Westport’s New Residents Are Making a Big Impact

above: Sandra Rose, Michelle Pollack, Becca Zipkin, Alexandra (NO STONE UNTURNED)


Something is stirring in Westport. As a wave of New Yorkers relocated to our town during (and since) the pandemic, we have gained more than traffic; we have gained a group of game changers whose brainchildren are making an impact locally and globally, and giving Westport the electric vibe of the city that never sleeps—only in a semi-sleepy town with a beach. Read on to meet some of our impressive new residents.

No Stone Unturned

Luxury shopping outing with friends and a feel-good mission? No Stone Unturned is the remedy to the solitary, materialistic woes of online spending sprees.

Sandra Rose, Michelle Pollack, Becca Zipkin, Alexandra Willinger Cohen

When did you move to Westport?
Sandra: In late 2020, as part of the mass exodus out of the city.
Becca: I also moved here in 2020 from NYC.
Michelle: I am the only one who did not move during the pandemic. We actually moved out to Westport in 2016.
Alexandra: I moved in the summer of 2021, partly because of Covid, and partly because I found out I was pregnant with identical twin girls and my family would be doubling in size!

Why did you choose Westport?
Michelle: My husband was recruited by a cardiology practice in Fairfield and we took the leap of moving here sans kids.
Sandra: My family chose Westport because Michelle was here!
Becca: We started looking to leave the city and fell in love with Westport—the beach, the community, everything about it!
Alexandra: Is there another option?! From the beach to the beautiful, historic homes—it’s such a special place and unlike any other suburb.

Tell us about No Stone Unturned.
No Stone Unturned was founded to plan luxury shopping events in Fairfield County for charity. All participating brands commit at least 15% of sales to the selected charity. Our goal is to become the Fairfield County version of “Super Saturday” in the Hamptons.

When did you launch your organization and why?
We launched in June 2022. Our purpose was to bring awareness to lesser known and often local causes and charities. We also wanted to offer women a more fun and intimate shopping experience with friends. Online shopping is great but so impersonal. Our customers love a great excuse to shop while giving back to the community.

Tell us about recent events:
Our first event took place in June 2022 at a private residence and benefitted the Partnership to End Human Trafficking, a safe house for human trafficking survivors in Bridgeport. Our second event took place on Mother’s Day in Westport at Swoon art gallery and Penfield Collective in Sconset Square.

How can people get involved?
If you are interested in planning an event, please reach out to us! If you are a local brand, retailer or charity we would love to connect!

What do you love about Westport?
The laid-back casual vibe and easygoing energy. It’s the perfect beach town with incredible restaurants, an outdoor music venue and the most gorgeous scenery. It’s also a community where people care about each other, our town and the world.

Arvia Few of The Dottie Club

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match…
Young Black people can find cultural and biased algorithms especially frustrating. Arvia Few is here to make connections that shouldn’t be left to chance.

Arvia Few, Founder/CEO and Certified Matchmaker
www.thedottieclub.com | @arviafew | @thedottieclub
Podcast: Dottie’s House

When and why did you move to Westport?
We moved here in June of 2021. My husband runs a clean tech company in Connecticut. It was important that we were in a town that had culture, arts, a community and a direct commute to the city.

When and why did you launch Dottie?
DOTTIE was founded to create space for young Black people to connect socially and romantically. The pandemic, online dating apps rooted in bias, and evolving cultural norms have amplified the challenge for connection. In 2021, I became a certified matchmaker and founded DOTTIE. The state of Black families, marriages and opportunities for wealth creation is at a critical crossroads, and I am determined to be part of the solution!

Tell us about Dottie.
DOTTIE, named after my mother and grandmother, is a concierge matchmaking service and private social club for Black people in their 20s and 30s. Every member is vetted by our membership committee. We rely on word-of-mouth referrals and have amassed a waitlist of over 900 people and have members in every major U.S. city.

Do you have an anecdote about a great match? Recently we matched two amazing individuals who lived less than two miles apart, attended the same study-abroad program at the same time, moved in similar circles, and had never met. We set them up on a blind date and the rest is history.

Are you commuting or working from Westport?
I work from home, which is great! It’s easy to connect with clients via Zoom. I occasionally travel to meet clients in person and I travel for our curated events.

How has that transition been?
Amazing. We are truly grateful because our daughter works in NYC and our son, who recently graduated from Duke, will also be in NYC. We never imagined we would be close to our children once they graduated from college.

What do you love about Westport?
Westport is an incredibly open and inclusive community where we have encountered good-hearted individuals, engaging conversations and enjoyable moments (especially beach sunsets).

Matt Messinger – Trinity Place Holdings

Matt Messinger is a business and real estate wiz who knows the real magic is in giving back.

