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‘I get vulnerable’: New book shares intimate story of Portland Gear’s founding

By Jashayla Pettigrew,


PORTLAND, Ore. ( KOIN ) — Marcus Harvey’s design background is a big part of what propelled him and his Rose-City-inspired apparel brand Portland Gear forward — but that’s not all there is to it. Soon, Portlanders can get the full story in Harvey’s book that officially releases Saturday, June 10.

Product of the People is an amalgamation of journal entries that Harvey wrote throughout the first five years of Portland Gear from 2014 to 2019, with some more recent musings throughout.

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However, the founder says he started journaling years before — when he got fired from his first job after graduating from the University of Oregon’s School of Art + Design in 2012.

“I was working at a screen printing company and they viewed me as disruptive and I viewed me as being creative and thinking outside the box, and it ended up being the biggest blessing,” Harvey said. “I knew one day I would do something. I didn’t know what, and I knew I’d want to look back and remember all of those intimate moments.”

‘Intimate moments’ are a prominent aspect of the self-published Product of the People , according to the author.

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Harvey says the book includes the highs and lows he experienced while launching his business, rather than being a mundane tale of how he sold hats, hoodies, and other apparel. One of the first sections is about a panic attack he faced while speaking in front of hundreds of high school students.

“I get vulnerable and I go backwards so that people can see where we are now and how we go forward are all directly related,” he said.

Shoe Dog , Phil Knight’s memoir on the founding of Nike, is one piece that inspired Harvey to get his brand’s story out of his head and onto the page.

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“I know I’m on one one-billionth of a scale of Nike, but I do think there’s some value in my founding story and that people can read it and assimilate to what they’re going through, or read it and not make the same mistakes that we did or find some sort of little sliver of inspiration in something that we created,” he said.

Product of the People launches on Saturday, June 10. The hardcover book will be available for $24.95 on the Portland Gear website , or $15 in one of its two brick-and-mortar locations.

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Paperback versions are available for $9.99 on Amazon and Barnes and Noble .

In addition, Portland Gear is hosting a grand opening at its Washington Square store at 10 a.m. the same day. The brand says the first 100 people at the event will receive a free hat and a copy of the book.

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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