Meet the Maker

Meet the Maker: Malika Siddiq of Lika Love

 Malika!

Malika!

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?

Lika Love

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? 

 In addition to clothes, amazing jewlery can be found at Lika Love

In addition to clothes, amazing jewlery can be found at Lika Love

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?

 Malika in action

Malika in action

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?

Lika Love

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?

 Shopping for earrings

Shopping for earrings

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?

Lika Love

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?

Malika of Lika Love

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? 

 Malika and Meghan of @WestSeattleVibes

Malika and Meghan of @WestSeattleVibes

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! 

Lika Love
Lika Love

Meet the Maker: Lauren Wilson, Sweet Lo's Ice Cream

We think one of the best parts of living in Seattle is that it really is a no-frills kinda place. People are genuine, down-to-earth, and enjoy the little things more here. For our newest “Meet the Maker,” we got to know someone who completely embodies that kind of lifestyle (and lucky for us), she is an incredible baker and pours that authenticity and joy into creating simple and delicious ice cream for all! 

Sweet Lo's Ice cream

Sweet Lo’s Ice Cream is a young company operating out of a commercial kitchen in SoDo. Lauren Wilson and her partner, Cassidy Watt, create everything by hand with extra love. The company mission is to create a homemade, pure, and fresh product to allow people to taste ice cream the way it is truly meant to be – simple and delicious. After getting the chance to visit the kitchen and make some ice cream with Lauren, we are sold. This is the best ice cream in Seattle. 

So without further adieu, let us introduce you to Lauren Wilson of Sweet Lo’s Ice Cream. 

Sweet Lo's Ice cream

Where did your love of food come from? 

I grew up in the kitchen, baking and cooking. My dad worked the graveyard shift at the post office. I remember he would come home at 3AM and bake. He would wake my sister and I up to help him hold the pie crusts. I doubt our tiny hands were really much help. I think he just wanted the company and to pass his love of baking onto us.  

Sweet Lo's Ice Cream

When did you first start making ice cream?

In 2013, I moved to Vermont and got a job at a small farm-to-table restaurant out there. They had a small ice cream maker, and I asked the owner if I could use it. She agreed, and I made my first batch of homemade ice cream with a recipe from one of her many cookbooks. 

That first flavor was Butter Pecan. The second I tasted homemade ice cream I wondered, “Why aren’t we all eating this??” I wanted everyone to experience what I felt in that moment. It’s such a pure, clean thing. You don’t need additives or stabilizers, you just need a few ingredients and you get this amazing, pure taste. I moved back to Seattle shortly after that, started Sweet Lo’s, and never looked back. 

Sweet Lo's Ice Cream

What’s the process to make ice cream? How long does it take from start to finish?

The process is fairly simple. I blend the ingredients for the ice cream and then add them to the pasturizer that allows me to make 7.5 gallons at a time. From the pasteurizer, I put the mix into the ice cream maker where it becomes the ice cream you eat. After this I add any additional ingredients like Oreos, chocolate pieces, marshmallows, etc. Last, it has to sit overnight in the freezer and it’s good to go.  So, from start to finish a batch takes about 2 days. 

Sweet Lo's Ice Cream

What makes your ice cream different?

I think making custom ice cream and the fact that everything is 100% homemade, super small batch, and made with love. It’s a simple recipe that tastes amazing. 

Lauren Wilson

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor to create? Do you have a favorite way to eat it?

Well, our most popular flavor is our Lemon Bar, but I’m a classics girl so my favorite has to be Cookies and Cream or Rocky Road. We also do a really good strawberry shortcake. 

Sweet Lo's Ice Cream

Have you ever experimented with a flavor that didn’t work out?

Oh, ya. I made a flavor once with red wine and it was ehhhhh. I think the wine and the cream curdled into something terrifying. Won’t be doing that again, although it might work as a sorbet.

Sweet Lo's Ice Cream

Tell us about your ice cream subscription! What a neat idea. Where else can you find your ice cream?

We are now wholesaling seven flavors at stores around Seattle, but I wanted to stay true to where I started, which is the custom orders so I am rolling out a subscription service. The idea is that people can sign up and get three unique flavors every first Saturday of the month. This keeps us making fun, unique flavors for our customers.  

