Jason & Suraya Barbee
We are so grateful for the community we have found in Multnomah Village. Not just our customers and consignors, but the businesses that surround us and the people behind them. In this series on the blog, we will be introducing you to some of the people responsible for building, maintaining, and celebrating this special community.
Today we are pleased to feature Jason & Suraya Barbee, a couple who, as fate would have it, have each gotten involved with Consign Couture in their own way! Jason, co-founder and owner of Level Beer Brewery (with a taproom just a few doors down the street from us in Multnomah Village) has worked with us to provide cans of Level Beer to our 21+ shoppers in-store. Suraya, with her beautiful eye for photography and style, and passion for shopping secondhand, has been a valued supporter of Consign Couture (you may have seen some of her outfit photos in our Instagram stories- she’s sharing a fashion tip or two with us today!). We’re lucky to have friends and supporters like these in our community and are thrilled to feature Jason & Suraya on our blog.
What is your name, and what do you do in life? Tell us about yourself!
Jason- husband, father, small business owner. In my free time I really enjoy bouldering with my family, video games, and hiking.
Have beer / hospitality / entertaining always been a big part of your life? How did you get into this business?
I graduated college with a degree in Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology with sights set towards medical school. I took a job in the hospitality industry as a way to make a living while doing other things to polish up my med school resume. As I had feet in these two worlds I really found myself enjoying hospitality and brewing while dreading going to the hospital. So eventually I decided to stick with brewing and abandon my medical ambitions. I’ve also always just enjoyed entertaining. I love to cook and host people so it was a natural fit.
You’ve been in the business a while. Any milestones that feel particularly special, or moments you have been especially proud of? What were some of the challenges, and how did you get past them? What lessons or moments stand out?
First, just getting open was great. Months behind schedule and over budget it felt really great when we were finally able to open our doors. Then it was a really good feeling when we could hire a couple of brewers to take some of the load off my brewing partner and myself. Trying to run a business and also do all of the production ourselves was a lot early on. Money was definitely a big challenge. Get multiple quotes and compare prices on everything. We have saved thousands over the years simply by exploring our options.
What is something you’re proud to bring to your community, or to your industry (or both?)
I really pride myself on being able to provide a space for the community to come together and enjoy being able to give back. Having pint nights to support school and other non-profits, donating brewing experiences to have parents from local schools come out and brew with us, serving as a CSA pickup/mini farmers market, and just being a safe place for the whole family to come hang out is something I’m really proud of and have enjoyed watching over the years.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I most enjoy showing people around and teaching people about Level, beer, and the industry in general. It’s definitely the host in me, but I don’t ever really tire of just chatting with patrons.
Suraya, please tell us about yourself!
I am always looking for the beauty in every moment. I love creating beautiful environments and moments for my family.
What do you like about shopping secondhand?
I love that I can afford better quality items for the same price as new. I’m building a “Vince” wardrobe at a “Gap” price and I love it!
Do you have a favorite “secondhand score” story to share? Any extra special pieces or moments that have gone on to have special meaning?
My favorite score was a Trail Blazer playoff t-shirt from 1991 that I found at a garage sale in Multnomah Village for $1. It has special meaning because my dad used to take me to games and I used to work for the Blazers.
You’re making a capsule wardrobe- what are your staple pieces?
White linen shirt. Black turtleneck. Denim, so much denim (I am a denim collector). Loafers. Black chunky boots.
What does thoughtful/conscious consumption mean to you?
I grew up with a mom that washed plastic bags and reused them. We went to garage sales together. It’s a way of life that you teach your children is normal and celebrated. It also means recognizing when objects no longer serve you and passing them on – to great stores like yours!
Will you share a style tip with us?
Pay no attention to sizes or clothing “gender”. If it fits the way you want it to fit- it’s for you!
What are some of your favorite spots in Portland?
Our whole family likes wings so we frequent Fire on the Mountain a decent amount. Upright brewing is awesome, and I really enjoy going to Uptown Market.
I love just walking our neighborhood.
You’re making a Portland “must see/do/visit” list: what’s on it?
The International Rose Garden, I love the waterfront walk from the steel bridge, to the eastside esplanade and over the Hawthorne bridge
Three small businesses you love?
– Consign Couture of course!
The best thing you’ve watched/read/listened to lately?
The Righteous Gemstones
Something you’ve learned recently?
I learned how to properly prune my tomatoes for the best fruit
A person you admire?
My father in law. He’s the best grandpa anyone could ever ask for and a great role model.
A simple luxury you enjoy?
I love an iced matcha in the afternoon.