Downtown Hillsboro welcomed business owner Alexandrea “Alex” Haxel to the neighborhood during a welcome reception hosted by Atlas 46 CEO Brian Carver on Friday, Sept. 18. Attendees wore masks during the outdoor meet-and-greet, which was held behind the Hardcore Hammers store downtown
Haxel spoke to those gathered about her high-end purse company, Alexandrea, and her aspirations for the store she is opening at 107 South Main Street in Hillsboro. The fledgling designer plans to debut her line of high-end handbags at the official opening of her store, but had several prototypes on display throughout the event. Attendees were given a sneak peak at one piece of her collection, a “bow bag” inspired by actress Rose Marie who played Sally Rogers on The Dick Van Dyke Show. The legendary actress was known for the bows she wore in her hair, in particular the black bow she began wearing after the death of her husband, trumpet player Bobby Guy.
Marie donated her famous black bow to the Smithsonian in 2008. Each of the bags in Haxel’s first line are inspired by key women in American history.
Haxel was quick to defer compliments, referring to her purse line as a team collaboration. Working to bring Haxel’s designs to life is Hillsboro resident Edgar Gua, a recent transplant from Guatemala and a leather worker by trade. While most of his past experience has been in small leather crafts, he jumped at the chance to test his skills on a larger scale. Gua estimates it takes around three months to create a prototype from Haxel’s designs, which includes time spent finding suppliers and testing materials, colors and dimensions. Hillsboro residents Micah Dixon and Michaella Gua are also working behind the scenes to launch Alexandrea. There are currently 17 designs in development.
Once the prototype is in the final phase, Haxel’s handbags will be mass produced to be sold on a large scale. Carver, an investor and business mentor in the new venture, stated that some manufacturing would be done in Hillsboro and all Alexandrea products would be manufactured in the country. Haxel’s commitment to American made products, as well as her desire to use her line to empower future female business owners, influenced Carver’s (a father of two daughters) decision to invest in the young designer’s vision. Not intimidated by a challenge, Haxel plans to use her experience working as an associate managing marketer and her natural ambition to launch a website and build a thriving client base online. Her long term goal includes drawing patrons to Alexandrea’s storefront in downtown Hillsboro, giving wider exposure to the area as a whole.
Friday afternoon’s welcome reception ended with a tour of the future site of the store, which is still in the early stages of the renovation process. Alexandrea has a tentative opening date of Friday, Nov. 27, Black Friday.