Category Archives: Portland

MIM Life Series: Portland and MIM Classmates

By Yuanqian Sun

I want to say, I love all of our MIM members! They are like my family right now. We are working together and learning together almost everyday. Here are some memorable moment I personal took during the term.

  1. Portland, Oregon
  2. Portland State University
  3. Chinese group in Japanese class
  4. Classmate’s wedding reception
  5. Have Chinese traditional dim sum with my friends

First of all, I want to say, I love Oregon, I love Portland. This is the place I have lived for already five years but I am still liking it.

Mount Hood is the best place we can go outside with our classmates. I came with my classmates on the weekend and it was so beautiful. We can climb or drive to the mountain top.

Rita

Then, I want to say, Portland is the beautiful city that I like the most in United States. I have been to a lot of states and a lot of cities, none of them makes me feel like home. Portland people are so nice, they always smile to you even if they don’t know you. Also, the weather is so nice in the summer. I like it.

Rita2

I like my classmates in Portland State University MIM program. Although we are Chinese, we didn’t know each other before we came to MIM. I would like to say, MIM gave us the opportunities to let us meet and know each other. I am very happy to know them and be their friends.

Rita 3

This is the picture we took in Japanese class. it’s so fun that MIM program provided us a chance to learn a different culture and a second language. The Chinese students were learning Japanese in the past year. We were not only learning Japanese, but also the culture.

Rita5

This is the picture at Derek’s wedding party. He was the second MIM member to get married in our program, and the first one who held a wedding during our school year. We all came to celebrate. This makes us just like a family. All of the MIIMers are like sisters and brothers. We are all very happy that he can find his love.

Rita6

After class, we would have lunch or dinner together. This is the picture we have Chinese traditional dim sum in HK Café. They are my Thai friends. They are all very nice. They were learning Chinese for a year and they really like Chinese culture. When we have dim sum, they try to use their Chinese to made the order.

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Filed under Food, Guest Bloggers, MIM GENERAL, Portland, Student Life

MIM Survival Guide: Where to find networking events in Portland

jackie wang talking
Many 2012 cohort MIM students are deep into their job search requesting informational interviews, applying to various positions and attending networking events. The new cohort may ask, “How did you get started? What resources did you use to jumpstart your career search?” Networking is certainly one of the most important aspects of any job search today, so below is a list of community and SBA resources our cohort has found useful over the past year.
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Portland as a Footwear Hub

Running-FeetWe wrote recently on this blog about the Athletic and Outdoor Young Professionals of Portland, a local networking group for people working in the the athletic footwear and apparel industry in Portland. Besides introducing that specific networking group, the message was that Portland offers many opportunities to get involved with a very close-knit community of footwear and apparel companies in the area. While there are plenty of well known companies here like Nike, adidas, and Columbia Sportswear, to name but three, we thought it would be good to highlight some of the smaller but equally innovative companies that are active in and around Portland.

Two of those companies, RYZ and Source Material, offer interesting glimpses into other facets of the local industry. RYZ is a footwear brand that caters to those who want the comfort of a running shoe but that is stylish enough that it could be worn to the office or other dressier occasions. Source Material is a company that represents Asian-based footwear materials manufacturers in the US, and works with footwear brands to meet their demands for style and quality.

Both companies agreed to provide some background information on their place in the industry and Portland’s importance as a geographic center of the footwear industry, as well as some insights for students on how to get started in the industry yourself. Be sure to check out their websites and Facebook pages for more information!

RYZ

RYZ logoRYZ has viewed Portland as the only logical base for our business from the beginning. In addition to being home to some of the true giants in the industry, the Portland fashion market is considerably more forward-thinking than many other cities in the U.S. What really makes Portland the ideal place for RYZ is that we are a company by runners, for runners. Portland, as well as the rest of Oregon, is one of the running meccas of this country. A recent poll by Men’s Fitness ranks Portland as the fittest city in America. Runner’s World magazine found that in 2012 Portland had the 9th most marathon finishers per capita. What this tells us is that Portland is the place to be for making direct contact with runners and getting them behind our product.

While the industry may seem huge on the surface, in reality it is a relatively small world where most players know each other, at least byRYZ P2P 06 name if not in person. Particularly in as interesting and vibrant an environment as Portland, there are other local companies doing lots of interesting things that serve as both inspiration and points of collaboration for RYZ. Grassroots marketing is something that we are always looking to partner up with local brands on. Keeping abreast of the best practices and changes in the sourcing sector is something else that we collaborate with other local companies on. If we find a truly great supplier that has capacity to spare then we are happy to do what we can to introduce them to other local businesses. As the industry as a whole grows, so can we.

