After the economic crash back 2008, the all-important trend of shopping locally swept the nation. While this phenomenon may not have survived throughout the rest of the country, it has certainly stuck around in Colorado. Supporting local businesses doesn’t have to stop at the food and art department, though, for expanding this idea into your wardrobe is also possible and makes for some unique and incredible finds.
The best part about buying locally is that Colorado – specifically Denver – is at the forefront of many different industries, and is bursting with creative, talented minds. One of these creative minds is Catie Raile, a Colorado native whom designs the jewelry line Stoic. I met her while perusing my way through the jewelry display at Denver boutique Pandora on the Hill, located off of 13th and Sherman. She was kind enough to give me some of her time and discuss her line, and what it’s like being a designer in the Mile High City.
“I started making jewelry as gifts for my friends, mostly wrapped crystals and old jewelry I’d lost interest in,” said Raile. “I’d also wear pieces that I’d made myself and get compliments on them. The combination of those two things led me to sell my line to Pandora. It pretty much felt like a no-brainer. I have been designing jewelry for about four years, but it wasn’t until last winter when I helped a friend coordinate a seasonal market that I put a whole line together.”
When she isn’t designing jewelry, Raile manages at Pandora and spends most of her spare time in nature. She also enjoys painting and is working on illustrating a children’s book.
“My main inspiration is nature and androgynous fashion,” she said. “I want to design jewelry for men and women who want to bring a little bit of the wilderness into the city. I love working with various different gemstones, but set in a minimalist way. I like to think [of my jewelry] as straight to the point: simple, yet eye-catching. I came up with the name “Stoic” because the idea of stoicism has always appealed to me, Throughout life, remaining calm and cool in the face of adversity has always been the best way to handle everything.”
Indeed, the rawness and beauty of the gemstones in their simple, delicate settings makes her jewelry incredibly eye-catching.
“I have been fortunate in my initial process of getting my line out there by managing a shop that encourages and carries as many local artists as we can,” Raile said. “My biggest hurdle is the necessity of social media in this day and age. It’s almost like if it’s not online, it might as well not exist. Keeping up with that is like a second job.”
While almost every boutique in Denver represents local designers, it can be hard to stand-out among such a large crowd. “It seems like everyone is a jewelry maker, or their best friend is, so the challenge to make your line stand-out is big,” she said. “I would love to see my line become known as a Denver staple. When I see people come into Pandora on the Hill and recognize local lines, and talk about how they’ve always wanted a piece…that’s where I want to be.”