Looking for a way to blend nature’s beauty and the delicacy of lingerie, Melissa Orsini founded Salix Intimates, Water Street Market’s latest addition. Salix is the name of the genus of the willow tree, a tree present in the New Paltz area. In Celtic tradition, the willow tree is used in ceremonies to increase the presence of love in our lives.
Orsini established connections with environmentally conscious vendors in the retail industry back in her native home of Brooklyn and hoped to have a place to call her own that could bring awareness to the necessity of environmentally safe intimate wear and lifestyle products. She often came to visit her parents, who reside in New Paltz, and with an opening in Water Street Market’s upper level, she took the opportunity and relieved herself from the stress of city life.
Orsini intends to sell lingerie in a new fashion. All the intimates are sustainable and good for the environment in their own way. Some featured companies are Swedish Stockings, who create pantyhose from nylon waste and Underprotection, a Danish company that recycles polyester and wool and uses organic cotton.
“In the world we live in, it’s important to think about cutting down on waste, which can be hard to do if you’re not exposed to things that make it easier for you,” Orsini said. “This place offers that to the community… I don’t believe in shaming, but in educating.”
Salix Intimates also sells lifestyle products. Local Ulster County skincare company Meow Meow Tweet has its own sweet spot on the shelf. The small business from Gardiner creates vegan, organic products that are packaged in plastic free containers. Herbal remedies in addition to compostable, bamboo toothbrushes and biodegradable band-aids all tie into the store’s goal of sustainability.
Salix Intimates extends its merchandise to include menstrual products that do not contain the harmful chemicals and unknown elements of common pads and tampons. Glad Rags for instance, are reusable pads made from organic cotton that is unbleached or treated.
Orsini wishes to expand the range of products at Salix by incorporating more menstrual products, more inclusive sizing for the lingerie (XS-XL is currently available). There is also talk of possibly incorporating activewear and a maternity line in the near future.
“I’m always looking for more designers. Right now, each company I have does sustainability differently, but at the very least, everything is made ethically,” she said. “Some have organic cotton, others are biodegradable or are from the local area who use natural ingredients.”
The small yet chic store evokes the “positive energy” that Orsini wants customers to feel. A simple and delicate collection of bras and underwear come in dark and rich tones for the fall season. Soy based candles and smooth background music set the mood for comfortable privacy.
The end game for Orsini is for everyone who walks in to feel invited and included, and display how sustainability can be sexy, hence her motto, “sustainably sexy.”
“Sustainability does not have to be plain, it can be sexy and fun,” Orsini said.
Salix Intimates is located at 10 Main St. Suite 424, right across from the Denizen Theatre. The store is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. New customers receive a 10 percent discount and SUNY New Paltz students receive 15 percent off. Salix Intimates is on Instagram and Facebook @salixintimates.