Healing on Hope Street 

  • Innovintage at 76 Hope St. in Greenfield. PHOTO BY CRIS CARL

  • Skye Wellington, owner of Innovintage, is incorporating The Giving Tree, a program to assist those who have experienced domestic violence into her business structure. PHOTO BY CRIS CARL

  • The Web building at 76 Hope St. which houses Innovintage and now “The Hope Tower” as Skye Wellington has dubbed it. PHOTO BY CRIS CARL

For the Recorder
Published: 2/21/2022 3:46:10 PM
Modified: 2/21/2022 3:45:50 PM

In recent years, Skye Wellington has been through a lot, some of which was wonderful and transformative, such as opening her vintage store Innovintage on Hope Street in Greenfield. 

She also experienced a divorce from an abusive marriage. Collectively, Wellington’s experiences brought her to create a way to give back to the community, especially those who have gone through difficult relationships.

As part of a multi-pronged venture, Wellington recently rented a space adjacent to her store that she has dubbed “Hope Tower.” Wellington recently explained there are three aspects of the project. First, the space will serve as a multi-functional space for do-it-yourself (DIY) workshops, business pop-ups, and serve as the base for “The Giving Tree,” a donation program for people experiencing domestic violence, she said.

The DIY workshops will include topics learning how to paint furniture or workshops that combine wine and learning to create floral bouquets, she said.

“We also want to have the space available to the community for pop-up shops, say for a craft weekend. We also have a separate kitchen space. We don’t have a commercial kitchen license, but people could make things outside and bring them to classes,” Wellington said.

A strong focus will be on Wellington’s project, The Giving Tree. In essence, people can make donations (by appointment only) of material goods that will be branded for the program and sold at Innovintage. The proceeds will go to individuals who have been referred to Wellington and need specific help with cleaning out and renewing someone’s living space after leaving an abusive relationship. The program also will provide life coaching and a year of other assistance.

People will be nominated or chosen if they reach out, Wellington said. How many people are served will depend on donations and sales.

“I was really lucky. I had a home, I had support and a good job. Sometimes there is so much junk and grime left behind when a relationship ends,” said Wellington, who added that the emotional toll from such experiences can make it harder for someone to move on or improve their life.

Wellington has worked with New England Learning Center for Women in Transition and said she is about to graduate from that program. She also has worked with several coaches that help people with the healing process after an abusive relationship.

“It’s an intense journey to go through – the recovery from the trauma, manifesting material wealth, and self-empowerment,” she said.

Wellington said part of the process is “seeing what you deserve in life and how you can create that.”

She said having to live in a home filled with leftover belongings and sometimes out and out garbage “can cause so much stress. It’s a block to moving forward to the next stages in life.”

Wellington stressed that The Giving Tree will be gender neutral and that’s its not just for women.

“Men need help in these situations too,” she said.

Wellington described how the process for cleaning out and rebuilding a space will work.

“The first thing is to go in to reclaim the space,” she said. “When people go through bad breakups they leave a lot of toxic energy behind, along with physical items and clutter.”

The next step would be bringing in a Dumpster and a crew to open up the space and clean.

“We’d then work on redecorating with new and vintage furniture,” she said.

Once the new space is established Wellington said there would be a coaching element provided to help people process and not fall back into old patterns —  the things that attracted those toxic things into their lives in the first place. She added that the cleaning crew would come back periodically for a year.

“This is not a one-and-done type of thing. The healing process takes a bit of time. This was what I was able to give myself. I was really lucky, and I want others to have that help as well,” she said.

Wellington described the difficult process some go through with break-ups.

“You have so many fears, not the least of which is wondering if you will end up homeless,” she said.

Wellington estimates the cost for each person the fund assists to be in the range of $5,000. She said she is hoping in the next week or two to be able to start taking in material donations to get the ball rolling. If someone wishes to donate a larger number of items, for example, when clearing out homes when someone has died, Wellington said she would arrange to have the goods picked up.

Wellington said she likes what she is working to create as it has a circular and ongoing “giveback” that everyone involved gets to feel good about.

“Some of this is about helping others clear a space so they can have better things come into their lives, some of it is the importance of community and how ultimately we are all connected,” she said.

Anyone interested in contributing material goods or financial donations can contact Wellington by phone or text at 325-1575, message through Facebook, or stop into Innovintage during business hours.

Cris Carl is an avid local gardener, licensed therapist and certified herbalist. She is an experienced journalist who has written for the Recorder for many years. You can reach her at cstormfox57@gmail.com.


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