During the midst of Covid in 2020 Catey Himmelstein had an epiphany. What if every purchase could make a difference?
“It was October and someone was doing a nonprofit drive to raise money and I thought ‘I really wish I could positively impact the life of someone else daily.’ I was thinking about clothing and sustainability and everything just started jelling in my brain and I thought ‘What if buying clothing was something that could be fun and at the same time provide a way to give back?’ “
That’s how Thread by Thread, Catey’s fashion boutique in South Glastonbury, was born. The clothing and accessories store is a shop with a specific mission: to donate 10 percent of all purchases to organizations that work globally to end famine, poverty and slavery.
All the products she carries in the store, Catey says, are “carefully selected from local manufacturers or family run businesses that are just around the corner,” or “come from parts of the world where poverty is widespread and the hands that make them are directly benefited. I seek out companies that have ethical production and sustainability methods. Some are fair trade certified companies or companies that reuse material and pay fair wages."
A different organization is highlighted every month and selected from a rotating list of groups she has personally looked into. In July, for instance, the store donated 10 percent of its proceeds to the nonprofit group A21, which seeks to end slavery. The prior month the nonprofit selected for donations was the Midwest Food Bank, a national group that funds local and regional food banks across the country. Customers can also donate directly on the shop’s website.
Before starting the store Catey had dabbled in the retail world by taking part in pop-up shops and special events.
“I would do market events and set up a ten-foot by ten-foot tent with a curated collection of clothing and accessories. A lot of times I would get the question, 'Where is your store?' The pop-ups were a lot of work to set up and tear down and with a growing inventory and customer base I knew I needed to pivot my business model and I started looking for places to expand and possibly open a shop.”
She finally found a home for her new shop here in town. Thread by Thread opened in February at 862 Main St., in South Glastonbury and, Catey says, “it’s been going really well."
She describes her inventory as “comfortable and classic yet trendy” and says her selections are inspired by stores such as World Market and Anthropologie.
“Our customers really like our clothes and we get people of all ages in here.”
She also has set aside a small part of the boutique for a “Neighborhood Market” wall where local artisans can rent space to display and sell their handmade wares.
She lives in Manchester with her husband, JT Himmelstein. The couple has three children, Emmie, Addie and Eli.
Thread By Thread Boutique
862 Main St., South Glastonbury
On Social: @Threadbythreadboutique
"I seek out companies that have ethical production and sustainability methods. Some are fair trade certified companies or companies that reuse material and pay fair wages." Catey Himmelstein