Located right in the heart of the Sunnyside neighborhood on 33rd and S.E. Belmont, Noun carries an amazing selection of antiques, oddities, housewares and jewelry. Owner Stephanie Sheldon has beautifully curated her shop for the past 7 years. Collecting amazing antiques as well as carrying some truly amazing Portland creatives. From one of our personal favorites, Tiro Tiro jewelry to A + R Busch plant reciprocals, Nan Made accessories, MOUFELT felt designs and Kiersten Crowely jewelry. The store has a great energy about it with so many pretty things to see at every turn, in every drawer and in every corner.
1. Tell us about Noun!
We opened on November 1st, 2006. We're located in the Sunnyside neighborhood on the corner of SE 33rd and Belmont.
2. What made you decide to open a store front?
As a lit major with no real marketable skills, I ended up working a string of odd retail jobs after college. I realized I was pretty good at customer service and that I loved merchandising. In my free time I loved to shop, whether it was at an estate sale or at the mall. Everyone says to do what you love and so when I sat down and really thought about what I was good at and the type of lifestyle I wanted, opening a shop became an obvious choice.
3. What is the concept behind the store?
Our aesthetic is inherently difficult to define but we tend to think of ourselves as equal parts curiosity shop, art gallery and modern decor boutique. We try to give it a sense of mystery and discovery - like you never know what you're going to find and that you kind of have to peek behind doors and open drawers to find secret treasures.
4. How did you come up with the name Noun: a person's place for things?
It was what some would call a "happy accident". I was having a drink with my husband and reading the newspaper. I saw the word "noun" in some copy and then I started doodling on a napkin. I wrote out the definition of a noun (the one we all learn in elementary school), and POOF! There it was. It took less than 30 seconds between the time I wrote it down and the time I knew it was exactly right. It was as simple and inexplicable as that.
5. How do you find designers you showcase in your shop?
When I first opened, I went to lots of art/craft shows and basically begged people to let me sell their things. Now many people come to me - which is nice. We also do our fair share of scouring the internet...
6. What are your top 3 favorite things in the store?
Currently I'm in love with a stack of paperback classics that sit right in front of the counter. They have beautiful covers and are our attempt to encourage people to read in 2014. There is a tall cast iron lamp with a skeleton shade that is a cross between arts & crafts and art nouveau that's pretty amazing. And finally, there is the bronze Clarus bracelet by Tiro Tiro which is on my personal wish list.
7. What’s a funny shop story you have?
Because you have to walk through another business (Sprinklefingers) to get to my shop, people often come in almost by accident and then walk up to the counter and say "I love your shop! Where are am I?" It's great because it just adds another layer to the mystery/discovery thing I mentioned earlier.
8. Who are your style icons?
I don't know about "style icons" per se but I wouldn't mind living in any movie of Wes Anderson's, in the poetry of Emily Dickinson or the artwork of my friend Noelle Maline. I also have a huge lady crush on both Diane Keaton and Florence Welch.
9. Tell us two truths and a lie.
I went to catholic school for 8 years and am terrified of going to hell, so I never lie.
10. Where are your favorite places to shop?
I love a good LA swap meet/Flea Market. But if we're speaking locally, some of my faves are Alder & Co, Palace and Lowell.