The Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay council has selected Michiko Seto as this year’s Sussex County Woman of Distinction. A luncheon honoring Seto will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m., Thursday, May 9, at the Rehoboth Beach Country Club. Luncheon seats are available for $35 per person and sponsorship opportunities are still available. To reserve a seat or for more information, call 410-742-5107 no later than May 3. This year’s event chairs are Deb Grubbe and Janet Maher.
Seto was born in Ocean City, N.J. A Girl Scout while growing up, she graduated from Ocean City High School in 1982, fifth in her class. She went on to the University of Delaware to graduate magna cum laude with a bachelor of science in human resources with a concentration on fashion merchandising and business. After college, Seto pursued a career with Kids R Us and assisted in opening new stores. She was approached to consider a career in banking and worked seven years, working her way up from credit manager to branch manager and moving all over the country. In L.A. , she worked direct sales with Herbalife for eight years in California before moving to the Philadelphia area.
On vacation in St. Martin, Seto saw attractive but expensive handbags; she thought she could make her own for a better price, which she did upon return to the states. Seto found Lewes when she visited a friend who had moved there. She loved the area, began selling her handbags and made plans to open a business.
Seto's first Blooming Boutique location opened in August 2006, in downtown Lewes and was an immediate success. Seto opened the second Blooming Boutique in Rehoboth Beach in April 2007. Here, a larger store allowed for the expansion of products. Soon the Lewes store expanded to include another place on Second Street. This third Blooming Boutique opened in April 2008. This store allowed for shoe lines and costume jewelry to be added. Seto was approached by the owner of a new retail/condo building being built in Bethany Beach, and opened the fourth Blooming Boutique in May 2009.
The two Lewes stores were combined into one large store at 118 Second St. The Rehoboth Beach store moved to 216A Rehoboth Ave. The stores expanded their product lines to include a full range of handbags, shoes, clothing, jewelry, beads and accessories. In August 2010, Blooming Boutique opened at 40-42 N. Walnut St. in Milford.
In 2011, the Rehoboth Beach shop relocated next door to 216 B & C Rehoboth Ave. In February, Blooming Boutique in Lewes moved to 107 Second St. and then Seto opened a gift shop, Lewes Gifts. In early 2012, Seto opened Treasures, a sterling silver jewelry, home décor and more store. In June the Milford store moved to a larger location and Seto opened another store, Milford Gifts, to bring the stores to seven. In 2012 she won the Marvin S. Gilman Superstars in Business Award for small businesses in Delaware. Blooming Boutique hosts fundraisers, giving 25 percent of the proceeds to local charities. Blooming Boutique just won small business of the year from the Milford Chamber of Commerce.
Each year the Woman of Distinction events celebrate women who have made a difference in their community, inspired others and provided positive role models for girls and young women. The Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay founded the Women of Distinction Celebrations to honor women who have made significant contributions on the Delmarva Peninsula through their work, philanthropy and community service.
To learn more about Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay, visit www.GSCB.org or call 1-800-341-4007.