What we really look to do is partner with local retailers who sponsor their own races and running events. At these events we love to have other footwear and apparel brands present because we are confident in the uniqueness of our product and feel that more companies brings more attention. Our goal at RYZ is to have every runner in Portland aware of us and to have had at least one instance of direct contact with RYZ. We aim to be intimately associated with the running community in Portland and believe that this commitment to knowing our core customer is one of our key competitive advantages.

RYZ Pacesetters

RYZ pacesetters at the recent Pints to Pasta race in Portland.

Source Material

Source Material is based in Portland but represents footwear materials companies in Taiwan and China. Their products include genuine and synthetic leather, as well as textiles. The company occupies an interesting space in the industry, working as a sort of intermediary to provide materials options to footwear brands, while also communicating needs and requirements to the materials producers in Asia.

Portland is a hub for footwear and apparel.  Other locations regarded as hubs for apparel and footwear would be Boston, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, and Los Angeles/San Francisco.  In my opinion, Portland’s attitude makes it the most unique.  The mindset of someone living in Portland embodies an attitude of willingness to try new things, and to look for the positives when faced with difficult business scenarios and technical needs in products.  The bottom line however is that some of the best human resources are located in Portland.  With unemployment so high for several years, the competition was stiff to get jobs in the industry and this has only furthered the talent located in Portland.IMG_2812
The concentration of footwear materials suppliers certainly helps to keep them on their toes to innovate, but a larger challenge is communicating the technical side of the innovations across cultures.  Because so many of the suppliers are Asian, the ability to innovate is only stifled by the need for more cultural bridges to be created.  Historically, Japan and Korea led the charge with manufacturing (particularly in footwear), but once China’s doors opened, they were forced to invest in factories in Dongguan or Jinjiang.  Both of these cities have led the march for China footwear, but like any manufacturing the suppliers had to follow.  This trend has continued in Vietnam and Indonesia as China’s labor prices increase.  Developing new materials is a matter of getting brands the right materials (thousands of options), at the right time (2 season annual calendar-different for every brand), for the right price (commodity prices change, natural disasters, competition, etc.).  This is easier said than done when so many factors are changing so quickly.
IMG_2824
Source Material strives to build cultural bridges, add value to the developers and designers we assist, and contribute meaningful dialogue with everyone we interact with in the industry.  
For students interested in getting into this industry, I would encourage you to meet as many people as you can, never stop learning, and provide solutions or ideas for solutions whenever possible.  There are many things all around us that could be done better and if you can find the ways to express how you would do that, people will listen and you will build a tribe of people that will believe in you.  The international business solutions can be the hardest to see, but can be the most rewarding.
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Once again, if you are a student looking to get into the footwear and apparel industry, Portland and PSU offer opportunities that are hard to beat. Looking for opportunities at big, established companies can be great, but there are also plenty of smaller companies that are doing some exciting things and have plenty of opportunities for growth, and RYZ and Source Material are both great examples!

Joshua Thorpe

mail.google.comJosh is a full-time student in the Master of International Management program.  After graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in Japanese, he taught English in Tokyo for 3 years, before moving to China and teaching at a university in the city of Zhengzhou.  Inspired by his experiences in Japan and China, he was drawn to the MIM program because of its regional focus on Asia, as well as for Portland State University’s reputation as a leader in the field of sustainable business. He is studying Chinese in the MIM program, but tries to keep up his Japanese whenever he can.

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Portlandia: Keep it Weird

“The dream of the 90’s is alive in Portland…”

Portlandia_title_card

As you may hear (or personally experience) Portland is a bit unique as compared to other US cities, even it’s closeby neighbors of Seattle and San Francisco. Whether you’ve seen IFC’s show “Portlandia,” or read articles about the strange happenings in our city, here’s a list of some truly weird things Portland has to offer. Continue reading

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Portland’s Thriving Athletic and Outdoor Apparel Industry

AYOP-logo 2If you are at all interested in working in the athletic and outdoor apparel industry, Portland is the place to be.

I came to this realization long ago, but had it confirmed yet again after attending the first ever networking event for the Athletic and Outdoor Young Professionals of Portland. The AOYP is a relatively new group that brings together young professionals working in retail, marketing, materials supply, and design for athletic and outdoor apparel and footwear. Their recent networking event drew a large crowd of well-dressed Portlanders, and featured a keynote speech by Jeremy Moon, founder and president of Icebreaker.

So why do I say that Portland is the ideal place to become involved in this industry?

