Open house: Local designer kicks off clothing line

Hattie Stadheim has just recently launched her clothing line. Eric Johnson/

Hattie Stadheim has just recently launched her clothing line. Eric Johnson/

Designer Hattie Stadheim walked into Caribou Coffee Tuesday afternoon dressed to kill in a green dress and heels.

Looking like she was ready to take Austin — or any other town by storm — it was a hard fact to swallow when she revealed that she had come from building grain bins with her dad’s business Stadheim Custom Services, LLC just a short time earlier.

“Who would have guessed?” she said as she sat down to talk about the launch of House of Hattie — her own line of clothing.

“It just all happened extremely fast,” she said.

And by fast, she could easily had said meteoric. A recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stout where she received a degree in fashion, Stadheim was still figuring out her future when college friend Amy Kepler approached her with a proposition.

Kepler was opening a boutique in Delafield, Wis. called The Barn Owl.

“She knew I was a designer and wanted to see my portfolio,” Stadheim said.

Suddenly, she had taken a very big step.

Initially, Stadheim was thinking just a few pieces to get started. It was quite a surprise to Staheim when her friend ordered a lot more.

“She placed a very large order,” Stadheim said. “50 pieces.”

That is a very large order for a woman who sacrifices sleep before dreams. Working in a field by day usually transitions into designing and sewing by night. While her ultimate dream sees her designs someday being sewed by others, for now it’s just cost prohibitive at this point.

“It’s extremely expensive and I can’t facilitate that,” she said. “It’s all part of the process for now and I’m okay with that.”

Sleep comes in short spurts for Stadheim who set to work immediately, even if the initial order seemed daunting, but then again Stadheim was already somewhat worldly because of the hard work she had put in.

Having spent time studying fashion in Europe, Stadheim knew the hard work would come, but with a love affair like this, she embraced it.

“I probably had a little chuckle,” she said when the order first came. “In shock, overwhelmed in a good way. When you’re passionate about something, that’s my caffeine.”

 Realistic approaches

The rather sudden launch of the House of Hattie hasn’t changed Stadheim’s realistic approach to her future.

She probably won’t be taking the world of fashion by surprise and the road ahead will most likely be long, but it’s all part of something Stadheim has come to terms with.

“A flower doesn’t bloom right away when you plant it,” she said philosophically. “Obviously, fashion is very competitive so I knew what I was getting into.”

Her time in Europe was a large part of defining her expectations. She studied at the London College of Fashion was able to see first hand the world of what fashion is in Europe.

It put Stadheim’s own road in perspective.

“It was fun to see that my designs are where they should be,” Stadheim said.

And at some point she hopes to get back to Europe with another internship, which she currently is hoping for with the Swedish company H&M.

For now though, Stadheim is bin construction by day, blazing designer by night. With a spring line out now, she plans daily for fall, winter and summer collections.

“ You give it everything and if that’s not good enough to try again tomorrow,” she said

Aside from purchasing Stadheim’s clothes at the Barn Owl, people can visit her Facebook site at House of Hattie. She will also launch a website.

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