As a young girl, Katie Wyckoff had a passion for fashion. She loved sketching designs and took up sewing after some lessons from her mom. After studying design in college, she worked in New York City as an assistant designer in the fashion industry.
That experience opened her eyes to some of the less glamorous realities of the fashion trade.
“I gained valuable experience and also saw firsthand how the world of fashion actually operates,” she says. “I believe there are changes that can be made in manufacturing, which would not only benefit those working in the industry, but also the environment.”
Now living in Raleigh, Wyckoff wanted to do something that married her passion for design with a desire to create positive change in the industry. So this year she launched her online boutique at Hammer and Heart.
The shop at hammerandheartboutique.com specializes in affordable clothing and jewelry for women that’s made in the United States, often by hand, including the jewelry Wyckoff makes herself.
“By working with local designers and artists, it promotes growth for our domestic economy and fuels job growth,” she says. “At the end of the day, I know my customers are getting a unique item and the quality they deserve.”
And in a world of what Wyckoff calls poorly made, inexpensive “fast fashion,” she wants to offer an alternative with higher quality at an accessible price point.
“Offering products at an affordable price is very important to me, because I know that in order to make the changes the fashion industry needs, customers need to be able to afford the products,” she says. “As a small business owner, I understand that there are bills to be paid. Mortgages, student loans, car payments that are all on your mind, just as they are on mine. The cost of living is rising, but what it comes down to, is quality, and how much longer items will last you because those who made it thought carefully about the materials and construction.”
Wyckhoff says as the business grows, she hopes to add more local and independent designers to the mix.
“This is very important to me as a designer, because one of my main goals for my business is to help support other makers do what they love to do.”
Vert & Vogue in Durham hosts Teka Selman of Selman Contemporary art during its monthly Happy Hour event, May 18, 5:30-6:30 p.m. Selman will chat about the work of North Carolina artists. For details, call 919-797-2767.
StyleFinder Boutique in Raleigh celebrates its anniversary with a three-day party, May 18-20. Shoppers can enjoy cupcakes and drinks, discounts, gifts with purchase and a chance to win makeovers, clothes and more. Call 919-454-3068 for more info.