Zahara's mission is to design and create fun, fashionable, high quality goods in a manner that is socially, environmentally and economically responsible. We search high and low to bring you original, diverse, and exclusive selections that will make you feel both beautiful and comfortable.
It all began with a love of travel and an eye for style. After serving several years with the Peace Corps in Mali, West Africa (where she taught health education and established a women’s cooperative producing and selling mud cloth), Jamie continued on many inspiring trips to Southeast Asia, India & Nepal. With the goal of being able to support her travels, she began in search of treasures to bring back home. In 1999, Jamie started selling from a small booth at the Skidmore Saturday Market in downtown Portland. Before too long, her little booth grew, along with the number of places you could find her peddling her wares. After years of vending at music festivals up and down the west coast with her husband Brian, Zahara (formerly Gypsy Chic) opened its first brick and mortar on N Mississippi Avenue in 2006. In November of 2014, another storefront was opened on SE Division Street.
Jamie working with women in West Africa producing Mud Cloth.
We import clothing, jewelry, gifts and accessories from around the world including our own Zahara label. We travel near and far to find quality, funky, fashionable clothing and exotic treasures that fit perfectly in to your wardrobe, all while keeping it affordable to you. We believe that goods you put on your body should make you feel great, look chic, and inspire you to bring out the beauty from within. So with a little wanderlust in your heart and gleam in your eye, take a magic carpet ride through our wild and spirited world.
|Owner, Jamie Jensen||Early Festival Days||First Brick & Mortar|
Our in house line has been handpicked and produced with small locally owned businesses in Thailand for well over a decade, and the owners of Zahara have formed strong personal relationships with the vendors and their families. One major player in the Zahara label is Jammin, a native Thai Rasta with the skills and knowledge that only a master tailor possesses. His free spirited ideas are a key element to the eclectic style that make up many of our unique designs.
Zahara is dedicated to passing on good karma through our fairly made clothing. This extends further than comfort and a fashionable look, and into mindfulness about fair working conditions and a focus on social responsibility. Our clothes are produced in Thailand, a country with established standards for workers safety, wages, and healthy working environment. As a business we go beyond the legalities and visit production facilities somewhat regularly to ensure that all working conditions are comfortable and safe.
|Jamie working on the house Line||Master Tailor Jammin||Picking out fabrics||Working at the Factory|
One of our main focuses as consumers here at home and when buying for the store, is to buy from small businesses and individuals. We believe that ethical business extends much further than just fair trade practices in developing countries, and we strive to be honest, fair and moral in everything we do.
In an effort to give back to the Thai people, Zahara is a proud sponsor of a non-profit organization located in Phuket, Thailand. Phuket Has Been Good To Us helps underprivileged Thai children (many of whom are “social orphans”) establish and enhance English language skills through both formal education as well as after school and non-curricular activities. If you would like to learn more on what they do or care to show your own support please visit their website.
|The Jensen Family visiting a Sponsored School in Phuket, Thailand|
Zahara stems from founder Jamie Jensen’s connection with the Sahara desert which she fell in love with as she served in the Peace Corps for three years in Mali, West Africa. The name Zahara means “to shine, or flower.” [nameberry.com], and as the name suggests, we look forward to seeing our patrons blossom as we help them "shine from within!"