Although “sea change” generally refers to a paradigm shift or dramatic transition, entrepreneurs Ginny and Grant Maxwell created a subtle spin to the term by giving their new furniture shop the singular name, Seachange. “We decided on Seachange because we love the ocean,” said Ginny. Notwithstanding an inventory of wholly modern furnishings — a sea change from typical enterprises — Ginny’s passion for the ocean runs deep. “I was born and raised on St. Thomas,” she said. As a youngster growing up in the 1980s, Ginny vividly recalled happy days on sun-drenched shores.
A peek into family history revealed her father, Don Edwards, relocated from the mainland in 1967, establishing himself as a pioneer in the Hull Bay surfing culture. A talented musician, to this day, he performs with the local band, “GroundSea.”
Ginny’s mother, Susan Edwards, teaches art classes at the University of the Virgin Islands and her artwork is on display at Seachange. Although Ginny’s life journey has taken her from Italy to Tennessee to New York, where she studied photography at the Fashion Institute of Technology, she returned to St. Thomas on several occasions. Each time, the island benefitted from her expertise. Early in her career, Ginny taught art at Antilles School, filling in for Karen Bertrand when the beloved educator took a year-long sabbatical.
As a freelance photographer, Ginny’s work with a local agency led to the discovery of several top St. Thomas models including Lana Winter and Hannah Davis Jeter. Eventually, Ginny became one of the most successful model scouts and managers in the country. Comparing that role to her new retail venture, Ginny said, “Believe it or not, there are similarities. The principles of beauty are the same.”
Ginny emphasized that her reverence for tropical living inspired her to envision a new approach to furniture sales. “I didn’t want to represent furniture that competes with Mother Nature or clashes with the aesthetics of the island,” she said.
Consequently, selections at Seachange feature modern, low-profile shapes in neutral tones with colorful accents on woven pillows and rugs. Said Ginny, ”Our furniture comes from all over the world, but we try to source as much as we can from the U.S.”
At Seachange, the shopping experience ranges from showroom options to immediate purchases.
“We aren’t just a showroom, we are a retail store,” said Ginny.
Whether decorating a room or furnishing an estate, an exciting “plus” factor for customers is complementary design guidance and advice on request.
Additionally, customers are invited to check out inventory and delivery date status via the easy-to-navigate in-store iPad.
For villa owners and property managers, Seachange features complete villa packages including tableware and linens. Stoneware and porcelain pieces by St. Thomas artist Jessica Rosenberg are in the spotlight at Seachange.
The motto at Seachange, “Live beautifully,” seems entirely appropriate to the attractively understated enterprise. Ginny was quick to credit local designer, Fianna Fluess, for her assistance in that area. “Fianna is doing all our branding,” said Ginny.
Logistics is a vital element when it comes to keeping Seachange sailing along smoothly. That department is headed by Grant. In addition to earning a Ph.D. in philosophy, Grant has written several books on the subject and is an accomplished musician.
Asked about his recent career change, he said, “I enjoy helping people and seeing concrete results. It’s very rewarding.” In his spare time, Grant plays guitar and sings in the local band, Lovewolf.
Regarding the move to St. Thomas, Grant explained he and Ginny and their two sons — 11-year-old Mason, and Dylan, five years of age — had been living in Nashville but were contemplating a return to New York, the place where the couple first met. “When COVID came along, it was a blessing in disguise. It prompted us to reevaluate everything,” he said.
With a smile, Ginny added, “I used to tell the kids about growing up on St. Thomas … the dolphin sightings, picking genips. Now, they are experiencing it for themselves.” Seachange is located in Crossroads Center between Smith Bay and Red Hook. “We’re so glad we found this location,” said Ginny. “It’s set apart from other businesses, and we have plenty of parking.” For more information, visit seachangevi.com or call 340-998-0388.