Hipster district Bishop Arts has a new shop to browse, from a pair of veteran local entrepreneurs. Called Harkensback, it sells clothes, both for men and women, plus handbags, home decor, pottery, and handmade shoes while striving mightily for an unconventional shopping experience.
Owners Julie McCullough and Mike Arreaga are well known in the community, where they've lived and created for more than 13 years.
McCullough is the designer and creator of Folksie and the recently launched McCullough clothing lines, as well as the founder and executive director of The Pin Show. Arreaga is the creative director for Shag Carpet Props, as well as a designer and founder of BBD Revolving.
McCullough spent the past four years building her own clothing line and brand and says that the next obvious step was to open a store.
"The natural progression for continued growth was to create a space that allowed people to visit and feel the energy of the brand, to be able to try things on, and connect with our products," she says in a release.
In creating that space, McCullough and Arreaga, along with fellow creative Marisa Dukowitz, were inspired by the grandeur of West Texas, the tranquility of Tulum, Mexico, and the iconoclastic style of Stevie Nicks. That is a lot of inspiration.
The store features jewelry and apparel, a stones and crystals bar, candles from Society, the shop next door, and incense found by the owners on their trips to Mexico. This is not your ordinary incense.
They will also offer have monthly Vedic astrology readings by local leather designer and astrologist, Jesse Roberts.
Dukowitz says that Harkensback is not only a store, it's a chance to explore the collaboration she shares with McCullough and Arreaga. "It's telling the stories of your relationships with the makers you know in your community and meet in your travels, and celebrating the client that appreciates that hand and history," she says.
Harkensback aspires to poetically illuminate the affinity between goods and textiles, their history, and the new life they take on when married by design. McCullough and Arreaga want to emphasize the power of collective experiences and the beauty of storytelling through travel.
The store's narrative evokes voyage and sustainability, collaboration and thoughtful design. The merchandise reflects those principles by featuring, for example, clothing lines made with all natural fibers, linens and cottons. With a few exceptions, everything is made by artisans and makers in the neighborhood.
Local designers carried at Harkensback include: Folksie, McCullough, YonoSe, Wild Beast Leather, Oetlco, Moon Child Jewelry, Ribelle Studio, JLR Leathers, MMVintage, Whiski Designs, Foxcroft Studio, Champagne Camp Ranger, and Weekend with Wednesday.
"Our goal is to make each customer harken back to a time when they knew the makers of their goods, which starts with the stories," says Arreaga, offering some insight into what the name of the store is all about.
The stories are the part he enjoys the most. "By encouraging each guest who walks in to allow me to tell them a story about the artists presented at Harkensback," he says. "I love when people comment about something I’m wearing such as my belt or bracelet or, hell, even my boots, and I can tell them who made them and where and even sometimes tell them a little story about the artist."
After having closed the doors on their previous retail and sewing/craft studio, Make + Made and IndieGenius, the duo had no plans to return to the Bishop Arts District, but after speaking with Shane Spillers of The Spillers Group, who runs the space, they were persuaded to give it another go-round.
Harkensback is located at 401 N. Bishop Ave. and will be open seven days a week during the holiday, and until 9 pm Thursday through Saturday.