What began in 2007 as a tiny, idealistic dream of showing the world our friends’ art and music has come to fruition in ways we didn’t know were possible, all because of the dedicated community of makers, artists, musicians, employees and customers.
Tender Loving Empire was all heart at the beginning. We never set out to make a bunch of money or to take over the world. In fact we even called the business Tender Loving Empire as a reminder to ourselves and friends of what this thing would always be all about: PEOPLE and ART. But ideals are nothing if they can’t be implemented in the real world. Over the years with lots of help and many mistakes, we’ve developed artist-friendly and sustainable business relationships, hired talented, passionate people and created tried and true (ever evolving) systems. These have helped actually achieve what we set out to do in the first place: to provide opportunity for artists to be seen and heard, thereby empowering the community we live in.
Here’s what over 10 years in business means: over 1,000,000 people have walked through our doors and seen the work of the 2000+ artists we’ve showcased, and the 400+ local musicians we’ve featured. By the end of our 10th year, we will have released 70 records and 5 comic books and made thousands and thousands of fans for the bands we represent. We’ll be employing over 35 people. We’ve paid over $2,500,000 to artists and have seen dozens of them be able to quit their day jobs and do what they love for a full time living WHICH WAS THE WHOLE POINT OF THIS ALL ALONG!
Customers and fans have come into our stores or stumbled across the music we’ve released, been inspired and found meaningful gifts to help celebrate their lives. We’ve been able to be a part of holidays, welcoming new babies, weddings, engagements, consoling friends during difficult times, thank yous and so much more.
It’s the support of wonderful people like YOU that have made this all possible. Year after year you walk through our doors and buy art and music made by real people. These people are deeply thankful and moved by your commitment to their livelihood. Simply put: your support empowers artists and empowered artists makes for a strong community.
Thank you so much for making our dreams and the dreams of so many talented artists come true. You are truly part of this place.
Jared and Brianne Mees
“Portland’s Tender Loving Empire is a local record label, music store, gallery, and arts collective that does pretty much everything- and does it well.”
“Dream Boutique: A husband and wife opened this record-label-consignment-shop-art-studio. It’s a creative hub where the owners are saying: Here are the things we love. We really want you to love them too.”
“In a crowded field, Tender Loving Empire is perhaps the best example of a shop committed to local talent, with Portland-made music, art, and gifts.”
Read an in-depth history of Tender Loving Empire from Built Oregon.