Story and photos by Sam Shook
Stillwater has been associated with cowboys since 1923, when a certain Pistol Pete became a mascot. Although the days of horse-riding and duels at high noon are long gone, the spirit of the Wild West is still preserved. Maybe no one carries six guns on their hips anymore, but people continue wearing cowboy hats or carrying hide purses. Chances are the purse comes from a local shop here in Stillwater by the name of Holy Cow Couture.
Ten years ago, Brittany Pillars lived in Northern California. On a whim, she cut up an old cowhide rug, and, after piecing it into a bag, decided she liked the way it looked. When friends and family saw it, they wanted it, and soon her creative endeavor turned into a brand new enterprise.
“I’m pretty creative,” said Pillars, “I like to mix and match and piece things together, and so when I did that, it kind of just took off. I’ve always kind of had an entrepreneurial spirit and decided that it was a good idea to do that, and it worked out.”
For a while, Pillars worked out of her home, but with the advent of Facebook, the demand for her handiwork grew substantially. After getting married to an Oklahoma man, she moved to Stillwater, and began to work out of the Meridian Technology Center for Business Development. At that point, most of her sales had been through the internet, but people started asking for the bags in person. So, Pillars opened a shop at 135 S. Main, and with a 6500 square foot workshop in the back of their new store, they began to hire local Stillwater residents to help handcraft their various items. Pillars expressed thanks to the many people who came out to help them, including the Chamber of Commerce and Visit Stillwater.
For the four years that Holy Cow Couture has been in business, they have been incredibly popular in Stillwater and throughout the United States. They have not only helped employ locals and people who need to get back on their feet, but all of their items are made locally. Furthermore, Pillars noted that working for Holy Cow Couture provides over twenty-five people with “hands on” work, as opposed to a desk job.
Since starting their Facebook page, Holy Cow Couture garnered nearly 100,000 fans, and is still growing. They sell products for all ages, from rugs, to hats, to knickknacks, to purses (which Pillars is particularly fond of). Pillars described the couture as “very customizable.”
“That’s what sets us apart and makes us different than any of our competitors,” she said. “We are constantly coming up with new ideas and new styles.”
For people who cannot visit in person, do not fret. Periodically Holy Cow Couture hosts live auctions on Facebook, which usually have anywhere from five hundred to one thousand viewers. Not only is it a great opportunity to score a purse at a good price, but sometimes they give some of the proceeds to relief efforts.
So, whether someone is in need of some Western memorabilia, cowhide rugs, or a nifty purse, stop by the Holy Cow Couture. Smell the rawhide, and browse around. The spirit of the Wild West lives on right here in Stillwater.