This month we are speaking with Samir Naser, Owner of Indigo Traders, a fair and sustainable family business, celebrating the rich artisan traditions of Mediterranean cultures, and selling products they love.
Phil: Thank you for talking with us today. How did Indigo Traders come about?
Samir: I have been working in textiles since I was 17 or 18 years old. I met my wife in Jordan while working and we moved to Portland back in 1997. After some time to get established, I decided to start my own business in textiles again. We established Indigo Traders in 2003, selling mainly the pestemal or Turkish towel. Our first shop was across from Peggy Sundays in Multnomah Village. Then we moved across the street and were there for 15 years. Our new space is next to Fat City Cafe in the heart of the Village.
Phil: How did you grow the business into such a success focusing on mainly one product?
Samir: We fell in love with the Turkish towel and wanted to share it. Once you try it you won't want to go back to a regular terry cloth towel. No matter what the product is though, a business should be more about the relationships. When you travel you make friends, and those people help you learn where to find the best silk, cotton, and other fabrics. So then we ended up building strong relationships with the textile weavers. That is what it is really about; love, hope, integrity, and jobs for artists who are proud of what they make. Every product we sell has a story and we know who made it. Then there are the relationships with your customers and the community. You must value your customers and space. Be kind and gentle with humanity and they will sense if you are sincere.
Phil: How has the store been affected this last year?
Samir: We were fortunate that our online sales were going before that. In fact, our online sales grew during Covid. We are really lucky to have great people and we love them for who they are. Our relationship with our employees matters.
Phil: What does the future of Indigo Traders hold?
We have the new storefront here in Multnomah Village so we will enjoy building more relationships with old and new customers here. Customers become our friends and we enjoy getting to know them. We only sell products that we really love. We have coffee, olive oil from Palestine, old-world soaps; anything we enjoy in the Mediterranean area we bring back. And we will continue to grow online. Treating online customers well is just as important to us. If you want to return something it should not be a hassle. Southwest Portland has been a great place to start a business. People are willing and open and supportive of small businesses. We are happy and grateful that many of our customers are repeat customers and we have the support of the community. If you inspire yourself and others and celebrate life every day, that is what makes for a successful life and business.
Indigo Traders is at 7814 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland. 503.780.2422 - More Info at Indigotraders.com