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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Sep 16, 2020

Middletown Native Takes Philanthropic Spirit to Colorado

By Shanna O'Mara

Monmouth County has bred many amazing young people, many of whom have grown up and stayed close to home, giving back through impactful careers and charitable work. Many others have since left their hometowns to pursue their dreams and improve communities elsewhere. Kristin Ialeggio was raised in Middletown and moved to Colorado as an adult, taking with her memories of the Jersey Shore, hopes to start a business and the mission to help others.

Ialeggio attended Nut Swamp Elementary School, Thompson Middle School and Middletown High School South. She played softball in high school and at the collegiate level when she went to the University of Virginia. After graduation, she set her sights on Vail, Colorado and moved across the country to become a ski instructor. There, she met her husband, Kevin Holbrook, who had also migrated from the East Coast.“

He grew up in Massachusetts,” Kristin Holbrook, as she is now known, said. “We decided to move to Telluride about 20 years ago. It’s a resort town. Only 2,500 people live here full time. I wanted to fill a niche, start a business.”

In March 2001, Holbrook opened Two Skirts, an upscale boutique specializing in a wide array of denim and cashmere as well as cocktail dresses and special occasion pieces. Now the mother of two boys, 14-year-old Brady and 12-year-old Leyton, she admits Two Skirts was her “first child.”

“I have loved it and raised it,” she gushed. “I did the work with my own two hands. I handle the merchandise, work with the customers, do the social media –everything.”

It is through social media that this savvy store owner found a way to give back to her community when the pandemic struck this spring. The Colorado shop was forced to close its doors, but its online presence remained as active as ever. Holbrook saw a need in her community and used her platform to help.

“In a resort town, selling seasons are short and we rely on tourism, so closing mid-March seemed devastating,” she said. “Within the first week of working from home, I had an idea that would potentially support the local healthcare workers and help sell merchandise while the store was closed. It seemed like a win-win. I had a Telluride product to sell and a Telluride cause to support.

”Holbrook began selling sweaters featuring the town’s nameand promoting her fundraising mission on Instagram. She contacted Kate Wadley, Telluride Medical Center’s director of philanthropy, who helped get a campaign off the ground. For weeks, Holbrook met her audience with messages of unity and hope, all while offering high-quality clothing and accessories. She sold Telluride sweaters and hats, donating 10 percent of the proceeds to the Telluride Medical Center. As of mid-August, she had donated $10,000 to the facility.

“I learned from my mom,” Holbrook said sweetly. “She always taught me to give to those who need help. In this town, it’s a lot of people with money, people who have second homes. There are 100 nonprofits in our region.”

And Holbrook is involved with many. She was on the Board of Directors of the San Miguel Resource Center, through which she raised funds for child victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. She is a strong supporter of the Telluride AIDS Benefit and has been a volunteer for the Telluride Education Foundation since her sons were little. She was named Outstanding Citizen of the Year by the Telluride Foundation in 2014. In 2019, Two Skirts gave more than $50,000 in merchandise and monetary donations to local nonprofits.

Holbrook says she is lucky to call Telluride home and only wants to serve the community that welcomed her so warmly back in 2001. “I love the mountains and the scenery,” she said.

“I love it here, butof course, I miss my family. I’m glad my parents still live [in Middletown] so my kids can see the Jersey Shore and New York City.”

And when they’re far from the coast, they still get to see the waves of impact their mom has on those around her.