Beachwood woman launches clothing brand to empower
For over half of her life, Beachwood resident Lauren Tatarchuk was dealing with a chronic auto-immune disease that was impacting every aspect of living. By the time she was 20, she was taking 15 medications a day.
Deciding enough was enough, she stopped taking her medications but found that her healing journey was less than ideal as well. One day, while she was feeling particularly ill, she plopped down to watch “The Hunger Games,” a movie series starring actress Jennifer Lawrence about a girl, Katniss Everdeen, emboldened to change her own life and those around her. Part of her costuming included a sleeveless cowl neck sweater, leaving Tatarchuk inspired, she told the Cleveland Jewish News.
After buying a crocheted replica online but noticing flaws in the design, Tatarchuk decided to take matters into her own hands – and the concept for her clothing brand, HNTRESS, was born. After officially launching Sept. 29, the HNTRESS cowl sweater comes in four colors - Forest Moss, Silver Fox, Earth and Midnight at hntresswear.com.
“I saw Katniss Everdeen wearing something similar, and I was like ‘wow, she looks like a warrior, like she could take anything on,’” Tatarchuk, 30, recalled. “I knew that was what I needed – a tangible, physical symbol of strength that I could wear. It became my everyday warpaint. I would wear the replica and stand taller, feel stronger. I was ready to go through whatever – even if it was hard.”
In designing her version for HNTRESS – and an entire closet full of fabric later – Tatarchuk landed on a machine washable, hooded, sleeveless cowl neck sweater. In designing it, she noticed through meetings with a patent lawyer, that her design was unique from other products on the market. She ended up filing a patent on it, she added, launching only two months after originally watching the movie.
Coming from a family that immigrated from Russia to the United States in 1989, Tatarchuk said she’d also be the first in her family to be a patent holder.
“Katniss is who I felt like I was, on this massive mission to change my life,” Tatarchuk, who attends Park Synagogue in Cleveland Heights and Pepper Pike with her husband, Tal Tamir, said. “And help others change theirs. It is just so hard, and I feel like a lot of people feel that too. Disempowered, hopeless or lost. Symbols are so strong in our subconscious. I knew if I could have something I could wear to make me feel better, there would be an instant boost.”
The name “HNTRESS” also came from similar inspiration, Tatarchuk added. Originally vying for the already taken “Huntress,” she said she recognized the female archetype of the huntress and finding power in the name alone.
“The huntress is sitting in the driver’s seat of her life,” she said. “I want to inspire people into action, whatever that is. I took control of my life the moment I decided I was going to heal myself and stop relying on others.”
HNTRESS is also about empowering the community. For every 10 cowl sweaters sold, one is set aside to be donated to local community organizations. Tatarchuk said she hasn’t decided on an organization to donate to but is doing research.
“Some companies give back a percentage of money or something, but you never really know where that goes,” she said. “I am big on having something tangible that you can hold. That’s why I love real estate as well,” referencing her real estate firm, Premiere Cleveland Investors, which she runs alongside Tamir. The pair also buy apartment buildings with more than 20 units throughout Cleveland. “I am a person that needs to see something, feel something. Money is great, but I want them to be able to have something ground them wherever they are in their life.”
As for the future of the brand, Tatarchuk said she is working to restock the sold-out colors and expand to more inclusive sizing. Designed during the pandemic, she explained she only had one sizing model to work off of – herself. She’s also dedicated to brand and product education, so potential consumers understand how HNTRESS is three clothing items in one.
“After that, as it comes closer to spring and summer, I plan to explore lighter materials,” she said. “But, I am going to stick with this one design until I can educate as much as I can and get the word out there.”