PR Collaborators | Rick Molitor of New Basin Distilling

PR Collaborators is a blog series highlighting hardworking individuals who help Portland Razor Co. be the best we can be. We consider the people and companies featured here to be integral to our success and hope our readers will show their support for these wonderful makers.

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We met Rick Molitor of New Basin Distilling Co in 2015 via a chance encounter and, as one does over a dram of good American whiskey, we hatched an idea. Rick had just finished bottling a batch of Resignation Rye and needed to retire one of the Oregon white oak barrels used to age it. Though no longer useful for aging fine liquor, Rick hoped we might be able to turn it into something other than firewood. We happily obliged by making a limited set of co-branded Cascade Steel straight razors with unique engravings and scales which showed off the unique character of charred, rye-stained Oregon white oak. Rick has helped us over the years to raise funds and awareness for men’s health issues, supported our business by co-sponsoring events, and keeps our friends and clients happy with a steady flow of luxurious libations at the Portland Shave Shop.

Q: Tell our readers about your business. What do you do? What is your company story?

New Basin Distilling Company is a true Farm to Bottle distillery. We are proud to take our own farm grown grain and turn it into liquid magic. Our story started like any group of drinking buddies. It doesn't take long

Q: Is being in Oregon important to you and your business? Why/why not?

This is a catch 22 - we love Oregon. 3 of the 5 New Basin partners are multi-generational Oregonian. We have fertile fields for our grain production and the world's best water-Opal Springs water can't be beat for natural purity and flavor. Being 100% Distilled in Oregon is important to us. However, the business climate and tax structure for distilled spirits in Oregon is a huge obstacle for Oregon distilleries. The current tax structure on distilled spirits range from 31 to 51% of the listed price just in Oregon. With these numbers, along with local and Federal taxes we are starting to see distilleries close or move out of the State.

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Q: What sharp things do you use (knives, razors, axes, etc) at work? What tools are your favorite to use?

We love the collaboration with Portland Razor with the creation of a razor with scales made from one of our Resignation Rye Whiskey barrels. This is the sharpest item I've carried in our tasting room.

Q: Do you straight shave? If not, would you consider it?

I have received many straight razor shaves but never shaved myself. Would love to learn!

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Q: Where do you look for inspiration?

My son is currently attending OSU in the Food Science/Fermentation Studies Program. He has helped New Basin Distilling create more efficient and effective distilling procedures. I'm excited for younger distillers to challenge and change the landscape of what make a true American Whiskey.

Q: We love your product and are proud to serve it in our barbershop! In your own words, what’s better about it than its big-box store competitors?

You really can't compare locally grown, milled, mashed, fermented and distilled product. I can literally walk you into one of our rye and wheat field. Also, as stated above, naturally raw and untouched water from Opal Springs makes our whiskey that much better!

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Q: What is the most “Portland” thing to ever happen to you?

Serving New Basin Distilling Cocktails at a Portland Fashion Week party!

Q: What is one thing you wish more of your customers knew about you or your work?

How passionate and true we are to making an amazing Farm-to-Bottle Oregon Whiskey!

Q: How can readers get in touch with you?

Get a bottle at your local liquor store, swing in the distillery at 2063 NW Andrews Dr. Madras, OR, 97741 give us a call at 541-980-4595, on the web at www.newbasin.com, follow us on Facebook @NewBasinDistilling or search #newbasindistilling

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What is Pre-Shave Conditioner?

We seek to provide our customers with the highest-quality products and the knowledge and skills to use them. To that end, we are proud to introduce our new Executive Pre-Shave Conditioner as part of our new Executive Shave Essentials line.

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What is Pre-Shave Conditioner?

Pre-shave conditioners are chemically and functionally different from pre-shave oils. Pre-shave oils primarily add lubricity to your shave, and help to get more performance out of cheap shave creams and soaps. Since our Executive Shave Cream already contains high levels of quality, natural oils for lubrication, we decided to go a different route: use a pre-shave conditioner to soften the hair and extend the life of the razor's edge. Our Executive Pre-Shave Conditioner has a lower pH (higher acidity) than pre-shave oils. This quality of our Pre-Shave Conditioner softens hair and makes the hair easier to cut. Because hairs will be softer, less pressure may be used during shaving and the blade will experience less wear and tear. For our first pre-shave conditioner, we have added eucalyptus and mint essential oils to create a soothing, cooling sensation while you prep for your shave.

