By Libby Rosequist
Schaefer Santos is a Harbor Creek High School senior who launched her clothing brand, Hey Friends, in July 2019.
North East business owner, Sara Kim reached out to Santos about featuring her line exclusively with a permanent wall at her clothing store, Lollie & Co.
“At first, I had just a few pieces in the store and as it gained popularity I began to make exclusive Hey Friends designs just for Lollie,” Santos said. “I started officially working at Lollie at the end of May 2020.”
Santos started this flourishing fashion brand at 16 years old with intentions of it being a side hustle to keep her busy on weekends. Shortly after launching Hey Friends, it became her full-time job.
“I decided to name it Hey Friends because I wanted to have a positive and uplifting brand. “I find myself saying it to everyone and thought it was a good fit,” Santos said. “I want to use Hey Friends to spread kindness and positivity. Also, to possibly inspire others to take a chance on their own dreams.”
In late November, Santos was contacted by a producer of the “Drew Barrymore Show” and after a few interviews she was finally contacted again at the beginning of March, when they offered her a chance to feature her designs during a segment on the show.
Santos was part of the ‘Minute Master Class’ segment where she was able to question Melody Esani, a streetwear designer from Los Angeles, while featuring popular pieces from her own line.
“I feel so grateful to be recognized by such a huge platform and network,” Santos said. “This is a dream and really solidified I was on the right path.
“Of course, I have huge plans for Hey Friends and when things like this actually happen, life doesn’t feel real. But at the same time, it feels very reassuring because this is all I have ever wanted for my business and I am so happy to see it!”
Hey Friends has a variety of pieces including shirts, sweatshirts and stickers available online at heyfriendsbyshaef.com.
Exclusive pieces are also sold at Lollie & Co., 8 South Lake St., North East, PA 16428; or 2566 West 8th St. Erie, PA 16505.