Part of the magic of a beginning is that, most often, it doesn’t look like much of anything.
A beginning is a spark, a flicker, just the tiniest seed. It isn’t yet something you can know or name, because it still needs to spend its season in the dark, dreaming of the thing it will one day be.
A beginning may come when you least expect it. It may arrive in disguise. For a very long time, it may simply look like an ending.
The story of Arkeras begins this way. But in order to tell the story from the start, first we have to go back. Back before the planning, before the idea, before something anyone could recognize or see. We have to go back to the woman at the center—the one who planted the seed. That woman was Eleanor.
The woman at the heart of Arkeras was born into and raised by a hard-working immigrant family. From an early age, she discovered that clothing provided a way to fit into her community, to establish a sense of belonging, to feel loved. And ultimately, to feel like herself.
Eleanor was my Gram, the matriarch of our family, and I revered her. She enjoyed being the center of attention and had a grace and poise that carried her through life. She paid great attention to looking her best—and set a high bar for me to show myself in my best light too.
Caring for her in her final weeks of life, our roles were reversed but my reverence for her remained, even as the hospice experience shook her sense of grace, pride, and identity.
Eleanor, like many people nearing the end of their lives, needed to use adult diapers, and eventually, under-body pads. Sometimes there was only a blanket covering her body as we tended to her increasing needs.
As her final illness took its toll and she could no longer speak, I saw in her eyes a plea: for comfort, for dignity. But I couldn’t offer her the privacy or discretion she was used to. Observing my Gram’s loss of self in her last moments and not being able to remedy it, was an added layer of pain.
After she passed, I sought solace and healing in the Pacific Northwest’s verdant San Juan Islands, cocooning myself in the family cabin … in silk pajamas, cashmere robe, linen sheets…
cloistered among the trees, and with nothing asked of me, I grieved.
I became conscious of the texture of the materials I surrounded myself with, and how these fabrics made me feel. They took my thoughts to the importance of touch and the way that comfort itself can offer healing.
Held in that space, among the rhythms of nature, I sensed Gram’s presence profoundly. In that nest of days, her spirit and mine were together. I felt the strength and the joy of everything we’d ever shared; it was right there with me, continuing.
i slowly broke through the chrysalis of grief.
I imagined an alternate ending: a hospital gown to give to Gram, with all the comfort and dignity she deserved. A beautiful garment that could offer discretion through technical and thoughtful features. A gown of simple luxury that would feel good to the touch.
And this was the moment of change—
the moment when the ending opened into something else. This was where the first green growth of Arkeras began to show itself.
Today, these beginnings have opened into something tangible, something visible, something we are ready to share. This is Arkeras. We’re here to support a body’s journey with empathy during life’s biggest moments. We’re here during labor and delivery, an annual mammogram, or the difficult path of chemotherapy. We are here to offer you tangible comfort and care.
Arkeras began in a challenging season of life. And out of that time came our mission to support you in every season of yours.
We’re so glad you’ve found us,
We are Arkeras, Artisans of Empathy.