How to Use the Executive Pre-Shave Conditioner

The best time to shave is always after a shower, when the hair is hydrated and warm; a hot, moist towel is a great substitute if you don't want to shower. While your hair is hydrated and gently towel-dried:

  1. Dispense a dime-sized amount of conditioner onto your palm.
  2. Rub your hands together and massage into the hair.
  3. You can remove any excess with moist towel.
  4. Allow essential oil fragrance to bloom and cool the skin for a soothing, aromatic shaving experience.
  5. Lather shave soap/shave cream as usual.

PRE-SHAVE CONDITIONER SPECS:

Eucalyptus Mint Scent, Handmade in Portland, OR, 3.3 oz., Crafted from high quality, natural ingredients, formulated for smooth and comfortable shaves, Easy-pour, shatter-proof bottle. Ingredients: Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Betaine, Coco-Glucoside, Shea Butter, Olive Oil, Sunflower Oil, Coconut Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Jojoba Oil, Aloe Leave Juice Powder, Xanthan Gum, Essential Oil Blend, Citric Acid, Lactic Acid, Benzoic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Vitamin E

The Executive Pre-Shave Conditioner softens hair, extending the life of the razor's edge and soothes and cools the skin for a more comfortable traditional wet shave, no matter what blade you’re using! 

Source: https://www.portlandrazorco.com/shave-esse...

Introducing Portland Shave Shop

The Portland Razor Co. team often discusses the need for physical spaces where wetshavers, beard lovers, and barbers can hang out and share in our mutual engrossment with all things grooming. When we realized the lobby of our workshop was begging to be that place, we figured the extra work on the weekends and evenings would be well worth it! We are excited to announce that Portland Razor Co. is expanding into “Portland Shave Shop.” Portland Shave Shop is a retailer of fine shaving and beard care products, features a single-chair barbershop, and is conveniently located a few feet from our where we make our straight razors and strops. This means that we can manufacture, sell, and give personalized instruction on the use of our product all under one roof!

The "Work Together" Mural in the ADX Woodshop.

Better Together

The early days of Portland Razor Co. were spent in a 10x10 studio at ADX Portland where the motto is “Work Together.” There is even a mural of raccoons on the wall of the ADX wood shop that touts such a philosophy. As subscribers to this idea, we are always looking for ways to collaborate with those courageous enough to see eye to eye with a group of people who spend all day every day making straight razors! Portland Razor Co. sees the shave shop as aligned with the “work together” M.O. in that we can stock our favorite shaving goods from other companies making killer products and we can share our shop with customers and other industry pros for events and meet-ups. As we continue to densify life in the city, it is important to learn how to share and optimize a scarce commodity: space! Portland has an urban growth boundary (as do all cities in Oregon), so our fair city isn't getting much bigger, just denser! It is also important to find those moments where you can take a break from such packed-in city life. We had a friend who would drop-in to visit Portland Razor Co. in it's early days because he needed to, in his words, "Zen Out" before getting back to busy life. Portland Shave Shop makes good use of Portland Razor Co.’s extra space and offers it to you because we all need a reliable escape in which to "zen out" every once in awhile.

Portland Shave Shop

Portland Shave Shop is about giving wet shavers, barbers and beard lovers alike an inviting space to talk shop and enjoy a personalized retail experience. Located at 3207 SW 1st Ave, the shave shop is walking distance from downtown Portland and the Southwest Waterfront MAX. Customers can enjoy shopping in a classic barbershop setting, schedule a relaxing shave or haircut with our barbers, and receive instruction on how to use their new straight razor, safety razor, badger bristle brush, beard balm, etc. Portland Razor Co. straight razors and strops will be available for purchase, along with carefully-chosen products from our favorite brands.
Looking for a gift, but don’t know anything about “traditional wet shaving”? Not to worry: we are happy to give recommendations based on the giftee's existing routine and preferences. We don’t expect you to think about shaving all day every day, just know that we do and are more than happy to share in our knowledge with you. The Shave Shop carries an array of great products for wet shavers of any experience level, and is equipped with the facilities to see them in action.

