Last Friday marked the opening for the Capitol Hill flagship shop Freeman, the formerly online-only, made-in-Seattle outerwear company best known for its primary-colored rain jackets. Located in the Loveless Building, the mostly menswear store — they now make a Lady Freeman rain jacket for women, cinched waist and all — is now officially part of the neighborhood shopping district at the end of Broadway neighboring longtimers Kobo and Joe Bar and newcomer Restaurant Marron.
It’s not the most common direction for a store to go from online to brick and mortar, but the three-person team behind Freeman is eager to get to know its customers face-to-face, which is partly why the company decided to open its first-ever shop on Capitol Hill.
“We love how people in the neighborhood are stopping by and seeing what’s going on,” Scott Freeman told CHS, who originally thought about opening in Ballard before deciding on the north end of Broadway.
If you haven’t had the chance yet to stop in and see what’s going on, the white-walled space is rustic and clean. A working fireplace adds to the homey feel, with cabinets and shelves, as well as a newly tiled floor, installed by Freeman. The shop offers “heritage” menswear brands, a mix of merchandise you might be hard-pressed to find in Seattle: Tellason raw denim, Taylor Stitch oxfords, wool sweaters made in Centralia, Archival rucksacks and men’s grooming essentials from Juniper Ridge.
“There needs to be a good reason to come into the store,” Scott Freeman said. “If you could just go and buy this somewhere else, I don’t know if we’ve done our job,” he said.
In June, CHS reported on Freeman’s plans to take over the retail space left empty after Ada’s Technical Books moved to its new home on 15th Ave E. The company consists of Alex Frank and Scott and Brittany Freeman. The husband and wife launched their business in 2010 and have grown the company with online sales of jackets, shirts, vests and miscellaneous items of Pacific Northwest style.
Opening a physical store after four years of wholesale and direct sales definitely has its perks. The retail front allows Freeman to share a few of his favorite brands he’s made connections with over the years, as well as a physical place where customers can touch and feel the quality of Freeman rain jackets, which are sewn just 15 minutes away in Sodo, and then finished in the Capitol Hill shop.
“The concept of trying to sell something that’s maybe more expensive than what people are used to really relies on people being able to touch it and see it,” said Freeman. “Even more if they can meet the people who finished it, the price is less of what shoppers are worried about, it becomes more about wow, I’m really in touch with this,” he said.
For now, the team plans to keep an emphasis on small-scale production, overseeing every piece before it makes its way onto the store floor and into the closest of Capitol Hill shoppers.
And while this process keeps them pretty tied up, plans for letting loose at a grand opening bash on August 22nd is already in the works, as well as a few in-store events with the shop’s vendors.
You can find the newly opened shop in the 800 block of E Roy. Learn more at freemanseattle.com.