Orenco business brings affectation and whimsy to online service
Stephanie Gonzales wears a top hat — a soft shade of brown with a wee silver key tucked under a sliver of brown ribbon near the brim — about town.
She knits them, too, and there's a fancy storebought top hat for her husband and teenage son, who also wear their dapper caps out of the house on occasion. Her husband, Carl, wears bowties made by Stephanie at work — very dapper of him, she adds — and was once asked by coworkers why he chose such an outlandish style.
"Because we're not animals," he said.
The response was the inspiration for Stephanie Gonzales' book, "The Dapper Sasquatch," and the business the family started under the same name.
Gonzales said she believes humans should be more than ordinary whenever possible.
"We are the dapper sasquatch," Gonzales told the Tribune. "Take time to step out of the everyday and become more than what you are. Sometimes affectation has nothing wrong with it; sometimes you need a little affectation and whimsy to get through life."
Gonzales' business, "The Dapper Sasquatch," is an online subscription box service, which comes in monthly installments. Members receive a novel and a handful of trinkets to go along with each book. In addition, each box includes a section of Gonzales' own novel.
The Gonzales family home, a townhouse in Orenco, is littered with odd artifacts. Two pairs of brass-looking goggles sit on the table, surrounded by an assortment of craft-making tools. The drawers against the wall are made to look like massive versions of famous novels, and art hangs on the wall near the stairs depicting a female character with those same goggles, dangling from a dirigible.
Few corners of the home hide from the presence of the steampunk, an imagination of postmodern world in which society still runs on coal and steam.
Carl and Stephanie's teenage son, Tim, shows off a large Lego model of steampunk London.
"We raised him in pure geek and nerd-dom," Stephanie said. "He goes along very easily with our adventures."
Gonzales book, set in 1853, centers around a member of the airborne express — the Dapper Sasquatch himself. The box sometimes has items alongside the portion of the novel, like letters from one character to another, or a newspaper.
Both Carl and Stephanie Gonzales have a background in journalism, having worked at what is now the Tampa Bay Times in Tampa, Fla., in the late 1990s. The two moved to Oregon in 1999, when Stephanie Gonzales began working for a media company managing the back end of operations for several infomercial clients.
The Dapper Sasquatch business is the marriage of different portions of Stephanie Gonzales' career: The work as a writer, experience with continuity programs for products like vitamins or skin care and her knowledge of how to market and sell those programs.
Gonzales said she has enjoyed the writing process and is working on her fourth installment. The unpublished novel's mascot, if there were a real-life representation of the Dapper Sasquatch, is a little plastic figurine. Sometimes he dons his fancy black hat, but mostly he sticks to a classy but casual brown with blue ribbon.
"Most people prefer his everyday top hat," Gonzales said.