Retail News, Buy Mail

New Today! Olivine Online

Julie Wray tells us why her beloved Ballard shop closed, and why she’s bringing it back

By Laura Cassidy March 11, 2010

When Olivine closed its Ballard Ave doors in the summer of 08, you could pretty much hear hearts breaking all over the city. Women loved that store. The clothes were feminine, but they were easy. The vibe was low-key, but not ordinary. You could go there and leave with something special. Seattle was really sad to see it go.

But then Olivine owner Julie Wray popped back up at Show Pony in Fremont, and all was right in the world. Recently, however, she sold the shop, and again, I keep having that conversation with people, What happened to Julie?

Well, she’s back — as of today. Shopolivine.com joins la-rousse.com in that small but one-can-only-expect-growing category of brick and mortars-gone-digital. If you like to shop in front of your laptop and you also like to shop local, you’re in luck.

Here’s the scoop:

Wear What When: Seattle women loved it so… why you decide to close Olivine?

Julie Wray: Great question! The real deal is that I was tired of owning a retail store that required so much in the way of travel, employees, inventory etc. I had just recently gotten married and we were getting ready to get pregnant. After 16 years of owning retail stores and being single I was ready to prepare my life for a family! It just so happened that I closed Olivine before the recession hit, so I got to leave on a high note. Business was always good at Olivine from the day we opened.

WWW: And what about Show Pony? Just when they thought they had you back …

JW: Show Pony was supposed to be my version of a pop-up shop! My intention was to only be open for a year. It surprised me that it ended up doing as well as it did, so I thought it would be better to sell it instead, and I found the perfect person to take it over.

WWW: Olivine online launches today. What do you love about being online-only and what scares you about it?

JW: Selling online will be a totally new challenge for me and I am so excited about it. I started and ran four successful retail locations, but I don’t know anything about selling online! I love a challenge… I have very little overhead now so there is a lot more freedom to offer little perks. We’ll be doing: Free same-day delivery in Seattle, one-day only pop-up shops around town, and private in home parties starting in the fall. And of course, It gives me the freedom to relax and enjoy my business and my family! The huge bonus for me is that I get to work from home and watch my beautiful seven week old baby grow up!

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