PORTLAND, Ore. -- In a city known for its love of fleece, you wouldn't think a custom men's clothing store would be a good bet. But a local lawyer is proving otherwise.
"I'm Joe Mueller and my business is called Wildwood & Company. We make clothing out of our workshop right in the back," he said.
Mueller's Wildwood is nearly a work of art in itself. The furniture, the woodwork and the merchandise all crafted locally.
At home in the century-old Hamilton building in downtown Portland, the effect is elegant, understated and very Oregon.
"I think that's what we are trying to do here is create an environment that evokes Savile Row, but feels uniquely Northwest," Mueller explained.
The concept of a custom clothing store for men came to Mueller when he moved home from New York and couldn't find a suit he liked.
"I went down the rabbit hole taking sewing classes, basic tailoring classes, which i had never done before," he said. "Mostly to learn more about it and to meet people who were much better at it than I am."
He did, hiring several designers already earning rave reviews. A suit will cost several thousand dollars and take several months to make. But from the fabric, to the one of a kind patterns, to the fine detail work, there is no question about the quality and at Wildwood that goes way beyond the suits.
The store serves as a backdrop for the work of thirty other local artisans. Mueller thought if you liked the suits, you just might like a handmade hat, shoes or sweater to go with it.
"I'm staggered by the amount of talent we get to work with," Mueller said. "And the nicest people who are trying to make a living making beautiful things with their hands."
As far as making a living goes, Mueller says his earnings don't come close to what he made as a lawyer, but there are other benefits.
Like getting to know so many talented people, and himself a little better.
" I've never really considered myself a creative person," Mueller told us, "So it's been a journey to find that my own creativity is something I find very satisfying."