Matriark: Equality Through Commerce and Community

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Inside Matriark in Sag Harbor. Courtesy photo

Inspired by female leaders around the globe and rooted in local community, new Sag Harbor lifestyle store Matriark was designed to advance women’s equality through commerce and community. Though housed in an old Victorian home, known as the Gingerbread House, the modern interior is a collection of fashion, home décor and lifestyle products sourced exclusively from women-owned companies. Drawing inspiration from working mothers to global powerhouses, owner Patricia Assui Reed aims to offer something different yet complementary to Main Street.

A former buyer and communications executive in the luxury and fashion retail markets for more than 20 years, Brazilian-born Assui Reed’s résumé includes positions at Tiffany & Co., ABC Carpet and Home and Polo Ralph Lauren, as well as collaborations with Christian Louboutin, Diane von Furstenberg, Goyard, Ralph Lauren and Vilebrequin. She also serves as the executive producer for Latin American fashion conference, Iguatemi Fashion Talks. Having moved to Sag Harbor full-time last year to raise her children, Matriark, Assui Reed’s first store, was also an idea born about a year ago.

Matriark occupies the well-known Gingerbread House on Main Street in Sag Harbor.

The design process for the store has been equal parts passion, experience and exploration. Products are not chosen just for their aesthetic or the simple fact the companies are owned by women, but because of the stories behind these women as well. “Curating a store is very subject to someone’s eye, but I believe it is a collaborative process,” Assui Reed said. “I curated the brands that are women-owned and together we discussed what we think could work well for the store. I also want to make sure we have an eclectic mix, and that women of all ages feel welcome and can find something at the shop.”

The space is simply designed with white shelving, clothing racks and various contemporary tables adorned by the wares for sale in multiple spaces throughout.

Assui Reed had learned that while 75 percent of fashion customers are women, only 14 percent of major fashion brands are actually led by women. A store for women by women is driven by her experience in the industry. The old adage “money is power” is also part of Matriark’s mission. In an effort to advance women’s equality, financial power is one of the more effective ways to ensure women succeed, Assui Reed said, whether in owning a thriving business or sending financial resources to girls wanting to attend school.

“I want Matriark to be that: a platform that can celebrate independent businesses, and that can funnel resources to philanthropic organizations focused on women’s causes,” shares Assui Reed.

What defines a female leader is not exclusive to those that are famous. Sharing her admiration for women like Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Arianna Huffington, Assui Reed is also inspired by women who run their own business without the backing of large corporations and women supporting their families, raising children and keeping communities together. She draws on this inspiration daily when thinking of her own store and what she can offer the East End community — year round residents and transient visitors alike.

On Matriark’s website, stories are shared about current collaborations and how Assui Reed came to meet some of the women behind the companies she carries. An email received by mistake began a relationship with Marie Douat of Dou.K Studio, who was also a fellow member of the women-only New York City co-working space, The Wing. Haute Victoire’s Yasmina Benazzou and her emotional approach to jewelry design drew Assui Reed in, while she learned of Brazilian shoe designer Lane Marinho through a friend over a casual lunch. A compilation of chance happenings and attention to women making waves in retail has served as the foundation for Matriark.

Other participating brands include Amrose, Alix of Bohemia, Amaio, By Alona Jewlery, Chufy, Eugenia Kim, Le Monde Beryl Shoes, Daphne Verley, Flavia del Pra, BKLN Clay, Mary Ping, Maryan Nassir Zadeh, Marlette, Missoni, Sissa Brasil, Sold Out and Tibi.

“I am very touched by the reaction,” Assui Reed says of the store’s reception, which opened Memorial Day weekend. “People see the sign on Main Street and they come in saying they love the concept and want to shop. Everyone has been so lovely and positive, I am thrilled.”

Matriark is located at 133 Main Street in Sag Harbor. Learn more at matriark.com.

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