Outside of Seattle’s largest brands such as Starbucks, Amazon and Boeing, there’s a thriving community of local makers and artisans that have helped shape the city’s cultural landscape. From small mom-and-pop coffee shops to native jewelry designers, here are a few of our favorites.
A TASTE OF THE CITY
Although the “original” Starbucks and Capitol Hill Roastery tend to be the most common stops for tourists, there are an endless number of coffee roasters that serve up a quality brew. For a hands-on experience with a local favorite, swing by Victrola Coffee Roasters in Capitol Hill, Beacon Hill or downtown Seattle to sample some tasty brews and learn about producing single-origin coffee.
Another one of Seattle’s original roaster cafes is Lighthouse Roasters—a small-batch, artisan roaster in Fremont that has been producing quality coffee since 1993. Among some of the other local roasters are Broadcast Coffee and Elm Coffee Roasters.
But it doesn’t stop at coffee—with the rise of Theo and Fran’s Chocolates, Seattle’s affinity for chocolate has greatly expanded in recent years. To learn about the origins of one of Seattle’s most celebrated chocolate makers, the Theo Chocolate Factory Tour provides some great insight into the process of creating the famous, fair-trade bars.
Among the newer crowd is Intrigue Chocolate Co.—a small-batch chocolate company started by a former farmer and botanist. Aside from producing hand-crafted chocolate bars and specialty items, Intrigue’s Pioneer Square location is also home to a tasting bar for visitors to try samples themselves.
Located in Pike Place Market, Indi Chocolate is another essential stop. Recently recognized as one of the best chocolate shops in America, Indi not only whips up some amazing chocolate, but also offers a wide variety of classes and events each week, ranging from truffle making to chocolate and coffee pairing.
FOR THE HOMEBODIES
When it comes to modern design, Seattle has you covered. From local furniture designer Design by SML—a husband-and-wife team with a state-of-the-art design studio downtown—to Ballard Millworks’ salvaged wood designs, there’s a little bit of everything for those in search of quality home goods.
One of the most notable, however is Eighth Generation—a Native-owned and-operated retail store in Seattle’s iconic Pike Place Market. With the tagline of “Inspired Natives, not Native-inspired,” Eighth Generation seeks to empower indigenous craftspeople and meet the local demand for handmade Native pieces. Their store features the works of solely indigenous artists, with goods ranging from blankets and clothing to fine art and handcrafted soap.
Outside of the design realm, Seattle is also home to a number of skincare and wellness brands. Though Herbivore Botanicals doesn’t have its own retail store in the city, you can find the brand’s skin and body products scattered throughout a number of shops downtown, including Nordstrom, Baleen and Moorea Seal.
French Girl Organics is another notable local company, with products ranging from charcoal face wash to rose lip polish. Keep an eye out for the clean beauty brand at places like Anthropologie and Watson Kennedy.
LOCALLY MADE WEARABLES
Making waves in the sustainable jewelry industry, local brands such as Everling prioritize ethical sourcing and environmental sustainability above all else. Located right downtown, Everling not only has a number of ready-made gems available, but also specializes in custom-made designs.
Another noteworthy stop, Fancy showcases a mix of handmade jewelry, all locally designed and produced with ethically sourced materials.
One of the trendiest jewelry makers to graze the area is Baleen—a minimalist shop that specializes in creating affordable, fashion-forward pieces. Another Ballard favorite, Venue, is home to an amalgamation of local talent, including that of Erika Laureano—a jewelry designer who recently opened her own retail store in North Bend.
On the clothing side, Filson’s 6,000-square-foot flagship store is worth a visit for those who want a glimpse into how the brand’s clothing and goods are made. Reserve a spot for a complimentary factory tour or check out the on-site restoration department that repairs and sells vintage Filson goods.
Seattle’s boutique scene is rich on its own, but for a taste of local flair head to Sassafras—a Belltown-based apparel and accessories store featuring clothing and accessories by independent, Pacific Northwest designers.
Moorea Seal, the woman behind the ’52 Lists’ series, also has her own flagship store downtown under the same name. Though not all of the products are locally sourced, the retail store features a number of Seattle-based designers such as Balue/Co. and Ian Gill.