A&O Community Feature: Palani BearGhost, No End of Designs

For the past 5 years Palani BearGhost has been the one-women-force behind No End of Design. This unique apparel company specializes in androgynous, multifunctional and one-of-a-kind pieces that range from active wear, lifestyle, couture and streetwear that provides options for all. Palani embraces and weaves her indigenous culture and her journey of life into her pieces.

On July 19th, Palani was one of the panelists and vendors at our summer event, Native Creatives. We loved hearing her unique perspective as a business owner, apparel designer, indigenous woman and Portland creative so much that we wanted to get to know her and her brand even better:

Instagram photo of Palani at WeWork after her panel discussion at Native Creatives.

How did NEO get started?

I started NEO (No End Of Designs) in 2013. I began the journey of creating and weaving my creations through being able to express myself through creative freedom, art therapy, and to keep my indigenous culture alive through my designs.

What is unique about your products?

I love my brand and my products. I work with an amazing team from Bali Indonesia that is like family. Slow ethical fashion. Creating small collections that are each unique and one of kind.

Photo by @iamirvine at Native Creatives

Why did you decide to start your company in Portland?

I’m a Portland native and I love the city of roses. It was only natural to keep my roots here with my business and expand from there.

What type of support have you gotten from A&O in Portland?

A&O has been supportive by providing a platform for small businesses to network, connect with new demographics, and events to participate in locally.  I recently have been accepted into the Peer to Peer Program 2018-2019 to expand my horizons with my business to take it to the next  level. I also connected with Shilo from NAYA at the Native Creative event to gain mentorship opportunities. Being open and embracing people that you connect with is crucial for growth and guidance.

Photo by @iamirvine at Native Creatives

How do you feel Portland shapes or influences your company?

Being a Portland native is such a blessing. Our city is sustainable, green, supports small businesses, and supports local Artists. Portland’s culture is filled with art, music, performing arts, foodies, outdoor activities, and events that bring the community together. Portland shapes NEO by pushing me to be innovative with my products. My brand represents depth and substance. Each piece shares a story. My clothing is multifunctional and unique to my customers, creating each piece as one of a kind.

What do you find the most challenging about being a female entrepreneur in Portland in 2018?

Some of the challenges I come across as an indigenous woman is trying to thrive in a world of patriarchy. A man’s world where women have to fight and work twice as hard to be recognized as an equal. I come from a lineage of matriarchy. Women are the backbones of our families.

Instagram photo from NEO’s ”Defy All Odds” collection created and inspired by over coming adversity and rising above it all.

How do you persevere against adversity or challenges?

Overcoming adversity or challenges I reflect and remember where I come from. My ancestors were resilient. Defying all odds of genocide, oppression, racism, and colonization. We are still here. Strength and resilience is weaved in our DNA. Never give up! 

What advice would you give someone looking to start their own company or product line?

Be true to yourself. Be authentic.

Featured image by @iamirvine

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