Interview: E. Smith Mercantile

I know I say this every time, but I'm really excited about this interview! I sent the lovely ladies of E. Smith Mercantile some questions, and Jessie Poole kindly responded. E. Smith really is my happy place.

(You may remember our trunk show in August.) Everything inside is perfectly curated, and they serve coffee in the daytime and cocktails at night in their back bar. I can't overstate how much I love this store and these ladies!

Q: What inspired you to open a retail shop in today's economy? As a family business, we were very excited about the opportunity to create a space that allowed each of us an outlet for our many interests. We're also so lucky to be participating in a resurgence, if you will, of Pioneer Square business. It's important for us to create a community space and offer services for this great, historic piece of Seattle.

Q: You're a family business through and through. What is it like, working so closely with family? We've always been very close. The vast majority of the time it's a truly spectacular experience. We've found it helps people feel like they're in our home, they can be comfortable and feel taken care of because they truly are our guests.

Q: What have been your biggest challenges at the shop? I think like any small business finding the right balance of obsessing over what you do and maintaining your outside interests can often be a challenge. Luckily there's more than one of us so we can all take turns picking up the slack.

Q: What have been your biggest joys? In the beginning it was watching people's faces the first time they came in. Now people tell us that they want to live there. It's heartwarming and continues to be inspiring to have other people inspired by the space.

Q: Where do you go for inspiration? (Your decor, products, and food/drinks are very obviously inspired!) Personally, I love my nature time. There's nothing like a weekend in the woods with a fire place and friends. For a quick afternoon pick me up the Pacific Antique Galleries is a wonderful place for inspiration.

Q: What's your favorite place to shop in Seattle? (Other than E. Smith, of course!) I love to wander through Elliott Bay Books, and while I'm up there, might as well stop into Totokaelo and touch the pretty things, right?

Q: What's your favorite place to eat in Seattle? We're big fans of the Walrus & the Carpenter. Also wouldn't say no to a dinner at Lark, a brunch at Toulouse Petit, or the entire menu at La Carta de Oaxaca.