Other than the goods found in Will Adler’s new FOUND by Will shop in Northwest Portland, it’s the uniquely modeled vignettes of his life which captivate those who venture in. Capturing the essence of what makes Will ‘Will’, his FOUND shop takes customers on a beautiful journey through decades of inspirations and memories. From the replica penny candy shop straight out of the ’50s, to the classic tunes piping out of the vintage 1960’s McIntosh receiver, the shop teems with history and vibrant culture; a history and culture Will experienced first hand during his own travels around the world.
It wasn’t always world travels and unique leather goods for Adler, however. A former professional actor, Will found himself turning to the business of retail because of the 1981 Screen Actors Guild strike. Out of work and needing money to support his budding family, Adler took to the boardwalk in Venice Beach, California to sell his colorful, hand-crafted web belts called Rainbow Belts. Like wildfire, Rainbow Belts (later called Billy Belts) took off for Adler and he was able to move into the leather goods industry and never looked back.
Today, Will operates the headquarters of his newest retail venture — Will Leather Goods — out of Eugene, Oregon. After years of supplying to stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, Adler opened his first brick-and-mortar location in 2012 in, where else, Venice Beach. Since then, Will’s opened two stores in Portland and added a fourth shop in New York City’s NoLita neighborhood.
Essentially, Northwest Portland’s FOUND by Will shop is the fifth Will Leather Goods location Will has opened. Though once you step foot inside, it’s clear the shop intends to stand out from the crowd. “Each area serves as a different dreamscape, or vision,” says store manager Mark Wheeler, “a journey through different periods of Will’s life.”
These dreamscapes come alive as you peruse the various corners of FOUND’s cozy and quaint confines. Each product in Will’s FOUND collection receives an astounding attention to detail, and the results are stunning. Whether you purchase one of the rugged hemp coffee sacks, or a reversible Indian kantha quilt bag, Adler cuts no corners regarding a product’s authenticity and spirit. Even the areas of the shop without a price tag — like the salvaged tin ceiling or the Navajo-themed floor paintings — brim with beauty and style.
Among FOUND’s greatest facets is the fact that amidst the array of foreign culture and classic motifs, there’s something for everyone. No matter your style or preference, there’s a good chance Will’s curated something from his travels fit for your lifestyle. In search of a stylish case for your tablet? Take a peek at the vegetable dyed, Oaxacan wool rugs Will fashioned into beautifully colored tablet sleeves. Want to get in touch with your creative side? FOUND features a DIY belt station with hundreds of vintage belt buckles to choose from, with a belt pressing station nearby.
With a product selection as robust as it is eclectic, FOUND by Will exudes Adler’s penchant for travel and discovery. Hardly just another storefront in Northwest Portland, the shop is an experience in and of itself. If you’re in the neighborhood, stop on by Will’s shop and browse the collections for yourself; it won’t disappoint.
Found by Will is located at 814 NW 23rd Avenue in Portland, underneath the Will Leather Goods Family House. Non-natives of Portland can access the entire FOUND collection here.