Matt Messinger
President, CEO and Director

When and why did you move to Westport?
Summer 2016, initially as a weekend house purchase. We had loved the area since attending a wedding here years ago. We liked it so much that we quickly changed schools and made Westport our primary residence—this was a big change for me given that I’d spent nearly my entire life in NYC and had only recently gotten a driver’s license!

Tell us about Trinity Place Holdings.
We have been transforming a former retail company into a public real estate investment, asset management and holding company. We’ve just completed development of Jolie: 77 Greenwich, arguably the best quality, new luxury condo building currently selling in lower Manhattan. We also developed and recently opened a new public elementary school in partnership with the City and State of NY.

Tell us about your philanthropic work.
Most of it is focused on the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM), whose board I have chaired for several years. I visited frequently with my two children when they were younger, and became interested in the groundbreaking outreach the Museum was doing: partnering with homeless shelters to reach the most forgotten and vulnerable kids with CMOM’s programming, reconnecting kids with their non violent incarcerated parents, and partnering with world-class institutions. As the museum and its mission have outgrown its current building, my experience has proven useful. We are repurposing a landmarked Carrera and Hastings former church on Central Park West, which will be an amazing sustainability story in itself.

What do you love about Westport?
I love last-minute runs along the water, and still get a kick out of seeing a fox run across our property or an egret or eagle flying overhead (as do my dogs!). I love Walrus Alley, The Little Barn and Gold’s Deli. As a former competitive junior chess player, I love that there’s a chess club at the library. I am learning about and enjoying the long tradition of the arts in Westport. Raising kids in and around Westport is pretty great, too!

Meg Young – Cailini Coastal

Meg Young conceptualized Cailini Coastal while living in Southern California. The aesthetic feels like Newport, RI, meets Newport, CA, with a unique flair that is Meg’s alone—but now can be yours too, here in Westport, CT.

Meg Young, Founder & Creative Director
cailinicoastal.com | @cailinicoastal

When and why did you move to Westport?
We moved in August 2022. My husband and I both grew up in the New York area. We lived in Southern California for a combined 18 years and moved to raise our daughters closer to our families.

When did you open Cailini Coastal and why?
CC launched at the height of the pandemic from my garage. As a lover of the coastal design aesthetic, I saw an opportunity for something new online. The industry is dominated by a couple of mainstream stores, and all of my peers in California had homes that all looked like each other. I sought to create a destination that offered premium and beautiful pieces that are unique.

Tell us about Cailini Coastal.
It’s an e-commerce destination that offers luxury coastal home furnishings and décor. Over 100 items are exclusive to us, with many more in development. Our warehouse is in Norwalk and we’ll be opening our first store in early 2025 in CT!

What do you love about Westport?
The amazing public schools, the beach community, the great restaurants and downtown, access to the city. We’ve been fortunate to quickly meet kind, interesting people who share our values. The Westport area is simply beautiful—in all seasons!

Lanie List – Lovely Bride

This is not your mother’s bridal chain…Stylish, playful and daring brides—look no further than Lovely Bride for the dress of your dreams.

Lanie List, Founder/CEO
lovelybride.com | lanielist.com | @lovelybride | @lanielist

When did you move to Westport?
We moved to Westport in July of 2020.

When and where did you open Lovely Bride?
We opened our first Lovely Bride shop in the West Village in 2010. Today we are 19 stores strong across major metro cities in the U.S. and one in London.

Tell us about Lovely Bride.
We call Lovely Bride an “exclusive, inclusive bride club.” We are welcoming, laid-back and fun, without being too casual. We have the most sought-after international designers that are not so “everywhere.” Fashionista called us “The cool girls’ bridal chain.”

What is in for brides this summer?
Brides are bringing the glamour lately! Very sexy silhouettes in luminous fabrics with lots of body-hugging draping. Lots of Vivienne Westwood inspiration.

Are you commuting to New York or working from Westport?
I’m lucky enough to have an office in downtown Westport so I can get out of the house. If I’m not working there, I’m traveling to one of our locations.

How has that transition been?
It has been slow but good. Our first choices weren’t always the best choices, but we are pivoting and finally settling in to what feels right for our family.

What do you love about Westport?
To me, Westport is the first coastal CT town far enough away from NYC that it can’t draught off what NYC has to offer. So Westport has its own ecosystem and I love that the most. Westport feels complete to me.

Sarah Robinson – The Wonder

A sophisticated playspace that offers wine and WiFi for parents? Enough said…

Sarah Robinson, Founder/CEO
1200 Post Road East,Westport
thewonder.fun | @thewonder

When and why did you move to Westport?
We moved to Westport in May of 2020, deep in Covid. We thought we would spend the summer at the beach and go back to the city. We had two kids and I was pregnant with my third. We are still here and now have four kids!

