By Raiza Giorgi

Santa Ynez Valley local Katherine Hamaker has always had a love for fashion and wanted to create a line that would not only use her creativity, but also help other kids who were orphaned as she was. 

“I was an orphan at four years old, and I wanted to do something that combined my creative side with helping kids who were just like me and show them being an orphan or adopted is just a part of your story, not what defines you,” Hamaker said. 

“I was an orphan at four years old, and I wanted to do something that combined my creative side with helping kids who were just like me,” said Katherine Hamaker, founder of KatFaith.
Photo by Jessica Maher Photography

Hamaker grew up in Lompoc after being adopted at age 8. Her dream of going to fashion school was put on hold when she met and married her husband Evan, who is a firefighter, and the two decided to start their own family. Hamaker decided to wait until after her two children were older to pursue a career in fashion. 

“I started taking business classes through Women’s Economic Ventures in Santa Barbara and wrote my business plan and they connected me with my mentor who helped me navigate the textile industry and get manufacturers,” Hamaker said. 

After spending several years researching fabrics and designs she started creating her own line KatFaith, which is using Merino wool, a very durable and renewable fabric resistant to water and flame. 

“This breed of Merino sheep produces the highest quality of wool well-fitted for different clothing materials,” Hamaker said. “Thus, Merino sheep are highly prized, thanks to their fine hair that gives us fluffy wool.” 

The wool fiber also has a natural waxy coating that repels liquid, which as a mom, Hamaker said, is very “kid friendly” as she finds lots of things her kids put in her purse and sometimes spill or has left stains in other purses she’s owned. 

All the handbags are also made in the United States at a shop in Los Angeles, which Hamaker is proud to say because she wanted to be sure all the people working on her handbags were getting fair wages. 

“I want to do my part to show my kids if they have conviction and drive they can do anything they want, no matter where they come from and perhaps they might even want to work with me someday,” Hamaker said. 

During this time of going through WEV and getting her business started, Hamaker found family members living close by and four years ago took in her niece and nephew who were living in not-so-desirable circumstances. 

“I decided then that when I started my business that I would do more to help kids that were like me and give part of my proceeds to organizations to help kids who are orphaned or dealing with child welfare,” Hamaker said. 

Hamaker said she then found out her friends Kim and Floyd Wilson, who also live in the valley, started a nonprofit called Hidden Hearts Foundation, which raised funds for homeless children, specifically now concentrating on kids in Tanzania. Hidden Hearts helps the Osiligi Orphanage, which educates and supports kids who have been abandoned or lost families to sickness or disease. 

Six percent of all KatFaith’s proceeds goes to supporting organizations like Hidden Hearts Foundation, which help kids who are orphaned or dealing with child welfare in Tanzania.
Photo contributed

Hamaker decided to sponsor one of their orphans, Kesia Philpo, and donate towards her residential care, education and/or outreach services by committing $1200 a year beyond her proceeds.

Hidden Hearts is working on several campaigns to build a boy’s dormitory and a computer lab. 

“I’ve spoken with Michael, who is the director of the orphanage and have just been amazed at what he’s accomplished in helping the kids there,” Hamaker said. 

Hamaker has done work at an orphanage in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, with her church group and said the experience was beyond rewarding, because she knew exactly what the kids were feeling. 

“This experience has imbued into me natural affection, empathy, and emotional intelligence to identify even the unsaid needs of orphaned children,” she said. “I realize that the events that had taken place in my life at such a tender age were not by accident; I understand that they only empowered me physically, psychologically, and emotionally in preparation for working in my chosen field.”

To learn more about KatFaith visit her website and online store at and to learn more about Hidden Hearts visit