Quirky and Community- the Perfect Blend at Archibald Sisters

Member Profile: Archibald Sisters
By Holly Reed

In the heart of Downtown Olympia, situated on Capitol Way between 4th and 5th Avenue stands Archibald Sisters. Behind two cotton candy pink framed glass doors is a business that embodies the distinctiveness that is Olympia.

On a mission for holiday shopping, I walk into the Archibald Sisters shop and I am greeted with a variety of unique gifts, but it is the pleasing fragrance that draws me past the colorful displays to the back counter of the store. Surrounded by an abundance of lotion, bath bombs and salts, the counter is flanked by a dramatic arrangement of hundreds of scent testers, each wrapped with a pink label bearing Archibald Sisters logo.

Archibald Sisters has been making its own brand of bath products, blended and bottled in Olympia since 1975 and Phil Rollins has been there since the start, becoming sole owner in 2008. The store offers a number of their best sellers pre-blended and bottled for easy grab and go. Customers are encouraged to create their own scent combinations from the 150 sent menu offerings, and behind the counter the friendly staff waits ready to answer any questions or to help me create my own custom blend. Rollins tells me the stores best sellers are a unique scent Olygirl and a fresh scent called China Rain.

I begin smelling each scent, clearing my nose between each  by sniffing a cup of coffee beans. I quickly identify my favorites- jasmine, lavender and one of the customer favorites, china rain. Now I am offered a new set of choices, which product I would like my scent mixed? Customers are presented with a number of lotion options infused with vitamins, shea butter, or sparkling stardust. There is also the option of perfume, cologne, body mist, shampoo and conditioner, body wash, aftershave, and massage oils. Premade bath bombs, bath salts and incense are also infused with popular scents.

Body products aren’t the only offering at Archibald Sisters. The store carries a wide range of unique gifts fro jewelry, home décor, toys and socks that make a big statement. The store is proudly Olympian, offering a  variety of Olympia postcards, stickers, bags, shirts and hoodies.  I browse the quirky and sassy socks and promptly find several pairs to match my mood and personally.  With a variety of patterns from pizza to animal prints, some adorned with witty or tongue in cheek phrases like “these are my protest socks” there is pair of socks for anyone that wants to express themselves and keep their feet cozy through the chilly Olympia winter.

It is the fabulous customers that Rollins attributes to the stores longevity. Olympia is a place that really supports small business, and for Rollins and his store, that support is a two way street. Community involvement is a year round affair for Rollins. Archibald Sisters participates in a number of community events and initiatives like Safe Olympia, fundraisers for GruB, downtown trick-or-treating, and Arts Walk, just to name a few.

He encourages people to continue coming to downtown to enjoy all of the quirkiness Olympia has to offer, but acknowledges that sometimes people can be discouraged because they worry it will be hard to find parking.  He wants to remind his customers there is free downtown parking at metered spaces and city owned lots after 5pm on weekdays and all weekend long. In addition, the city of Olympia begins its holiday parking schedule downtown on December 12th. All two hour and three hour parking spaces will be free to park. Parking time limits posted on meters will still be in effect, and parking services will still be enforcing safe parking guidelines.

For those not fortunate enough to be within convenient distance of downtown Olympia, body products are available online at www.archibaldsisters.com.

I pick up my lotion, some sassy potholders, a pair of socks and a sticker and make my way to the counter. I realize that all the gifts I have placed on the counter are for me. Oh well, I  have another reason to come back again soon to complete my holiday gift list.

While other downtowns are dwindling or outright boarding up and shutting down, Olympia’s downtown is thriving, continuing to offer unique variety as eclectic as Archibald Sisters 150 scent blends.


Archibald Sisters
Monday-Saturday – 10am-6pm
Sunday – 10am-5pm
406 Capitol Way S
Olympia, Washington 98501