A Little of the Old, A Little of the New Equals Success for Orox Leather Company

Tapping into the "old" magic that comes from handmade leather, all the while producing decidedly 21st century products for modern consumers, helps Portland's Orox Leather Company thrive.

The company, a fourth-generation, family-run leatherworking business founded in 1933, opened a new headquarters and retail space in August 2013 in Portland's Pearl District. Business Oregon provided technical expertise and export assistance to the company through World Trade Week and helped it find customers for its products earlier this year at a Las Vegas trade show with a $3,340 Oregon Trade Promotion Program grant.

Orox produces such items as durable bike panniers, briefcases and artisan tote bags at its leather workshop in Portland. While seeking customers across the nation, the company also has benefited from the "buy local" mentality of many Oregonians. But as co-owner Martin Martinez found out at the February 2013 Capsule trade show in Las Vegas, "Made in Portland's" cachet stretches nationwide.

Or as he told Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air magazine in October 2013, "It's got its own cachet now, 'Made in Portland,'" says Martinez, one of the five family members involved in Orox Leather Co. "We have international customers from places like Japan and Canada who want to be sure they are buying something made right here."