Letter to the Editor of the Hudson Independent, April 2018

Dear Ed­i­tor,

I am the pro­pri­etress of a small busi­ness in Tar­ry­town called Tril­ogy Con­sign­ment. It’s a lovely place that makes me very proud. Own­ing a con­sign­ment shop is not only my vo­ca­tion, it is a col­lab­o­ra­tive en­vi­ron­men­tal ef­fort with our ever-grow­ing com­mu­nity of cus­tomers and all the con­signors who keep Tril­ogy stocked with in­ter­est­ing, qual­ity, pre-loved items. I’m writ­ing to cel­e­brate our cus­tomers and con­signors for help­ing a lo­cal small busi­ness thrive by par­tic­i­pat­ing in what is es­sen­tially the only re­cy­cling ini­tia­tive of its kind in Westch­ester.

Since open­ing, we have worked with about 800 con­signors, nearly all of them liv­ing in Westch­ester. This means that when cus­tomers shop at Tril­ogy, their money not only goes to sup­port a small busi­ness, but also right back to peo­ple in this com­mu­nity. I re­cently learned that money spent at a lo­cal small busi­ness gen­er­ates 3.5x more wealth for the lo­cal econ­omy com­pared to money spent at a chain owned busi­ness. Con­sign­ment shops source their mer­chan­dise lo­cally, work­ing di­rectly with peo­ple in their com­mu­ni­ties while in­creas­ing their lo­cal eco­nomic ben­e­fit.

Con­sign­ment is the kind of thing where the peo­ple who love it seek it out wher­ever they go. It’s one of my fa­vorite things to have some­one new visit, who found us be­cause they were specif­i­cally look­ing to shop sec­ond­hand. Many cus­tomers tell me that the ex­pe­ri­ence of shop­ping at Tril­ogy is some­thing spe­cial, or that shop­ping usu­ally stresses them out, but they leave Tril­ogy feel­ing bet­ter than when they walked in. I of­ten hear cus­tomers claim that they get more com­ple­ments on their Tril­ogy finds than any­thing else they wear. I think what peo­ple no­tice when they give a com­ple­ment is the con­fi­dence that comes with do­ing some­thing en­joy­able that also aligns with their val­ues. Plus, find­ing that per­fect some­thing in a con­sign­ment shop is like meet­ing a new friend that feels like an old friend, and that’s a good feel­ing that lasts past the first wear.

March 15th was the 4th an­niver­sary of Tril­ogy open­ing in Tar­ry­town, and March 3rdmarked one year in our gor­geous new lo­ca­tion on Main Street. These mile­stones have in­spired me to take our re­cy­cling ef­forts to the next level by col­lab­o­rat­ing with a lo­cal non-profit, BE­Beauty, for a re­cy­cling ini­tia­tive launch­ing this spring. We want to help make it eas­ier to re­cy­cle cloth­ing and make-up con­tain­ers, and ed­u­cate peo­ple about why it’s im­por­tant to think about these things. To learn more, come visit us or check our web­site: con­sign­tril­ogy.com.

Noth­ing but good can come from us col­lec­tively mak­ing an ef­fort to treat the land we live on with re­spect. Happy Earth Day!

Heather Reid

Quick Thought...

I adore this photograph. It echoes the iconic image of Rosie the Riveter from that small window in history where women were called to step up and fill roles traditionally filled by men; roles that gave them a taste of what it’s like to be independent and self-sufficient, just to be effectively forced back into “their feminine place” once the boys came home. This reminds me that my place as President of Trilogy Consignment Inc. was earned by the generations of women who fought to make their own life choices and proved that women could be taken seriously in the business world. When faced with the things that we are still fighting for, now not just as women but as progressive-minded, loving, compassionate intersectional activists of all (or no) genders, it’s nice to be reminded of our victories. I’m not tired yet, so I’ll gladly take over for anyone who is. Thank you for your service, sisters and brothers.

Photograph by Pedro Garcia featuring an artisan beaded bracelet we had on consignment here at Trilogy. It has sold. 

What's MY Size?

Here is an interesting article for anyone who has ever been frustrated by vanity sizing and the general lack of consistency in clothing sizes, or curious about why a size 16 dress from the 1950s fits them the same as a modern size 8. Even if the sample group was diverse in age and race, I wonder if standardized sizing based on average measurements could really help us navigate the choppy waters of the modern shopping experience. Women come in myriad shapes and heights, and on top of that, we are so varying in our taste and style that I'm not convinced the "standard" woman actually exists. Learning to take our measurements and do simple repairs and alterations is the only way "'to be fitted properly by the same size regardless of price, type of apparel, or manufacturer of the garment,' as the government's 1958 standard loftily envisioned." Your size is not a number; it consists of many numbers that naturally change over time. Embracing (rather than resenting) those numbers as they increase and decrease is good for your health. Love doesn't discriminate based on appearance!

No number can measure your worth.

"If we are to be measured as women, let it be by the things that really count...the depth of our compassion, our thirst for knowledge, and our tremendous grace under fire. Let the breadth of our integrity and the width of our honor be more accurate measures of who we truly are than the size of our jeans or the date of our birth. Because, in the end, all the inches and ages and sizes are just numbers...and numbers don't tell you anything about the amazing woman inside." (Suzy Toronto)

This week I'm having significantly more trouble reconciling my love for selling vintage with my dedication to encouraging body positivity. After nearly seven years of working with vintage clothing, I'm well accustomed to having to explain to customers why the majority of vintage is so small. As far as I can tell, it has to do with the many environmental and social changes over the last century, changes that have influenced everything from our health to our habits, in some ways for the better, and in other ways, not. I always point out how fortunate we are to live in an age where we are expected to be more than slim, polished, polite servants of our husbands; how great it is to be free from the constricting undergarments that were the norm until the 1970s; what fun it is to be able to explore the innumerable style options of the day without the risk of being socially ostracized or the fear of disappointing our mothers. 

This week I shared on the shop Facebook page several images of incredible vintage lingerie new in store. While most of the responses were simply expressions of awe for the beauty and detail of the pieces, I also received a few that really turned my stomach. I realized that posting these small, covetable items triggered in some the feelings of inferiority and body shame I fight every day to dispel. How can I sell and share these beautiful things without shaming the curvaceous women I find to be truly beautiful just as they are? I mean, it's not as if I fit into all of these pieces either. With my soft, round hips and strong, solid shoulders, I don't fit into much made pre-1970, but at this point in my life I'm okay with that. I like that my thick thighs can carry me on a five mile hike, and I like how my soft, fleshy belly feels in my hands; and I'll be damned if I let a beautiful piece of embroidered silk lingerie diminish my appreciation for what my body can DO and my respect for the woman I have become. 

Why let these numbers determine our value and deflate our confidence when we finally have the support we need to fight the falsehoods projected about beauty and worth? Don't miss an opportunity to counter a negative thought with a positive affirmation. "I'm too fat for that," can be replaced with, "That isn't right for me." It's a gentler option, and doesn't coddle us because we don't need to be coddled. We are grown ass women, as strong as the day is long, as capable as we choose to be. Believe it, sister.