… the list goes on. A lot of you out there may not be ready to buy fancy photo gear or hire a professional photographer yet, but we want to help you get there, and it doesn’t have to be complicated.

That’s why Product Photos Made Simple is designed to give you the knowledge and techniques to get cleaner, more consistent product photos in less time. Even if all you have is a smartphone, you’ll get tips you can use to make better photos easily.

Here’s a sneak preview of just some of what you’ll get:

  • Lighting basics to help you get great shots without equipment
  • Do’s and Don’ts for getting consistent results
  • Ways to control or even build lighting without stressing your budget
  • The best photo apps for your phone, and how to use them to get the best possible results
  • Tips on how to do product styling when you don’t know where to begin
  • Knowing when it might be time for you to hire a professional, and where to start

Support the Product Photos Made Simple IndieGogo campaign, and you’ll be among the first to get this super-helpful guide! Click the button below to get the details and reserve your copy, or pick up one of our extra-special campaign rewards!

Get product photo tips that help your business grow, all in one place!

Pre-Order Product Photos Made Simple! »

May 19 2015

Catching up with jewelry designer Fresh Tangerine

from one of our early lookbook photoshoots with Fresh Tangerine

It’s been a busy Portland May, but we’re excited we got a chance to catch up with our friend Kimberlee Kogane at Fresh Tangerine! Fresh Tangerine makes beautiful handmade jewelry with a Pacific-NW-inspired feel, and has grown from a one-woman show to a team of makers.

We were fortunate enough to connect with Kimberlee and get to know her work during the early stages of her business, and her combination of bold colors and shapes with delicate details was fashionable, wearable, and memorable. She came to each shoot with a bold statement piece at the ready, and left our studio feeling a little extra-sparkly by the end. And we do mean literally–the glitter on our floors was a daily delight for weeks afterwards. 😉

Kimberlee first gave birth to Fresh Tangerine here in Portland, and she has since moved northward–if you’re in Seattle, pay them a visit to see their gorgeous work up close!

Can you sum up Fresh Tangerine for us, in a sentence or two?

Kimberlee working in the studio
Kimberlee working in the studio
Kimberlee Kogane: “Fresh Tangerine is first and foremost a jewelry brand that aspires to create beautiful and unique pieces that are affordable and can be worn every day. We also want to inspire people to be creative, take risks, and pursue their dreams.”

What was it like starting Fresh Tangerine? What parts of it did you love, and what were your struggles?

KK: In the beginning it was all about putting the hours in. It was hard at first to make the choice to stay home and work instead going out with friends, but I had a goal in mind, and knew that I wanted to make my business succeed. Now I’m transitioning from doing everything myself, to trying to lead a team of people which presents a whole new set of challenges.

What has Fresh Tangerine taught you – personally, or businesswise?

KK: One thing that I never expected was just how much owning a business challenges you as a person. I feel like I’ve had to face so many fears, and you have to accept those things that you might not be so good at. I’ve learned a lot about myself and a lot about business along the way.
Creating beuatiful jewlery is a team effort!
Creating beautiful jewelry is a team effort!

Where do you think Fresh Tangerine will go next?

KK: I would love to see Fresh Tangerine carried by a larger retailer. I want to grow our team, get our name out there, and continue create jewelry that is affordable and well made.

Thank you Kimberlee! We look forward to seeing you continue to grow!

Jul 30 2014

Doing It! PDX Fat Fashion Collective

Summer Strut emcee Carla Rossi - Portland fashion photographer
Summer Strut emcee Carla Rossi

Summer in Portland brings us some of the most awesome fashion runways this town has to offer, and we’re pleased as punch to be trusted photographers for some high-profile shows! One of our proudest fashion photography bookings this summer has been shooting the runway for Summer Strut, a fashion show produced by the PDX Fat Fashion Collective, that boldly put plus-size women at the center of its focus, with an all plus-size lineup of designers.

Summer Strut was a truly splashy show, emceed by the scintillating Carla Rossi, and it showed eye-catching plus-size fashions that broke the 3X barrier, and runway models who brought the fun and the fierce in equal doses. It was a very body-positive show that pushed boundaries, both for clothing design and for what’s wearable in the plus-size realm.

Best of all, this show was only the beginning for the ladies of the PDX Fat Fashion Collective! These lovely ladies took few minutes to chat with us about the beginnings of the Collective, the Summer Strut runway, and what’s next for them!

Shiny, popping swimwear by Size Queen Clothing hit the stage at Summer Strut.
Shiny, popping swimwear by Size Queen Clothing hit the stage at Summer Strut.

UPSWEPT: Tell us a bit about PDX Fat Fashion Collective–what is its mission, and how did it come about?

