PENINSULA PROFILE: Marie Campbell . . . doing it on her own terms
Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News
Marie Campbell and a boutique offering that makes a whimsical statement.
By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News
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Marie Campbell's Seasoned Woman boutique, at 127 E. First St., Port Angeles, can be reached at 360-477-1242. Campbell, who plans to host gatherings for women as well as home-decor workshops in October, is also available via email@example.com.
From her mother, Peggy Campbell Davis, young Marie learned to make do. Throughout the 1940s, Davis sewed dresses for her out of flour- and sugar-sack cloth.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without” — so goes the ethic, printed on a plain sheet of paper and posted on Campbell's wall.
She's still making do, and proud of it.
This summer, Campbell took an idea that had lived in the back of her mind, and turned it into a downtown business.
Seasoned Woman, in the blue-awninged Falls Building at 127 E. First St., opened in August. Next door to Udjat Beads, it joins the downtown collection of women's boutiques.
The shop's offerings are for “women of a certain age,” Campbell said, which gives her place a niche of its own — and to fill out the landscape that includes Sassy Kat, the Alley Cat, Cottage Queen, Moss and Rissa's Barely Consignment on First Street and the Moxie boutique on Laurel Street.
For this retail venture, Campbell is writing her own ticket.
When asked what her business hours are, she says she's aiming for noon to 6 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays.
Her store offers something downtown hasn't seen much of: a large room filled with vintage clothes, home and garden decor — plus the “Plain Brown Wrapper” room.
Inside are vintage lingerie and, in her words, “erotic and exotic gifts.”
Here, women and men are welcome, but “boys must be accompanied by girls,” she says.
“I'm offering parties and private consultations,” with women.
Campbell has long wanted to open a boutique — and at this point, she knows how to do it on her own terms.
“If I don't do it now, I'll never do it,” she thought.
Look in the front window of Seasoned Woman, and you see dainty dresses and classic outfits, including many embellished with Campbell's touches.
She's a combination of realist and romantic; her shop tells the tale, with its “up-cycled” furniture — read recycled and redecorated.
Faux painting of furnishings is a Campbell specialty, as are mosaic table tops.
“I've got quite a nice collection,” Campbell adds, of ultra-feminine ensembles from the past few decades. She likes to change them up a little.
Instead of a computer at her work table, Campbell has a sewing machine.
As a single mother, she fashioned her daughters' clothes; now she merely adds flourishes — velvet and lace — to vintage pieces.
Campbell's sense of humor shows in the store too, on the T-shirts with wry messages.
There's one with a skeleton seated on a bench beside the words: “Waiting for the perfect man.”
Campbell has lived in Port Angeles for 16 years; she moved from Everett to be near her grandchildren: “I wanted to be a daily Grammy, not a monthly Grammy.”
As her grandkids grew up, Campbell worked for a series of human services agencies including Serenity House, when it was opening the Evergreen Family Village, and the Olympic Area Agency on Aging, for whom she ran the Circle of Friends elder-support program.
“I had really interesting employment; good employment,” Campbell said.
Port Angeles was also her right place because she could afford to buy her own home here.
Now retired from social work, Campbell is beginning again on yet another front.
After 30 years single, she married George Reimlinger on June 15, shortly before their 71st birthdays.
A few years ago, “I met this really cool guy,” Campbell says. “I found him online, one rainy afternoon.
“I'm getting used to that new role” of wife, she added, “which has its ups and downs.”
People asked whether the newlyweds would take a trip.
“We decided we would be on a honeymoon for the rest of our lives,” Campbell declared.
“How long can it be? We're 71.”
The bride is keeping her name. She chose Campbell, her mother's maiden name, decades ago.
“She was the stronger parent. I wanted to align myself with her.”
And Campbell loves to nest. She restores old furniture, makes mosaics and heirloom collages and plans on teaching such crafts at Seasoned Woman.
It will also be a place for tea and cookies, a place to sit by the fire.
“I want to get a little propane fireplace,” Campbell says, adding that she may expand her hours, but not until Dec. 1.
When asked why she doesn't switch to holiday hours sooner — or open her shop more than four days a week — Campbell reminds you that she's no slave to the retail routine.
She has a new husband, after all.
Being open Thursday through Sunday only “is a lifestyle choice,” she says.
Janet Parris worked with Campbell at the Olympic Area Agency on Aging, and recalls her zest for life.
“She is about as far from rusting as you can get,” Parris said. “She's done a lot of volunteer work . . . and she's a role model for how to keep yourself involved in the community.”
Mike Wallace, another longtime friend, calls Campbell a woman with “an incredible fashion sense,” as well as keen powers of observation.
“I could easily see her reading palms or giving tarot advice in a store for women,” Wallace said, “except she doesn't need the props.
“She just knows people.”
Wallace was a member of Campbell's staff at Community Trades and Careers, the employment arm of Sunrise Services, a private company serving people with disabilities.
“Mike worked with people just leaving lifetime of institutions and helped them integrate into the community,” Campbell said.
“I learned from him that all people have abilities and potential.”
A self-described lifelong student, Campbell went to college in her 40s — and is attending again this fall.
She's taking a course in eBay sales at Peninsula College, to learn another way to market her vintage clothing and decor.
At Seasoned Woman, “I want to make a buck. And I want to have a good time,” Campbell says.
And a good time, to her mind, happens when women get together.
“All women can be glamorous,” she believes, without having to spend a fortune on clothes or decor.
“Making women feel good is my mission.”
Last modified: September 21. 2013 7:24PM