By Veronique McAree | Photography Sarah Beard Buckley
Curated and merchandised to perfection, MAE is a great destination for accessorizing oneself or one’s home—or for picking up a great gift you won’t find anywhere else.
Residents of Blue Hill might know Wendy Hays for something other than purveying lovely home goods and accessories. Perhaps they took one of her Pilates classes, where they practiced the art of alignment and stretching. But these days, Hays is striking a much different pose, with her new shop, MAE.
Hays relocated to Blue Hill eight years ago from Sun Valley, Idaho. Like many transplants, she was drawn to Maine by the allure of the ocean and the small-town vibe.
Despite launching a successful Pilates business, Hays felt a yearning to tap into her more creative side. On a hiking trip to Colorado, she came to a decision that would take her life in a very different direction: she would open a small retail store.
Opening a business is no easy task, but Hays jumped right in, finding an old carriage house and immediately sourcing her unique product assortment at gift and apparel shows. The result? A balance of practical, eclectic, and unusual clothing, accessories, gifts, and home products.
Hays relies on one strict rule for curating her wonderful collection: “I only carry what I love.” As a result, she gravitates toward smaller, unique companies, including many West Coast brands not easily found in Maine.
Customers will find interesting products such as Hedgehouse throwbeds (a cross between a mattress and pouf, light enough to roll up and take on the go), Lisa B socks in all manner of patterns, plus pillows, decorative objects, glassware, lamps, and more.
Clothing from companies like Pip-squeak Chapeau and Nuthatch (by Rockland designer Beth Bowley) are often made of lovely linens or lightweight flannels with intricate details and great shapes. And home decor from companies like Vietri and Coral and Tusk adds just the right touch of elegance or color to any space.
Last summer, Hays introduced a collection of outdoor teak patio furniture that sold like hotcakes. “You just never know what customers are looking for,” she says, so she keeps things fresh and is always on the hunt for new and exciting items.
Most recently, Hays moved her retail store from the carriage house into the former Partridge Drug Store space on the corner of Main and Water streets. Hays is excited that this new space will enhance the visibility of the store and will help fuel more business in Blue Hill’s downtown area.
It’s a wonderful shop to browse and discover all kinds of interesting stuff. And Hays’s energy is as infectious as the product line she curates. Go on, have a MAE day of your own— you’ll be glad you did.