PDXFFC: The collective is the result of many conversations about our frustrations with plus-size clothing options, and the way they are presented to us as consumers. The three of us are independently involved in fashion in different ways and wanted to build something that we could be excited about.

We’re in a really great upswing for fat fashion right now, where all of a sudden, there are many more options beyond the standard 00-14, BUT most of those options are a combination of being unethically produced, minimal in size range (3X and below), and just plain boring. We wanted to bring together local designers who we not only think are incredibly talented, but who also are interested in and capable of producing clothing in extended sizes.

UPSWEPT: What were some of the challenges of putting together Summer Strut?

PDXFFC: Surprisingly, there weren’t any major challenges for us. We had plenty of designers and models that wanted to work with us. The venue was extremely helpful through the entire process. Probably just trying to stay on budget, and making sure we got the word out were the most problematic issues.

a Summer Strut model works fashions by Copper Union.
a Summer Strut model works fashions by Copper Union.

UPSWEPT: What were some of your favorite parts of producing the show?

PDXFFC: One of our absolute favorite parts of the show was showing people–the folks who attended, as well as the thousands of people who we reached through social media–that you can adorn your body in styles that make you feel amazing, regardless of your size. I loved how diverse the designers were. We had everything from vintage-style tea dresses to holographic monokini rompers, and it was incredible to see gorgeous girls with an array of body types and sizes looking incredible.

UPSWEPT: What do you have up your sleeve next for plus-size fashionistas in Portland?

PDXFFC: We want to include more gender-free and masculine of center styles in our future events, and presumably this will include a Summer Strut 2.0 next year. For now, I’m personally focused on establishing relationships with more local and independent designers, and securing a presence for fatshionistas among Portland’s creative scene. Ultimately, I want to challenge more designers to include us in their brands. We love fashion, we live for a selfie, and we have money. It’s foolish not to.

Portland fashion photographer – Portland branding design – Upswept Creative

Jul 11 2014

Portland fashion photography: Summer Runways!

We love keeping up with Portland fashion, so we’re excited to be flexing our photography muscles at not one, but TWO fashion events this month! Some of our favorite Portland fashion designers will be showing some fresh collections on the summer runway, and it’s going to be a good time for all.

Portland fashion photography - Upswept Creative - Summer StrutFirst up is this Sunday’s runway party, Summer Strut, a Fat Fashion Show put on by the PDX Fat Fashion Collective. You might recognize Coco Madrid from some of our recent shoots with our fashion clients–she herself is a lovely plus-size model and a prominent voice for plus-size fashion.  We’re big supporters of fashion for all shapes and sizes, and we’re super-excited to see what our local designers have to share with the curvy ladies of PDX!

Second, we’re super-jazzed to be shooting at the Alley 33 Fashion Event for our third year in a row! Produced by the wonderful ladies behind Mag-BigSiren Nation, and Elizabeth Mollo Productions, Alley 33 has grown into one of the most anticipated runways dedicated to independent fashion designer-manufacturers, and it’s easily our favorite show of the summer! We’re expecting an awesomely diverse and creative lineup of designers, and we also hear that a good number of designers showing in Alley 33 will be showing plus looks, too. It’s going to be awesome!

Summer Strut: a Fat Fashion Show
Sunday, July 13th
White Owl Social Club, 1305 SE 8th Ave.
Doors at 3PM, Show at 5pm. $5 door.

Alley 33 Fashion Event
Saturday, July 26th
SE 33rd Ave Alley/SE Hawthorne Blvd. 

Doors at 6pm, Show at 7pm. $10 adv. $12 door.

Portland fashion photographer | Portland rebranding agency | Upswept Creative

Jul 07 2014

First Thursday returns in August!

2014-aug_first-thurs_webHooray! Our First Thursday Open Studio parties return to Upswept Creative in August! Come visit us and enjoy beautiful wearable designs and visual art.

This month, we’re featuring a fashion trunk show by Hubris Apparel, including all-new garments for Fall/Winter 2014.

STAY TUNED: we’ll be announcing more awesome makers for our August lineup soon!

New photos will also be on display, and we’ll be sharing wine and light refreshments, as usual! Stop by and see us while you’re touring the galleries!


Thursday, August 7st, 2014
Upswept Creative HQ
217 NW Couch St.
Portland, OR 97209

Portland fashion photographer | Portland rebranding agency | Upswept Creative

Jun 13 2014

Photography for Hubris Apparel Summer 2014

Shooting a Portland fashion photograph is the most fun when it’s about storytelling. Branding is about the story you tell, and in the fashion and apparel world, telling a story and creating a feeling is even more critical to the photos we create. We don’t necessarily want to be super-literal in the story we tell, but we’re always thinking what kind of images will play nicely with the clothing we’re shooting.

