There are two questions shop owner Mary Beltrante asks herself before putting an item on the shelves: Is it made in America? And is it sustainable? Her new beauty and lifestyle boutique, SeaMakers & Co., focuses on clean natural products and designers with a story to tell.
Beltrante, who is originally from Ireland, lived in Maine for 11 years with her French husband and business partner, Marc. Together they’re bringing a dose of the eastern seaboard to La Jolla with nautical Maine-based companies like Sea Bags, whose totes and wristlets are made from recycled sails, and Traps Eyewear, whose oak frames are repurposed from fished lobster traps. And then there’s Seawicks Candle Company, led by a couple who gave up the corporate life to make American-grown organic soy candles.
"Every brand we sell has some kind of story like that," she says. "We love learning the story and sharing the story with our customers."
The Beltrantes follow a stick-with-what-you-know philosophy, which explains the large presence of East Coast goods. But they stock some local brands, too—including Elum Designs letterpress cards, Fair Seas Supply Co. beach towels, and Wander Wet Bags with a waterproof lining.
When it comes to beauty products, they looked high and low for the cleanest and most natural on the market. Each has a rating of one or lower on the Environmental Working Group’s hazard score, with zero animal testing. The couple also strives to offer harder-to-find items that aren’t available locally, such as French Girl Organics, Josh Rosebrook, Captain Blankenship, Soapwalla, and more. "We really researched all the products," Mary insists.
She is a big part of the store’s charm. Her commitment to niche brands and eco-friendly practices, combined with a persisting Irish brogue (she says it’s faded over the years), make the role of shopgirl seem much like the things she sells—totally natural.