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Brian Echerer is passionate about bikes. He has raced, toured and ridden the dirt all by bike. In 2010, Brian started Velo Gioielli to sell upcycled bike art and jewelry. Velo is French for bike, and Gioielli is Italian for jewelry. Brian got started making bike jewelry as a fundraiser for his bike club. Then his mom, who makes jewelry, helped him get started selling bike jewelry and bike themed art at Portland’s yearly bike craft show, Bike Craft, and Portland Saturday Market.
Brian works closely with his customers to make what they want. Often they ask him to make something and it becomes the start of a great idea.
Velo Gioielli has received a lot of small business support along the way from Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO), Portland State University and Saturday Market. Brian received an IDA savings grant from MESO to get a new welder and a branded canopy for his booth. MESO connected Brian with PSU Business School, where a group of students helped him build the art side of his business. The Saturday Market also provided Brian with an opportunity to incubate his business with other local craftspeople and customers.
Upcycled from bicycles.
Brian upcycles used bike wheel rims, gears and chains into beautiful art. He’s developed great relationships with the local bike shops where he sources worn out and damaged parts, including Metropolis Cycle Repair, Upcycles Bicycle Shop and WTF Bikes. Brian collects, cleans, and sorts the parts by size and type, so they’re ready to be turned into art.
A lot of Brian’s pieces feature stained glass within the steel structures he creates. Since he only needs small pieces, he's often able to purchase "ends" and irregularly shaped glass from Portland stained glass manufacturers, which might otherwise be sent to the trash.
The future of upcycled bike art.
Brian is continuing to grow his business using reused materials. This year he’s attending the Recycled Arts Festival in Vancouver and Cracked Pots in Portland, where everything needs to be 75% recycled. At Brian’s last event, he sold every piece of yard art he’s made, so he’s listening to his customers and making more.