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Sonnet and Sparrow & The Flying Squirrel

The World of Curated Thrift. Bringing Beauty and Value to The Valley.

For Cynthia West and her daughter, McKenzie West, opening two boutique-style thrift stores on Cottage Street in Easthampton was an easy decision. “The stores were a natural extension of our passion for the arts,” McKenzie shares. “I’m an oil painter and my mother is a writer. We set out to create spaces that reflect the natural beauty of our area as well as the inner beauty of a calm, curated home.”

Sonnet and Sparrow offers premium second-hand clothing, artisan-made jewelry, and leather goods, while The Flying Squirrel showcases furniture, homewares, and art. Both stores are welcoming havens with soft jazz playing in the background, poems-of-the-day in every bag, and pleasant conversation.

Customized thrift stores of all kinds are on the rise. After all, buying second hand is one of the smartest ways for consumers to save money and make a conscious effort to fight climate change. By starting with what is already available, consumers take the time to discover exceptional, unique items…and exciting deals. “Whether it’s a finely made couch from High Point, NC, or an oversized linen shirt from a Los Angeles cut-to-order boutique, the options for quality and value are limitless,” McKenzie says.

“Our two mission-based businesses are working to show consumers that every purchase matters on several levels,” says owner, Cynthia West. “By not supporting mass manufacturing, change is happening at a very personal level. Consumers are sending a direct message that they won’t support the excessive waste that is damaging our habitat.”

The textile industry is the second biggest polluter in the world, surpassed only by fossil fuels, according to a recent CNN article. The water footprint, alone, for a pair of jeans is astounding (1,800 gallons from field to finish). And yet, second-hand items are readily available without encouraging additional manufacturing. “The second-hand stream can be an exciting opportunity to try styles, colors, and looks at low-risk prices,” Cynthia says. “When a beautiful linen jacket costs under $40, you can try the style without the inner turmoil of spending four times that amount.”

With 75% of consumers open to shopping secondhand apparel (2023 data gathered by ThredUP), the trend is now mainstream. “There is definitely a better way,” says McKenzie. “Spend less, buy better goods, live happily.”

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