Meet Amy Tipton, owner of Sassafras in Belltown in Seattle. When Sassafras first opened its doors in December 2012, Amy had set up her own dining table as a display table and buckled in for holiday sales. Today, Sassafras continues to provide hyper-local, small batch clothing options for customers looking for handmade, timeless, and anti-fast-fashion garments! The space is often host to trunk shows and arts events, and has become an integrated part of the local fashion community.
Fun fact: The space actually serves two functions! The boutique resides upstairs, and there’s a studio space downstairs where many of the unique clothes and jewelry are crafted by talented designers and makers.
Get to know more about Amy and Sassafras in this week’s Business Spotlight Q&A.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What’s your favorite part about the neighborhood/community your business is in and why?
I’m in Belltown and what I love about it is diversity of the people. Everybody’s got each other’s back and there’s a ton of collaboration happening. The art walk and other events have been fun because I get to figure out what they’re up to and what they’ve done during the pandemic. I love [Belltown] because people just want to try things and they don’t necessarily have to get money out of it, they get something out of it just for participating in a community activity. We support one another, other businesses will send people my way and vice versa. We’re just trying to keep people shopping the local, independent businesses. We joke about this but it’s probably going to happen someday, [we say], “If I get tired of working at my shop one day maybe we’ll just switch and I’ll work at your shop and you can work at my shop.”
As a business owner, what’s the strangest or craziest idea you’ve ever tried?
I think the craziest idea that I ever tried was that I had a second location in the downtown mall, Pacific Place. It was crazy because we’re sort of anti-mall, we’re no fast fashion, that’s our values. It was a test to see what the reactions would be. It was interesting because I never participated in Black Friday. Being in the mall was amazing to see, every store had a 70-percent off sign. No one came to our store that day. But we made some new customers there that came over to our Belltown store that visited us and came to our trunk shows. It felt like an educational opportunity to show them there’s some really nice clothing that’s made down the street and you should buy this instead.
What are some of your favorite local businesses and why do you love them?
Vann Studio Salon, Villa Escondida, Le Pichet, everyone at Pike Place Market, and Plum Bistro — they got me through a lot of pandemic lunches!