Post navigation

Prev: (05/11/22) | Next: (05/11/22)

Capitol Hill’s boutique consignment shops were some of its first small biz pandemic victims — Now, Creature ready to open on 15th Ave E

 

SUBSCRIBE AND KEEP CHS PAYWALL-FREE -- $1/$5/$10
We love providing community news on CHS free for thousands of readers. What sustains the effort are voluntary subscriptions from paying supporters. If you are enjoying CHS, SUBSCRIBE HERE and help keep CHS available to all. Become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with no paywall. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.

 

Creature, coming soon to 15th Ave E (Image: CHS)

By Hannah Saunders

After meeting in Portland while working for a consignment shop six years ago, Cybele Phillips and Emily Schikora moved back to Seattle where they reconnected and began discussing the possibility of opening their own shop.

By last December, the pair laid out sturdy plans for a new Capitol Hill consignment shop — Creature — which will open its 15th Ave E doors to the public on June 1.

“We were ready to jump because we thought about it hypothetically for so long,” Schikora said.

Schikora and Phillips found the perfect space at 415 15th Ave E where Superb Cleaners had gone out of business during the pandemic and pounced at the opportunity.

“The space was kind of a blank canvas, which was really exciting,” said Phillips. “It was literally just a concrete box the first time we saw it, and there were so many possibilities in terms of what to do with the actual space.”

Phillips said the large space allowed Creature to expand into menswear and to create a fluid experience for movement, rather than having shoppers feeling confined to a men’s or women’s section.

Phillips said that the Capitol Hill neighborhood was where they wanted Creature to be. Phillips moved to Seattle from the east coast in 2001, was in Portland for a short time, then moved back to Seattle; during her time living in Seattle, she has been on Capitol Hill.

“I just thought the business would fit really well here, and I feel like this kind of shopping experience is really lacking in Capitol Hill right now, too,” said Phillips.

(Image: CHS)

15th Ave E had been home to one of Capitol Hill’s longest running consignment shops but Take 2 closed after 36 years of business in September 2020, unable to withstand the long term effects of the pandemic restrictions.

The pandemic picked off a few of the Hill’s established consignment shops. Pike/Pine’s Le Frock was also a 2020 victim, shuttering after 29 years of Capitol Hill business. We won’t say the arrival of Creature marks the end of the pandemic’s challenges but hopefully it is a good sign.

Creature’s buildout is still in the process of finishing, but the shop is accepting appointments for individuals to drop off clothing, which will go towards filling the racks.

“It’s all consignment. That means that people are bringing them [clothing] to us, and then we sort through their things and choose what matches aesthetically,” said Schikora. “That means that consignors get a cut once they sell.”

According to Schikora, consignors will receive 50% in store credit or 40% of a check when items are sold. For clothing that is dropped off but not selected, consignors have the option to pick up or donate products.

“We donate to a couple of places depending on who needs it,” said Schikora. “Jubilee Women’s Center is one, Saint Vincent De Paul is one. There’s a Northwest organization called Cancer Cartel that’s one.”

An inclusive and high end thrifting experience
Schikora and Phillips are aiming for a boutique-like and highly inclusive thrifting experience. They plan to carry a very curated selection of clothing, as well as shoes, accessories, local jewelry, and even small fragrances. They are also interested in branching out into unisex and gender fluid articles of clothing.

“We’re trying to bring used shopping more into the mainstream,” said Phillips. “I think this is a really good way to bring people into that idea that they can shop used, who maybe wouldn’t do that otherwise, who don’t want to deal with the thrift store, who get overwhelmed trying to sift through stuff.”

Creature’s focus will be on emulating a boutique shopping experience with the feeling of traveling to a warmer climate with the color palette and fixture design.

“We’re kind of wanting it to feel like you’re leaving Seattle and entering a warmer place like, ‘Welcome to Palm Springs. It’s not raining outside’. We’re a dessert palate and here is this really interesting, both high end indie labels and sustainable labels, as well as a little vintage,” said Schikora.

Phillips said they are also in search of a basics line, including underwear, that comes in a range of sizes—XXS to 4X. Since Creature will be dependent on what Seattle residents bring in, Phillips and Schikora want to ensure that people understand all sizes are welcome.

“We want to be as size-inclusive as possible, and so I think that we’re going to try to reach out to people and make sure that people know we’re looking for the whole range of sizes—that we’re accepting the full range of sizes,” said Phillips.

Schikora hopes to find models of all sizes to display clothing, while the pair are currently on the hunt for at least three mannequins; one will be straight-sized, one will be plus-sized, and one will be gender neutral.

For product focus, Schikora and Phillips are interested in well-made products that will last a long time, as well as brands that treat workers well and use natural fabric. According to Schikora, there is no brand that they would outright say no to.

“I think more than brand it’s material, design, how well it will hold up, but we do have some brands that are like ooo these people embody this way of making clothes, but I never want to be like ‘this is all we take’,” said Schikora.

Far reaching consequences of fast fashion
Flooded landfills of old clothing that are made from petrochemicals, which don’t break down like natural fibers, is one of the ways fast fashion is polluting the planet, according to Phillips.

“It creates a ton of waste because the clothing can be worn for one season—maybe—and then it just falls apart and people throw it in the trash,” said Phillips.

Phillips said fast fashion uses an abundance of water, to include the dying of clothes, which is wasteful and pollutes water. Additionally, she mentioned the issues of charities exporting large amounts of clothing to third world countries, which destroys the local textile industry.

“I know Seattle is a pretty progressive city, and there are lots of people that like to shop used, but one thing that we’re hoping to do is to introduce the idea to people that maybe wouldn’t do it before,” said Phillips.

Creature is lined up to open soon at 415 15th Ave E with tentative plans for a grand opening celebration on June 3rd. To learn more or to schedule a consignment appointment visit creatureconsign.com.

 

SUBSCRIBE AND KEEP CHS PAYWALL-FREE -- $1/$5/$10
We love providing community news on CHS free for thousands of readers. What sustains the effort are voluntary subscriptions from paying supporters. If you are enjoying CHS, SUBSCRIBE HERE and help keep CHS available to all. Become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with no paywall. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.

 
Subscribe and support CHS Contributors -- $1/$5/$10 per month

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
8 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Rob
Rob
6 days ago

It is exciting to see businesses coming in!

dave
dave
6 days ago

I was hoping the new tenant of that space would think of a clever way to use the cool old neon “Superb Cleaners” sign (like Flowers Restaurant on the Ave). Anyone know what happened to the sign after it was removed?

Ariel
6 days ago
Reply to  dave

Dave, I had this exact thought, including thinking about Flowers in the U district! Such a gorgeous old sign.

oliveoyl
oliveoyl
5 days ago
Reply to  dave

me too – the sign was excellent and really gave the storefront character

amy
amy
6 days ago

love the size inclusivity!!! so many clothing shops on the hill think my money is no good because i have a fat ass! :)

15th ave fan
15th ave fan
6 days ago

AWESOME!!!!! Welcome to the neighborhood!

Little Saigon Resident
Little Saigon Resident
6 days ago

And the rich get richer….

JCW
JCW
5 days ago

As a small business owner myself, I assure you no one is getting rich running a retail establishment. Sorry if that blows up your “business owner bad” ideology.