Is it because Portland is home to a number of global apparel and footwear companies’ global and North American headquarters, including Nike, Adidas, KEEN, Columbia Sportswear, and Icebreaker, not to mention the many smaller niche brands that are in the area?

Is it because the PSU School of Business Administration is starting a brand new certificate program in the Athletic and Outdoor Industry for interested undergraduate students?

Is it because of Portland’s ideal environment for a variety of outdoor activities, from running and cycling, to skiing, fishing, and hiking?

Is it because of all the opportunities to attend networking events like this one, and the chance to hobnob with people who work for industry leading companies?

The answer, of course, is yes to all of the above. More than that though, what I have discovered repeatedly during my time as a student here is that people working in the athletic apparel and footwear industry in Portland are always friendly and accessible, and willing to sit down and help you learn more about their companies and the work that they do. It is also an industry full of people who live the same active lifestyle that they promote through their respective brands. It is an industry full of creativity and talent, that embraces a forward-thinking attitude toward integrating sustainability in their brands, and balancing function and form in their products.

Again, if you are interested in the athletic and outdoor apparel industry, Portland offers opportunities that are hard to match. And if you are thinking of returning to school to pursue a business degree that can prepare you for work in this industry, I can say from experience that Portland State University offers ample opportunities to learn about and get involved with the industry, both in and outside of the classroom. Whether you want an international business degree like the Master of International Management program that can prepare you for a career in this highly globalized industry, or a business degree focused on sustainability and strong business fundamentals like the MBA program, PSU has a variety of options. And with any of these options, you have the chance to take your education outside of the classroom and connect with local groups like the AOYP and other apparel and footwear networking events.

Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about the Master of International Management program and the great opportunities that Portland has to offer.

Joshua Thorpe

mail.google.comJosh is a full-time student in the Master of International Management program.  After graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in Japanese, he taught English in Tokyo for 3 years, before moving to China and teaching at a university in the city of Zhengzhou.  Inspired by his experiences in Japan and China, he was drawn to the MIM program because of its regional focus on Asia, as well as for Portland State University’s reputation as a leader in the field of sustainable business. He is studying Chinese in the MIM program, but tries to keep up his Japanese whenever he can.

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Portland: A biking city for all seasons

bikecommute

Commuters on Portland’s Hawthorne Bridge

Portland has a well-deserved reputation as one of the best cities for bicycling in the United States. Thanks to significant efforts on the part of the city and bicycle advocacy groups, people in Portland are able to enjoy extensive bike lanes throughout downtown, and even in many residential areas of Portland, as well as miles and miles of bike paths that run along the river, and through parks in the Portland area.

As a student, I have found biking to be a great way to get around the city. Not only is biking a great way to commute to campus, it’s also a fantastic way to explore the city. Portland’s relatively compact size means that you can easily get to and from places in the central part of the city in 10 minutes or less by bicycle. Portland’s various public transportation options also allow for bringing bikes with you (you can carry them on board trains, or place them on the front rack of buses), which is a convenient way to travel farther than you might want to on your bike alone, or sometimes just a good way to avoid riding your bike in the rain. For more information on Portland’s public transportation options, see our recent post here.

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Stopping for a photo break on the Ross Island Bridge

Portland also has some great bicycling events, one of which just took place last weekend. The Providence Bridge Pedal is an annual event where the city closes off many roads and bridges to car traffic, and instead opens them up to thousands of cyclists who can freely ride one of several routes across Portland’s iconic bridges. This year’s Bridge Pedal drew more than 18,000 participants, including many families and others looking for a relaxing way to tour the city’s bridges and waterfront. The Bridge Pedal takes place every year in the summer, so keep an eye out for more information next year on how you can participate!

Joshua Thorpe

mail.google.comJosh is a full-time student in the Master of International Management program.  After graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in Japanese, he taught English in Tokyo for 3 years, before moving to China and teaching at a university in the city of Zhengzhou.  Inspired by his experiences in Japan and China, he was drawn to the MIM program because of its regional focus on Asia, as well as for Portland State University’s reputation as a leader in the field of sustainable business. He is studying Chinese in the MIM program, but tries to keep up his Japanese whenever he can.

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Muddling Through Networking Events

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m rather horrible at networking. Part of the reason I joined the MIM social media team was to become more involved in these types of events and begin to build my brand. Although not my first plunge into this stressful and awkward situation, I recently attended two networking events in the same day: a Digital Marketing Breakfast and the SEMpdx Networking Rooftop Party. While my goal for the first event was more to learn about social media marketing than to network, the day began splendidly with a locked door. Continue reading

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