If you’re a woman who loves handbags, hats, and a tailored shopping experience that you won’t find anywhere else, then stop by Cathy’s Unique Pursuits in the Northern Neck.
Sewing is laced with fond memories for Cathy Hemans. Her grandmother sewed on a foot pedal machine–something Cathy always wanted to do as a child. Her grandmother eventually gave her an old Singer machine and lessons. From that point on, Cathy was off to the races. “I sewed everything I could get my hands on,” says Cathy.
Sewing purses became Cathy’s real passion. She made her first one by age 13 and carried the hobby through adulthood. In 2013 she had more than 200 in her inventory, and her husband suggested she open a store. He was half-teasing to get them out of the house, but the idea stuck, and Cathy’s Unique Pursuits was born.
A boutique filled with what she loves.
“Drop Dead Threads” is the name of Cathy’s purse line. Many of the styles include fabric designed by her friend, and artist, Kim Able. Kim’s bird and river patterns are popular with those in the area.
Most of the time, Cathy lets the fabric pattern inspire her to lead the design. “I like to use embellishments where ever possible, such as tying in river shells and rocks as details,” Cathy adds.
She is also proud that she and Kim are totally independent and that all items are made by hand in the USA.
Cathy says that every purse is her favorite. “I always think I’m going to make the next purse for myself, and then I don’t.”
Another gem found inside the shop is a collection of hats mostly from Pomegranate Moon and the Wallaroo Hat Company. “I’m a hat person, which is why I sell them,” says Cathy. “I would wear a hat all the time if I could.”
Looking for something hard to find? Let Cathy do it for you.
The little boutique at 51 N Main St in Kilmarnock carries a full range of women’s clothing and accessories in addition to hats and handbags.
She accommodates the hard-to-fit by offering a vast selection of lines. Her customers often tell her what they are looking for and she will personally shop for them; taking orders over the phone and even shipping out of state.
“I try very hard to meet people where they are and still get the exceptional items they want,” says Cathy. “As a result, when that customer visits the area again, I am on their destination list.”
In the Northern Neck
Cathy is a North Carolina native who moved here with her husband when he retired in 1996. He is an avid fisherman and wanted to be closer to the Chesapeake Bay. She loves the Northern Neck and now calls it her home.
She says the town does a great job with its image and people feel a welcoming vibe. She also says she received a lot of support from her community which helped her remain positive throughout the pandemic.
Cathy shares that it’s uplifting to hear her customers share the same views about her town being a great place to live and shop. “Those comments are very inspiring and motivating to keep up a certain standard.”
If you’re planning a trip to the Northern Neck or looking for a unique piece to add to your wardrobe, stop in to see Cathy and her unique pursuits.