Bend button maker opens retail shop

Via Delia moves into brick-and-mortar store downtown

By Rachael Rees / The Bulletin

What: Via Delia

What it does: Makes magnets, buttons, key chains, bottle openers and holiday ornaments.

Pictured: Delia Paine, owner

Where: 224 NW Oregon Ave., Bend

Employees: One

Phone: 541-390-3260

Website: www.viadelia.com

For Delia Paine, every 20-inch by 30-inch sheet of paper is an outlet for her to express her creativity.

“It’s talking to my eye,” she said as she twisted a sheet of decorative paper under an “I love Oregon” logo.

Paine creates handmade buttons, magnets and other accessories at Via Delia, which moved into a retail location on NW Oregon Avenue across from the Pine Tavern on July 1. And everything in her shop is $10 or less.

“It’s like the high-end of a low-end item. You take something super-duper basic that you wouldn’t normally think you could make anything special out of and just try in every way that I can to take it to its highest point,” she said. “I’ve paid as much as $20 for a sheet of hand silk-screened chiyogami paper from Japan and made it into buttons. I’ve taken vintage embossed foil from the 1960s and made one-of-a-kind additions.”

In 2006, she obtained her first manual magnet-making machine and began selling to small gift shops in Bend. Now, her products can be found in Made In Oregon and Powell’s Books stores, as well as at zoos and aquariums across the country.

Paine’s big break came in 2008 when she received national attention for her presidential campaign buttons. She sold more than 30,000 buttons to Obama supporters.

But for Paine, the real highlight came when she started receiving custom requests from retailers.

“That’s when I realized I was doing something sustainable, where I could take other people’s logos and use my technique,” she said.

Paine said the concept of her new store in downtown Bend is to not only display her work, but also to show her customers how she creates it.

“One of the reasons I’ve never had a retail spot before is because I’ve always guarded the process,” she said. “You know how grandma gives you the favorite recipe, but she withholds a couple of the spices, or just doesn’t quite tell you everything? That’s what I’m hoping for.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7818

rrees@bendbulletin.com

Q: What’s your favorite part of your business?

A: When somebody gets a button or magnet, they really bond with the one they picked because out of 200 that have the exact same Bend logo, one person is going to pick the one with pink iridescent background and another is going to want something with a background that is much more understated. By the time they’ve picked something, it’s really the item that speaks to them.

Q: Where do you think the business will be in the next five years?

A: I would love to offer the backside of my business to young artists and possibly interns to show them how an artist can progress from a crafter to someone who has a wholesale and retail business. I’d like to be able to travel to buy decorative paper and visit the factories that are making that paper to see how things are made and bring materials back.