The Closet owner threads life, business with personality

By Bailey Latham |
Photos contributed by Cassandra Helton

Cassandra Helton, owner of The Closet and designer of the fashion line Helton Hill, is headed to the “big time.”

With her line now being sold across the country, a new showroom opening in Maine and her joining the social networking craze, this is the year, her mom, Guyanna Erklens, said. “Cassandra is gonna blow up.”

“What does that even mean? That sounds horrible or really awesome,” said Helton.

Helton grew up in St. Augustine and went to college at Kent State in Ohio for political science. When she came back to town, she didn’t want to pursue political science; her love was for fashion and always had been.

“When I was little, my grandfather took me to thrift stores and I loved being the cute girl who was funky, and outlandish,” Helton said. “In high school, there was this boy who asked me what I was going to give back to the world. And I said that I just wanted to open a boutique. He laughed at me and to this day I have never forgotten how that felt.”

Doing something positive for the world has always been an important thread in the fibers of Helton’s life. The Closet and Helton Hill combine both of her philanthropic and fashion loves. The Closet exercises resources, recycles clothes and supports an open forum for people to sell their work. Helton Hill is creating new outfits out of previously vintage or thrifted pieces.

Helton Hill Clothing Line

When I was interviewing her, Helton saw familiar faces walk past the store four times. Each time she catapulted herself out of her seat and flew out the door, giggling in delight and yelling “Oh I love you!”

This sweet, make-you-feel-like-a-million-dollars, humble, could chit-chat for hours person shows in her work and maybe that is why people cannot get enough of it.

Helton has created customers who love her store and what it stands for.

“Every time I walk into the closet I see something I want to own, I love that it is all recycled clothing,” said Flagler College graduate Rachel Mann. “That means a lot to me and says something about a store.”

“The Closet has a lot of variety of styles and I can always find something cute and eclectic, plus the girls that work there are really friendly,” Merry George, another Flagler graduate.

“The Closet adds a unique touch to MY closet. I’m always pleasantly surprised with what I find there,” said Flagler student Liza Dixon.

Expanding her store and fashion line online invites the entire world to see her identity and what her clothing is all about. As social networking grows larger each day, it lets small business owners, like Cassandra, have an opportunity to make their dreams reality.

Helton Hill pieces are shipping into The Closet up to three times a month, as well as other vintage, local and consignment. Check The Closet’s Etsy shopping page to see more recycled fashions or visit her blog.

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