Malika Siddiq is the definition of a #girlboss. She owns two successful (and beautiful) retail stores and a retail truck, and she isn't stopping anytime soon! She built it all from the ground up, never looking back once. She decided to follow her lifelong dream of having her own boutique. When you meet her, you instantly feel like you've been friends forever. We found ourselves chatting for over an hour as she told her story and then of course, she helped us find a few pieces from the shop! Her motto at the store is "A fun and comfortable place for all women to shop" and we couldn't agree more!
How did Lika Love come to be?
I’ve always loved fashion and wanted to have my own boutique. I had been itching to start following my dreams when someone told me about this fashion truck in West Seattle. I went to check it out, met the owner, and she ended up letting me work an event with her. Everything after that just fell into place. I found a truck in Portland shortly after. I went down to test drive it with my godfather, who is good with cars, and it turned out to be a great find. Once I bought it the biggest challenge had to be driving this 20 foot truck back to Seattle. I got a lottt of horn honks heading back north on I-5.
Once I was back in town I got to work having it painted and built it out. I actually cried when I saw it in red because it was so beautiful. After the truck was ready all that was left was for me to fill it with the goods! I went to California Market on a buying trip. I just went in and did it. I picked stuff that I loved and hoped that other people would love it too.
Two days after I got back from that trip everything arrived and I started selling!
How was it in the beginning getting started?
I started off in 2013, when I was still bartending, and I would do events in the truck in my time off. It was a lot of work, but I loved it. I would take the truck to Alki Beach, park it, and sell there. I was doing well so six months in I decided to leave my day job and commit to Lika Love full time. Of course, shortly after this I got kicked off of Alki. A cop showed up one day saying I didn’t have the right to be operating where I was, so I decided it was about time to find a permanent space.
It took some time. I wanted to ease into it and decided a pop-up shop would be a great way to do this. So for six months in West Seattle I had a little shop in a shared space. After that, I spent another six months working out of the truck to save up.
By 2015, I had a broker and she found me my wonderful location in Madison Valley. It was too perfect to pass up, but I had really wanted to have a store in West Seattle because it’s where I live and I love that part of Seattle. Then literally two weeks after I signed on the Madison Valley location, she found me a space in West Seattle. So now I have two stores!
What is the best part of owning your own shop? What is the most challenging?
The best part for me is knowing that I went after what I wanted and I got it. I’ve built such amazing relationships over the years with my clients who love Lika Love and what we do. I absolutely love seeing someone come into the store in their favorite Lika piece and tell me how comfortable and happy they feel every time they put it on.
The most challenging part? Probably the staff turnover. I want to take really good care of my clients and it’s hard to find people to work in the store that have the same level of commitment and passion for the clients as I do.
What’s the 5-year plan?
My five-year plan definitely involves expanding the styling business. I do a lot of 1-on-1 styling right now and I want to do more. It's a really fun part of the job where we visit people in their homes and do closet clean-outs. We work with the clothes they already have to style new outfits and pair new pieces and really re-imagine their closet.
I also want to get the truck up and going on a regular basis again and open more stores. Portland is definitely on the short list. I want to continue to open stores in communities where we can be a true neighborhood boutique; they know you, you know them.
What advice do you have for other women who are thinking about opening their own business?
It's really important to not let the naysayers talk you out of what you want to do. You get to create your own experience based on your love and your passion for something. If you don’t try, you’ve already failed. Just chase your dreams and go after it!
"People kept asking me, 'What are you doing?' and I'd reply, 'Just watch.'"
Is it fun shopping for all the clothes?
Honestly, it’s better to see what I buy on the person who loves it later. I love having someone come in that hates shopping and help them walk out with pieces they feel confident and happy in.
What are you favorite Seattle spots?
Well, for food, I love Buddha Ruksa in West Seattle. Roxbury Lanes have the BEST salt and pepper wings -- they are seriously just crack. I also love to get Chinese foot massages at Two Smiling Feet. Alchemy is great for cocktails. It's this super cool space that is dark and sexy. They do really fun, entertaining craft cocktails that have things like fire and dried ice involved.
Anything else We should know about in the life of Malika?
Yes! I have what I am now calling my "side venture," West Seattle Vibes! It's an Instagram account I share with my best girl, Meghan, where we share our love of West Seattle with the world! It is such a good break away from thinking about Lika Love. I've found it is very therapeutic to have another outlet. It started off very casual with a couple Insta Story videos and lately it has gained some traction and become a lot bigger and so much fun! Follow us @westseattlevibes!