Inspired to add something chic and high-end to Seattle's sustainable fashion scene, Natalia Biner created Sell Your Sole, a loft-like with high cielings, exposed brick walls, floor-to-ceiling windows, and neatly organized racks of gently-used women's designer pieces from the city's deepest closets. We first talked to Biner back in March when the shop opened; we caught up with her again to see how things are going.
WWW: What song or album is playing on your store’s sound system right now?
Biner: Citizen Cope's "Son's Gonna Rise."
What was your first job in retail? What did you love or hate about it and how does it compare to what you do now?
I'd never worked in retail before! I just moved here from Arizona where I worked in business development for many years. My job required me to be with clients in a professional and social setting looking polished yet stylish. I was always scouring designer consignment stores for beautiful clothing at great prices, but thought that I could improve on each store I visited. Eventually, I put all of my faith in myself and opened my own business. What I love about my boutique is that it was my dream, and I realized it. I know this is exactly what I need to be doing.
What’s your favorite thing in the store right now?
A Yves Saint Laurent asymmetrical pump in electric blue.
Where do you shop when you’re not at your store?
I have access to a lot of beautiful designer and vintage pieces because they arrive at my store on a daily basis. However, they don't come in complete outfits, so I take my fabulous seperates to my stylist, Kari-Lee Florentine at Nordstrom, and she adds the missing pieces to make everything look fresh and edgy. Other shops I like are All Saints, Anthropologie, and a few local boutiques.
What do you love about your store’s neighborhood?
It's urban and gritty. There are lots of great bars and restauraunts, and great movie theaters like the Big Picture and Cinerama are just blocks away from my store. Also ther are lots of incredible salon services in th the nieghborhood like Gary Manuel, Milagros, and Coupe Rokai. Many of the businesses support each other through referrals and cross-promotion. For example, Cherry Street Coffee House has my shop's promotional posters throughout their shop, and I eat there every day. Gary Manuel and Milagros have done hair and make up for our photo shoots. They both refer their clients to me, and I send my clients to them. I also get facial services at Coupe Rokai and they send their customers to my shop, and so forth.
What nearby restaurants, coffee shops, etc do you recommend?
The List has the best happy hour in Seattle. Il Corvo has the best daily made, in-house pasta in town. Le Pichet is a wonderful breakfast/dinner spot, Bathtub Gin has out-of-this-world craft cocktails, and my nieghbors at Cherry Street Coffee House have fantastic coffee and a great vibe.
What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened in your store?
A man came in and wanted to try on women's clothing. I'm all for alternative lifestyles, but my shop is a women's sanctuary, and that situation would "cause a disturbance in the force"—geeky Star Wars reference.