Imagine a small shop lost to time where history collides with whimsy and a touch of the wild gypsy spirit. Elegance and sophistication lovingly displayed draws visitors back to a time when top hats and cameo brooches ruled the fashion world. Glittering bridal headpieces cast delicate light onto richly colored hats, bow ties, hair fascinators and hundreds of other truly unique pieces. Behind the warm, welcoming wooden display, a smiling face greets you: Welcome to Hello Haberdashery.
This may sound like a daydream, but it is very much real. Appearing at craft and artisan festivals throughout the Ohio Valley, Hello Haberdashery was born from the vision of Brandy Lee Dorsch, an old soul in the modern world. She originally began crafting formal accessories for her newborn son Balin in 2013, receiving such positive feedback for her work that she decided to craft pieces for other people. In 2014 she started selling her work, and for 4 years the business grew up into the experience that it is today.
From a line of basic pieces for children, the haberdashery has matured to accommodate a more diverse demographic. By 2015 Brandy was off and running with a new line of top hats inspired by the equestrian hats popular during the Victorian era. These would see use in costuming, bridal ensembles, art collections, tea parties, and races and quickly became one of Hello Haberdashery’s signature pieces. From little boys and girls to full-grown men and woman, the haberdashery has a hat for every head.
Homegrown and family operated, Hello Haberdashery is both a business and a passion for Brandy. Her mother, Teresa Clayton, has worked with her from the beginning to create truly stunning jewelry and accessory pieces.
Together Brandy and Teresa raised the fledgling shop from its foundations, experimenting with crafting techniques and new product ideas. With four years of experience, there is no decrease in the experimental nature of the process.
“It’s not just a hobby, it’s not just a business,” Brandy said. “It’s a passion. It’s an art. Art is all about expressing yourself and sharing your passion with others, taking risks and seeing what works. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but it’s all worth it as long as you’re enjoying yourself.”
In 2016 Brandy’s husband, Daniel Dorsch, brought a new idea to Hello Haberdashery from the realm of fantasy: wizard wands. A favorite among fans of the wizarding world, these pieces add a touch of magical flavor to the shop.
Upon entrance to Hello Haberdashery, it soon becomes obvious that it is unlike most other shops. Like the pieces themselves, the fixtures and displays are all carefully selected to create a truly unique setting. Their enthusiasm for their work is also expressed in the way they dress, both at shows and in everyday life.
“People ask me, ‘What are you supposed to be- a gypsy, a pirate, a steampunk, or a fairy?’ To which the answer is always the same: ‘Me,’” Brandy said. “We are not dressing up as anyone, or trying to define ourselves by any one genre. Our work is so important to us and we enjoy it so much, it’s just part of who we are.”
Their efforts have not gone unnoticed. In 2016 they won Best Presentation for their setup at one of Wheeling’s biggest shows, earning a free vending space the next year. It is also not uncommon for customers to return to the shop multiple times throughout one event because they enjoy it so much.
Locals and those visiting the Ohio Valley have the chance to reach Hello Haberdashery’s merchandise anytime. While Brandy and her family mostly set up at artisan fairs and festivals, there are several shops in the community carrying their products. Moe’s on Main in Follansbee and the Ziklag gift shop in Centre Wheeling both carry a wide selection of the haberdashery’s custom items.
In March, Hello Haberdashery will also submit a basket of their merchandise to the annual Junior League of Wheeling Affair With Emerald Flair.
For Brandy, the people are one of best aspects of the business. She enjoys making new acquaintances and sharing her art with them. When they leave with their treasured purchases, visitors to Hello Haberdashery do not just leave as customers. They also leave as friends.