Marc Blackwell is an American Designer, who has been recognized for his clean aesthetic and problem solving abilities. His award winning home designs span many categories, including tabletop, furniture, lighting, and soft goods. His firm, Marc Blackwell, This Life! designs and builds residential, commercial and hospitality spaces many of which have been featured in domestic and international publications.
Marc and his partner, Eric Reinitz opened Marc Blackwell, This Life! beautiful Seattle location on Virginia Street earlier this year and I had the chance to sit down and chat with them!
Tell us about you! Where are you from, what was life like growing up?
Marc: I grew up in North Carolina, big family, big dinners, was always taken with and inspired by nature. I rearranged everybody’s furniture. I was very involved in school – I loved school. I was President of Student Council, went to NC State and was a cheerleader there.
Eric: I grew up in New York and my family enjoyed dining out often, so I was introduced to amazing food and lifestyle experiences at a young age.
Who inspires you the most and why?
Marc: Living In NY for a long time, brought friendships of incredibly accomplished people, and I know those from many cities where I’ve worked. There is something about knowing people intimately and watching them achieve and sometimes fail, but always putting themselves out there, taking the chance. So friends is definitely the answer to who inspires me most. Friends who go for it!
Eric: Well, that’s a tough one to follow! I really have the same sentiment as far as our friends! And then there is Queen Elizabeth!
What made you decide to get into the lifestyle industry?
Marc: I moved out of the restaurant industry into importing Italian Home Products. I wanted to be involved in Design. My passion for “the experience” from dining to visual, naturally led to lifestyle…
Eric: I have been working in the life style business my entire career. I started my first digital retouching studio in NYC in the mid 80’s supporting luxury brands from fashion and cosmetics to automotive. So this seems completely natural.
What brought you from New York to Seattle? What did you see in this market?
Marc: Some family, some interest in the market here, some interest in a new challenge…
Eric: Maybe my sanity, haha. I wanted to experience something other than New York. Family was here so it made sense.
Tell us about some of the different partnerships you have with vendors – are any of the Pacific Northwest-based? How do the partnerships work?
Marc: Living and working In a well established market like NY, knowing insanely talented people there, understanding the art, and industry, of national and international brands, (automatically when looking at emerging markets) it’s easy to think “I can make a contribution to Seattle.”
Eric: We had a much larger store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Seattle seemed to have a similar energy and gentrification to Williamsburg. It felt right.
Marc: Our goal with vendors is to celebrate their art. Commitment to community includes using vendors from that community. That list is growing. Pike Street Press, Woolley Made out of Portland and new Seattle based clothing manufacturers to create something specific for our store. Partnerships work in various ways. For example, furniture manufacturers may produce something just for us specific to our brand.
Eric: I have really enjoyed meeting PNW vendors and creating long lasting relationships!
What can a client expect from the moment they walk into your Seattle store?
Marc: Great music, good vibes, opportunity to shop, eat, drink and socialize!
Eric: We wanted to make sure we created a space that was immediately welcoming, not too NY slick that brought Marc’s aesthetic to Seattle. I think we definitely achieved that!
What makes Marc Blackwell, This Life different from other specialty lifestyle stores out there?
Marc: There is an immediate opportunity to immerse yourself into many offerings. You can even get a design consultation for your home!
Eric: I love that you can walk in and order a glass of wine in a Marc Blackwell glass, shop, read a book, whatever!
What are some charities and non-profits that are near and dear to your heart?
Marc/Eric: DIFFA, Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (Marc served on the national board for 8 years), BCRF, and Hetrick Martin. These are three really important ones to us.
What are the plans for the stores and brand in 2019?
Marc/Eric: A possible expansion, new product lines and more FUN! Possibly even a drag hostess on Friday nights. Stay tuned!
Marc Blackwell, This Life
420 Virginia Street
Seattle, WA 98101