The Perlene consists of women from many different backgrounds, ethnicities, and sexualities.
We are committed to creating a vibrant, diverse, powerful community of women who are not afraid to speak our minds, be heard, debate ideas, work it out, and create change together.
The Perlene was founded as a space for women to work, play, learn, live, and luxuriate. We welcome women of all stripes and styles, backgrounds and experiences, sexualities and self-identifications. By offering women a place to thrive and grow, we want to cultivate supportive friendships and nurture self-expression, entrepreneurial spirit, and the hallowed side-hustle. We want you to succeed, celebrate your wins, work your way through the snarls, and live your best life.
WHO IS PERLENE?
Miriam Pearline Teal Malacord was our founder Kiki's beloved grandmother, whom she knew as Mama Jo. She was a smart, stubborn, beautiful Texan woman with a heart of gold and plenty of flaws. She made the best gumbo in the world, and could often be found in the kitchen around midnight with a cigarette in one hand, and a pimento cheese sandwich in the other. In her early twenties she changed her name to "Jo", a tribute to her favorite fiercely independent literary character from Little Women. Mama Jo was a wildly talented painter, raised and loved 4 children and 6 grandchildren, and left this world in June 2004. Her portrait hangs in The Perlene as our patron saint.
HERSTORY OF THE PERLENE
Owner + Founder Erin "Kiki" Teal Littlestar will be the first tell you that The Perlene was born of selfish motives. She had recently moved to Portland and was working from the second bedroom of her bungalow. As anyone who has worked from home long enough for the novelty to wear off can tell you, it's not as glamorous as it sounds. While she loved working for herself, she missed the daily connection having co-workers provided, and was jealous of friends who worked for vibrant, woman-run companies with beautiful offices (Ruby Receptionists and Living Room Realty, specifically). At the same time, the election + terrible events of 2016 were weighing on her soul, and she longed for a community of powerful + open-hearted women. Even with good friends, an amazing partner, and 2 adorable poodles... She felt lonely. It was that most human longing- the need for a community, a tribe, a space + people to belong to.
Kiki is a firm believer that you can have everything you want in life, as long as you are willing to be + do what it takes to have it. On March 3rd, 2016 (her 33rd birthday), she declared that in 9 months she would create something that created deep connection + community, brought ambitious women together, and elevated us to places we wouldn't have gone alone. Over the following months, The Perlene began to materialize. She brought women together in her living room, at businesses around Portland (including Ruby and Living Room!), and shared her vision and listened to their needs + desires. On November 2nd, just one month before she had declared the opening to happen, she signed a lease on a two-story, 2500 square foot building right between Ladd's Addition and industrial Southeast, with huge windows and tons of potential. She and her team of feminine warriors got to work and turned a plain office building into a pink + gold palace of wonder in a matter of weeks, proving that nothing is impossible when women put their minds + hearts + muscle into something they want.
On December 3rd, 2016, The Perlene popped the champagne and opened her doors for an opening party. 10 members joined on the spot that night, and suddenly, we were in business. Over the next several months, 75 more women joined and added their brilliance, vibrance, leadership, love, and ambition to our community. We continue to grow and thrive, and are looking to the future of an even bigger community in Portland, and more locations in cities around the world.
Beauty is essential. Beauty reminds us that life is fleeting, and we must slow down and appreciate every moment. Beauty is an act of resistance in a world that diminishes femininity, softness, and the ethereal. Beauty is the sweetness of life.
We believe that acknowledging and celebrating our wins is just as important as achieving them. Life is not just about the hustle… we make it a top priority to celebrate each other for who we are and everything we accomplish. We share in each others wins as if they were our own and celebrate our collective magnificence each and every day.
Community gives us the courage to be greater than we are alone. This is our village. We come together in times of crisis and celebration, we raise each other up, and we know we are stronger together. We reject loneliness and embrace connection. We are the family we’ve always needed.
We cherish the unique expression of every Perlena. We are proud to be a diverse group of women who are unafraid to speak up, be heard and show the world our true selves. We encourage Expression in all forms, and hold a judgement-free space to create, discover, and express ourselves.
We do what we say, and we say what we’ll do. We value honesty, solidarity, and healthy boundaries. We know that Integrity is what keeps this ship afloat, makes it all work, and is the foundation for a healthy community.
Everything we do and are is rooted in Love. By leading, acting, and speaking from Love, we create space for vulnerability, trust, and empathy. We know that Love is the most powerful force in the Universe, and will propel us forward to a better world.
Power does not come from a job title, money, or position. We claim the Power that comes from within. The source of our drive, bravery, and conviction. Our Power cannot be taken away by anything outside of ourselves, and only grows in the presence of other Powerful women. We magnify and awaken the Power within each other.
We are committed to women living Prosperous lives full of joy, satisfaction, and well-being. Prosperity is not all about money... but we want money, too. Prosperity is the about living a life of plenty. We deserve a wealth of love, a luxurious amount of support, and success to match our wildest dreams.