Not even a full year old, Seattle plant-based cleaning product start-up L’Avant Collective has been growing faster than a well-loved, deeply but infrequently watered aloe plant. It probably didn’t need a 15th Ave E storefront. But sometimes launching a small business on Capitol Hill gives you an opportunity to try something new and unexpected.
Lindsay Droz and Kristi Lord agree that the new L’Avant shop and company office headquarters now open in the space formerly home to a longtime 15th Ave E consignment shop is an “experiment” and “added bonus” as they try to grow their new company.
And it has already come with an unexpected gift as neighbors and regulars to the Capitol Hill commercial strip have poked their heads in to say hello as the shop takes shape and elements like display windows are filled in.
L’Avant Collective was launched last year by the two friends, mothers, and business veterans, “born out of the near constant demand for cleaning up after our kids and pets but wanting the products we used to be non-toxic, highly effective, and conveniently located.”
The philosophy of L’Avant Collective, Droz and Lord say, is to create non-toxic but effective cleaning products like soaps and cleansers in sophisticated, highly-designed packaging and containers that look good on counters or in your bag. Want to be complimented on your plant based dish soap? L’Avant has something for you. COVID-19, meanwhile, has more consumers thinking about their cleaning products and what is in them, Droz and Lord said.
The business started in the midst of the pandemic with online sales, a growing distribution roster, and offices housed on 12th Ave in the Ballou Wright Building building owned by Capitol Hill developer Hunters Capital. Hunters might face the most complicated business environment on Capitol Hill through the COVID-19 crisis. With holdings across the busy Capitol Hill neighborhood, the developer has had to be nimble and fast moving to keep its retail spaces filled and active. Some of its new deals during the pandemic have made homes for lighter, less invested business ventures in the neighborhood.
On 15th Ave E, the sudden pandemic-hastened shuttering of 36-year-old Capitol Hill consignment shop Take 2 was briefly counterbalanced by the presence of a COVID-19 testing startup in the 15th Ave E space. But Sameday Testing’s Seattle outpost folded and disappeared after only a few months. Facing an even bigger tenant challenge on the street, Hunters approached its Ballou Wright tenants with a friendly offer for a new, street-level shop on Capitol Hill.
Now, L’Avant Collective joins a reopening 15th Ave E. While the shuttered QFC still presents a major challenge for the neighborhood’s commercial prospects, there are other signs of hope like the Rubinstein Bagels planned to open in the old Wandering Goose space. And, for now, another storefont is busy again with an experiment in commerce.
L’Avant Collective is located at 430 15th Ave E. You can learn more and shop online at lavantcollective.com.
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