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Capitol Hill upscale fashion boutique Totokaelo moving headquarters to New York

Totokaelo as it opened on the Hill in 2012 (Images: CHS)

Totokaelo as it opened on the Hill in 2012 (Images: CHS)

Totokaelo - Capitol Hill, SeattleWith the goal of becoming “the biggest luxury fashion brand in the world,” Capitol Hill upscale fashion boutique owner Jill Wenger is taking her act to New York City.

“We’re leaving so we can globalize,” Wenger told the Seattle Times. “I want to be the biggest luxury fashion brand in the world, and the most coveted and the most beloved.”

The current flagship Totokaelo, opened adjacent Elliott Bay Book Company in summer 2012 as part of a mini retail revival on 10th Ave in the middle of Pike/Pine’s nightlife success and expanded in 2013 to add a lower level men’s floor, will remain open. But the company’s executive core is following Wenger to New York for adventures we’ll probably be reading about soon in glossy magazines.

Wenger moved her store from Pioneer Square to 10th Ave as the pendulum swung in the area from tenants like sex club Basic Plumbing to Odd Fellows Cafe and Elliott Bay in 2012. CHS spoke with Wenger about her entrepreneurial spirit as Totokaelo debuted on the Hill. The East Coast connection has always been strong with early Totokaelo media write-ups frequently including the soundbite that “80%” of the shop’s online sales were made in New York.

The move leaves behind a seemingly posh bit of office space in the Odd Fellows building next door. “CREATIVE/DESIGN OFFICE FOR LEASE,” the listing reads, “as seen on Remodelista.” The former Totokaelo HQ will run you $6,500/month for the 2,500 square-foot space with 25-foot ceilings. “The space is amazing,” the listing promises.

 "I work best in clean, calm, and vibrant spaces—spaces where you stay energized but maintain focus," Wenger told Remodelista. "I like white because it's bright and reflects natural light through a room. Painting desks and objects white eliminates visual blocks, so that heaviness just disappears." (Image: Remodelista)

“I work best in clean, calm, and vibrant spaces—spaces where you stay energized but maintain focus,” Wenger told Remodelista. “I like white because it’s bright and reflects natural light through a room. Painting desks and objects white eliminates visual blocks, so that heaviness just disappears.” (Image: Remodelista)

You can visit Totokaelo Seattle at 1523 10th Ave. Learn more at totokaelo.com.

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9 Comments
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Callie
Callie
5 years ago

Can you post a link to the office listing?

0985
0985
5 years ago

I love their clothing and style but it’s way too expensive. Sometimes it’s way too expensive for its construction and design, still a lovely store. Perhaps they should downsize? It seems too large for what it is.

anon
anon
5 years ago

Good riddance. Anyone that has worked there can attest to the terrible working conditions and the poor structure of the business. The owner has simultaneously claimed that she loves Seattle and giving back while also believing that she’s above it. I’m surprised that she hasn’t cycled out of potential new employees in the city faster.

ebe
ebe
5 years ago
Reply to  anon

WOW! Just read the reviews on Glassdoor and it seems like an awful place to work.

matt
matt
5 years ago
Reply to  anon

Someone in the CH feel they deserve more than what they think CH is worth?
Not surprised.

Max
Max
5 years ago
Reply to  anon

Agreed! I remember reading help wanted ads which were basically “You would be lucky to work here so I’ll pay you $10/hour to be my bitch.” I want to move to NY just to watch them fail.

Gracious Store
5 years ago

I like Wenger ‘s confidence and assertion to make his brand the biggest and mostly converted after globally. Thia is a very tall order he is setting for himself.

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[…] of “technical luxury” clothier Kit and Ace on E Pike earlier this summer. Buoyed by the arrival of Totokaelo on 10th Ave in 2012, luxury and upper-scale clothing retail has joined vintage and […]