Native Uniques boutique continues successful run
Native Uniques owner Samantha Barnes, left, assists a customer with clothing in the boutique located in Bartlesville. The women’s clothing store also has unique handmade Native American-style jewelry, including bracelets, necklaces and earrings. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Native Uniques owner Samantha Barnes works on a beaded bracelet using a peyote stitch pattern in her boutique in Bartlesville. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Native Uniques owner Samantha Barnes carefully stitches a bead onto a cuff. The boutique is located in Bartlesville and offers women’s clothing and jewelry. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
A beaded cuff made Native Uniques owner Samantha Barnes incorporates a peyote stitch pattern. COURTESY
The team of Kelly McCracken, left, Naomi Park, center, and owner Samantha Barnes, is available to assist customers at Native Uniques, a women’s clothing and jewelry store in Bartlesville. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BARTLESVILLE – After nearly two years of business, Native Uniques owner Samantha Barnes is working on more outreach in her community for women interested in making beadwork items.
Native Uniques is a women’s clothing store that has handmade Native American-style jewelry including bracelets, necklaces and earrings.
“We are a boutique that features our beadwork. The beadwork comes from our Native American heritage (Cherokee/Delaware). A lot of our designs comes from our heritage,” Barnes said. “And our clothing, it goes well with our jewelry. They complement each other.”
Barnes, who operates her store with the help of Kelly McCracken and Naomi Park, is an artist who enjoys beading and sharing her beading knowledge.
“One thing we are doing right now is we are starting to reach out to women to help them to learn how to bead. For me, it was extra income, beading. I had to teach myself everything, so, it’s nice for me to be able to show them the shortcuts, and I can tell them where to find supplies. I teach individual classes, too,” Barnes said. “We are reaching people who don’t have the means, so we can help supply them. Hopefully it takes off.”
She said the aim of the beadwork classes, which are held in the boutique, is to help women learn to bead so that they can possibly have an income or extra income.
She said Native women like to learn how to embroider with beads and add beadwork to powwow regalia. Barnes’ specialty is the Peyote Stitch design she incorporates into her bracelets and cuffs.
“We have an open door policy. If anyone needs help with a (beadwork) project they can come in and we can give them whatever tips they need,” she said.
Barnes said the “joy” she gets from helping people learn to bead is the main reason she shares her skills. She said seeing people’s face light up when she’s sharing her knowledge for free makes her happy. “I’ve been there where I’ve asked people, ‘how do you this?’ and they want to guard it (information). I don’t want them to go through what I went through researching and Googling nonstop or even buying books to learn myself. So I can give them a shortcut and make it easier for them.”
She said another way to give back is creating how-to videos for beadwork that will be placed on the Native Uniques website.
“Beading for me is so much more than making jewelry. It’s my meditation, it’s a way to connect with my heritage, and it just brings me piece and healing,” Barnes said. “It helps you focus, especially when you’re working with one bead at a time. You kind of have to focus.”
The storefront has been open for nearly two years. It opened on July 2, 2016, and Barnes said it “keeps getting better.” She said the store “has grown a lot” and foot traffic has increased. She credits a previous Cherokee Phoenix article and inclusion in its Shopping Guide for helping her business take off and gain momentum.
“It’s amazing that they are able to support tribal artists and get out the word,” she said. “And I will say the best marketing by far is word of mouth. When they come in and see the product and see it in their hands and see the textures and feel it, word of mouth is always the best marketing.”
She said the city has been helping, too, as it promotes its downtown to bring in more people to shop and explore the area that includes three museums, boutiques and restaurants.
A bonus for having the store is that Barnes often has fun with her staff and customers. Laughter can often be heard in the shop. “We meet the funniest people here. It’s just awesome making those connections. It’s good to wake up and want to come to work,” she said.
Native Uniques is at 101 S.E. Frank Philips Blvd. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 918-214-3142 or visit https://www.nativeuniques.com
or the shop’s Facebook page.