PURPOSE CITY: West Elm Seattle

PURPOSE CITY: West Elm Seattle

I’ve always enjoyed reading stories that help me feel like I’m somewhere else, or alongside the main character’s journey to somewhere else. Books that really hooked me as a kid were those that invited you into the main character’s world and reality as they chose or were forced to live somewhere foreign, forbidden or frowned upon.

Like in Fly Away Home where Eve Bunting walked me through what it’s like for a father and son to live in an airport. Being homeless but making a home where others are simply going through to get to their own.

Or From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler where E.L. Konigsburg where siblings turn to runaways living in the Met. Finding themselves in the home of Saxonberg, Mrs. Frankweiler’s lawyer (AKA their grandmother), explaining why they ran away and the web of Met mystery they are hoping to solve.

And Secrets of the Shopping Mall where Richard Peck lead me through the tale of a girl who rescues a boy from a cruel gang in their city and find refuge with him in a suburban mall. Which was a super weird story – but I always like the idea of being in a department store after hours.

So when the opportunity arose to eat dinner inside a West Elm store, while discussing Seattle as home with a small group, I couldn’t sign us up fast enough!

The Purpose City: Seattle dinner was hosted by West Elm Seattle Community Manager, Jordan Carlson, who invited us to share a meal and share our stories. The meal was local + lovely, made by Alexandra Greenwald and attended by a small group of Seattle folks.

It was great to share a meal and stories about what got us to Seattle, what is keeping us here, what do we hope to see in our city in 10 years. It’s also super awesome to sit among strangers on merchandise for it to quickly feel like we were all at a dinner party, hosted at mutual friend’s home.

During and after the dinner I found myself reflecting on a few things: remembering what it felt like to be new to a city, savoring the people + things that make this city feel like home and thinking about what it means to live with purpose in Seattle. It also took me back to my childhood fascination of stories with wandering souls all searching for their definition of purpose and place to call home.

It was great to hear everyone’s stories, aspirations for Seattle and purpose for Seattle at the dinner. It was also great to hear other events and happenings around Seattle, from others perspectives (real life Yelp, yes please!).

Cheers to a city full of potential, puddles and lovely people!

NBBJ, a local design firm, created a lovely book about Purpose City and the sharing economy, if you are interested in learning more. And swing by West Elm on SLU to view their great local inspired window display! 


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Maria Hayhow


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  1. 1
    Carleeh M.

    This sounds like an amazing night in! I adore Seattle, even though I live outside the city, my heart has been there since birth! Something about the city speaks to me! The people, the streets, the waterfront, even the murals spark a contentness (for lack of better words) in me. I find that Seattleites are just filled with purpose and stories to share! I love walking through downtown and seeing how unique everyone is.
    Thanks for sharing this info! I hadn’t even heard of these! I am hoping to attend one someday! Plus who doesn’t love West Elm?!!!

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