"We just flew in from Italy and this is our first stop,” exclaims the woman bursting into the shop. “I’ve followed you online forever, and I absolutely had to make it here.”
Here is not a high-end New York store or a Beverly Hills shopping haunt. It’s Moorea Seal’s accessories boutique in Belltown, and this visit isn’t at all unusual. How she came to this point, however, absolutely is.
Seal graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a degree in illustration and went on to juggle freelance design work, a blog, and a successful handmade line of boho-chic jewelry fashioned from rough-cut amethyst, leather, and lustrous chunks of pyrite. In early 2011, she started using Pinterest—then still in beta mode—as a way of building mood boards for clients and pinning things of personal interest. “That was the first time I saw my style,” says Seal. “I was creating separate boards, but I could look at all the pins together and I really found my aesthetic voice.” Lots of other people found it too. Within six months Seal had over 250,000 followers on Pinterest, and today she has nearly quadruple that number.
This led to a series of collaborations with big-name brands, an online store full of artisan jewelry and accessories (if people liked what she pinned, why not direct them somewhere they could buy it), and eventually the Third Ave brick and mortar, opened with her cousin and business partner, Reed Wasser, in May 2014. Then there was that time a publisher from Sasquatch Books wandered in and signed Seal up for two book deals. Two. By November the shop expanded into the just-vacated spot next door, doubling its square footage. “I don’t want to be that girl that got famous on Pinterest,” Seal insists. “I want to take that popularity and build on it, but I have to move forward.”
Where to, exactly? Growing wholesale offerings of jewelry and decor, more storefronts and a clothing line someday, and a continued dedication to charity (seven percent of proceeds have gone to nonprofits since day one). “My ultimate, crazy dream,” she laughs, “is to become a combination of Ellen, Oprah, and the Olsen twins.”
See our five favorite items at Moorea Seal.
This feature appeared in the February 2015 issue of Seattle Met magazine.