Pillows equal happiness for Tyler Snover, who has been tearing up the ’Gram as the Portland Pillow Prince. Snover hails from Albuquerque by way of Minneapolis, and has only been in Portland for a year and a half — and nearly half that time during the pandemic — but he has learned a little something about pillows and the way they bring joy to the home. “The Pillow Prince is all about loving design,” Snover says. “People can be more expressive with their pillows than their upholstery.” We caught up with him during his lunch break from his day job at Tufenkian Artisan Carpets in downtown Portland to chat about all things pillow.
On Oregonians and their grey couches:
I’ve noticed a lot of people have grey couches here. I never knew there were so many shades of grey, to be honest, but people tend to be a little more outgoing here with their pillows, and that’s what I lean into more. A lot of people don’t want to commit to something that is in-your-face and fun.
On finding his sewing mojo:
I had this sewing machine that I bought before I moved here. I tried making clothes; it was so, so difficult. I was like, “Yeah, about that…” My partner, Michael, said, “Maybe you should make pillows.” It’s fun and relatively simple. We came up with the name together. It’s great, it’s wonderful and you can abbreviate it to PPP.
On sourcing fabrics:
I source a lot through the Nest, not that I won’t accept fabric from other places. It’s super easy there because you can place the order and I can get tracking information and pick up the fabric. The whole thing takes around two weeks and customers can pick them up at the Nest. It works really well with my day job.
On his process for custom pillows:
We speak with the customer, just getting a general idea of what they’re looking for, sizes, what kind of insert. From there we go over fabric choice and choose fabric and trim or not. I like fringe — fringe is cute. I always try to suggest adding some contrast, but a lot of people like a lot of knife-edge because it is less restrictive. We look at what they have going on in the room, and what color the couch is, and the rug, and see what kind of fun fabrics can work well.
On his spring collection:
I look through fabric remnants I might have or stuff I’ve purchased myself. I just look at what is going to go nicely together. I try to do something that will be a show statement on the front and a basic fabric on the back, so you can get two pillows. You know it’s going to be original, you know you’re not going to be able to get it from Target. You’re not going to be able to go down the street to Janice’s house and say, “Oh, I have the same pillow!” We are all one of a kind and we all should be able to have one-of-a-kind pieces.
On current pillow trends:
I’m seeing a lot of yellows coming up. I’m enjoying that a lot. I personally love the pastels — you can never go wrong with a good pastel or with pink. Right now we have a whole lot of florals coming through. Everyone loves flowers, and you can change them out during the grey season.
On switching out pillows for guests:
When I was working in upholstery, a lot of what would come up is: “I don’t think my friends are going to like that.” But listening to that is how I decided to do the plain fabrics on the back, so when Becca down the street comes over — you know she isn’t going to like the pattern — you flip it over, and you don’t have to hear Becca talk about it. On where to start: What colors do you love, what makes you happy? What is going to look good with that grey sofa, how are you going to liven that up?
Snover’s month-long Pop-Up Pillow Parlor opens to the public starting May 4th at 2181 NW Front Avenue. Follow @portlandpillowprince for details.