Honoring Kara Larson In May of this year, Portland lost a courageous, creative and brilliant designer and business owner, mother, wife, friend and community leader, Kara Larson, to cancer.
In 2000, Kara opened Tumbleweed on Alberta Street, a dress shop featuring her own designs, Kara-Line, as well as other local fashion. When we opened Mimosa Studios just a year later, she instantly became my idol, and I wanted to be just like her. Not only was she cool and creative and a very successful businesswoman, she loved her customers and they loved her. She taught me early on what it means to create a sense of community in our businesses, the value of the friendships we develop with our customers and the importance of giving back to the community in which we are located.
Several years later she opened Grasshopper, the cutest toy store on the planet, located right next to Tumbleweed.
When Kara passed away this May, her family and staff at Grasshopper decided to create a tribute to her by retiling the front of the store with tiles hand painted by Kara’s customers, her friends.
We partnered with them and Alberta Main Street and helped them paint, glaze and fire the tiles. The project was completed last month and 360 tiles were installed in front of their building — all in Grasshopper colors of green, orange and turquoise and interspersed with tiles painted by some of the many children in Kara’s life who adored her. It is beautiful and whimsical and inspiring.
Not only is the finished product stunning, the process of working with Kara’s customers, her friends, family and staff was pure joy. Kara’s positive energy and dedication to Alberta Street lives on in her family and business enterprises and they continue to play a central role in the health and well being of our community.
Kara’s vitality, compassion and enthusiasm paved the way for so many of us on Alberta Street, and Mimosa Studios was honored to be part of helping create this lasting legacy.