A woman of many talents and incredible resilience, Nicole Wing recently opened Sea La Vie, a summer pop-up boutique at 1112 First Street, near Tartine. The boutique, an extension of her online store, exudes her American Coastal European-inspired style, in everything she creates and organizes. Sadly, as she was about to open, she underwent surgery to repair her torn Achilles tendon while playing pickleball. Fortunately, friends and family attended and the store is ready to welcome guests. She laughed and said, “I’m so used to doing everything on my own as a military spouse, it was hard to sit on my knees scooter and watch other people organize my store for the opening.”
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She made history when she was born in Coronado, being the first baby born that year, and considers herself a true Coronado girl, even though as a military wife she lived all over the world. After graduating from CHS in 1997, she briefly attended Chico State University, before becoming an American Airlines flight attendant. Her passionate profession was to be a dental hygienist, for which she completed training after marrying another CHS alumnus Alan and becoming pregnant with her first son.
The military has had a profound impact on her life, forcing the family to relocate almost every two years for the past 20 years. She has called Monterey, Rhode Island, Florida and Belgium home and these are just a few of her favorites. She enjoyed getting to know all the places they lived in, but is now happy to call Coronado home again for the long haul.
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Nicole was able to work as a dental hygienist in the different places where they lived. But, especially in Europe, his secondary activity was to frequent quaint antique markets, in search of unique textiles, pottery, furniture and other interesting finds. One of her favorite finds were 300-year-old chairs stuffed with horsehair, which she brought back to life. During their many moves, she quickly learned to adapt, and no matter where the family was stationed, she created a home with a cozy decor.
When asked if she had always been creative, she replied, “I wasn’t artistic growing up, but my creative side came from my travels, especially my first trip to Europe and my love of entertainment. How not to be inspired to live in a 500 year old Gothic style house that used to be a former rectory?
Wanting to share all the treasures of the great artisans she found in Europe, she dreamed of launching a website to make items more accessible in the United States. It was a big learning curve, but she networked and listened to webinars, all the while working and being a full-time parent to two boys while her husband was deployed. His company, Sea La Vie, a play on the current French saying c’est la vie, was launched as a website in 2018 while living in Newport, Rhode Island. She sold merchandise at craft shows, has an Etsy store, and even had a studio warehouse in Barrio Logan for a brief period during COVID. The pandemic has had a major impact on his business, especially with the freight cost increasing by 200%.
Having always dreamed of owning a boutique in her hometown, she looked at several spaces and got lucky when the owner of her current store agreed to give her a short-term lease, so she could see how one works. brick and mortar location and determine what your business will look like in the future. “I love beautiful and functional pieces and you will find them in my shop,” she shares. Some things that she imports, others that she creates like oilcloth tablecloths, Christmas trees, engraved lanterns, etc. It also exhibits creations by local artisans such as photographs, jewelry, stationery and shirts.
“I am inspired by all the places I have lived and traveled, as well as my experiences meeting new people. I like to combine a variety of cultures to create unique pieces. It was important to me that my business also reflected my hometown.
When the family was posted to Europe for the second time, Nicole embraced the culture and began collaborating with a variety of artisans. Its red village houses come from a small shop where the designers speak only German. She also worked with artists in France to create a unique pottery line and a retired automotive accountant to create handcrafted furniture. “I’m good with ideas. When I have a vision, I find a craftsman to collaborate with and create beautiful pieces, ”she says.
With a wide array of items to choose from, you are sure to find a special gift or unique decorative item for your home. Sea La Vie offers celebration items for the holidays, drawn from Nicole’s love for entertainment, solid furniture from Germany, collaborative French pottery, etched glasses she creates, sea-inspired photos , posters, ornaments, multi-size napkins, tote bags, Swedish indoor / outdoor rugs, local handcrafted jewelry, resin and wood planks, Americana, vacation items, altimeter clocks repo from its influence from the aviation, and much more.
“I took the bet to open this ephemeral summer shop, but I hope that the items I create and select will resonate with locals and tourists alike so that I can stay here as a basic part of the community, ”she reveals. Her engraved lanterns and glasses proved popular, with illustrations by The Del and slogans like “Nauti Girl” and “I run a tight shipwreck”. She sews, creates signs and engraves glass in her craft room stuffed with gills.
A social person, Nicole finds it gratifying to meet people in the store and enjoys helping people choose unique and meaningful gifts. Sea La Vie is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 am to 6 pm; Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
1112 First Street, Coronado