Seattle Natural Awakenings New Publishers Scott and Lauren Dillon-Merrill
by Stacy Lynn Gilbert
For every partnership, there is always an origin story. When Scott Merrill and Lauren Dillon met, little did they know that someday they would share a marriage, two children and several do-it-yourself businesses busy enough to make anyone’s head spin. When asked how they met, Lauren smiles and turns a slight shade of pink. “Scott has been my husband of eight years, but he has been my undeniable partner in crime for 10, the peanut butter to my jelly. I seriously couldn’t do what I do without him, especially create our two kids, Sebastian and Hayden. I am so thankful he saw past our first awkward encounter to make me his wife,” she laughs. “My girlfriend was rather tipsy and got us kicked out of where Scott was working. I remembered him, and I wanted another chance. I was extremely hesitant to go back to a place I had been kicked out of, but my persistence paid off. I asked him to go to a movie with me, and he actually said yes! We were inseparable after that.”
Now a family, as well as business partners, the Dillon-Merrills open up about their unique working relationship, and the story of how they became the new publishers of Seattle Natural Awakenings. “We moved to Washington when Lauren was four weeks pregnant with our son, Sebastian, and I eventually got a job working at Play Network, an audio and video licensing company in Redmond,” says Scott. Lauren learned quickly after giving birth that she wasn’t built for being a stay-at-home mom.
“When I had Sebastian, I started 3 Petals Healing, and when I had my second child, Scott and I started Se•lyn Boutique and Crystal Shoppe. If we didn’t have children, I don’t know if we would’ve been on the same path that we are now,” says Lauren. “It makes such a big difference to have Scott on my side. Even when we haven’t always agreed on certain things, whether it be about our kids or a business decision, there has never been a time where I felt like I couldn’t pick up the phone and call him for help.”
Scott agrees that every venture they take on seems to be inspired by the love they share for their children. “The kids motivate me for almost everything I personally do in life. Because of them, I have to get up and come in and try my best. We just want to live a great life, and we’ve been given amazing opportunities,” he says. “I decided to take off work when our daughter was born, and because we received an opportunity to rent a storefront on Main Street, in Bothell. We worked out of our house in Kirkland getting the store ready to open. We were ordering clothes and setting up inventory and everything! It was a madhouse, but it was fun.”
Se•lyn Boutique and Crystal Shoppe opened in December 2016. Scott would oversee operations and do what had to be done on any given day, but once the store got up and running, he decided to go back to school to get a master’s degree online while Lauren stayed with the store. Scott finished his program at the end of August, adding a Master of Science degree in Entertainment Business to his Bachelor of Science degree in Recording Arts.
Lauren graduated from Full Sail University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Digital Arts and Design. “Among other things, I consider myself a photographer, a designer and an energetic healer, and I find joy channeling my creativity through 3 Petals Healing and Se•lyn Boutique and Crystal Shoppe. 3 Petals Healing is where I do my healing work, and Se•lyn sells specialty crystals, rocks and minerals, as well as designer jewelry and clothing,” says Lauren.
Their wish for their companies, especially with Seattle Natural Awakenings, is to spread love and light, and inspire individuals to connect back to their spiritual centers. “We’ve found a way to honor all parts of ourselves through what we do daily for work, and we wouldn’t trade it for the world,” says Lauren.
Lauren and Scott had been talking about buying the Seattle Natural Awakenings franchise early on when they first moved to Washington, but the time never seemed right until recently. “We had been advertising in Seattle Natural Awakenings for our other two businesses for about three years,” says Scott. “Owning the magazine is a seven-year contract, and the previous owner’s contract was coming up and she approached us to buy it.”
They decided to take the plunge, and bought Seattle Natural Awakenings and have now officially owned the magazine since July 2018. While Lauren spreads her time amongst 3 Petals Healing, Se•lyn Boutique, and Natural Awakenings, Scott has decided to take on the magazine full-time. “The magazine has become really important and special to me. The idea of building a community that caters to organic, sustainable and eco-friendly businesses really excites me. I hope we can help people’s businesses grow, and I can use a lot of what I’ve been learning through my education and running our own small businesses to improve the reach of the magazine,” says Scott excitedly. “I feel like my toolbelt is nice and full now, and I think this magazine is a wonderful opportunity for me to really do something that makes a difference in my community.”
“We are learning the hard truth that doing everything at once isn’t a sustainable way to live, but boy, is it a hard habit for us to kick. We started a new business along with the birth of each of our children, then added running a magazine. You might think we are gluttons for pain, but really we’re just optimistic,” says Lauren.
“I’ve accepted the term entrepreneurs,” chuckles Scott. “I didn’t know how to feel about it at first, but I’m okay with it now because that’s exactly what we are. We moved here from Florida. All of our family lives 3,000 miles away, and we have two small kids and a lot of drive and motivation. I grew up in a family where my dad had his own business and my mom worked with him, and they got along really great together. I think seeing that helped me understand that it’s possible, and that Lauren and I could do all this.”
If running two businesses, several side projects and a magazine is enough, in October the Dillon-Merrills will be starting yet another exciting new venture, the Omni Bothell Center. “We are opening an events center because one of the top 10 things Bothell needs is an event space,” says Scott. “We are in a good location for that service. It’s going to focus on hosting sound baths, yoga, meditations, guest speakers and some corporate events. To us, the word Omni encompasses all of us, and we look at everything like we are all one here, working together, all connected—so Omni represents that connection of all humanity being one.”
Taking a deep breath, Lauren says, “Things get complicated when you have two kids. It feels like we never have time for each other anymore, but Scott reminds me this is just a phase while our children are young. He will be with me while I order clothes, when I have to move around the store. Even when he grumbles about it, I know that he will still come and help out because that is just the kind of man he is. I never take that kind of loyalty and commitment for granted, and that’s how I know we’ll be okay.” Scott smiles and puts his arm around Lauren. “Being business partners with your significant other is difficult, but you learn as you go. I find it helps when you have respect for each other and know that you are both working towards the same goal,” says Scott. “That is really what keeps us together, just moving forward one day at a time.”
To find out more about Scott and Lauren Dillon-Merrill’s businesses, visit SeattleAwakenings.com, SelynBoutique.com or 3PetalsHealing.com. To contact Scott and Lauren, email Publishers@SeattleAwakenings.com.