Sweet Lo's Ice Cream

What’s next for Sweet Lo’s?

Eventually we want a brick and mortar store. I want to be the best, and I want people to think of Sweet Lo’s when they think Seattle Ice Cream.  

Sweet Lo's Ice Cream

Lastly, we always love to hear food expert’s answer to this question: What are your favorite spots for food/dessert around Seattle?

Simply Dessert in Fremont for cake. They make legit homemade cake and you get it by the slice. And Fainting Goat for gelato in Wallingford. 

Beyond dessert we love to eat out in general. Café Turko has amazing food AND dessert. Uneeda Burger, Mammoth Sandwiches, St. Johns in Capitol Hill.  

Sweet Lo's Ice Cream
Sweet Lo's Ice Cream
Sweet Lo's Ice Cream
Sweet Lo's Ice Cream

Meet the Maker: indi chocolate

indi Chocolate

We had the opportunity to sit down with some of the ladies of indi chocolate and learn all about what it takes to make chocolate in Seattle!

What is the story of indi chocolate and its Maker? 

Erin Andrews is the genius behind all the delectable chocolate that comes out of this Pike Place Market chocolate shop. When she opened indi chocolate four years ago she was one of the only women in the industry who was making her own chocolate from bean to bar. In those four years a lot has happened: expanded offerings, a Marketfront Expansion project, and a lot of growth within the community. 

Erin's experience in the chocolate business started with a business venture prior to indi chocolate with a bean - bar chocolate operation run out of Belize. She was visiting Belize with her family for vacation and her daughters had been curious about where chocolate came from so they included a tour of a local cacao farm. This ended up leading to Erin partnering with some local businessmen to start a new chocolate company. After a couple years doing this she decided to sell her share in the company and open up her own shop in Seattle. And so indi chocolate was born. 

In the beginning indi chocolate was not the robust store they are now. Erin started out selling her chocolate cocoa butter lotion at a small pop-up shop. This allowed her to raise money for the storefront in Pike Place Market and to buy the pricey machines you need in order to make chocolate.

  Cocoa butter lotion

Cocoa butter lotion

So why the name indi chocolate?

It pays tribute to two things. Erin’s oldest daughter is named India and because of her curiosity before that trip to Belize Erin has been making chocolate ever since. Secondly, it recognizes the nature of the business. It is an independently owned and operated small batch chocolate shop. 

 Cacao beans

Cacao beans

 Roasting the bean in-store

Roasting the bean in-store

What kind of an operation do you have here?

indi chocolate is direct trade and gluten, soy, and dairy free. Most of the chocolate has three simple ingredients to make sure the taste of the bean is front and center. indi chocolate is one of the only bean-to-bar operations in Seattle. 

All the beans are roasted in the shop, which is why it smells so heavenly. They roast about 10 pounds of beans per day and from there the beans are put into the chocolate maker. Once the beans are in the machine it takes about 3 days of refining to create the chocolate that you buy. 

They also create the lotions and lip balms you see in the shop with cocoa butter and partner with other small business owners for various other products. These partnerships have produced things like the Chocolate Chai Tea from Market Spice and cacao based spice rubs. Other products you can find out in the wild include Old Stove's cacao nib infused beer or Shug's ice cream topped with cacao nibs. 

Where do you get your beans? 

A big mission of indi chocolate is only sourcing beans from farms Erin and her team have visited to ensure good working conditions and high quality operations. At the moment they have beans from Ecuador, Peru, Guatemala, Ghana, Vietnam, and Panama. 

 Chocolate spices

Chocolate spices

 Chocolate soap

Chocolate soap

What are some staff favorites in the shop?

It's always hard to pick one thing you like above all others, but it seems the Mole spice rub and cacao nibs are the two favorites for their diversity in use.

Becca, the Marketing Director at indi chocolate is also the resident chef. She has a long list of recipes that frequently include both of these products. Every recipe will make your mouth water and there is a huge variety. Who knew you could add chocolate to so much?! 

Fun fact: Cacao nibs have one of the highest sources of antioxidants in any food on earth.

indi Chocolate

What is in the future for indi chocolate?

indi chocolate is set to open their new space in the Marketfront Expansion building by summer 2017. This will be a much larger space which will include a café and chocolate factory, along with their retail space. The chocolate factory is what everyone is buzzing about, which will have large glass windows and a completely transparent display of the chocolate-making process from beginning to end! 

