Inger McDowell-Hartye is the founder and creator of With Love, From PDX and With Love, From Reno, two companies built on creating local gift collections and meaningful relationships. Inger launched With Love, from PDX in 2015 and was able to combine her passion for community and locally-made goods into a successful company, despite the many challenges female founders face. One thing she wishes she knew ahead of time is how hard it is to run a business. Nevertheless, inspired to share the stories of locally-made products and dedicated to her constituents, Inger has become an award-winning entrepreneur. Read more about Inger’s journey to success.
Tell us about your company. What inspired you to start it?
I’m Inger McDowell-Hartye, the curator behind With Love, From PDX and With Love, From Reno. I’ve combined my passion for community and locally-made goods into a successful company. Launched in 2015, my company curates gift collections with some of our city’s most adored locally-made brands. I was inspired to start my company because I value locally-made products and didn’t see anyone curating gift boxes in a way that shared the story of local makers behind the products.
Who are your co-founders and what makes you a great team?
I’m a solo entrepreneur and run my business myself. I think what makes my company successful is the relationships I have with local makers and my focus on telling makers’ stories and reaching busy professionals, corporations, and everyday customers who are looking for beautifully-curated gifts.
How is your company making a difference?
With Love, From PDX’s mission is to showcase local makers through our gifting collection. We help small businesses find new sources of revenue and we provide their brands with exposure to new customers.
What are some of the challenges you have faced?
I think in business it’s really about innovation and continually growing my brand. I’m constantly working on growing my business and that means building relationships and always looking out for new products to introduce to my customers. I think what’s challenging is always staying ahead of alternative brands and being able to show value to my customers so they keep coming back to me.
What is your biggest win?
In the last two years, I’ve won a 40 under 40 award from Gift Shop Magazine and an award from Rising Tide. I think that speaks to the unique business segment I serve, and the work that I’m doing locally in my community.
Who is your role model?
I really don’t have one at the moment, I’m just trying to keep my head down and do good work and hope it pays off. That way I can continue to turn around and invest in my local community where my businesses are located.
What do you wish you had known before starting your company?
I think I wish I had been really honest about how hard it is to run a business without the right support system. I’ve had to seek out resources through Mercycorps NW and other nonprofits that support small businesses. You have to resourceful and know when to ask for help.
What has been your experience with FFA?
I’m just starting with FFA and hope to be helpful in the larger community. We can’t do it alone and we sure can’t run businesses without the support of other people who want to see us be successful.