Ash & Rose wants to make the world ‘ethical, sustainable, beautiful’


Clara McCourt

Nea Savoca at the Ash and Rose stand at SoWa Open Market.

Alyssa Fell, news correspondent

Ash & Rose is a sustainable, women-owned boutique that aims to make its products feel like a gift. 

Nea and Mary Savoca, mother and daughter co-founders of the boutique, kick-started their company in 2010 by selling vintage clothes on eBay to sell items that they no longer wanted. They expanded to selling pieces that they found at vintage markets. From this, they developed a love of clothing sales. 

This mother-daughter activity turned into a career for the duo. 

“It was really just a fun thing that we [were] doing together,” Mary Savoca said. “But by the time I was finishing up college, I sort of realized … I want this to be what I’m doing.” 

Mary Savoca and her mother Nea wanted to dedicate more time to their branding, including photography. Feeling like the vintage market was no longer their space, they transitioned to curating and creating sustainable clothes. In 2014, was launched. Soon after in 2015, the Savocas opened their first brick and mortar boutique, Ash and Rose, located in the South End of Boston.  

Nea Savoca has dabbled in the world of business before, but she was never able to fully throw herself into her endeavors while raising her children. 

“When Ash & Rose started, it was just thrilling to get back to it,” Nea Savoca said. 

As a sustainable and ethical brand, Ash & Rose prioritizes the working conditions of the brands it buys from. Ash & Rose ensure that the items it carries are made in the United States or that align with fair trade values. There is no sweatshop or child labor in the process.   

“We have such a strong and passionate client base who really identify with our values with regards to sustainability and ethics,” said Eilidh Robertson, the e-commerce manager at Ash and Rose.

Sustainable innovation is celebrated by Ash & Rose. Mary Savoca shared her enthusiasm for brands that use organic and recycled fabrics, stressing that the boutique will stand by their value of sustainability. 

“If I’m going to be putting something out into the world, I want it to be making the world better and not worse,” Mary Savoca said. 

Mary Savoca runs the curation aspect of the business while her mother designs and creates the Ash & Rose Collection, the boutique’s brand.   

The Ash & Rose Collection is made from designer deadstock, which is leftover fabrics from other designers. Nea Savoca said she’s partial to old deadstock. 

“[When] looking for interesting, wonderful fabrics that don’t interest other people … you have to envision them into something that makes sense for right now,” Nea Savoca said. “That’s what I love doing.” 

Nea Savoca designs and sews the pieces herself. She hopes to continue collaborating with in-home seamstresses along with a local factory for larger quantities of clothing. Nea Savoca sees a value in their unique pieces. 

She described the moment clients come into the store and find the perfect, high quality outfit in their price point. “They just totally light up,” Nea Savoca said. “It can be a really important moment for someone.”  

Ash & Rose’s brick and mortar location suffered severe flooding during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Katie Mogg)

Mary Savoca explains that the sustainable fashion market caters to a largely festival-chic and minimalist androgynous aesthetic. Ash & Rose recognized that their customers were not interested in this and curates to their customers’ evolving needs. 

“We recognize that our customers [are] interested in their very sort of feminine, romantic kind of aesthetic,” Mary Savoca said. “They want things that are figure-flattering that are going to serve them really well in their everyday life.”

Robertson emphasized the importance of the relationship between Ash & Rose and its customers. The customers communicate with the company via social media, email and weekly newsletter. 

“Our customers are really sweet. Sometimes they’ll email back just to say that they like how the newsletter looks,” Robertson said. “It feels like you’re on a team with the customers almost because you have this shared value of sustainability and ethics.” 

The Ash & Rose community was strong enough to grow amid a tragedy — severe flooding at their South End location during the beginning of the pandemic. This location is permanently closed and the company continues to search for its next location.

 As Ash & Rose readjusts to a solely online store, their customer base remains loyal. 

Ash & Rose, with the collaboration of home sewers, began to sew masks. The community, after hearing of the flood, displayed overwhelming support. 

“It moved me so deeply to see how much people mobilize to help us,” Mary Savoca said. “At the same time, we were actually able to donate about 5,000 masks to the homeless as well, so it was a really cool kind of moment in the business.”  

Ash & Rose is shifting to focus on gifts and accessories as it adapts further to the online platform. They are resuming in-person sales at a pop up tent at the SoWa Open Market in South Boston every Sunday until the end of October. Despite the challenges, Ash & Rose’s mission continues to drive their work.

“We’re on a mission to make the world more beautiful,” Mary Savoca said.


This story was updated at 9:47 a.m. Oct. 11th to add an ampersand in Ash & Rose’s business title.