For someone who moved to Maine a mere 18 months ago, Kristin Rocha sure has a lot to unload at the yard sale she’s organized for next Sunday from 11 to 4 p.m. It’s not exactly your standard yard sale. At the Portland Yard Sale at Thompson’s Point, Rocha will be overseeing the sales of clothing, furniture and goods donated by more than 60 Maine makers and retailers. We called her up to talk about what inspired the fundraising event and how moving to Maine and her work as the marketing director for Eventide and the Honeypaw influenced her interest in sustainability. We also learned about her stash of vintage lobster traps.

GETTING HERE FROM THERE: When Rocha and her husband were starting their family, they decided they had to get out of New York. “We knew we weren’t cut out to raise kids in New York City.” He is in advertising, and she was working for Scholastic Books, as the publisher’s social media manager. They did the thing of “dating all the cities in New England.” Portland won. Now, she said, “I am one of those Brooklyn expats running around Maine.”

A BOOTH AT HUGO’S: Rocha, a Providence native, telecommuted for a while but has been working at the Eventide/Honeypaw restaurants since last spring, primarily on increasing the group’s social media presence. “My office is a booth at Hugo’s.” Her side gig, the Portland Prophouse, which rents props for photo shoots, is highly oriented toward the vintage. (It’s the reason she has 60 wooden lobster traps in her backyard; Ralph Lauren needed them for a fashion shoot in Kennebunk last year so she went digging in secondhand shops.) “That has taught me the value of these vintage pieces and the need for things to have a second life.”

Some items that will be sold in a “yard sale” fundraiser for families separated at the border.

LIKE MOTHER, LIKE DAUGHTER: This is something of a change for Rocha, who freely admits she shopped for most of her home goods at Target when she lived in Brooklyn. “I got the fast fashion.” Now she’s after quality items, but at bargain prices. Like the kind she’s used to from yard sales. “My family had a yard sale every summer. My mom is huge into yard sales. It is funny because a lot of people didn’t (have yard sales).” Like her husband. “It shocks me that not everybody piled up their stuff in the basement and organized it to sell it to their neighbors every summer.”

MS. ROCHA’S NEIGHBORHOOD: She’s been getting to know her new city through thrifting and browsing sidewalk sales. “People expect a yard sale to be super junky. I don’t think that is always the case. You can find great vintage stuff.” Her most recent favorite acquisition? A $5 hammock. “With a stand!” She got the idea for the Portland Yard Sale from Instagram, where she’d watched the Still We Rise online auction raise money for various causes, including the ACLU and the Texas Civil Liberties Project. She wanted to raise money for the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), the group that is working to reunite immigrant families separated by the U.S. government. “I wanted to bring that same energy out of the social media space and into a physical space so that our community could come together on one day.” She is using the event space at Brick South, donated by Thompson’s Point, and worked out a parking deal ($2 an hour) to lure shoppers.

FINDERS KEEPERS: How did she find the participants? “Seventy-five percent of the people who are involved in this event have been contacted through Instagram.” She reached out, told businesses she admired what was going on, who was participating, and asked if they’d like to join in. And the numbers grew. “We have over 60 shops and makers, and about 15 restaurants.” The restaurants are donating gift cards, and those items will go by silent auction. Rocha has also persuaded Eventide to shuck oysters for $1 each, and a number of other food vendors, including Vantage Point chowder, Locally Sauced (burritos) and Crepe Elizabeth to join in feed the bargain shoppers. Credit card payments will be made directly to the charity.

SALES RACK: When Rocha put out the requests for donations, she thought there was a possibility shops would send “the clearance stuff, and the things that have been sitting in their back room for two years.” Instead, she’s been surprised by all the first quality donations, and the number of people who have made items for the sale. A lot of vintage shops are participating, as well as slow fashion proponents, like a pair of wool hats made by Melinda Titus, and a quilt stitched specifically for this sale by Samantha Lindgren. Heather Stilin, who uses space in the Wallace James design and stitching shop in Portland, donated a dress from Herself Clothing, a line of linen clothing made in Maine. “There are makers who haven’t even launched their businesses yet who have sent donations.” And since no one but a lobsterman or woman really needs 60 traps, she’ll be putting a few of those up for grabs at $25 a pop.

Mary Pols can be contacted at 791-6456 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MaryPols

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