Explore the work of Waco designers, artisans and boutiques offering the latest in modern, minimalist style with bold and delicate basics. See why our city is quickly becoming a hub for both apparel and accessories. Fall trends include boxy lines, washed and distressed denim, face-framing necklines and neutral tones.
Meet the Makers
Andie Day started her apparel business in April 2016 as, “kind of like an exploration into understanding more about how clothing is made,” she said.
Before that, she worked in styling and costuming, mostly for television shows.
“In costuming, you fit a lot of body types, and I felt like there is a lack of clothing available that’s flattering to different women’s bodies and silhouettes,” the 28 year-old said.
Day designs her products in Waco for real women with sizes that range from extra small to 2XL. The clothes are created in Waco as well as in Austin and Dallas and are available online at maryclaret.com.
“I’ve been interested in U.S.-made products for a while and clothing that had a little more care and thought into its construction,” Day said. “I’m also interested in the employment of people in the U.S. and keeping the product creation process in a small area.”
Day also works full-time as a professor at Baylor. She says Waco provides the perfect environment for small businesses and upstarts because the community enjoys things that are uniquely Waco and because of changing attitudes about out city, thanks to a couple of well-known fixer-uppers.
“I found that Waco is a great hub for growing a small business because of the great community of entrepreneurs and small business owners here. I think that Waco is thriving in the small business scene partially because it’s a great location between two hubs of Dallas and Austin, and I also think it’s because the community and customers are so supportive of upstarts here. People are really excited to get involved in something they can take pride in and have affiliation with,” Day said. “Of course, everyone talks about the Gaineses, but the level of taste and style they have brought to Waco, along with their popularity, has drawn people from other places that are now more open to products and businesses here.”
EM Jewelry + Design
Ellen Mote makes jewelry that aims to bring out the natural beauty of the women who wear it.
“I really try to think about how the jewelry interacts with the wearer,” Mote said. She is the owner and lead designer of EM Jewelry + Design, and she handcrafts all of her jewelry in her Waco studio.
“It used to be that when I came home, the first thing I did when I walked through the door was to take off my jewelry,” the 28 year-old said. “When I started my own line, I made pieces that wouldn’t be those heavy pieces that at the end of the day made your ears hurt, or that you can’t stop thinking about it because it’s in your way, or this bracelet is scratching your arm all day.”
Mote received her undergraduate degree in metalsmithing and jewelry design from Texas Tech University before she worked under a jewelry designer in Portland, Oregon. The Katy native started her company two years ago when she moved to Waco for her husband’s career. EM Jewelry + Design opened in 2015 and now enjoys the exposure and sales that come with being one of Magnolia Market’s primary vendors.
Her designs can also be purchased locally at Wildland Supply Co. and through her website, emjewelrydesign.com. She recently created a line of napkin rings for a new store, Gather, located at 719 Washington Avenue. The store is, as Mote put it, “essentially a store for entertaining, where they sell everything you need to throw a perfect party, including many locally made products.”
In October, Hannah Sillars, 27, launched a new line of leather bags and handbags designed right here in Waco. Through her roots and relationships in Guanajuato, Mexico, her designs are brought to life by craftsmen who have been leather workers for generations. Sillars and her mother, Sarah Farver, dreamed up Verity Market five years ago while working in the fashion industry.
“My mom worked for another leather company, and we saw how there was this rationale in design for women, this expectation that women would make so many purchases throughout the year, so they didn’t need high-quality items,” Sillars said. “I worked in menswear, and I noticed that those items were often very high quality when compared to items made for women, and that frustrated me.”
Sillars, originally from a tiny town outside of Fort Worth, came to Waco when her husband began a graduate program at Baylor University. She has spent the past five years working on designs and building relationships with people who share her vision. Her leather products, which include everything from wallets to daybags, are available online at veritymarket.com.
“The way the luxury market has developed, it’s all about the brand name, so the pressure is no longer on living up to quality standards, which is something that we’re passionate about,” Sillars said. “I wanted to make a brand that relied on traditional leather-making. We work in a region [of Mexico] where leather work has existed since the 16th century. It’s a perfect marriage of worlds because we wanted something designed for people not only in New York or London but for everyday people, and to make something that is high quality that they can cherish for years.”
Summer Ellis Bijouterie
Summer Ellis grew up surrounded by creative professionals, from her mother who owned a craft store to her uncle who worked as an architect. While she remembers always drawing and creating, she found that her true gift is jewelry-making. Her jewelry, which is 100 percent handcrafted here in Waco, has grown slowly from trunk shows in her college dorm room at Baylor to now being in over 80 stores across the United States. Her local studio and showroom are located at 601 Franklin Avenue, and jewelry can also be purchased online at summerellis.com.
Not only does Ellis create beautiful jewelry, this 35-year-old entrepreneur is encouraging other artisans to follow their passion as well. She and her husband, Peter, are a big part of the restoration and revitalization of Downtown Waco, including their venture that provides office space and support for creative entrepreneurs, Anthem Studios.
“We believe that art and culture is really important to a city,” she said. “It’s important to the life of a city, the vibrancy of a city — not just the function of a city, but the vibrancy. And I think it’s what attracts people.”
Ellis, a mother of three, believes there is value in “beauty for beauty’s sake.”
“The dream for me is making jewelry for you and doing that in an authentic way. I really believe that we’re supposed to steward what we’ve been given. I’m just being thankful to live out who I really am, and my thing is beauty for beauty’s sake. And that’s a powerful message. And authenticity is a thing of beauty. And beauty is important. I don’t think it’s truly beautiful if it’s not authentic,” Ellis said. Her company is managed completely in Waco and her jewelry is all made here as well. She enjoys bringing jobs and opportunities to our community.