Behind the Shop with S11DJ – Craft Service

Meet the owner behind Portland’s unique art and music shop called Craft Service, “a playground for creative exploration and inspiration.” He is more than a collector and admirer of art and music. He is an educator and collaborator seeking to bring together a curious and creative community. He is intentional in his craft and selections. He views playing records as a way to help slow down in this rapid-paced world and to be more intentional with the music playing in your ears.

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Steven Kasprzyk. I have been in Portland for 11 years and am originally from Wisconsin. I have a degree in Design and Printmaking and that’s my background. For the last 15 years, I’ve worked in design and I started my career at Apple, which is kind of crazy since it was right out of the gate. I have a strong interest in education so I moved out here to work for PNCA (Pacific Northwest College of Art). When that job fell through during my drive out here, I got thrown into the design advertisement field and I worked at a few advertisement agencies and design studios. In the last 8 years, I switched from being a designer to being in business development and later it became apparent that my heart wasn’t in it anymore.

I’ve always had this idea to do an art and music general store and that is Craft Service. It’s a space where if you love art and know a lot about it, you can find something you will like or if you’re new to it, it is going to be very welcoming. I want to push for the education side of it, such as having workshops and anything to make art and music more inviting and accessible to people. I believe everyone has creativity and artistic curiosity within them and I’d like to encourage people to explore them.

Photos by DJ AuteurPop

Do you run Craft Service full-time?

Yes! My wife and I had our baby in January, and I want to do something that when my daughter sees me at work, she doesn’t wonder why her dad hates his job. I want to preface that I love the folks at my last design agency but I simply wasn’t into it anymore. My wife, who is also my business partner, said to me, “Just do Craft Service. You talked about this for years and now is the time to do it!

What is your favorite thing about running Craft Service?

Owning my own business! I did not expect to not be stressed and I thought I was going to be stressed 24/7. I found that although there is a lot on me to get things done, I enjoy the work much more. It pushes me to make sure I’m doing things right, such as working with the right artists, finding the right manufacturers, and holding myself accountable.

Is there a surprising challenge when it comes to running Craft Service?

My personal taste. *laughs* I like so many different types of music so maybe having a pop-punk album that I listen to all the time in high school isn’t the best thing to have on the shelf. Also, I’m a collector and I love the chase of the limited editions, and just because I like a limited-edition art toy that costs $300 doesn’t mean the customers will. It’s a balance.

Craft Service isn’t your typical online music store and pop-up shop. Your customers can find a variety of things and not just vinyl. From art books to effect pedals to modular synths. How do you go about curating and deciding what to showcase given your wide range of products?

It’s tough! There are companies that do certain products very well and I admire them. For example, 4ms in Portland is a nationally known modular synth company, and their products are amazing and I love the people who work there. I think if I don’t showcase some of their stuff, I would be doing Craft Service and customers a disservice.

I want Craft Service to be a specialty in a way that people know they can find something that is unique and high-quality. I want the products to push them to learn more about their creative side. I am sure some things will sell better than others and I might stop carrying certain things. With this pop-up at Baerlic Brewing, it’s a great way to see what people are into and have interesting conversations about their tastes.

I noticed earlier posts on Craft Service’s Instagram page have a nostalgic, retro advertisement aesthetic. What was the reason behind that?

Thanks for noticing that! I remember reading this magazine called ‘Boys Life’ when I was much younger and advertisements in the back are that of which I mimicked in those Instagram posts. Other magazines’ ads, comic books’ ads, and some catalogs had so much random stuff, and I don’t think anyone looked through and thought, “Of course, I need x-ray glasses! Finally, there is a place I can order them from.” That’s basically the idea of Craft Service. People may come in because they know we carry records but they may find something they didn’t expect we’d carry and be excited enough to buy it.

How did you get into collecting records and how would you describe your collection?

I was afraid to start collecting records because I love the limited editions, the cool vinyl variants, and the chase to find that one vinyl that it’s hard to get. When I finally started, I was buying records that I was illegally downloading as a kid. My first design job in Portland was located right around the corner to 2nd Avenue Records and during my lunch breaks, I would walk over and buy a record every week. It got dangerous. *laughs*

My wife and I have a room where the record collection is in and a turntable. Nothing else. It’s our chill out zone. Now the collection varies across the board. What you see in Craft Service’s crates is a good indicator of what is on my shelf at home.

Do you remember the first record that you purchased and where?

I do! I bought a record by Rainer Maria, an old emo band. I got it in Baltimore, MD at a store called The Sound Garden that I believe is still around. I still have that record and it’s beat to hell. *laughs*

If someone is just getting into record collecting, what are some tips that you wish you had known earlier?

Honestly what I wished I would’ve done earlier is go into shops and talk to the people behind the counter. I understand that it may be intimidating, say if you don’t know the shop or if it’s an older shop, you might get a grumpy vibe. If you’re in Portland, go to Specks Records in Kenton because Mike is the person to ask for recommendations and can curate something amazing for you.

Second tip would be to find a label that you like. If you like a certain band/artist, find out which label they’re with because more than likely, you will like the other bands/artists that are also with that label.

If there was a fire/natural disaster and you have enough time to save just one record, what would it be?

I was given The Promise Ring record by the lead singer of The Promise Ring when I was young. It has a lot of meaning for me.

Describe your perfect day of shopping for records or a ‘record store crawl’ in Portland. Where would you start and where will you end? You can squeeze in coffee spots, bars/breweries, food places.

Ah, I love this question. I will start my day at Either/Or for coffee. From Either/Or, I will go to Speck’s. After Speck’s, I will need another coffee so I’ll go to Barista in Alberta. Then I will head down to Tomorrow Records. I’ll grab lunch at Rollin’ Fresh, get some poke. Now it’s the afternoon so I need another coffee so I’ll stop at Prince Coffee. I will end at Music Millennium because I feel like that is my all-encompassing shop that probably would have records that I wasn’t able to find at the other shops. Well, to be honest, I’ll probably end the day back at Speck’s again because Mike is such an amazing dude with so much knowledge. I do need to give a shout-out to Future Shock in Burnside though.

What would you do if you didn’t own and run Craft Service?

If money wasn’t an object, it would be teaching to some capacity. I also love coffee and have a lot of friends in coffee so maybe working coffee. I think the coffee community is just as cool as the vinyl community.

Any next big plans for CS?

We are currently looking for a space and that’s number one on the agenda. I’m super thankful for Baerlic Brewing and Ben for letting us do this pop-up for Craft Service for the next few months (until Jan. 31st). Once we find the space, we want to design it to be where everyone is welcome, it doesn’t matter if you are super into music and art or are brand new, just come in and let’s talk about the things we love.

Visit Craft Service pop-up Baerlic Brewing (SE location on 11th Ave), operating Mon-Fri from 3pm to 9pm and Sat-Sun from 1pm to 8pm, until January 31st, 2022. Or visit

Places Mentioned:

1.      Baerlic Brewing

2.     2nd Avenue Records

3.     Speck’s Records & Tapes

4.    Tomorrow Records5

5.    Future Shock

6.     Either/Or

7.    Barista

8.    Rollin’ Fresh

9. Prince Coffee

10.    Music Millennium

11.  The Sound Garden

S11DJ hosts Into The Night every other Saturday at 6 pm.
AuteurPop hosts Across Medium every other Sunday at 6 pm.