Tag Archives: Indulge by Mersene

Ryan Meserole: Suited To Be An Uber Driver

Three years ago, Ryan Meserole opened Suited.co. The small shop offers high-quality, hand-crafted suits. Its Railroad Place location is convenient and — surrounded by neighbors like Indulge by Mersene, Sports Attic and a few restaurants — cool.

But small retailers have a tough time. And Commuter Coffee is just the latest business to announce it may close.

Suited.co, on Railroad Place

Ryan grew up in the fashion industry. It’s his life’s work. He’s amazed to see so many clothing stores fleeing Main Street.

He firmly believes that customers are here. However, he notes, “They won’t always come to you. Sometimes you have to go out and capture them.”

A couple of months ago — sitting in his shop, wondering why foot traffic has declined — he suddenly realized: People are now dropped off at the station by Uber.


“I can’t expect my window display to get customers in the door — even though I’m always complimented on it,” he says.

“But if I drove for Uber, I’d have my audience. And they’d be attentive.”

Ryan Meserole, in his Suited.co store.

It took him just a day to sign up to drive for the service. Almost immediately, he hit the road.

He wakes up at 5 a.m. He drives during rush hour, until 9 a.m. An hour later — the same as always — he opens Suited.co.

At his store, he reviews his passengers’ names and addresses. He sends them a personal note, with a gift card to see him and the shop “after our lovely little chat in the car.”

(It’s quite an incentive: a free custom shirt, or $150 off a Suited.co purchase.)

Ryan Meserole’s follow-up mailing.

Bottom line: Ryan’s sales are up nearly 30%. Plus, he says, “I’m being of service to my community. I’m expanding my customer base to Fairfield, Weston and Wilton. And I’m being paid by Uber to do it.

In his long retail marketing career, Ryan says, “this is the only campaign that ever paid me back.”

But he doesn’t need the Uber money.  So he donates it to charity — a different organization each month. Most recently, it was the March of Dimes.

You never know who your Uber driver will be. That’s part of the intrigue of the app.

In Ryan Meserole’s case, that seems to suit his — and his driving/custom suit customers — just fine.

Indulge “06880”

Indulge by Mersene is my favorite store in Westport.

The Railroad Place shop — directly across from the train station — is chock full of eclectic, intriguing and ever-changing unique finds.

And Mersene — the owner — is the sweetest, warmest (and coolest) store owner anywhere.

Mersene, looking great in her wondrous store.

Now she’s gotten even more amazing.

Allow me to indulge in this slight bit of promotion: Tomorrow (Thursday, December 21, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.), 10% of all proceeds will benefit “06880.”

We should all support independent-owned shops, all the time.

Especially Indulge by Mersene tomorrow!

(Indulge by Mersene is located at 20 Railroad Place. Click here for more information.)

An “06880” pillow at Indulge by Mersene.

Happy Mom And Pop Business Day!

Today is National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day!

Chances are you either

  1. forgot or
  2. never knew

about this auspicious event.

No problem!

You can either

  1. send a card or
  2. click “Comments” below, to give a shout-out to your favorite Westport ma-and-pa stores.

And then you can do something really fun:

Actually go to a locally owned business, and buy something.

It’s their day!

I don’t play favorites. But if I did, I’d give a shout-out to Indulge by Mersene, on Railroad Place across from the train station. Here’s Mersene herself, with some of her many unique, amazing creations.

Mersene’s “06880” Merchandise

If I were smart, I’d sell “06880”-themed stuff on “06880.”

But I’m not. So whenever anyone asks where they can buy something that screams “Westport,” I send ’em to the Westport Historical Society (books, tote bags, note cards).

Or Joey’s by the Shore (hoodies, towels, beach stuff).

Now there’s another option. Mersene — the spectacularly creative, super-friendly and amazingly wonderful owner of Indulge by Mersene, on Railroad Place across from the train station — has added a number of local items to her eclectic, intriguing and ever-changing stock of unique finds.

A Westport t-shirt.

A Westport t-shirt.

Some of them say “Westport.” Others (even better!) actually show “06880.”

An "06880" pillow.

An “06880” pillow.

Mersene has a wonderful eye, not only for what looks good but how to present it. (Check out her gift baskets!) Her Westport merchandise is fun and funky. No kitsch or schlock at all.

This silver tray is engraved "06880."

This silver tray is engraved “06880.”

She’ll ship anywhere. But if you live nearby — or are just traveling through — Mersene and her store really should be seen in person.

She puts the “oh!” in “06880.”

This pendant features a Westport navigation chart.

This pendant features a Westport map…

...while this blanket shows Westport's latitude and longitude.

…while this blanket shows Westport’s latitude and longitude.

Give The Gift Of…

Sure, you could have blown off your family, friends and football, and spent Thanksgiving at a mall.

