Full steam ahead

Photo by Will Dendis

It’s a small shop, still sparsely furnished. But the items there reflect the hopes and dreams of a young jewelry and clothing designer who draws inspiration from the past.

Alicia Stang is a vivacious, happy, optimistic 20-year old with a Victorian alter ego. Her shop is Steamship Alice Boutique at 105 Partition St. She just opened it with mother, Roseann.

Stang’s style harkens back to a time when literature was dominated by the likes of Conan Doyle, Wells, and Verne, Darwin’s theory was new, and industry was powered by steam. She’s a fan of steampunk, a design and science fiction genre that imagines an alternate path of technology and culture in which steam powers cars, airships and all manner of devices. Imagine heavy duty brass, rivets, gauges and ornate gears on just about everything. Adherents look upon the modern age with trepidation, where computers control much of our lives, semi-conductors are king, and mechanization has gotten so complex that only a few really understand their inner workings.


Stang named the shop for that style and her favorite literary character.

“I’ve always love Alice in Wonderland,” she said.

It’s this search for a simpler time that drives Alicia’s work. “I take recycled, discarded, broken jewelry, repair it, and make it my own.”

Her dress designs follow, with bodices and skirts. She will also be refinishing old furniture and sell that in her shop as well.

Alicia credits her mother with supporting her interest in opening the shop. Ruthann makes pillows and other items using old linens and fabrics, also for sale at Steamship Alice.

Alicia and Roseann moved to Saugerties a little more than a year ago. They’d been living in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for the last 12 years, caring for an elderly grandfather. Before that they lived on Long Island.

Alicia went to work at Lucky Chocolates, coincidentally run by another “Stang” — (Rae isn’t related). Going to work on Partition Street, she saw when the space at 105 Partition became available. She knew that was the place.

“I’m very excited,” she said. “This is the happiest I’ve ever been. We came to Saugerties to start a new life and now I have a business that can be the start of that life.”

So far, the community has reciprocated her enthusiasm.

“The residents of Saugerties are really sweet, they have been very supportive of me, and really shown me lots of love,” she said.

Stang’s boutique opened this month, and a grand opening will be held in April. Like many village retail businesses, the shop is open Thursday-Monday.

The boutique fits in with some recent trends. Saugerties has seen numerous young people start businesses in the past year, and this spring several new boutiques have opened.