They will also have a place in the new store to host classes on mixology, chocolate making, and tasting classes.

Chocolate bars

What are some of your favorite places in town to visit for chocolate?

Intrigue Chocolate in Pioneer Square is wonderful and the new Fran's shop in Georgetown is a beautiful experience, with a window where you can watch them creating the chocolates. 

Lao Tzu

Correction: We originally stated indi chocolate and Theo Chocolate were the only bean-to-bar chocolate shops in Seattle. There are in fact, two more: Fresco Chocolate, and Bellflower Chocolate Co.

Meet the Maker: Jennifer Cullin of Paper Feather

The Paper Feather at Pike Place Market

Just off Western Ave on the backside of Pike Place Market sits a small shop bursting at the brim with creativity and charm. The Paper Feather, owned and operated by Jennifer Cullin, is an homage to all things paper.

WHAT’S YOUR BACKSTORY? WHEN DID YOU START CREATING YOUR PAPER ART? 

I was a substitute teacher for 8 years and always loved crafting with the kids. I started making cards for friends and family on the side and eventually decided I wanted a permanent change. I started my business online and was working from home in the town of Duvall, but then made the move to downtown Seattle.  I knew I wanted my own studio and was walking along Western Ave where I found a storefront/studio space for rent in Pike Place Market.  I knew immediately there was something special about the space and was so happy when I got approval to open up my own shop!

She opened up Valentines Day 2012 with only a few offerings including her handmade cards, postcards, and gift tags. That was 5 years ago and she has now filled the shop to the brim with all of her paper art, expanding to original art, calligraphy, matted prints, a variety of greeting cards, paper flowers, journals, and stationery sets.  She also does custom wedding invitations, chalkboards and party/special occasion goods.

What inspires you and your creations?

I try to always keep up with current trends. I also love birds, so they inspire a lot of my work. "The Fat Bird" greeting card was my first creation and he shows up in a few different pieces around the shop now. 

 The Fat Bird!

The Fat Bird!

I also love to travel and use those experiences as inspiration. My favorite places are probably Paris, Italy, and New Zealand. Great birds in New Zealand.

What is your favorite thing to create?

Probably artwork or calligraphy pieces. I love to just go home and create art without thinking.

Who are your favorite artists in Seattle? Anyone readers should check out?

Brooke Westlund is my neighbor on Western Ave. and I love her art. Alex Achavel is another artist in Pike Place Market I really like. Ethan Jack Harrington has a gallery in Belltown that I love to visit. He creates great oil paintings. Lucca in Ballard is probably my favorite shop in town.

Where are your favorite places to get art supplies? 

Definitely Daniel Smith in South Seattle for art supplies and Paper Source in Queen Anne for everything paper. 

Your work spread across a lot of different mediums, did you start in one area and expand or have you always loved to work with different supplies?

Well everything in my shop is handmade. I hand pick all the paper, sketch out and create all the ideas, hand print all the designs once I know what I want. 

I am entirely self taught and have slowly expanded what I work with. I love experimenting with different things. I started with simple methods and have since expanded into more mediums and techniques. Now you can find pieces made with water colors, oils, chalk, and pen. I'm working with resin now with my paintings and love foiling and calligraphy.

Anything coming up in the future we should look out for?

Yes! I am going to start doing calligraphy and card making classes. Look out for more information on this, but essentially I would set out tables and supplies and have wine and snacks and invite people in to learn to create their own paper goods! 

I also want to expand my card business into larger markets. I currently have cards at a few places around Seattle (Once Upon a Time, Sassafras, and Bella Umbrella), but would love to sell them to a broader audience.

Hopefully we will see Paper Feather creations across the U.S. soon! We for one cannot get enough of Fat Bird and think the rest of the world should be able to enjoy him too! 

Paper Feather is located at 1520 Western Ave and is open Tuesday - Friday from 12 - 3 PM. If you are interested in Jennifer's wedding services you can email her for an appointment at thepaperfeather@hotmail.com. 

You can also find her at the Pioneer Square First Thursday Art Walk in a tent in Occidental Park.