Shop With A Purpose: The Conscious Hamptons Boutique That Supports Female-founded Labels

by Freya Drohan

Since opening its doors in Sag Harbor a year ago, Matriark has amassed fans for its unrivaled selection of covetable fashion and lifestyle brands, including M Missoni, PatBo, Lulu Frost, Rachel Comey, and Zero + Maria Cornejo. But beyond the pretty garments hanging on the rails, there’s a bigger purpose to the boutique. Proprietor Patricia Assui Reed launched the venture with a mission in mind: to advance women’s equality through commerce and community by stocking female-founded brands that she believes in. While 2020 has presented its own challenges due to lockdown, giving back still remains front and center. As of October 1, Matriark will donate 2.5% of all net sales to i-tri, which supports adolescent girls, and another 2.5% to Ms. Foundation for Women, whose goal is to support equity and justice for women. Here, Reed tells us how the meaningful retail concept came to fruition.

What year did you open Matriark, and what industry were you involved in before that? 
I opened Matriark in May 2019, and I’ve been working in luxury retail for the last 18 years.

What was the ‘aha moment’ that led to the concept behind Matriark?
I was frustrated with the lack of representation in the fashion industry’s highest ranks, and while I was excited about the women’s movement, I also knew there was so much more to do. As a shopper, I was bored with the sameness in all luxury department stores and online business. I used to go to dinner with my group of girlfriends every month, and we would complain and commiserate about those things, and one day I really decided I wasn’t going to complain anymore. As I thought about what I wanted to do about it, I decided to address those frustrations with the only way I knew how: though retail.

Patricia Assui Reed (courtesy)

How did you go about selecting the brands to include? What values were important?
First and foremost, their products need to be beautiful. I want to bring in a wide variety of brands: medium and small, avant-guard and traditional, funky and serious, etc. I want the brands to be conscious, each in their own way: whether they are focusing on sustainability, or handmade items from artisans, or employing women, or made in NYC–each of them has to have a story that shows that their brand has a soul. And I need to know the brand owners/founders/designers are moved by our mission.

What has the response been like in Sag Harbor since you opened?
It’s been amazing. Sag Harbor is a progressive town, with incredible full-time residents that embraced my mission and store, and summer residents that loved the concept and the product mix I bring in.

What other factors make Matriark a unique shopping destination?
I try to [offer] unusual and hard to find brands, among the more known brands. There are a lot of products here that you won’t find anywhere else. We receive new items every week, so there is always something fun! We are located in a beautiful Victorian house, formerly known as Hedges House in Sag Harbor. I designed the interiors to be modern, as a contrast to the more traditional look of the house, and it feels like a sophisticated yet welcoming home. I think people really react to that. It’s fun and not stuffy, and we are super friendly!

(courtesy)

(courtesy)

 

How have you kept motivated and inspired this year? 
It’s been a hard year for everyone, but the Hamptons area wasn’t hit as hard as other areas and we were busy this summer. I felt grateful to be here and to be able to operate in a year like this. That alone was very motivating. Of course, I had my ups and downs, but I quickly remembered how fortunate we were to still have a business.

Why are fall and the holidays going to be an important time for you?
The Hamptons are known for being a summer destination, but with the pandemic, many people from NYC ended up moving here permanently, and the ones who didn’t will probably be here during the holiday season more than in years past. So we are gearing up for that, making sure we have great pieces for fall and amazing gifts for the holiday season.

Do you have anything special planned?
We will do a beautiful holiday decoration on our façade (we change that seasonally), and we will do trunk shows with designers and creators during November, especially on Thanksgiving weekend. And, as always, donating to charities as part of our mission.

How will the experiences/lessons of 2020 shape Matriark going forward? 
I learned that in times of crisis, we need beauty and inspiration, and support.  I also learned that our mission continues to resonate with people, even more so when things get difficult. The work to advance women’s equality is more important than ever, that motivates me to keep going, and do the work.

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