by Caitlin Rounds
Stephanie Westley has enjoyed thrifting and sewing from a young age. Throughout her lifetime she has built up a large collection of thrifted goods. With so many pieces and unique items, Westley found herself repurposing and combining the clothing material.
Eventually, she discovered there was a demand for her creations, so she decided to found Yellow Elephant, a clothing company specializing in handmade patchwork from recycled material. Westley has utilized her talents to make bold and daring designs most often seen on one of her signature jean jackets.
According to Westley, being a female entrepreneur is a little different in her situation, “I’m a wife, but, because we’re a partnership, I have a lot of time to myself. But I do this on my own for fun.” According to Westley, having a partner has made her creative endeavors possible and easier. It has provided her with the opportunity to create full time and not have to work the average 9-5 shift. This has benefited her immensely as her products are one hundred percent handmade and can consume quite a bit of time to complete.
Westley says, “I do this full time so I have to motivate myself every day and I’m lucky to have more ideas than I can make”. One of those ideas includes a handstitched Lisa Frank jacket, created over the course of six months. Some of Westley’s other creations include a Frida Kahlo series, desert sunsets and a collaboration with fellow female entrepreneur Caitlin Lochridge, owner of To the Moon Bus.
Westley sells most of her items through Etsy and local vendors. These opportunities to sell her items at shows and events have been influential in gaining Yellow Elephant the perfect amount of balance and exposure. So next time you’re in the market for a one-of-a-kind piece of denim, you’ll know just the shop. •
An Austin, Texas native and published photographer, Caitlin Rounds is a second year Public Relations major. This is her first semester writing for Spark Magazine. She enjoys trying new coffee shops, music and portrait photography.