Armed with a passion instead of a pattern, Kim Martinez is not a typical clothier. Kim is a firm believer in the value of handmade, which is the driving force behind her clothing and accessory brand, Kim Handmade.
Kim has no storefront, and her garments can’t be found hanging on racks at the local retailer either. However, recognizing our city’s love of all things local, she set up shop in Plano. Kim designs and darns her goods in her Downtown Plano apartment.
After graduating from college in 2014, Kim took a job as a producer and reporter for a television station in El Paso. However, when her mother passed away the following year, she knew she wanted to be closer to her family in Mexico and left her full-time job.
“That year was hard for me,” Kim said. “But my family was very supportive when I left my job to start building my business. It gave me the liberty to [work] and be with my family.”
Initially she would take orders from friends of friends, and would sell her pieces in a few shops in Mexico. It wasn’t until Kim and her soon-to-be husband married and moved to Plano in 2016 that she decided to expand her business.
After attending the annual Plano Artfest this year, Kim was inspired. It was clear to her that this is where she and Kim Handmade belonged. “People here support local businesses,” Kim said. “They appreciate the value of handmade and the time you spend making one garment.”
Kim takes custom orders for her signature item, the kimono, and she also designs and creates custom accessories such as earrings and scarves. “I make everything that comes to my mind,” Kim said. “If I want something for me I make it, and then I begin making it for other people.”
When Kim moved here from Mexico last year, she saw it as a chance to reboot Kim Handmade. “I had to find a different style of promoting the brand and building my brand. I had to build everything up and make it grow.”
Thanks to word-of-mouth advertising within Plano, her customer base quickly grew to cover areas outside of Collin County. After launching her website this spring, she began taking orders from all over the United States.
“I sometimes think that I need to get a [specific] style, but my customers range from little kids to older persons,” Kim said. “I can’t focus on a certain style and leave the others just hanging there.”
In other words, you won’t find Kim creating carbon copies of what’s already out there. “It’s mostly what I want to do,” she said. “I test things and patterns. Everything is in my head.”
When an idea for a new accessory hits her, she’s off to the local fabric store. “I don’t order wholesale to make my stuff. It is based on what comes to mind when I find something, or what will fit what I am looking for at particular shops.”
Kim Handmade has afforded Kim the opportunity to challenge herself with whatever sparks her interest. “It’s my business; it’s my brand — so I can do anything that I want. Kim Handmade has helped me figure out other passions that I have in my life, like my home styling brand, Maluz.”
This “beautifying spaces brand,” as Kim calls it, was inspired by her mother. “I named the brand after my mom because she was always the one supporting me. [Before she died] she wrote me a letter saying that she was proud of me because whatever goal I set for myself, I complete it.
“I am doing something that I love — making my ideas come to life.”Kim Handmade >