Alumni A World Community
Fashion Queen Builds “Empire of Good”
GOLD Alumna of the Year
By Laura Onstot | Photo by Julia Manchik
Moorea Seal ’09
It’s hard to believe Moorea Seal ever had any doubts. But facing her graduation in 2009 with a degree in illustration, she says, “the economy crashed and I thought, ‘What in the world am I going to do?’”
Moorea didn’t need to worry. Now she runs a storefront in Seattle’s trendy Belltown neighborhood that she recently expanded. She boasts nearly 1 million Pinterest followers, has published her first book — a guided journal called The 52 Lists Project — and has an online retail store at mooreaseal.com.
And now, she is Seattle Pacific University’s Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD) Alumna of the Year.
Seattle Pacific Professor of Art Laura Lasworth isn’t surprised by her former student’s success. She says Moorea as a student had already embraced new ways of promoting herself as an artist.
“I’m kind of old-school, so that was new for me, to see somebody talk into a video screen and have people know about your life,” Laura explains, referring to the blog Moorea launched in college. “[Moorea] was on this curve of a new way of engaging with an audience and community.”
In 2010, Moorea opened an Etsy store to sell illustrations. Along the way she decided to add jewelry to the mix, starting with a pair of pliers and about $10 in supplies.
Her explosion onto digital scrapbook site Pinterest propelled her business forward. Moorea’s collections mixed bohemian and modern fashions. Her taste tapped into current fashion trends and her followers exploded — she now has more than 920,000 Pinterest followers and has been featured as a Pinterest For Business success story and profiled in Seattle Met as a “Pinterest phenomenon.”
So in May 2014, Moorea decided to open a combination studio and storefront featuring her designs and those of other fashion and jewelry artists she admires. Her shop’s first day saw 300 customers, including Pinterest fans.
Moorea is a natural leader and loves other people, Laura says. “She’s been a person of action not only in pursuing her own creative interests but in pursuing the well-being of others.”
With business booming, Moorea is also giving back. Seven percent of all proceeds go to a rotating group of charities and nonprofits, selected by her staff every six months.
Moorea’s plans for the future are ambitious — she hopes to open new store locations and expand into clothing and home accessories with her own line. “I would like to build an empire that does good with everything that it does,” she says.