Columbia’s own design house, House of Vansickle, is located two blocks from Stephens on Walnut. Still, many students do not know of its existence.
House of Vansickle sells handmade dance and workout apparel made mainly from stretch knits. The pieces work well for layering and are easy to move in.
“I’ve been doing my own designs for 11 years,” said owner Suzanne Vansickle.
Vansickle designs and constructs garments sold in her shop. She started off at home, designing her own dance costumes and creating clothes for her family. From there, she began producing upcycled bags and baby slings to sell at festivals in Kansas City, Mo. Upcycling means turning something old into something new such as making a scarf out of old t-shirts, for example.
House of Vansickle has been online for four years as a vendor on Etsy.com. Vansickle says her biggest market is Asia.
The brick-and-mortar store, located at 1023 Walnut, has only been operating for a year and a half. Because the shop is young, most of the merchandise is sold online, so promoting the store isn’t a huge concern. The 41-year-old is a mother and wants to “play it safe” when it comes to money.
“I want to make sure the quality and craftsmanship are there before all,” she said. “I want women to feel comfortable.”
House of Vansickle takes on interns every semester. Vansickle is interested in bringing in someone from the fashion marketing program to promote the business.
“My interns are both young and old. I reach out to sewers who want to learn to make clothing better,” Vansickle said.
Still, it’s unclear where House of Vansickle will go from here because the majority of its sales come from online orders and not from the retail space itself.