Ty Sinnett’s new store has a big mission.
When Ty Sinnett greets me with her dog, Leo (a rescue from Bali), at her new store, The Seven Sisters in Vineyard Haven, it feels more like we are walking into her home than a shop. Maybe it’s the abundance of beautiful pillows fashioned out of hand loomed wedding fabric from Bali. Maybe it’s the draped Lineage Botanica blankets, crafted with gorgeous heavy linen vintage textiles backed with organic cotton. Maybe it’s the ease of the store’s apothecary, which has shelves full of wonderfully designed, enticing beauty potions. But as I begin to talk with Ty, we figure it out: She has personal relationships and a story to go with nearly everything in her store.
Ty met jeweler Loan Faven of Naula Studio while she was living in Bali. She tells me that Loan is from New Caledonia, the French colony off the coast of Australia, and uses her ancestral history as inspiration for her pieces. There’s Jeanette Farrier, who works with a women’s co-op in India to source vintage cotton saris for her luminous layered blankets. And then there are the rugs made with wool from Bulgarian Karakachan sheep. “The Soviets tried to exterminate the breed as part of their nationalization effort,” Ty explains. “There are only 400 left. About 30 shepherds keep them alive. They are treated like royalty. These rugs are made by hand. They are extraordinary.” Her dog Leo clearly agrees as he curls up on one.
“Some people might ask, ‘Why do you carry Le Jacquard Francais in with all of this other stuff?’ Well, my mother carried it. They use vegetable dyes and, while one set of napkins might cost more, I also know they will last for 30 years.”
Ty’s mother is Emily Bramhall, who owned Bramhall and Dunn, Vineyard Haven’s Main Street mainstay for homegoods for 30 years. Ty grew up on the Island, working in her mother’s shop. Her father Steven Sinett was one of the early members of the South Mountain team. Ty attended Bard and then the School of Fashion Design in Boston. As she tells it, she has always been interested in design, but the definition has expanded. “My mission is to inspire people to have a more intimate, enjoyable relationship with things through curiosity, storytelling, and sensory delight.” She laughs, noting that she knows her mission is big. “But I want people to come in here and feel joy,” she says. “I don’t buy into this idea of the sacrificial narrative. That to support the Earth or be a good person, you must always be giving and/or depriving yourself. This is a sustainable commerce model. This means we want to nourish the lives of our clients, our supply chain, and the planet. And there’s no pressure to buy. Just come in here and, if something really connects, feels right, then get it. And you will have it, along with its particular story, for a really long time.”
In Greek mythology, the Pleiades were the seven daughters of the Titan Atlas. Because he had the unenviable task of holding up the sky for eternity, he was unable to protect his daughters from being raped by Orion or turned into stars by Zeus. In the myth, six were turned into stars, while one marries a mortal and that is why we cannot see her in the sky. Ty chose to name her store after these seven sisters because similar stories have been told by Aboriginal, African, Asian, Indonesian, and Native American cultures. What about the Pleiades makes people — across space, time, and culture — look up at the sky and see this same story? We don’t know. But what we do know after spending time in The Seven Sisters store is how aptly it’s named, because no matter where the goods are from, there is a universal theme to Ty’s offerings: Like the myth, they can be traced to a source and tell a story. On thesevensisters.co, Ty sums up her store’s philosophy, “We believe that when consumers have a more connected, intimate relationship with the products we consume and the people who make them, we all feel better.”
7 Sisters will be open through December, then back in the spring.