Or you could have blown off work and the kids, and spent yesterday shopping online, during the made-up holiday called “Cyber Monday.”

But it’s so much better to shop locally. So here — as Christmas creeps up on us, and Chanukah looms even closer (it starts Sunday!) — “06880” presents our 1st-ever Holiday Shopping Guide.

If you’re looking for something that says (or screams) “Westport,” consider:

The Beautiful Pond.” This just-released book celebrates — in stunning watercolor and text — the historic, versatile and beautiful Sherwood Mill Pond.
A labor of love from Judith Katz and Robin Tauck — with all proceeds benefiting Sound Waters’ academic enrichment programs — it’s available at Barnes & Noble, Earthplace, and online here.

Beautiful Pond cover

A restaurant gift card is always welcome. One of my favorite spots is Kibberia. Located on the Norwalk line, this unpretentious spot serves spectacular Middle Eastern food. Owner Nick Iskandar is one of the truly good guys, and deserves all the support we can give him.


A bit pricier — and like Kibberia, not always on everyone’s radar — is Positano. This summer the Scarpati family relocated from Old Mill Beach to the site of the old Dressing Room, next to the Westport Country Playhouse. It’s a beautiful space, with the same regional Italian cuisine and family atmosphere diners have loved for years. Mangia!


From Positano, stroll a few feet to the Playhouse. Gift certificates are available there too, for events from the 2016 season to the Family Festivities series and Script in Hand play readings. Too often, Westporters overlook this cultural (and very cool) gem.

Playhouse logo

Speaking of food, the Farmers Market (winter version) is open Saturdays, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Gilberties’ Herb Gardens on Sylvan Lane. You may not always think of artisanal breads and cheeses, meats, baked goods, seasonal vegetables and hydroponically grown salad greens as holiday gifts, but there’s also organic maple syrup, interesting teas, dog biscuits and the like. Hey, I’m just trying to offer some only-in-Westport choices…

Westport farmers market logo

The chainification strangling Main Street is thankfully absent from Saugatuck. That neighborhood is still home to unique shops. The funkiest, friendliest and most fun of all may be Indulge by Mersene. From her digs on Railroad Place directly across from the train station, Mersene (like Cher and Adele, she needs only one name) sells a melange of gifts. Local artisans’ works, gourmet foods, decorative pillows, jewelry, home decor — it’s all there. The owner is as much an attraction as her goods — and that’s saying something.

Mersene, with some of her many unique creations.

Mersene, with some of her many unique creations.

A couple of steps from Indulge by Mersene is Suited.co. This men’s store — offering custom-tailored suits, blazers and shirts — is a cut apart from traditional clothing shops. The fabrics and selections are both classic and hip. Suited.co is a little fish in a big sartorial pond, but definitely worth checking out.


If you’re one of those who look for worthy causes at the holidays — and I sure hope you do — you don’t have to look far. Some of my favorites in Westport are A Better ChanceAl’s Angels, Homes With Hope, Project Return and Staples Tuition Grants. Many others — including those just beyond our borders, like Mercy Learning Center and the Adam J. Lewis Preschool — do amazing work (and have amazing needs).

ABC logo

You can add your own special organization to the list. I’m sure you’ve got other gift ideas too. I’ve only scratched the surface. Click “Comments” below, to share your favorites with the very giving, very generous “06880” community.

WHS 06880 towels

Bonus idea: Why not give “06880” itself? You’ll find items like these at the Westport Historical Society.

Mersene: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

For over 60 years, Silver’s was Westport’s best-known go-to store for gifts.

For the last 3 or 4 years, Indulge by Mersene was Saugatuck’s less-known, but equally beloved, spot for funky, 1-of-a-kind gifts.

This winter, Silver’s closed. Mersene planned to shut her doors too. Westporters had no idea where they could now find a friendly owner with the knack for suggesting the absolutely perfect present.

Mersene's special style is here to stay, on Railroad Place.

Mersene’s special style is here to stay, on Railroad Place.

To the delight of her rabid — and quickly growing — fans, Mersene is still open. The  incredibly ingenious, phenomenally generous Mississippi native has downsized, moving from 2 overflowing rooms to 1. But she’s still across from the railroad station. She’s still as energetic and creative as ever.

Now, as spring brings Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and graduations — to go along with timeless events like weddings, bridal and baby showers, and Sweet 16s  — she is excited to fill Westport’s niche as the destination for how-did-you-ever-think-of-that?! gifts. (And — her specialty — gift baskets.)

She’s still on Railroad Place, because her customers could not stand the thought of her closing. They helped her figure out how to stay. And they’ve helped her add another wonderful niche: corporate gifts.

The other day, Mersene was busy filling baskets for a major Stamford corporation’s Administrative Professionals Day celebration. She was also preparing a Kentucky Derby-themed event for another big company.

