Liz Hynes

Liz Hynes, the owner of the shops Slate and Salte on Martha's Vineyard, is living well. From a young age, she knew that one day she would run her own business. Three years ago, in a brave move, she left a steady job, sold her house, and set out on a journey with her husband, Tom Juster, that continues today. I knew when I met Liz that our Livewell jewelry was meant to be in one of her shops. 

The age-old question: Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket?

I grew up spending every summer on Martha’s Vineyard since I was a toddler. It’s my favorite place. I knew when I owned my own business one day it would have to be on the vineyard. 

When did you plant your flag in the MV sand?

Three years ago. My husband, Tom, and I had been living and working in Connecticut when we decided to quit our jobs and sell the house. I’d been managing the retail division for a home goods brand, which I loved, but one day I asked myself, "How did we end up here?" We weren't living the life we had envisioned for ourselves when we left California and we knew we had to make a change. So we packed up and traveled through Italy for a few months. I’d been on the lookout for retail space in Edgartown and, just before leaving the country, I saw the Slate space.

At some point between Ravello and Florence, I decided if the space was still available when we got back, I'd open the store. We were starting over, we needed a clean slate, so we hit the reset button and the store got its name. It was really exciting and really scary.

What inspired your concept for Slate?

Slate is inspired by our travel experiences, of which we’ve had many. I want the store to reflect the different cultures, colors, people and landscapes we’ve seen and loved.  It is also meant to be casual, not too fancy, never pretentious. I want it to be really accessible and a home for mission-driven designers, makers, and brands.

How do you curate Slate?

I carry brands I love and that are meaningful, ones with an element of social responsibility, like Apolis and Apiece Apart. In the early days of Slate, I brought all of my favorite things together in the store --  clothing, accessories, natural skin care, and some gift home items. Today, Slate is clothing and accessories and a little bit of wellness.

And how did Salte come about?

A funny thing happened in Slate from its very early days. Customers would want to buy my merchandising props that I used to decorate the store.  That got me thinking that a home store could be successful. Plus, I'm a serial entrepreneur. I've opened stores for other people, and it was always my favorite part of the job.

I felt like a home + lifestyle shop inspired by travel, surf culture and island life wasn’t something that was being offered in Edgartown, and I was completely inspired by the outdoor area that came with the retail space.  It felt like a natural extension of what we were doing and wanted to be doing, and Tom joined me as a fulltime partner.

The outdoor space at Salte is as vibrant as the indoor space. Is that on purpose?

We always wanted our store to be a place where our community could gather. We have a ping-pong table on the back patio and we hold lots of events that feature cool people doing really cool things. There are so many of those people on the Vineyard and we wanted to put them out there for the community. We have a weekly henna artist, another artist is selling screen-printed t-shirts inspired by Lucy Vincent beach on MV and together we support a clean water organization. At the end of the day we want Salte to be a good place to gather.

What’s happening with Livewell and Salte?

Claire is so talented and loving as a person. She has a beautiful contagious energy about her. When we met, I could see in her eyes that she was sincere and real. And I loved her mission to create fine handcrafted jewelry in quality materials that can be worn effortlessly every day. And I relate to her mission to make women feel bigger. I invited her to sell a collection in Slate.

What is your favorite piece of Livewell?

I’m dying over the raw morganite and aquamarine necklaces topped w/ dripping gold...I also love the shagreen cuff -- oxidized and organic...I love the new beaded druzy...The jewelry is consistent and fresh and new without being trendy.

We love your Instagram. What drives your vision?

I try to keep my Instagram feed happy and aspirational, but not too...I want it to be real. I want to make a connection with people and, obviously, I want to build awareness for what we’re doing in the shops, what’s new and what we’re excited about. But I also want to bring awareness to the people and issues we care most about....try to bring some levity to people and working toward social justice.

Thank you!

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