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4Creature Comforts Evolution Continues... Blog #5

Updated: Nov 23, 2023

Before we moved from Kauai to Bainbridge Island in 1989, we returned to Thailand to fill another container.

Shopping to fill a container is fun but it is a lot of work. After ordering items, they were delivered to a warehouse where we could consolidate & pack crates always being mindful of how close we were to filling a container. A bit tricky! The concept is to maximize the volume of goods with varied price points.

Many hours are spent selecting goods, writing invoices, taking photos of each item, and determining how long it will take to handcraft these items. Antiques and collectibles were purchased and delivered to our warehouse.

The process of preparing a container for its sea voyage typically took two-three months. After placing our orders, we would plan adventure travel while our goods were being created.

We traveled first to India this year. We were there during the Holi festival. This is a popular and colorful festival celebrated in India and Nepal. This Hindu festival marks the beginning of Spring and symbolizes the triumph of good over evil. People throw colored powder and water balloons at each other! Each color carries a meaning. We were covered in red, symbolizing love and fertility. It’s a very joyful event.

We then traveled to South Thailand to Phuket. We met an Aussie, Mark at the Jungle Beach Resort which became our go-to place in Phuket…remote, with a private beach, individual guest cottages, great food, and charming people. We chartered Mark’s sailboat and sailed with his Thai girlfriend, Kim, to Phi Phi Island, Krabi Island, and Ko Roc Na. We sailed for ten blissful days. Kim was an amazing cook. I had fun teaching her how to make French toast!

On our return to Phuket, we anchored in a small cove thinking we were alone. I was on the deck reading solo when we were boarded by four men crawling over the gunnels each with a knife in their mouths. I yelled to the others below that we were being pirated. I was worried that Geddy would flip into aggression but fortunately, Mark and Kim were calm, and Geddy followed their lead. Kim spoke to them in her quiet Zen way, telling them we would pull anchor and leave immediately. We were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They left peacefully and we retreated in a heartbeat just thankful that they didn’t harm us. We assumed the pirates continued with their nefarious activities knowing that they were alone again.

One of the perks of living in Hawaii was that we both became certified divers. Diving has been my favorite sport! The water temperature is so warm in Thailand that it is very comfortable diving in a t-shirt. Here I am attempting to describe a huge Morey ell that I saw solo…no witness!

Really, he was that big!

We returned to Chaing Mai to see our finished goods and pack the container. The container is then trucked to the port of Bangkok. Once at sea, it takes about a month to arrive in Seattle.

We had rented a yummy house on Hidden Cove Road, Bainbridge Island. This is my favorite house I have ever lived in. Loved the layout with a separate wing for guests and offices.

This was important to us as

we often hosted overnight guests. We had a huge backyard, decks, and a long floating dock. There was a circular driveway that could accommodate a 40’ container. We received our Kauai container first, filling up the house with our furniture and possessions plus the inventory from Artisans International. The Thailand container came in next. It seems impossible but we were able to store everything at this house using the garage, the decks, and outdoor areas. We spent many days driving around Seattle, trying to grasp the scope of retail. We settled on a storefront on the corner of Post and Spring, close to the ferries. We took a month to renovate the space and create signage. We were ready to open September 1, 1989.

I am often asked how I named the store Creature Comforts. One sunny summer day driving by Pike’s Market with the window open, I heard “Creature Comforts” in my mind. It was like a thought form had flown in the driver’s window, through my consciousness, and left through the open passenger window. I never questioned it This was the new business name…goods to make us human creatures comfortable. My tagline became, “Experience the Passion of Expression”. I felt deeply that these items carry the essence of the artists.

Meanwhile, we were busy with other developments. Our friend Lone suggested that we might like to rent warehouse space at the Domsea building on Madison Avenue on Bainbridge where the Cinema is now. Her husband had a karate dojo there. Pegasus Coffee roasted their beans there as well. It was a perfect place. We rented 5000 square feet with a great loading dock for our containers. We bought a container and placed it there too. We were open to the public four days a week as a wholesale outlet at the same time the store was open six days a week in Seattle.

I had a small retail set up at the Bainbridge Athletic Club also on Madison Avenue.

We wanted to do a tax exchange due to the sale of the Kauai property. We found a 40-acre piece of property in Hansville. It was almost impossible to walk the property due to many felled trees and thick brush in the forest of cedars. We bought it, but it took a long time to be able to view its beautiful vistas. This and many more stories will unfold in the next chapter.

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