Part of what I love about Hubris Apparel is how her garments are both uniquely stylish and incredibly wearable–they’re clothes that you can actually live in. So, our shoot for the Hubris Spring/Summer 2014 collection took us on a Portland-y day in the life: we explored Sauvie Island and romped around in the tall grasses and open fields.

No trip to Sauvie quite feels right without a stop at Kruger’s Farm, and we were jazzed when they gave us free reign to explore their property during our shoot! The clothes looked fabulous, we had an awesome afternoon working together, and we got to treat ourselves to some amazingly fresh fruit.

portland-fashion-photographer_hubris-apparel-spring2014portland-fashion-photographer_hubris-apparel-spring-summer2014 portland-fashion-photographer_hubris-spring-summer2014 portland-fashion-photographer_hubris-summer2014

Shoot Location: Sauvie Island and Kruger’s Farm
Makeup/ Hair: Erin Moore
Model: Rowa
Accessories: provided by Cabana Reps

Portland Fashion Photographer – Portland Web Design – Upswept Creative

May 29 2014

Doing It! The Silver Lining in producing apparel locally

“Where is your shirt made?” A lot of us probably don’t know the answer to that question, and too often, the answer is, “not in the U.S.A.”

We recently worked with Silver Lining Productions on creating the perfect logo design for their business: garment manufacturing for clothing designers! As we worked with them, we really got to the heart of what makes them special: they’re not just passionate about garment production; Silver Lining hopes to bring that production–which is so often done overseas!–back to our home shores. Silver Lining Productions logo design Portland Oregon

They’re already looking ahead to the next step: Silver Lining has a Kickstarter campaign that will help them expand what they can offer to all kinds of local designers. We caught up with them to talk a little more about their mission to make local clothing design look awesome, and why it’s important to them!

Why is US manufacturing important for local apparel designers?

Working with a sewing company in your own city, let alone state has so many advantages! First being, we can help make sure that all samples are approved in a timely manner BEFORE production, so there is less margin of error on a large order. Also, our minimum orders are very flexible and low, allowing for true development and seasonality for designers at different levels of their business. Also, we help with sourcing, photography, market research, really offer a more well rounded manner of doing business! Plus, no time lag or language barrier!

Silver Lining Productions "Lift Off!" party. Photo courtesy Silver Lining Productions.
Silver Lining Productions’ “Lift Off!” launch party. Photo courtesy Silver Lining Productions.

What is the most fulfilling part of your work?

Seeing a designer begin to fulfill orders they wouldn’t have been able to produce on their own is very exciting. Also, working with local businesses to manufacture items locally is totally satisfying. We are also innovating techniques in upcycling like transforming promotional gift bags out of old trade show banners (a project we recently finished with Nancy’s Yogurt) is so important and something we feel sets us apart from other manufacturers.

What kind of brands are you hoping to connect with?

We are currently connecting with as many contacts as possible! We structure custom service packages for every client and are poised and ready to dive into projects of any size. We can service clients who are literally still in product development and produce samples that they can build a line from, to the established designer/brand/business who is simply looking to weigh their manufacturing options.

What does the future of Silver Lining look like?

The future looks BRIGHT! Our first cut and sew services are already expanding to pattern making, sourcing and product development. We intend on adding product photography, online store building and fulfillment to our services. Fulfillment is very exciting because that would mean we have the capability to not only make the goods, but also, store, package and ship goods for clients as well.


There’s just a little over a week left to support Silver Lining on their Kickstarter campaignso be sure to check out their video and make a contribution towards bringing garment manufacturing, jobs, and awesome business relationships, back to Oregon.

Portland branding design – Portland product photography – Upswept Creative

May 23 2014

Branding designer in the Portland Mercury

Upswept Creative was profiled by the Portland Mercury earlier this week, and we couldn’t be more flattered!  Take a look at their write-up, and get a peek behind-the-scenes at Upswept–the article hints at some changes that we’ll be telling you about soon. And, branding designer ninja and Benevolent Overlord Sarah even makes a rare appearance in front of the camera.

We’re SO ready to make you and your business brand look awesome, and we’re looking for new clients RIGHT NOW. Get in touch with us, and we’ll put a new, confident shine on your brand, and help you connect with the people you want to reach, even when you’re not saying a word.

Get Started! »

Portland branding designer - Portland fashion photographer - Sarah Giffrow of Upswept Creative

Photo courtesy Katie Guinn for the Portland Mercury. Sarah’s tunic courtesy of Hubris Apparel.

Portland branding design – Portland fashion photography – Upswept Creative