Behind the barber chair at Portland Shave Shop

The Barbershop @ Portland Shave Shop

Centered around an ultra-classic 1920’s Koken barber chair, the barbershop is a throwback to slower, simpler times when the relationship between barber and client was about more than just getting your hair done right. Being a single-chair barbershop removes the stress of getting clients in and out of the chair as fast as possible, allowing both the barber and the client to relax and enjoy. You can swing by for a quick trim, or stick around and luxuriate in a hot towel shave. It’s an opportunity to unplug, enjoy some music, have a beverage with friends, and when you’re ready (and only then!), go about your day feeling clean, calm, and collected.

Portland Razor Co. Workshop

Portland Razor Co. will continue to manufacture high-quality straight razors and strops in-house, in our workshop behind Portland Shave Shop. We may eventually switch to having limited hours for shop tours, but for now all are welcome to schedule an appointment to come see us and learn how our strops and straight razors are made!
As we expand our product offerings, so too are our services! Our team is available to service your straight razors, strops, scissors, clippers, pocket knives, and other gear. Inspections are free, and our team of knowledgeable bladesmiths and makers is available to answer any questions you may have. Sharpenings, cleanings, restorations, and some repairs can be handled in-house. However, some products with warranties should be sent to the manufacturer, and we are happy to help with that process as well.

See you soon?

We’re always working on something new and exciting, and we’re constantly seeking ways to better serve our customers. Whether you seek clean-shaven perfection or bearded beau ideal, care to relax with our barber, need a gift for the hairy one in your life, or want to see how our products are made here in Portland, we are happy to accommodate your visit however we can. We’re a pretty relaxed crowd and we love making new friends. Please don’t be shy, we’d love to see you in here! If you are planning a visit, know that our building is undergoing a facelift at the time of this post. Our owners assure us that the work is progressing well and that we will soon have a whole crew of other makers and artists to keep us company! In the meantime, know that we will be here (hardhat zone or not!) on the second floor.

As always, thank you so much for reading and for your continued support of Portland Razor Co. (and affiliates!).

View of Portland Razor Co. & Portland Shave Shop building from the street entrance on SW 1st Ave.

Portland Shave Shop is open regular hours Wednesday-Sunday

3207 SW 1st Ave #204
Portland, OR 92739

Portland Shave Shop Website

Source: https://portlandshaveshop.com/

Straight Razor Care and Honing Classes at Portland Razor Co!

From the beginning we set out to make heirloom-quality straight razors and strops here in the US. In addition, we make it our priority to provide our customers with all of the tools and knowledge they need for a great shave. When we first started straight shaving, we read countless posts and watched endless hours of videos on the Internet. We found these resources helpful, but who couldn't use a few moments (or days, weeks, months!) away from a screen? It has always been our intention to bring the online wet shaving community offline, to give it a physical space here in the Pacific Northwest.

With these goals in mind, we have organized a skill-building class at our SW Portland workshop to teach our customers how to maintain their straight razor. We hope to build an inclusive community around wet shaving and an appreciation for the straight razor as the best shaving tool out there.

Each class will be held on a Saturday 10:30-12:30 and be lead by a Portland Razor Co. bladesmith. There are no gear requirements; you don’t even have to be the proud owner of a PR straight razor yet! Students are welcome to bring their own honing stones and razors if they wish. Most importantly, bring yourself, be ready to learn, and prepare to make some friends

As a student, you can expect to leave the 2-hour class with a new Norton 4k/8k stone, a 1.5 oz can of ballistol, and the know-how to care for your straight razor all on your own. Class size is limited, so sign-up while space is available.

2017 Schedule:
1/21/17 10:30am-12:30pm
4/29/17 10:30am-12:30pm
7/8/17 10:30am-12:30pm
11/11/17 10:30am-12:30pm

Thank you for reading and for your continued support of Portland Razor Co. as we gear up for this exciting new offering. We hope to see you here in 2017!

PR Collaborators | Evan Worthington, Craftsman Soap Co.

PR Collaborators is a blog series highlighting hardworking individuals who help Portland Razor Co. be the best we can be. We consider the people and companies featured here to be integral to our success and hope our readers will show their support for these wonderful makers.

