In the heart of Seattle’s vibrant Capitol Hill neighborhood, a unique menswear store is making a bold statement and capturing hearts. Sergius & Bacchus, owned by the dynamic duo Ray Ochs and Rick Jones, is a breath of fresh air in a city known for its sea of gray and blue. This haven of self-expression specializes in showcasing one-of-a-kind, boldly colored, and eye-catching pieces from small, boutique brands – many of which are LGBTQ-owned, and exclusively available in only a handful of stores across the country. 

With a keen eye for style and a passion for supporting the LGBTQ+ community, Ray and Rick have curated a space where you can embrace your individuality and find clothes that reflect your personality. Sergius & Bacchus is more than just a clothing store – it’s a safe space, a symbol of community, and a celebration of expression.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 


Tell us the story behind Sergius & Bacchus – how did you get started?

We’ve been in operation for a little over a year now on Capitol Hill, at 12th & Pike. It’s been a wild adventure starting a new business, but the inspiration for the shop really came about eight years ago. One night over dinner, we had this wild idea that we were going to start an online clothing store and set up a little website. It became hugely successful.

We were operating out of our dining room. Every night, we would come home with our dining room covered with clothes that had to ship out. Then, in the middle of the pandemic, as so many people did, we had that moment where we all paused and re-evaluated life. We were stressed out, burnt out, and tired of the corporate grind.

And we said, “You know, we wish we could figure out how to do the clothing full time.” And the adventure began. It took us about 18 months to get fully set up, and now here we are. And we couldn’t be prouder of the reaction from the neighborhood, the community, and really being a part of a lot of exciting things happening on Capitol Hill.


Tell us about the clothes and brands that you have in the store?

We specialize in unique, interesting clothing that you won’t find in many places in Seattle. You’re going to see a lot of bold colors, bright patterns. We really make an intentional effort to find things that are unique and different, one of a kind, so you’re not going to be seen wearing the same thing as someone else all over town.

The joke has long been that the Seattle uniform is solid black, blue, or gray. We wanted something different. We specialize in small boutique brands. Many of the brands are in only a handful of stores anywhere in the country. We have a couple of brands. There’s one really exciting brand that we love that comes from Amsterdam. We’re one of only five stores in the United States that carry them. There’s a couple of our underwear brands where we’re literally the only store in the U.S. that stocks these in-person. We’re pretty proud of that. We look for things that have personality, but also class. We like to say that it’s fun, interesting stuff that you can wear from the office to the trendiest happy hour.

So the next exciting adventure for us is that this summer, we will be launching our own clothing line. We have learned so much from our customers and the folks that come in and shop, and we’re taking all that feedback and we’ve started the process of sourcing new products that will be debuting here in just a few months.

What is something that you are proud of as small business owners?

Something that we are really, really proud of is that about 75% of the brands that we stock here in the store are LGBTQ+ owned. And while I wish I could say that was intentional at first, it wasn’t. We just started finding unique and different things that we loved.

As it went along, we realized, “Wow, there’s some really creative and talented people out there doing awesome stuff.” And we want to support them. As cliché as it may be, the rising tide lifts all boats, and we have to support each other.

It’s hard enough as small business owners when you’re on your own. And we feel really strongly that if we lean into this, we can all be better together.


What’s been the neighborhood reception to your opening? What’s it like owning a shop in Capitol Hill?

Oh my gosh, there is so much energy on Capitol Hill. If folks don’t make it up this way often, they need to come see what’s happening here. There’s magic stuff going on from the nightlife to this really incredible boutique retail shops all up and down Pike and Pine.

I don’t think either of us expected to make the friendships that we have from our customers and people who have come in month after month and shopped and come to see what new things we’ve brought in.

It’s just been really incredible, the love and the support and the positive reaction from the neighborhood, the LGBTQ community, it’s fantastic.

I think one of the things that’s really surprised us is the significance that our little business and our dream of a shop has taken on in the local LGBT community. We’ve really been caught off guard and touched by the number of people that have come in and thanked us for having a safe space where they could come and buy clothing, try on new styles that they just don’t feel comfortable with in other places.

We had a trans man come in and say their experience here was one of the most gender-affirming things that they’ve ever experienced. We’ve had African American men come in and say, “thank you for letting me shop and just treating me as a human versus someone that’s looked at like I’m gonna steal from you all the time”. We have a customer who regularly drives here from Bellingham an hour and a half away and says, “I live in a small town, I want to wear clothes that I can express who I am, but I don’t feel comfortable shopping there to do it, and so I come here”.

A former coworker has two trans sons, and on Trans Visibility Day, she called us up and said “Hey I gave my sons your phone number and your address, and showed them exactly where you’re at because we know that if something happens, your store will be a safe space for them.”  That’s been really meaningful and surprising and touching.


What are some local businesses that you like to support here in Seattle? 


If you were to offer a piece of advice to somebody who was opening up a small business or retail shop, what would you tell them? 

Just wear a seatbelt and hang in there. There’s a lot of people that have been through the journey. You are not alone. And it’s totally worth it.

One of the things that’s been really impactful for us is our membership in the GSBA, and involvement with the Capitol Hill Business Alliance. The resources they’ve given us and the support has truly been amazing. 

I don’t think we were prepared for how lonely this journey of entrepreneurship can be. Coming from big companies and corporate backgrounds where you interact with hundreds of people a day or dozens of people a day, and then you’re here on your own, and you find yourself second guessing the decisions that you make because you don’t have that instant feedback from people around you.

And so for us, the feedback and the interactions with the customers has become all the more special for that. And really reaching out to other local business owners and building a network of support has been critical.


What can a first-time customer expect when they come in to shop? 

First off, you’ll probably meet Lily, our shop dog. We recently adopted her from Motley Zoo, and she’s become kind of a staple of the shop. We’ve got folks coming in to meet her and she loves meeting people. 

We want you to feel welcome. We’re never going to pressure you to buy things. We want you to come have fun. For us, this is all about, how do we have fun and do something we love? It’s clothes. We’re not saving lives here. Just come in. Try things on. Touch and feel the fabrics. Learn the textures. See what makes you feel good as a human. And if you buy it, that’s great!

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