Influencer: Kim Wald

The Newport shop owner on taking risks, supporting local women-owned businesses, and where to get the best cocktail in town


What was it like to open a store during a pandemic?

I decided to open the store more from a gut level, a “this is what I’ve always wanted to do” feeling. The store was planned pre-pandemic so when March (2020) rolled around, I had to make a choice. If I didn’t go ahead with the plan to open, the store would fail for sure, so I thought moving forward, pandemic or not, would provide an opportunity to succeed. In my mind, quitting was failure and doing was success, and if it didn’t work, at least it would be a good lesson. There really is no such thing as failure if you try something because you learn how to move forward the next time.


Describe the East Coast charm meets West Coast ease vibe of your shop.

I love New England and California both for different reasons, and since I have lived on both coasts I really wanted an opportunity to meld the two places. I love the tradition of the East and the sunny bright bohemian world of California. After years of working for other companies, mostly on the West Coast, I wanted to create a store that combines both places, travel, and my personal passions. 


What are some of your favorite women-owned businesses in Newport?

There are so many! Farmaesthetics, Power of Juice, Newport Wine Cellar, Kristin Coates, Verde, Monelle, Athalia, Kristina Richards, Saltwater Studio, Laura Jean, Meeka, and Studio 59. To me, women make the best entrepreneurs. They have had to work harder in a business world that historically has not favored them. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.


What was the genesis of the Wald & Sea brand name?   

My last name Wald means “forest” in German, so my thought was to have a store which could work from forest to sea and everything in between. If someday I want to open a store in a ski town, the name could work there, too!


What are some of your favorite local places?

Every morning, I take a walk on the beach. It has become an important daily ritual that is a key and consistent part of my life. I feel so lucky and grateful to have incredible beaches so accessible. For low-key evenings, I recommend trying the lounge at The Brenton Hotel. Beautiful relaxed environment, great cocktails… What else could you ask for?


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