When did you open the Wonder and why?
The first Wonder opened in Tribeca in 2019. Our mission is to bring more joy to familyhood. I just couldn’t plop down in some kids gym and sing the Itsy Bitsy Spider again. Parents deserve to have a space that is as appealing to them as it is to their kids. So that’s what we built! We now have locations in Westport, NYC and DC.

Tell us about The Wonder.
We are a members club for families offering classes for kids and events for parents. Your kids can jump in a bounce house or take a class while you hang out with friends, send an email or have a glass of wine. And it looks like a place where you want to hang out, not haphazard primary colors and clowns.

What will be going on at The Wonder over the summer?
Drop-off camp for 3’s, 4’s and 5’s! Your kids can walk the plank and search for pirate treasure, make magical mermaid potions (slime) or have a princess tea party. Also loads of special events: family movie night, food trucks, Go Fish tournaments, talks with experts…

You have adult offerings?
We have a new networking series, Wonder Women. Our first Wonder Woman is Lydia Fenet, author of Claim Your Confidence. Part of the magic of becoming a parent is discovering how much YOU are capable of. Who are you as a person and what do you want to achieve in addition to being a parent? No one talks about that. It’s always dumbed down to How to Change a Diaper 101.

What do you love about Westport?
Shake Shack and the beach!

Tovah Haim, Bodily

Mandy Moore, Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt, Hilaria Baldwin, Adriana Lima, Karolina Kurkova, Brooklyn Decker, Megan Trainor—these are just a few moms who have turned to Bodily for the products and support they need after childbirth.

Tovah Haim, Founder & CEO
itsbodily.com | @itsbodily

When and why did you move to Westport?
I gave birth to my second child on the day the city shut down with Covid. Because of the unknowns of the virus, I was sent home just 24 hours after a C-section. After 15 years living in NYC, we picked up and left for Litchfield County, with our two-day old baby and toddler in tow, hopped Airbnbs for three years, and moved into a rental in Westport last summer. We just moved into our permanent home in Greens Farms and are over the moon happy.

When did you open Bodily and why?
Bodily (launched in 2019) was born out of my own postpartum experience—a lack of essential information, subpar products and societal taboos surrounding birth recovery and breastfeeding. Returning to my start up just ten days after a C-section made my situation even more challenging. With 65% of women in the US being breadwinners/co-breadwinners, I made it Bodily’s mission to destigmatize and support the female physiological experience.

Tell us what Bodily offers.
We design and produce award-winning nursing and pumping bras, we make postpartum kits, postpartum underwear and offer support for pregnancy loss. While our focus currently is on (long-neglected) maternal health, our solutions empower women to live confidently in their bodies through the stages.

What do you love about Westport?
We first eyed Westport because we wanted to be close to the water, to have proximity to the city and be in a kid-friendly location. But we fell in love because of the vibrant restaurant scene, city-like amenities, and cultured and international-leaning community. While we never imagined leaving the city, we could not be happier to be here. I (half-) joke to my husband that I desperately need an “I Love Westport” T-shirt.

Lisette Sand-Freedman and Brad Zeifman – SHADOW

Lisette Sand-Freedman and Brad Zeifman are the powerhouse owners of SHADOW. To understand why top brands turn to them to turn on the world to their wares, read on.

Lisette Sand-Freedman, Chief Visionary Officer/Co-Founder & Brad Zeifman, Co-Founder
weareshadow.com | @weareshadow

You are a couple?
Last we checked!

Do you have kids?
We have two but we employ 100 Gen Z-ers so it feels like more.

When and why did you move to Westport?
We will be here full-time as of July but have been coming on weekends since February. We chose Westport because we’re still going to be in the office every week. It’s close enough to make that happen while being far enough for us to regain some long-lost sanity.

When and where did you start your company?
We started SHADOW 16 years ago out of Lisette’s tiny apartment in Chelsea. We had no idea what was coming.

What do you do?
We connect brands with their desired audiences through creative marketing, social media, influencer relations and good ol’ fashioned PR.

What sets you apart?
Our heart. We are obsessed with the work, and mediocrity makes us cringe!

Some of your biggest clients?
We’ve repped most of Main Street USA, including currently American Eagle, Aerie & Unsubscribed; Express; and the Pottery Barn brands. We just created a Super Bowl commercial with e.l.f cosmetics and Jennifer Coolidge—yes, she’s everything you want her to be and more!

Are you commuting to the city?
We are, but Brad will be commuting more often—bless him and his endless battery. I’ll be working from the backyard, thank you very much.

What do you love about Westport?
We cannot get over how nice everyone is and, although it is quiet here, people still have a little hustle in them. It’s the perfect mix for us.

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