DUTTON — Farm-to-fashion is the passion of Kate Stephens, who at 16 years old launched the future of her family business as a fourth-generation farmer.
After running combines with her dad at 15, Kate was inspired by the history of her family's farm that dates back to 1912 to bridge the gap between farmers and consumers - a mission that has her grandfather, Robert Stephens, happy to know the next generation is interested in continuing the farming tradition.
“Well, she’s a neat gal. For her age she’s done a great job. It surprises me, you don’t really see too many young people start on something and stay with it. I keep telling her, ‘Don’t put too much on your plate. If you’re gonna do a job you do it right or you don’t do it at all,'” Robert said.
And does he think she’s doing it right? “I think she’s doing a real good job now. She’s working real hard at it, I’ll tell ya.”
Now Kate has taken to social media to educate people about how a Montana farm is run, and is launching her first product in "farm to fashion" with a tote bag using 100% cotton and made in the USA.
“I think you’re never too young to start a business, as long as you're passionate about something and you feel you can make a difference. I actually started my first business at nine years old selling farm-fresh chicken eggs, so you’re definitely never too young," Kate said.
As the business grows, Kate hopes to involve field tracing into the production of her fashion to let her customers know the exact field where their goods were harvested.
“A lot of people don’t know where their food and clothing are from, and everything really starts with a farm and a farmer, so I saw a really big need for people to learn where their food and clothing are grown and I think that farm-to-fashion can be as big of a movement as farm-to-table is today."