Friends of JV: Kate “On Broadway”

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When you are in the mood for a cozy glass of wine in downtown Portland, Oregon, direct your feet to “Oregon Wines on Broadway” in Morgan’s Alley. As you enter the long narrow space, you’ll feel as if you have boarded an elegant sailboat, docked for the afternoon. The dark wood bar, velvet banquettes, and spiral staircase add to the effect. The captain, er, proprietor, Kate Bolling welcomes you, in charming attire accented, perhaps, by something from her hat collection. Portland chic. Artistic touches catch the eye--is that a bejeweled fur muffler around the neck of a champagne bottle? The mood is clubby, fun, and informal--is that someone knitting at the bar?

Once upon a time, Jane’s Vanity was Kate’s next door neighbor on Broadway. The businesses made a nice complement. When Kate took over the wine bar, Jane offered encouragement. They shared ideas, often over a glass of champagne at the end of a busy day. Kate’s work wardrobe took on that innovative JV style. Their friendship endures, even as Jane’s Vanity has morphed into an online boutique. There is still lots to discuss over bubbly on Broadway. And, several times a year, the JV crew schedules a date at the wine bar to showcase a new collection.

Kate remembers being so drawn to the lovely lingerie and loungewear at the Jane’s Vanity bricks and mortar store. It changed her way of dressing. Not only did the JV clothing make her feel amazing, it satisfied a desire to own high-quality non-disposable garments that were made by artisans and designed to last. Now she shops with Jane’s Vanity for everything. People ask, “Where did you get that?”

Kate’s wishlist from Jane’s Vanity includes silk pajamas and more UK brand Klements scarves and garments. One of her favorite Klements items is her cashmere/modal blend shawl, a versatile wonder-garment. Her main criterion for workwear is that it allows her to move. Klements silks, Zynni sweaters, and Dana Pisarra pieces do so with style. They are great for travel too, when an entrepreneur needs to recharge her batteries.

Both businesses thrive in their unique niches. Like JV, Kate chooses what she loves. One of the wine bar’s major focuses is Pinot Noirs of the Willamette Valley. She knows the vintners, visits their operations, tastes wine with them. In addition, she features a variety of champagnes and Italian wines. Kate wants the shop to be a place for both connoisseurs and novices to choose what they like. And they do.

Her secrets? Have a plan, but be willing to adapt. Forge ahead, despite mistakes. Learn as you go. Reach out. Above all, find good people to help. Because, we don’t really do anything alone. We need support.  

Kate has created a friendly wine bar where you can be yourself. She has also found a way to be herself, in downtown Portland’s flourishing boutique subculture. Owners help each other, exchange information, celebrate. And what better place to meet than a window banquette at Oregon Wines on Broadway?  

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