Marlo Miyashiro brings handmade and high-end together at The Handmade Showroom in downtown Seattle. Located in the Pacific Place mall, The Handmade Showroom features high quality, handcrafted gifts from dozens of artists, makers, and designers from the PNW and across the United States. Marlo has always had a special place in her heart for handmade goods, starting with the dolls her mom made and sold at craft shows.
Get to know more about Marlo as she talks about starting her business in Pacific Place, how supporting The Handmade Showroom means directly supporting artists, and a few of her favorite places to #SpendLikeItMatters.
The interview has been edited for clarity and length.
What’s your favorite part about the community your business is in and why?
When Pacific Place approached us, there was a little bit of hesitancy about handmade in a mall. I [didn’t] know if that was the right thing. But the more I thought about it, the more it was, “Yes, handmade in a mall,” because I wanted to reach out to a new customer — a customer that maybe doesn’t go to craft shows or doesn’t shop on Etsy. And we thought about the kinds of stores that were in the mall at that time — the high end, the Coach, and the Barney’s. It just excited me so much to think about exposing these artists to that customer. That combined with being in the heart of Seattle, it just felt like the right place at the right time. We really like being downtown. We really like being the discovery of people going to Nordstrom and then coming across the bridge and realizing, “Wow, there’s this cool store that has all these things that I’ve never seen before.”
Why is it important to you and your business that people #SpendLikeItMatters?
Every purchase makes a difference not only for our business, but it allows us to continue to support the artists we work with. Our attitude is always the community over competition idea, so we promote our artists and their work. We know oftentimes people will go directly to them to purchase something, and that’s totally OK with us because the idea that this store can exist and be a convenient place to find all of this stuff in one place definitely works. So if someone goes into a store, and they really appreciate it, even the smallest purchase — it’s not just the money that’s important. It’s the vote of encouragement, that, “We appreciate this. We want you to keep going.” Every purchase is like that.
Who is on your Intentional List right now (name 3-5 diverse local businesses)
Gosh, I have so many. Among my favorite businesses are small boutiques like mine. We all have a Facebook group where we talk to each other and support each other through there, which is amazing. Amy [Tipton] of Sassafras introduced me to the group, and her store is amazing because she rents workshop space to local clothing designers, so they all work together to create this amazing collective of artists. There’s Robot vs. Sloth that’s really close to us. We actually carry some of her work as well. That’s Lauren [Rudeck] over at Pike Place Market. She’s got a really great, cute collection of things, and they’re just really good people. And Rosalie [Gale] who owns Monster and Ugly Baby. She’s just a huge supporter of everything handmade and artist made and does a great job there.