TULSA -- People start businesses to improve their own livelihoods, but Katie Hinkle began selling a special line of handmade jewelry to benefit more than just her growing family.
Hinkle started making jewelry on her own about four years ago. She picked an unlikely material as well to craft the geometric pieces. She uses concrete, a heavy-duty building material, to craft the sleek, lightweight pendant necklaces.
"Architectural lines are what I've always been drawn to, and shapes," Hinkle said, "so I think it falls perfectly within that."
She said it took her about a year to perfect the technique with the concrete, and often has to clear up concerns that customers might have about the material.
"People are always surprised when I do shows and they're picking them up and how little they weigh," Hinkle said with a laugh. "I always have to clarify that online, that it's just a couple of ounces."
She admits the name of her business, Sloan + Tommy, may leave some scratching their heads, too, because she used her rescue dogs as the inspiration.
"It seems random that it's named after the dogs because (jewelry) obviously has nothing to do with the dogs," she said, "but that's where the names came in and kind of tied in is that we were always going to be donating to different shelters."
She began Sloan + Tommy while living in Texas and gave part of the profits to an animal rescue there. When she moved back to her hometown of Tulsa more than a year ago, she decided to make the Oklahoma Alliance for Animals the new beneficiary.
"It doesn't amount to much when our sales are kind of quiet," Hinkle said, "but we do the best that we can."
"Every dollar helps, and we appreciate it so much," said Jan Lavender, a volunteer and board member at the Oklahoma Alliance for Animals.
Hinkle recently lost her rescue dog Sloan, and her other pup Tommy is getting older. She said she would like to keep the business going and offer new products so that she can donate even more as tributes to them.
To see the kinds of jewelry that Hinkle sells and to learn more about Sloan + Tommy, visit her website.
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