After time in New York and Paris, this stylish duo came back to North Carolina to build their businesses: a clothing line and skincare studio.
by Catherine Currin | photography by Taylor McDonald
Sisters Lizzie and Katherine Hanes have loved style and beauty for as long as they can remember. “When I was little, I would stare at my mom in the mirror when she’d do her skincare routine before bed and imitate all her moves,” says Lizzie, who’s now 29. Similarly, Katherine, who’s 35, would watch intently as her mother mended or altered clothes with needle and thread. “I got a checking account for my 13th birthday, and immediately got a subscription to Vogue,” says Katherine. “I’d spend hours going through my grandmothers’ closets, looking at labels and cuts.”
“Our girls are very creative in different ways,” says their mother, Jeanie Hanes. That creativity has taken them from small-town North Carolina to New York City, where they honed their respective crafts — Katherine is a designer and Lizzie an aesthetician — and back to Raleigh as entrepreneurs.
Lizzie and Katherine grew up in Glendale Springs, a little town near Boone, and both graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Katherine moved to New York after graduation to pursue a career in fashion, working in sales and operations for big names like Proenza Schouler and Apiece Apart. “It was essentially Fashion Business School 101,” says Katherine. “I learned a little bit about all aspects of the trade. I saw the life cycle of how you make a garment.”
A few years later, after a stint at Capitol, a luxury clothing store in Charlotte, Lizzie followed her sister to New York. She landed a role in customer experience at beauty brand Glossier for several years while also studying to be an aesthetician. She went on to work as an aesthetician at Carrie Lindsey Beauty in Brooklyn, eventually training under mentor Joëlle Ciocco in Paris. Laura Vinroot Poole, the founder and owner of Capitol, says she followed along on Lizzie’s journey in New York: “The bare minimum was never enough for her! She has trained with some of the most talented aestheticians in the world.”
By coincidence, Katherine and Lizzie both decided in 2019 that they were ready to leave New York to start their own businesses. They wanted to settle closer to where they grew up and knew the Triangle would offer community. Plus, their sister Molly had graduated from North Carolina State University and was practicing law in downtown Raleigh, so they had family here, too.
Katherine’s business idea was to create a line of impeccable fashion basics. During her time in New York, she felt like she had access to amazing trends but couldn’t find the timeless pieces to go with them. She decided to name her line Lake Jane, after a pond on the land where they grew up, and set about designing her first collection: a handful of pieces in colorways like navy, lilac, and soft beige — simple crew neck tees, comfortable bralettes, and wear-under-anything camisoles.
“The idea is, let’s not be so precious about our clothes. This is the t-shirt you wear over and over,” Katherine says. She spent time driving to different knitting mills and factories, on the hunt for suppliers and manufacturers whose values aligned with her own commitment to using high-quality materials and producing well-made knitwear.
“I ideally wanted to do everything in North Carolina,” she says. “The cool thing about this area is that people are so open. They want to help.” Katherine leaned on other designers and retailers, like the folks at Capitol, for insight on everything from manufacturing to stocking products. That led her to a manufacturer in Catawba County that sources all of its cotton from the United States.
Vinroot Poole, who’s now a customer and vendor of Lake Jane through her boutique, says she loves the intention behind the brand. “Lake Jane honors and supports North Carolina’s long history of textiles and craftsmanship, while bringing Katherine’s modern ideas and impeccable taste to the industry,” she says.
Similarly, Lizzie was ready to apply all she’d learned working in New York to her own business and knew that North Carolina would provide both the clientele and the support. Sure enough, “a realtor friend of ours found the perfect space — she told me if I didn’t sign the lease, she would do it for me!” she laughs. Steps away from bustling Glenwood South, it’s the perfect size for a one-on-one experience. Lizzie outfitted her space with equipment and favorite skincare products, and within a couple months, Lizzie Hanes Studio was open.
“It was a perfect combination of timing and luck,” she says. From here, she offers facials, chemical peels, and dermaplaning treatments, as well as brow shaping and tinting. She’s also the sole North Carolina retailer of skincare line Joëlle Ciocco, thanks to her history with the business.
The studio has a relaxed, homey feel with creamy paint colors and vintage rugs. “I want people to feel like they’re at home with me, to have the services feel really personal,” she says. Allie Higgins, one of her clients, attests to that vibe: “Lizzie always makes you feel like a close friend in her studio — but a close friend who happened to train in Paris and work in New York.”
Katherine says that her connection to the community is fundamental to her business. “People understand my brand,” says Katherine, who meets her customers through fittings and pop-up shops. “We have an emotional connection.”
While on the surface their businesses are different, they’re both about the same thing: helping their clients feel beautiful, and comfortable in their own skin. “Lizzie and Katherine are both creative forces who have strength, grace, and a sense of purpose,” says Vinroot Poole. “They know who they are, and they have built authentic businesses that are a reflection of their rich history, hard work, and deep sensibilities.”
This article originally appeared in the May, 2022 issue of WALTER Magazine