By Laurelle Walsh
Gathered, a boutique featuring women’s apparel, accessories, leather goods and home decor items, opened last week on Winthrop’s boardwalk.
Owner Kary Brennan said she hopes to appeal to the “conscious consumer,” by offering a new aesthetic to shoppers in the Old West town.
“I want to introduce a different aesthetic in Winthrop,” Brennan said. “I’m attracted to clean, sophisticated design and well-made clothing by independent designers.”
The new store has an urban sensibility, modeled on boutiques that have inspired Brennan during eight years of travel, while at the same time “honoring the earthy aesthetic that applies to valley people,” the Methow Valley native said.
Sleek designs in natural fibers and neutral colors — grays, blacks and creams — feature strongly on Gathered’s racks this season, most made by small, independent designers hand-picked by Brennan.
“I’m interested in well-made items,” she said, hoping to appeal to “people who are looking for craftsmanship as opposed to just buying something.”
Conscious of ethical issues in the garment industry, Brennan’s goal is to carry clothing made of sustainable fabrics by manufacturers that emphasize fair labor and environmental practices, she said. She’s also interested in carrying made-in-the-U.S.A. brands whenever possible in order to support the American economy, she added.
Brennan has established many of her contacts through small crafts fairs, and enjoys dealing straight with the manufacturer whenever possible, she said. “There are all these exciting people making things from their homes. I want to represent small companies owned by people who are super passionate about what they’re doing.”
Sourced very close to home is unique pottery and jewelry by Squirrel Clay Collective, made in Twisp by Ryan and Nicole Scherler.
Also found at Gathered are leather and screen-printed-canvas bags made by Year Round Co. from Tacoma; fragrant candles in recycled wine bottle holders by Lit & Co. from Boise, Idaho; Betsy & Iya’s contemporary metal jewelry from Portland, Oregon; and screen-printed knits by Supermaggie out of Austin, Texas.
Brennan plans to keep offering new brands every season. “I want to keep it fresh,” she said, already looking forward to bringing in a brand this spring called Nau, that features simple, sleek travel-friendly clothes “that you can feel good about buying.”
Brennan grew up in the Methow Valley and graduated from Liberty Bell High School in 2004. She studied environmental science and cultural anthropology at The Evergreen State College and then “pretty much traveled non-stop for about eight years,” she said.
While traveling in Tasmania with her mother, Brennan “fell in love” with the Australian brand Elk, which inspired her to come back to the Methow Valley and open her own boutique where she now sells clothing by Elk, alongside other favorite designers.
The store’s space in the Farmer’s Exchange Building has been transformed with pale wood floors and slate-grey walls. A custom-built cash-wrap counter and window display benches made of reclaimed apple-shed wood, Edison bulbs in pendant lamps, and galvanized pipe rods and racks complete the look: a mix of industrial and rustic.
Even the shop dog, a silvery-grey Labrador retriever named Cinder, goes with the decor.
Brennan drew from a Seattle/Portland business model, she said. “I want to shop somewhere that is an experience and inspires me. I hope people fall in love with the items and say, ‘I want to treat myself to this; it makes me feel good.’”
Gathered is located at 229 Riverside Ave., suite F, between The Iron Horse and Sheri’s Sweet Shoppe.
The store is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Call (509) 885-3078 or go to www.gatheredboutique.com for more information.