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Lindork’s Lists: Q&A with Kate Hewko
Originally published to newsletter subscribers on May 16, 2021
The fourth person I’m profiling in my new paid newsletter subscriber Q&A series is:
Kate Hewko, Calgary, Alberta-based Fashion Entrepreneur and Owner of Kate Hewko Collection
Getting to know Kate Hewko:
Kate Hewko is a 40-year-old Fashion Entrepreneur based in Calgary, Alberta. Kate started your business—providing “fashion for the one of a kind human”—in 2014.
I first learned about Kate’s business when she used to do Fashion Auctions. Each week there would be select items you could bid on. These bids would usually be drastically discounted from the original price, so you could get some really great steals of deals by following along with her online auctions. This was the first time I’d seen a clothing store / fashion business do something like this and I was immediately hooked.
Kate Hewko pieces often get me lots of compliments. Her style is pretty bold and unique—definitely eye-catching clothing. The Kate Hewko collection is described as “a private label brand curated by Kate herself.” A private label product is manufactured by a contract or third-party manufacturer and sold under a retailer’s brand name.
In Calgary, Kate opened a Kate Hewko Concept Store in 2016, working directly with manufacturers to produce fashion for the one-of-a-kind: clothing, outerwear, handbags, sunglasses, and footwear.
I was already impressed and excited to have found this cool Calgary fashion entrepreneur, and then when I learned Kate’s clothing have also been worn by celebrities Miley Cyrus and Cyndi Lauper, I knew I needed to talk to her for this Q&A! Read on to learn more about Kate Hewko.
Let’s Dive Into the Q&A with Kate:
How and why did you get into the fashion industry?
I have always been interested in business and have started multiple different businesses, all of them have had something to do with fashion, but different areas of fashion.
I had a fashion show event company. I started a kids fashion show birthday party company called Runway Tweens. I also owned a boutique with emerging designers when I was in my 20s.
Now I actually don’t design anything anymore. I work directly with manufacturers and select what items I would like branded with my labels. (This is what a private label brand is—and it’s quite common in the fashion industry. Kate curates items to sell under the Kate Hewko brand name so anything sold is meant to be a true representation of Kate!)
What do you love most about the work that you do?
- I love finding unique items and searching for the latest trends.
- What are some services you offer that set you apart from other clothing brands?
I think the main thing that separates us from other fashion retailers is that we push the boundaries instead of selling the same things you can get everywhere else.
“Our team is comprised of very talented stylists who help our customers every step of the way to break out of their box.”
4. Where do you draw inspiration or creativity from? How do you get of creative ruts?
- Digging deep. I go down a rabbit hole of sourcing product until I find something my eyeballs have never seen before that causes a sense of excitement in me.
5. What are some highlights of your career? Or things that people may not know about your business, like how Miley Cyrus and Cyndi Lauper have worn your pieces.
- It was definitely very cool and exciting when Miley Cyrus’ personal assistant reached out to me, I actually wasn’t sure it was real until he gave me the address of where to send the goods. When I typed it in Google, a story popped up about Miley Cyrus buying the house.
- That being said, what I feel is the highlight of my career is the growth along the way. Reaching new sales goals, hiring new employees to manage the growth, and moving into bigger spaces is what makes me feel accomplished in my career.
- Linda’s Note: Kate’s clothes have also been featured in high profile fashion publications including Vogue Korea, Refinery 29, Fashion Magazine and Flare.
6. What advice would you give entrepreneurs or other business owners (or people who want to become business owners) when it comes to following their passion, taking risks, and building a successful business?
- Make sure to have a partner that can help support you along the way ;) There are a lot of ups and downs. When you own a business you have to be able to do a little bit of everything.
“While I find it exciting to learn new skills and adapt to an ever changing environment, entrepreneurship is not for everyone.”
7. What else should you know about Kate?
- Kate didn’t share this with me specifically but I thought it worth mentioning that this Alberta fashion entrepreneur is a big supporter of local charities.
- Kate has organized many charity fashion fundraisers in Calgary, putting in between five and 80 volunteer hours a month.
- She’s also donated to the YW Calgary, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Pawsitive Match, Wood’s Homes, the “Fashion Forward” events in support of HomeFront and Dare to Care’s “Strut” shows for anti-bullying initiatives and other local organizations.
- You can learn even more about Kate in this 2019 Top 40 Under 40 story.
Wrapping up our Q&A:
What show would you recommend people watch on Netflix (or other streaming services) and why?
Schitt’s Creek because the fashion is amazing. Moria is a total fashion icon.
Is there a book or podcast you recently read (or doesn’t have to be recent) that you would recommend to others and why?
I suggest all business owners read Rework. There is a ton of simple and easy to implement advice.
What is one of your favourite restaurants or stores you’d recommend in Edmonton?
I love my neighbour, Danielle’s Consignment. Between the two of us, we have your wardrobe covered!
What’s something about Alberta you love or recommend others check out?
Thank you Kate for sharing your insights and experience.
You can connect with Kate online at:
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