As she selected wrapped items together with an ease Martha Stewart could only dream of, she mentioned other projects. For Mother’s Day, she’s designed special trays. They’ll include flowers, the Sunday paper, breakfast from Commuter Coffee Company — everything a mom could love.

A typical day: a customer browses (left), while Mersene makes sure all is well. Check out the Westport pillows!

A typical day: a customer browses (left), while Mersene makes sure all is well. Check out the Westport pillows!

(Here’s something else a mom — or anyone else — could love: pillows that say “06880.” Or “Westport.” Or monogrammed and/or custom-colored with anything else you can think of, from “Nantucket” to your alma mater.)

“It’s all about the packaging,” Mersene says, of her talent for pairing the exact right gifts with the perfect basket.

Anyone who steps into her shop for the first time recognizes that talent. She is the Lionel Messi of gifts — with even more grace than the famed soccer star. What other store owner happily delivers — and makes house calls?

Mersene’s renaissance has been aided by loyal customers, who help her manage the business side. She’s still not expensive — “I price things to sell,” she says — and she’ll still tell someone, “No, don’t buy that. I’m getting a better item next week.”

Mersene, with some of her many unique creations.

Mersene, with some of her many unique creations.

Which is why the “reinvention” of Indulge by Mersene is such good news.

Many people already know her. When a Los Angeles architect visited his sister here, he asked her for “the coolest place in Westport.” She took him to the little shop near the railroad station. He stayed for over an hour, fascinated.

And he still hadn’t seen half of Mersene’s presents, or how beautifully she presents them.

(Mersene ships her gifts — and delivers in the area. She also stages homes and galas. To learn more, click here; like “Indulge by Mersene” on Facebook; email mersene@indulgebymersene.com, or call 203-557-9410.)


Mersene Moves On To A New “Stage”

Mersene — like Pele or Madonna, she uses just 1 name — is the beloved owner of a funky, 1-of-a-kind shop across from the train station.

There, in 2 overflowing rooms, the incredibly ingenious, amazingly energetic and phenomenally generous Mississippi native whips up gorgeous gift boxes. (Can you tell I love this woman?)

Filled with ceramics, plants, chocolates, pasta, copperware, cutting boards, hand towels and anything else you could want in a reusable willow basket or hatbox, then tied together with ribbons, bows and twine, the gifts look so lovely recipients hate opening them.

Mersene, with some of her many unique creations.

Mersene, with some of her many unique creations.

But Railroad Place is a tough spot to draw in gift box customers. This is Mersene’s 2nd store; 2 years ago, Hurricane Sandy flooded her out of Bridge Square.

The 3rd time is the charm for this charming woman. Next month, Mersene moves on to the next stage in her creative career. Working out of her home and barn, she’ll focus on staging.

Parties, events, rooms, tablescapes — whatever you need to showcase warmth and love, Mersene will provide it.

And she’ll do it with her winning Southern smile and style.

Whether creating gift boxes, staging rooms or events, or putting together an outfit, Mersene has a style all her own.

Whether creating gift boxes, staging rooms or putting together an outfit, Mersene has a style all her own.

Mersene is idolized by her customers. Sitting in her overflowing store the other day, our conversation was interrupted by a stream of women singing her praises.

Jill Jaysen called her “a treasure.” Another said she is “a true artist.” A 3rd teared up after learning that Mersene is closing her store.

“I don’t want to lose anyone,” Mersene says. She wants to make sure her customers — “friends,” she corrects me — know that she’ll still help provide unique things for their own friends, relatives and clients.

She’ll still do gift baskets, of course, for individuals and corporations. But she’ll focus more on, say, staging birthday parties: putting together just the right mix of china, flowers, hors d’oeuvres, cake and entertainment.

Another example: Mersene will take a room you feel is “tired,” move some things around, bring in a couple of new pieces, and — voilà! — she’s injected tremendous new energy and life.

Mersene’s style combines elegance with simplicity. For a client’s baby shower, she recommended only some orchids, a cheese platter and a 3-tier tray with petits fours.

Mersene can make any scene look warm and inviting.

Mersene can make any scene look warm and inviting.

She brings that same creative eye to every staging challenge. She pours the same love and attention into a table or living room as a big charity gala.

As she prepares to close her Indulge by Mersene store, her many fans are sad — but looking forward to her new focus.

“I’ll follow her anywhere,” one says.

Fortunately, Mersene is not going far.

(The 22 Railroad Place store closes at the end of February. For more information on her staging and gift boxes, click here; email mersene@indulgebymersene.com, or call 203-557-9410.)


A Tres Chic Snowman

Mersene — the owner of the beloved Indulge by Mersene gift basket store on Railroad Place — is one of the most creative people I know.

She is legendary for her staging: parties, events, rooms, whatever.

She even stages snowmen. Just see how much a scarf and a few well-placed leaves transforms generic Frosty into a very chic Frostie:

Mersene snowman