When it came to choosing a name for her retail venture, Alden Alvarado looked to her two favorite places for inspiration: California and Seattle. Born and raised in Laguna Beach, Alvarado moved to the Northwest after college and fell in love with the city. Once solely an e-retailer, Pioneer Square's Calisea is a haven for Seattle-made goods, including jewelry, stationery and home decor.
What song or album is playing on your store’s sound system right now?
Right now we have a Jack Johnson playlist on loop. Summer in Seattle needs to be felt indoors and outdoors!
What was your first job? How does it compare to what you do now?
I was a swim instructor. Interacting with kids and parents was so much fun. Now I have that interaction with my customers, from helping them select something special for a friend to seeing pictures of their child’s party with all the fun items they bought the week before.
What’s your favorite piece in the store right now?
I love the sailing ship kites that we carry from Haptic Lab. I have them in one of our windows and hanging from the ceiling in the store. Nothing says summer like flying a kite and these are the prettiest I have seen. We have had several customers hang them in their children's rooms, and another person used them as wedding decor.
Where do you shop when you’re not at your store?
I try to stop into a lot of other small shops when exploring different neighborhoods. I live in West Seattle so I am partial to the Alaska Junction with Husky Deli for unique food finds, Easy Street Records for music, and Capers for home goods.
What do you love about your store’s neighborhood?
The history and architecture of Pioneer Square is one of my favorite things about Seattle. The beautiful brick buildings have so much history. It’s a great thing to be a part of.
What nearby restaurants and coffee shops do you recommend?
Kraken Congee is a new lunch spot for me (and right across the street). Cafe Paloma is a favorite from long before I moved onto Yesler. It's always great to be able to pop next door for great food.
What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened in your store?
A seagull came into the store a few weeks ago. It didn’t fly at all, it just walked through the front door and did a lap like it was checking things out and walked right back out again.
Why did you choose the neighborhood?
Pioneer Square has changed a lot in the past few years, it is great to find a space that is going through some positive changes.
What type of brands do you have in-store at the moment?
Right now we are trying to carry a lot of local brands or locally made items. Apotheke206 is a candle line that is made in Seattle and has scents named after Pacific Northwest destinations like Alki Tide and Seattle Spring. We also carry local labels like Fresh Tangerine, Rosanna, Pike Street Press, and Skillet.