Delray Beacher Katrina Stoneking grew up around fashion—her mom worked for Saks Fifth Avenue and, along with Katrina’s grandmother, taught her how to sew—but it wasn’t until tragedy struck in 2017 that Stoneking discovered how fashion intertwined with her calling.
At the age of 32, Stoneking suffered three heart attacks. She was eventually diagnosed with Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD) and emerged from the nightmare with a new lease on life. In 2019, together with her husband, Matt, she opened Bitsy Stoneking, a boutique and online store featuring slow fashion from around the globe. For Stoneking, the new business has become both a creative outlet and a way to express her gratitude for the gift of life.
“When I opened my boutique, I felt it was important to give back to the doctors, researchers, and staff that saved my life at the Mayo Clinic and made this next chapter possible,” she explains. They donate 10 percent of sales to support the efforts of SCADresearch.org.
Stoneking had owned a store once before—a collegiate apparel boutique she ran with her sister during a stint in Los Angeles—but for Bitsy Stoneking’s vibe, she wanted to return to her roots in high-end fashion. “It has always been a passion of mine,” she explains. “I enjoy helping people find exquisite pieces to bring into their wardrobe. I don’t enjoy wearing items that a lot of people have, so I want to create an experience like that for other women like me.”
Stoneking sources pieces through extensive research and her own personal travels, importing women’s clothing and accessories from all over the globe. Her loyal fan base has seen garments from France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Australia, New Zealand, Haiti, and beyond.
“Whenever I travel, whether domestic or internationally, I make sure to explore the culture and make connections to the clothing,” she says. “I want to know where it’s coming from, what it’s made of, and why. I like to learn the story behind the designer and how that comes through into their pieces.”
So, why “Bitsy”? As Stoneking and her husband debated names for their daughter, she decided that whatever they didn’t choose would go to her clothing company. Their daughter became Annabelle and their store Bitsy Stoneking.
Next on the horizon for Bitsy Stoneking is a fashion line, beginning with a collection created in collaboration with local Project Runway alumna Amanda Perna. Bitsy Stoneking X Amanda Perna, which debuted this fall, features ready-to-wear dresses and separates in brocades, embellished mesh, and bright colors that capture Perna and Stoneking’s zest for life.