Cards *for* Humanity: Capitol Hill woman part of growing industry around helping Seattle — and beyond — make friends

(Image: 365 Meaningful Conversations)

(Image: Jake Boling)

Audrey Phillips is not great at small talk. She’s more of a listener. People have always felt comfortable sharing their stories with her. Once, she was seated next to an older man on the plane from Seattle to New Jersey. She asked him how he was doing. They ended up talking about his divorce for the rest of the flight. Phillips was 15.

Another time, when her car wouldn’t start, Phillips checked in with the woman on the phone from AAA roadside assistance. “It seems like you’ve had a hard day,” Phillips remembers telling her. She had. They talked for two hours about the woman’s daughter and her brushes with the criminal justice system.

For friends and family of the former ski instructor and wilderness guide, it came as no shock that she would carve a job out of skipping the small talk to go straight to what matters. With her one-woman-business, 365 Meaningful Conversations, Phillip’s doing that by organizing events where people “can genuinely connect.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s Up Dog Toys has designs on making big play in pet accessory market

Moy and Odin with The Odin (Image: CHS)

Moy and Odin with The Odin (Image: CHS)

As the 12th/Pike dog bar doesn’t exist yet, the entrepreneurial ideas behind Capitol Hill resident Michelle Moy’s start-up Up Dog Toys sprung, instead, from a talk with the Broadway Farmers Market mushroom salesman.

In the last few weeks, the 28-year-old Moy began the first steps on her entrepreneurial dog walk by launching a Kickstarter campaign to formally begin the company and bring her uniquely designed toys to dog lovers everywhere. The first brainchild of the operation is The Odin, a 3-D printed puzzle toy that is meant to be both modular and stylish.

The toy, named after Moy’s Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a sleek, geometrically planed ball that allows all different sizes of treats to fit inside, necessitating the dog plays with it before the treat comes loose for the hungry pooch. Moy said she loved puzzle toys like this for Odin, who can be a bit rambunctious at times. She said it kept him busy and rewarded him for his work. Continue reading

Capitol Hill pot publisher covering the business of Seattle’s retail pot economy

10336788_301921989965574_8598761731603846361_nWhile there might not be any I-502 pot shops on Capitol Hill proper that doesn’t mean marijuana-related businesses aren’t cropping up around the Hill. One man is even crazy enough to try to make it in the media business! John Tommervik created High Above Seattle to review bud and rate the new stores opening around the city. It launched in March. You can check it out at

“I looked at applying for marijuana license and all these different things and I just realized that where I would be best at because of being a creative director and a marketer and all that is to develop a website that just focuses on the local Seattle marijuana industry and just cover it,” said Tommervik who runs the site from Capitol Hill and lives in the neighborhood.

He says his home neighborhood is a big influence on HAS and the growing marijuana industry in Seattle. Continue reading

‘Made in Seattle’ Luna Sandals outgrows Capitol Hill

2014.04.08 Barefoot Ted McDonald inspects a Luna sandal - JOGlobal demand for a brand of hi-tech huaraches stamped “Made in Seattle” had a Capitol Hill sandal factory bursting at the seams in a 900 square foot space at 19th and Prospect. However, the operation will now have plenty of room to grow. After a somewhat lengthy search, earlier this month Capitol Hill-born Luna Sandals signed a five-year lease at a 5,000 square foot space at 5th and Aloha, Luna founder and majority-owner “Barefoot Ted” McDonald told CHS.

 “It’s about five times as big, and we need it,” McDonald said, comparing the sprawling space in Lower Queen Anne to Luna’s current Capitol Hill home. Since it was built in 1920, the LQA brick building has housed an egg noodle factory, a color printing press and a photography studio and most recently was rented out for private events. Soon, it will be home to Luna’s all-in-one manufacturing, distribution and office headquarters, and will also provide room for the company’s first in-house retail operation and a visitor “hang out” lounge overlooking Luna’s factory floor.

Luna’s exit from the Hill in itself isn’t likely to dent the neighborhood’s economy but the company is the type of venture that more and more see as a necessary component of adding some balance to the area’s explosion in entertainment-type commercial development. Continue reading

Group helps women entrepreneurs thrive on Capitol Hill

With the vision to make Capitol Hill the best neighborhood in America to operate a woman-owned business, Capitol Hill Entrepreneurial Women is already making progress.

Laura Culberg (Image: Sweatbox Yoga)

Laura Culberg (Image: Sweatbox Yoga)

A recent study that ranked Seattle as the #2 city in the country for women entrepreneurs noted CHEW as a factor:

Seattle is one of the most highly educated cities and has a correspondingly high median income and low unemployment rate. With 12.5 businesses per 100 residents, the city is highly entrepreneurial, and women own around 4 of those businesses.


Organizations like CHEW organize events and panels to encourage female entrepreneurs to open their businesses in Seattle. Seattle is also home to one of the world’s most famous and civic-minded businesswomen, Melinda Gates, as well as rising chef and restaurant entrepreneur Renee Erickson.

Laura Culberg founded CHEW in 2011 while running her business, The SweatBox yoga. After connecting with other women and offering business advice and watching the neighborhood change over more than a decade of business on the Hill, she says she finally got the idea to join entrepreneurial forces.

“Capitol Hill is diverse, open-minded and there are smart people there,” she says. “It’s a place where people take risks and that’s the kind of person I relate to.”

Continue reading