Feb. 21, 2019
Noticing a gap for stylish pieces between high-end Western wear and a budget-friendly price, she decided to create her own piece, using supplies from a local craft store.
It turned out, her solution would resonate with other women looking for Western-inspired accessories that wouldn’t break the bank.
Following the rodeo, a photo of Lewis and her friends was posted to social media, prompting friends and family to inquire about her jewelry, which became popular on a Facebook page, and she created the brand Rustic Rose.
Little did she know, Lewis tapped into a niche market that was much bigger than expected.
To build her business, Lewis sought support from Medicine Hat College’s Entrepreneur Development Centre (EDC).
In 2018, she pitched her plan for Rustic Rose at various competitions, including the EDC Start-up Company Pitch Competition, winning over $25,000 in total.
“I wouldn’t have expanded into apparel without the pitch competition,” says Lewis, adding the mentorships were also a valuable part of the program. “It would have taken me a really long time to get where I am now if I wouldn’t have had the financial or the business support.”
“The Western fashion community is huge,” says Lewis. “I’ve been able to connect with boutiques, makers and Western fashion influencers.”
One of the influencers Lewis works with, West Desperado, has over 45,000 Instagram followers, providing wide exposure for the Rustic Rose brand. Approximately 40% of Rustic Rose’s sales head to the United States.
This year, Rustic Rose is among five Medicine Hat businesses nominated for the Alberta Chamber of Commerce Business Awards of Distinction.
The awards recognize businesses and organizations that have demonstrated outstanding achievement and contribution to their community while developing business acumen and management practices to ensure long-term sustainability.
Lewis sketches the designs and Rustic Rose’s contract graphic designer, Kelsey Keith, brings them to life.
The designs are pressed onto clothing, which is purchased online and shipped to customers from around the world.
Rustic Rose’s most popular shirt has the design “farm hair, don’t care.”
“I get people all the time who say farm hair is a real thing,” says Lewis, who grew up spending time on farms. “I try to get all my ideas from being on the farm and try to be authentic.”