For us, Evan Worthington of Craftsman Soap Co. is a reminder that you just never know where the best opportunities will present themselves. In 2014, mere weeks after founding Portland Razor Co., Scott was hiking the Lost Coast Trail with some friends. It was one of those, “I haven’t seen you all in forever, let’s go sequester ourselves in the wilderness because it might be another 7 years before we get a chance to do this again.” kind of trips. Scott brought a few of his straight razors to show the group (engineers, product designers, and all-around studs themselves) in an effort to get some feedback. Greg, lovingly known as Big Greg, told Scott of his friend Evan who had a line of all-natural soaps and personal care products. Evan emailed us shortly after and the rest is history...

of evan worthington craftsman soap co

Q: Tell our readers about your business. What do you do? What is your company story?
A: Being the guy behind Craftsman Soap Company, the primary objective here is making soap. Of course I consider the formulating, perfumery, photography, and business aspects of the brand, but soap making is understandably at the core. I started making and selling soap professionally almost four years ago, and had made my own supplies for a few years before that. As I invested more time and energy, Craftsman Soap Company kind of naturally took shape. I’ve always wanted the principles of the business to center around a low-tech, handcrafted approach, and an attention to quality and origins of materials. So the products have always been natural, and for a long time now all ingredients have been botanically sourced, aside from the waxes and balms which rely on beeswax.

Q: Is being in LA important to you and your business? Why/why not?

A:I’d imagine this is true with most communities, but I feel a strong connection with the customers I have in Los Angeles. It’s a big community, but I still feel the connection. Being in LA, it feels good to build on the city’s contributions to the maker movement. I’m proud to print “Handcrafted in Los Angeles, California” on every box of soap.

Q:What sharp things do you use (knives, razors, axes, etc) at work? What tools are your favorite to use?

A:I probably have more sharp things than I need in the workshop, I’m a fan. I have a card scraper that is probably gets the most use. It’s just a thin card of stainless that’s intended for furniture making, but it works great to clear the workbench of soap, which tends to stick to everything. A guitar string isn’t really sharp, but it’s sharp enough to fulfill all my soap cutting needs. A nice heavy gauge E-string cuts a thin kerf without breaking. And of course a good knife for just about everything. There are always bags and boxes to open, and I’m always doing some urban foraging for sprigs of herbs, flowers, and plants for photography.

Q:Where do you look for inspiration?

A: I get a lot of inspiration from my senses when I explore a new ingredient, particularly sense of smell. As an example, with perfumery I’ll take a vial of a new essential oil - say, hay absolute - and I like to see where that sort of transports me. There’s the thematic level, where floral and herbal notes like lavender and yarrow come to mind if you were to imagine a field, but there’s also the pairing of complementary scents from unexpected origins, say a citrus or a spice from thousands of miles away. In the same way those scents come together, oils and waxes can come together in soaps and balms just as harmoniously, and that harmony is very inspiring.

Q: We love your product. In your own words, what’s better about it than its big-box store competitors?

A: Being handmade certainly sets my products apart from big-box competitors, but I’m also able to address a niche audience who has an appreciation for quality and originality. I get to pull from a much broader pool of ingredients, enough to be a logistical nightmare for a factory. The choice from the very beginning to be palm free and to use sustainable and natural ingredients also sets Craftsman Soap Co. apart.

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Q: What is the most “Portland” thing to ever happen to you?

A: I think most of the ‘Portland’ happenings in my life are pretty self-imposed. At one point I was keeping chickens and bees in the backyard, and spending a lot of time at a community ceramics studio, so every ‘what else do you do’ conversation felt pretty Portlandesque. There was also the time I went car-free for a month. Trying to explain how that was voluntary was pretty difficult.

Q: Do you straight shave? If not, would you consider it?

A: I don’t straight shave, but I do use a safety razor. Hopefully I get some credit for that? A friend who blacksmiths in his garage forged a solid steel razor with a wedge grind that he gave me, I use it from time to time, but it definitely takes patience and skill. I’ve definitely drawn blood more than once.

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Q; What is one thing you wish more of your customers knew about you or your work?

A:I make a concerted effort to act and appear professionally, but I think this throws people off sometimes, so I have to laugh when people mistake Craftsman Soap Company for something much larger. I wish more customers knew that while everything here is professional, it is still a small and genuinely handcrafted operation. There’s no gimmick or smokescreen, I legitimately weigh and blend every ingredient by hand, cut every bar of soap myself, and pour every ounce of oil, after shave, or wax into their respective bottles and tins

Q: How can readers get in touch with you?

A:Readers can find us at www.craftsmansoapco.com and reach out directly either through the contact forms on the website, at the Craftsman Soap Co. page on Facebook, on Instagram @craftsmansoapco, or by emailing us directly at hello@craftsmansoap.com.

Thank you, Evan! Keep up the good work!