Stephanie Wheat, Rebellion

Chicago, IL

In 2003, I created 300 money clips for women, drenched in crystals, and started my first business in Scottsdale, AZ.  I set out on a mission: food, diapers and a roof over our heads. To that end, I created a way to help myself and women hold onto their money; both figuratively and literally. I had a new commercial pilot's rating that I set aside to go about the business of being a mother and I reconciled that being a designer supported that best.  I also reasoned that all original ideas start somewhere, so why shouldn't I have one? With a one year old on my hip and the determination to keep him at home with me, I approached one high-end boutique after another. "But women don't carry money clips," they each said at first, to which I'd reply, "you're right, they don't, but they will!"  And they did.

Next I made belts with monogrammed initials in crystals, sandals with crystals, t-shirts, card cases, compact mirrors; everything crystals.  But I now considered myself an embellisher and that didn't sit well with me. Celebrities were carrying my money clips, but it felt disingenuous.  I truly wanted to be a designer but I was heading in the wrong direction. Hollywood was not my goal. I was main street and everything in between, so again I set out to get my hands dirty and to make something real.

Leather held the answer and was a whole new love affair for me.  I enjoyed the "handle" of leather and before I knew it belts and handbags made their way into my line.  Simple things.

Fast forward through years of parenting, the market crash, closing my first business, submerging myself in yoga teaching, add a shift in my desire to define myself by any one label and you'll find me currently making things by hand that I truly hope you'll love.  

It's been said that if you spend 10,000 hours on anything, you'll know how to do it well.  So I guess, the work really does teach us. Rebel on! - Steph