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Pure Salt’s Design and Retail Pipeline

Newport Beach-based Pure Salt has spent the last eight years building its own retail and homemaker brand, after originally starting as an interior design studio.

Its 5,000-square-foot studio and now shopping space, based out of Newport Beach off W. 16th St., showcases the company’s growing portfolio, and a business model of intersecting design services that benefit each other, according to the founders.

Aly Morford and Leigh Lincoln founded Pure Salt in 2016 as residential designers several years after first meeting as roommates at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Before teaming up, Morford had owned a floral design business and Lincoln had been moving up through ad agencies in LA.

After breaking into the local Orange County scene and gaining traction through projects from San Clemente to Balboa Island, the pair now work on 15 to 20 houses a year ranging in timelines and location. Budgets can range from $1 million and have gone above $10 million.

Current projects include local properties in Emerald Bay, as well as out-of-town sites, including a build in Honduras.

“We’re trying to make sure we’re staying true to what we set out to do, which is be more of a lifestyle brand,” Lincoln told the Business Journal.

Designing Retail

Morford and Lincoln tout a résumé with celebrity clientele such as entrepreneur Lauren Conrad and Los Angeles Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon.

Pure Salt contributes much of its initial takeoff to its presence on social media platforms and currently counts 604,000 followers on Instagram under @puresaltinteriors, which sees about 6.4 million impressions monthly.

As a studio, Pure Salt offers full-service design work to virtual style consultations on small to large-scale projects. This month, the studio launched a design school platform that offers three online classes for self-renovators.

After a couple years of styling homes, Morford and Lincoln decided to create their own line of products to sell directly to clients and any interested parties. Marking their first step into e-commerce, the first collection was a line of pillows sold online.

Pure Salt has now built partnerships with a handful of manufacturers, artists, and other home retailers to create a variety of licensed products available through their store. These include furniture, bedding, lighting, wall décor and more.

Best sellers such as their Gable cabinets, rugs by Momeni, and rattan braided lights by Uniqwa are among over 5000 products listed online. Prices range from $14 to $7,500.
Morford and Lincoln also gather vintage pieces to sell, and a partnership with Tirzah International lets them sell special products handcrafted by women from around the world.

The average order value is around $800 per transaction, according to the company.
In 2022, Pure Salt opened the Shoppe, a physical store attached to the design studio, offices and showroom where consumers can both style and purchase the products in person.

The goal is to have other companies sell Pure Salt products in their own stores. The latest step in this plan is a partnership with San Francisco-based Pottery Barn, a portfolio company under Williams-Sonoma Inc.

For the future, the business partners have eyes on the hospitality industry. Morford mentioned the possibility of acquiring properties to design as an event and inn space.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.

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