Photo by Niffer Calderwood
Spectrum House is a true product of the Georgetown environment. A hair salon, photography studio, locally sourced retail outlet and meticulously curated art space, it’s the perfect hybrid of industrial ingenuity and artistic inspiration. Co-Owner Fedora el Morro (see our Belly Boys pin-up piece) describes the place as the ultimate in “treat yo’ self” G-town goodness, and helped develop the space in response the the amount of DIY hair she was seeing in the Georgetown area (which boasts nearly 70% female business ownership, FYI). We chatted with her business partner Nina Bird about the retail side of this fun, multifaceted shop.
How long have you been with Spectrum House?
I came up with the name on the toilet winter 2013.
When you’re curating your inventory what are some of the attributes you look for in a “Spectrum House” product?
Does this make me happy? Are people interested? Is it made with integrity?
If what I sell doesn’t make people smile, it’s not worth anything. If no one is buying or discussing the collection, I rotate it out and try something new. If people are buying it and ask for more, I keep that artist around longer and find items with a similar subject matter. This gives retail artists a chance to test the market and my shoppers have a voice in what is being sold to them. This next rotation and from here on out all the items need to be either 100% hand made, sweatshop free materials or upcycled.
Has there been a surprise seller? Something unexpected that’s taken off?
All of it. Retail stores don’t usually do well down here. I knew the salon and photo studio would do well. The store I thought would be a fun side thing. Not a full time job, which is what it’s becoming. I never expected to have regular shoppers come in to ask for things like “more cat shirts” or “more Star Wars art”. When we opened we just stood in an empty room and talked to people for our first art walk. Now we have 30+ artists and we’re remodeling the front this year to make room for more.
How do you think your store reflects the Georgetown community?
Our shop IS the community. The majority of our clients from the shop’s salon are residents or workers from the south end. It’s also a hangout spot for our friends and neighbors. I have a hard time getting work done sometimes because so many people come by to chew the fat. I love it this way. We built this shop for them and we find art we hope they’ll like. If they don’t we do hear about it.
What’s your favorite part of the neighborhood? What’s your go-to lunch? What should everyone do while they are in Georgetown?
My favorite part of the neighborhood is the people. Everyone’s amazing in their own unique way. There are so many characters and it’s never dull. I just live up the street and sometimes if I get bored all I have to do is go sit somewhere and within 10 minutes someone I know will show up and we’ll hang for a bit. We are a real community. We watch out for each other, support each others businesses, clean up the streets together and party together.
I can’t name one go to lunch spot, they’re all great.
Everyone should just come to Art Attack. It’s the time we actually WANT you to come down – we literally attack you with art. It’s crazy. It’s the second Saturday of every month and I guarantee you won’t be able to see all of the art music and entertainment that is available to you in one night.
#Bestof Georgetown #STACKEDDMAG #SpectrumHouse
Spectrum House Salon & Photo
5811 Airport Way South, Seattle, WA 98108
Hours: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm