Every woman has her own specific strengths, and the “My Mountain Girl” series aims to capture them. Capture why she loves living in the Rocky Mountain West, and how she uses those strengths to be her best. We are all so similar, but our differences provoke a sense of wonder and awe for each other. And by telling each other’s stories, perhaps it will motivate or spark something inside of another to reach beyond her own comfort zone. To try something new. To see things in a new light.
Meet Mountain Girl Alexis. I had the pleasure of meeting in her sweet work space to watch her creation process. She is warm, vibrant, thoughtful, and generous. Her energy, attention to professional detail, and lovely eye for design are completely apparent in not only her creative work, but the business that surrounds it. We love that she decided to call the Rocky Mountain West home again after being away, and that she has chosen to put her passion into action right here among us. Thank you, Alexis, for sharing your energy and passion with us!
Tell us about you. Both my husband and I grew up here in Wyoming and graduated high school. I studied studio art at the University of Arizona and have a Master’s degree from Montana State University in Curriculum and Instruction. After graduating we moved to Chicago, where my husband earned his Law Degree. As we began to grow a family, the West started to call us back, so we headed back home to Cheyenne. We have now been back for 6 summers. I teach elementary art education to 475 K-6th graders during the day. In the wee hours of the morning, I work on my passion, my own artwork. I re-instated my company Alexis Drake, LLC in 2013 after taking a short break to have 2 beautiful kiddos. The last 2 years have been a whirlwind of an adventure, taking Alexis Drake jewelry now to jewelry and leather goods, men’s accessories and more this Fall. Making sure that we all are able to accessorize effortlessly every day.
What is your favorite thing about living in the Rocky Mountain West? My favorite thing about living in the Rocky Mountain West is the people. Other than the almost 2 degrees of separation of people who live here for the most part they are very down to earth, honest and kind. I love that while meeting with a shop owner in Sheridan, WY she can introduce me to everyone who walks into her store. The connection that we have is because we all share the same heritage of the West. I truly believe that even if you weren’t born and raised here and have moved to some area of Wyoming at some point you start to realize that this place is real – unﬁltered land – we are on about a 3 year delay from everywhere else – which is really funny at times, other’s a great beneﬁt. I love that even though there is great distance between our towns there is a close connection to our heritage of the West and the ethics that surround our great state.
How do you put that into action? My product is authentic – real, handmade and quality constructed. While at times my hands ache from tool use and I may complain of the time it takes for this quality construction it truly is worth it. When a piece is completed and is shipped out to a customer – I take pride in knowing that it is a quality handmade product – worked and re-worked for wearability, comfort and effortless style.
What is your favorite place to visit in the region? My favorite place to visit in this region is our families land near Kurt Gowdy State Park. We camp often in the summer and fall months and have enjoyed naming the rocks and spending time “off the grid” with our kiddos. It is where we can spend real time together, just being. We joke that the pace we are going right now is “crazy” pace and that “crazy” pace when we are together and in the wilderness turns into a peaceful form of crazy.
Who or what motivates you in your space? In my space – while there has always been a “studio” space, these spaces haven’t always been entirely mine. I have weaseled my way into coffee tables, laundry rooms, extra closets, spare bedrooms and now the largest and most “me” places, the garage. They say that some of the biggest and most successful businesses start in the garage so that gives me inspiration to be ok with my roommate – my car – at times it does have to sleep in the driveway because I have taken over my car space. I used to be a bit embarrassed to bring people in the garage and show them my space – but as of late people have asked to see it and that makes me feel proud of the mess I make and the unorganized chaos that it looks like. I usually present jewelry / handbags / other accessories in my dining room – a much better area to be displaying and showing – but we usually end up hanging out in the garage among the coats and boots and knee deep in leather or explanations of the process. It feels so good to share that part of the process with the customer – show them when it looks like. Lots of times they come back.
What do you do to feel your best? Well, I would like to say I am able to work out consistently but it doesn’t happen – to balance that I try my hardest, while having a very large, persistent sweet tooth to eat as healthy as I can. I have been working towards having a very consistent schedule of work, family, and balancing all that is in-between. I feel my best when I am not trying to remember all of the things I have forgotten about – so I have been working on combatting overwhelm and planning things out. I usually get up at 4am – work a couple hours in the studio before the world wakes up around me. This gives me my much needed introverted think time and allows me to loose track of time a bit working. I love this time in the morning – me and my coffee and the dog – he is my studio buddy along with my alarm – his tummy wakes us both up to feed him. When I get these couple hours in the morning to work freely without distraction, I can conquer the day. Getting kiddos up and ready for school, myself off to school – all of us to whatever sports practice and home again for supper and evening. I do get in bed very early – usually with the kids – which allows for some more cuddle time with them, wrapping our days up.
Other than in her studio at 4am, Alexis and her business can be found at www.alexisdrake.com. Or you can follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wearalexisdrake, Instagram at https://instagram.com/wearalexisdrake, or Twitter at https://twitter.com/wearalexisdrake.