Seattle Culture

Seattle Now Has Its First K-pop Store

K-pop Nara open in Capitol Hill

By Daniel Anderson January 12, 2024

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This article originally appeared in the March/April 2024 issue of Seattle magazine.

Seattle finally has a hub for all things K-pop.

The city’s first store devoted entirely to K-pop, K-pop Nara, is now open in Capitol Hill. Fans can purchase the usual goods for a K-pop store: albums, lightsticks, artist merchandise, stationary, and more. Unique items include custom photocard sleeves and magazines with artist interviews.

K-pop, short for Korean popular music, originated in South Korea. It has become a global phenomenon.

K-pop Nara was originally founded by Linda Yi and her sister in Southfield, Mich. The Seattle store is the chain’s sixth in the United States. Some Seattle music stores have K-pop sections, but K-pop Nara is the city’s first store devoted entirely to K-pop.

“When we first founded K-pop Nara, we just heard so many voices out there in the community desperately wanting a space like it,” Yi says. “They don’t always get to concerts or are able to have in-person fan experiences. Throughout our various stores, we’ve had customers request Seattle as a top city for them.”

Several K-pop artists have played in Seattle in recent years, including boy group Seventeen (which sold out Climate Pledge Arena in hours) and girl group Twice, which packed the Tacoma Dome last year. Others, like soloist Sunmi and indie rock band The Rose, have performed at the Showbox SODO.

K-pop aficionados often clamor to have their favorite artists’ lightstick or photocards as an expression of loyalty and fandom. Prior to K-pop Nara, fans would have to purchase items internationally, paying exorbitant shipping fees, or from other K-pop stores in Los Angeles.

“The most important thing for us is to listen to the fans and our customers to have a wide coverage of what they’re looking for,” says store manager Simone Davis. “We carry over 160 different artists, but we’ll still have people come in and request items from a new group we might not have heard of before. We then engage with our distributors and partners to strategize on how to get those specialties in.”

K-pop Nara will host in-store events in the future, coinciding with concerts or artist releases.

“Growing up it was really hard for me to be part of a community to enjoy K-pop music together. It was like a private hobby,” Yi says. “I’m very thankful that so many fans appreciate Korean music as much as they do now. That’s how I got into being in this industry because there is so much passion for it.

“We have people coming to our store from Oregon and Canada. We realized that it’s not just the Seattle area that we’re talking about. It’s the Pacific Northwest. That kind of made us realize there’s opportunities here for us to help out this community.”

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