Art and a garage. A cottage-industry is born.
That’s how this humble little company got its start. At age 57, Ardys Allport might have been an unlikely mother to a brand new company, but she had passion and a vision to spread art. In 1982, in true cottage-industry fashion, Ardys cleared out her garage in northern California and launched Allport Editions, a fine art poster company aimed at making art accessible.
Sophisticated. And Funny? A happy accident occurs.
After several years of successful poster publishing, blank note cards were added to the Allport line. At the last minute, Ardys’ son Michael threw a few humor greeting cards into the mix, almost as an afterthought. Little did he know the combination of art and humor would take Allport to the top.
Artful and Sharp. Intelligent and Funny.
Greeting cards have since become the success of the Allport story. Allport Editions makes cards that are artful and cards that are funny, and sometimes cards that are both at the same time. We are the distinct combination of unexpectedly corresponding ingredients picked up along our 30-year journey. Art and intelligence, beauty plus wit - that makes us who we are today.
Are you an artist? Go to our Join Us! page to submit artwork.
Sensei in the Dojo of Cards.
Mackenzie hails from Reno, NV but lived in New Orleans before settling for good in Portland. She has owned Allport Editions since 2013, after managing the company for 10 years.
What's your fave pastry? I don’t get hankerings to eat sweets that often, but the sheer skill required in the construction of a Croquembouche is amazing to me. (Hence the nod to them on our new Pastry Lover’s card!)
Digital Wizard, Accounts Receivable.
Jared is 100% Oregonian, but as a USSF soccer referee has travelled all over Oregon, as well as to Arizona and Hawaii for games.
What's your fave pastry? Sinking my teeth into a Crème Puff is like a little piece of heaven in my mouth – there’s absolutely nothing better. YUM!
Stealth Ninja, Graphics & Marketing.
Amy is 100% Oregonian! She hails from Hermiston, OR and has lived in Portland for six years now. On her last vacation Amy went bear-watching in Alaska.
What's your fave pastry? My favorite pastry is the Apple Fritter! It’s just a solid, reliable donut. Sweet, soft, crispy, and sizeable. What’s not to love?!
Smarty Pants, Customer Service.
Jaime originally hails from Oklahoma, but has relocated to both Austin, TX and then Portland, OR in the last few years for law school.
What's your fave pastry? I have a weak spot for CRONUTS - they are the perfect blend of flaky croissant and sweet donut to satisfy any sugary craving!
Funk Master, Warehouse.
Kevin is a longtime resident of Portland, OR where he went from rooting for the Blazers in his childhood to studying business at Portland State University.
What's your fave pastry? You'd be hard pressed to find a better pastry for your morning coffee than a Buttermilk Bar. Even without coffee, it's bar none the best pastry.
Queen of Correspondence.
Megan is 100% Oregonian, but her dream is to own a llama farm in some remote location. She is a trained pastry chef, currently a chocolatier by day (seriously) and an envelope decorator by night.
What's your fave pastry? I wish Kouign Amann grew on trees because I would be picking (and eating) them all the live long day.
Socially Awkward Marketing, Customer Service
Hannah was born and raised on the Big Island of Hawaii, but has called Portland home for the last six years. She enjoys Timbers games, Scrabble, and afternoon naps with her cat.
What's your fave pastry? I'm partial to the Lemon Poppy-seed Vegan Donuts from my dad's bakery - only available in Southern Oregon, so I don't get to indulge too often!
Deskie, Woman of many talents.
Robin is an international world traveler and displaced New Yorker who has visited all 50 states and has lived in at least 8 (NY, MA, ME, FL, CA, NV, AZ and OR.) When not working at her other gigs she enjoys writing, photography & going to the cinema.
What's your fave pastry? My NYC childhood fave was the scrumptious Half & Half Cookie; shortbread with vanilla icing on one half and chocolate on the other...it's two treats in one!
Man of all trades.
Todd is a life-long Portlander, so he's used to dealing with rain. He keeps our roof from leaking and our walls from falling down. Plus, he can fix just about anything, so we find plenty of things to break, just to test him.
What's your fave pastry? You can’t beat a Glazed Old Fashioned Donut. My dad used to send me to the market for a box of them and then we’d sit and eat the entire thing!
Michael was born in Cleveland, OH but has lived most of his life in California, Maine, and Oregon (as well as four countries!) Allport Editions was Michael’s mother’s dream so we keep him around for advice and support.
What's your fave pastry? Anything from Helen Bernhard Bakery. It's a local tradition and neighborhood institution.
And now for the rest of the story...
In 1982 Ardys Allport published a poster of some very large stones. The poster she published was a supplement to an art show she was having at her gallery in San Francisco. The artist she was exhibiting was renowned realist Alan Magee, whose paintings, even at that time, were out of the price range of most. Ardys firmly believed in educating people about fine art and making museum quality art accessible and affordable to all. She published the poster so that anyone who walked into the gallery could walk away with something elegant and inspirational to exhibit in their own home. The poster cost around $20. The original paintings were more like $5000.
The poster design was remarkably advanced for its time, complementing both the work of the artist and the subtlety of its graphic design. It was both dynamic and sophisticated. Powerful and soft. Not wanting to overextend herself, Ardys printed just a few of the stones posters, happily sold a dozen or so during the show, and tucked the rest away at the gallery. Life went on.
Strangely, a few weeks later she received an interesting phone call. Someone who had seen one of the few posters she had sold at the show was calling to ask if they could purchase 3000 of them to distribute to stores across the country. The correct answer seemed to be "Yes!" So that’s what she said. Then she cleaned out her little garage, ordered 5000 more posters, and Allport Editions was born.
The Allport line quickly grew from that one poster to over 30, providing gallery artists with a small but sustainable stream of income, which is often hard to come by in the fine art industry. Soon blank note cards were added to the mix, primarily featuring Maine and Bay Area artists, and then greeted cards and specialty cards. Each of these lines made its impact in the marketplace and each success propelled the burgeoning little company into uncharted territory.
Happy accident led to happy accident, posters led to greeting cards, greeting cards led to humor cards, and humor cards led to holiday cards. Within 10 years, Allport Editions became known as a world-class publisher of Christmas cards, and that is where they hit their stride. In the course of their journey Allport outgrew the tiny garage (and most of the living room, too!) They moved twice; once to a large storage unit in Novato, CA, and finally to hip and environmentally savvy Portland, OR in 1989. For 20 years Portland has been a most hospitable host to Allport Editions, a company that prides itself on local and conscientious manufacturing practices.
Over thirty years later, Allport Editions has evolved into a leading publisher that sells artful and intelligent social expression products nationwide and beyond. We have not lost sight of our initial business values. We are still a family-run company that continues to publish cards featuring the smart and beautiful hand-rendered artworkof artists across the country. We value environmentally sustainable and resourceful practices in our production process - making maximum use of minimal resources.
We print creatively to use entire paper sheets (reducing scrap) and we recycle 100% of production wastes. Our cards are printed with veggie-based inks on papers made from sustainable-harvest pulp and a minimum of 30% PCW, and are processed chlorine free. We give back to the community by donating a portion of our holiday card sales to local and national children’s charities. We support our products with customer service that treats each person with respect and accommodation – just like our family.
To those of you who have supported us over the many years, we send our heartfelt thanks. We wouldn’t be here without you. Thank you.