“I have these gifts, so why not use them for something bigger.”
When Elegantees began, founder Katie Martinez wanted to see more elegant tops that aren’t revealing; needed customized bras, special wash instructions, or had to be layered. Being a gal from Iowa, she knew the average American woman is limited on time for being fashionable. Katie wanted to provide an option that would be just as easy to wear as the normal routine of a tee-shirt with jeans, but to make women look and feel elegant! She married ‘elegant’ and ‘tees’ with a 15 piece collection that launched online in September 2010.
The first collection happened with just $10,000 in Katie’s savings and local New York City connections. The odds of making it in the big apple were slim, but this did not stop Katie from turning her vision into reality. In the beginning, she found tremendous support from locals in her hometown of Dubuque, Iowa, and would visit often to do shows and events. The support she got back home is something she’ll never forget. They are always a reminder to her to stay true to the product they all fell in love with, which are simply elegant tees.
The brand expanded when Katie met New York born-and-raised fashion designer Wildy Sanchez. Wildy and Katie connected in having years of experience in the fashion industry, but wanting their hard work to be used for something bigger than themselves. Katie saw so much potential in Wildy that she gave her the creative reins in April 2013. The duo, with the assistance of Sarah McPhillips, have been weaving more creative twists into these knits. They are even adding skirts in Fall 2014.
Katie says, “There are two extremes we see today in the way women dress. The most common is when women avoid being flattering by just throwing on a jeans and baggy tee. The other extreme is where there is so much emphasis on physical appearance it becomes an identity and there’s never a satisfaction. Elegantees are for the woman who seeks to find a balance without compromising her beliefs, budget, or time.”