When someone has a style that seems cool and effortless, it stands out. How is such a seemingly uncultivated look, well, cultivated? At Design of Mine in Gloucester, owner Melissa Tarr has created a shop where everyone can find inspired fashions at affordable prices. You might know Tarr as the creator of the Flutter Shawl, a versatile, one-size-fits-all lightweight shawl that can be worn in a multitude of styles. Flutter Shawls come in colors and patterns for nearly every occasion, and they also make great beach cover-ups for any warm weather escapes you might have planned this winter. While the different ways to style the shawls make them a fun wardrobe addition, Tarr says she’s selling more than a piece of clothing; through sales of the shawls, she is “selling confidence to women, the confidence to be who they are.” Flutter Shawls are sold on-site at the store and made in the shop’s downstairs workspace, so Tarr and her team are in constant communication and collaboration with one another.
It’s hard to pinpoint the exact Design of Mine customer, except to say that there is more than one type. Describing the clothing and accessories available in her store, Tarr says, “I want to be able to dress the grandmother, the mother, and the daughter,” which isn’t that difficult to grant her given that you might find a suede fringe vest and a formal gown under the same roof. She puts a lot of effort into the store’s window displays, and as long as the weather is cooperating, the front door at Design of Mine is quite literally open. Tarr and her team embody the store’s philosophy of positive energy and openness—this is a place to stop in and browse, buy, chat, or just enjoy.
Tarr’s energy is infectious, as is her passion for the store, which is a family affair. Tarr’s daughter, Bianca Giacalone, is instrumental to Design of Mine and is responsible for styling curating much of the shop’s bohemian-style collection. Design of Mine boasts an impressive collection of clothing and jewelry. If you’re looking for that perfect accessory, be it a pair of earrings or a statement necklace for a special occasion, you’d be remiss not to check out their selection. When it comes to clothing, some of Tarr’s favorite pieces are versatile, comfortable dresses that can be dressed up or down and flatter every body type. Bringing in new inventory and keeping things fresh is of the utmost importance to Tarr, who notes that her shop caters to locals all over the North Shore as well as tourists. One way she keeps things new and interesting is by repurposing old pieces; whether that means jewelry or handbags, she’s always looking for ways she can transform and create.
Throughout the year, the store holds evening events as part of their “Sip and Shop” series. These nights are for current and prospective clients to meet new people and check out the store. This summer the events featured wine, cheese, and live music and were a success by all accounts.
Being part of the community is important to Tarr, and her busy schedule of commitments and events reflects this. Tarr got her start at local craft fairs and still regularly participates in local community events, markets, and craft shows—and loves doing it. “I work 80 hours a week doing what I love” she says. And seeing smiles on the faces of satisfied customers, who feel good about having made a purchase that is unique and sold at a fair price point, is what Design of Mine—and Tarr—is all about.