Sometimes you have a vision that goes beyond a job title. With a motivated, independent spirit and a burning desire to express your creativity. You hold tight to the willingness to forge your own path in the face of uncertainty. The trick is in trusting that the dots will eventually connect. Being a small business owner isn’t easy, but at the end of the day you can claim ownership over your work and that is worth fighting for.
Rick Gilbert is the founder and creative visionary behind the retro-modern inspired Portland, Oregon lifestyle brand, Grafletics. Grafletics was born in Rick’s garage in NW Portland in 2013 and has grown into a brand that's sold across the U.S. and internationally to Belgium, France, New Zealand and Japan. Its flagship retail location in the quant SE Portland neighborhood of Sellwood-Eastmoreland was recently featured in the New York Times.
Rick’s passion for creating Grafletics is rooted in his craft as an apparel Graphic Designer, love of sports and his home in Portland, Oregon. In 2010 he relocated to Portland from Baltimore, Maryland. To make friends and meet new people he played basketball and lots of it. He estimates it took over 20,000 jumps shots and two pulled groins for the name Grafletics to emerge.
Rick first sold Grafletics at a local retailer in the Old Town district of Portland. He quickly realized its business potential after selling out of every style multiple times over. For the next 3-years he would continue to build the business as a side hustle selling at local street fairs and developing wholesale arrangements in Portland, the state of Oregon. During this period he also built a full clientele roster making product graphics for brands in the athletic and outdoor industry.
From street fairs, outdoor markets, pop-up shops to launching a Grafletics flagship in Bend, Oregon, Rick has taken his grassroots approach to brand building and created a unique expression that blends sports, the outdoors, nostalgia and local sentiment. Rick believes in the universal truth that apparel can be a common thread that connects us all. That great friendships can emerge through choosing to wear a garment that expresses a passion, home or something you’re interested in.
Every piece he makes is designed, printed and finished in Portland. Keeping the garments at an accessible price point and working with Oregon based manufacturing partners is a core value of the brand.
Grafletics has a lot on the horizon for 2020 that includes growing the collaborations program and adding new and exciting styles for those who represent Portland and the Oregon lifestyle.