Clothing and textiles are often the work of women in a community and therefore, seen as less important when it’s actually essential to that community and society. The basic need of clothing itself is one aspect, but there’s another aspect that is self-expression and confidence. For Jill Heppenheimer, owner of TOKo Santa Fe, that’s what is fulfilling about women’s apparel. “I want girls to grow fully into themselves, and to go through the world with confidence.” She believes all girls should feel they can step forward to take pride in their own accomplishments.

Jill Heppenheimer’s belief around sales and marketing echoes a Girls Inc. of Santa Fe belief: Don’t change people; meet them where they are. While versed in the theory of these studies, she prefers a hands-on, experiential approach to learning. Her college degree was in Urban Planning. She got her Master’s in Business and Marketing through night classes while she worked during the day. She feels that everything she learned at night in class had more meaning as she saw it applied by day in her job. For Jill, entrepreneurship is an identity and feeds an inner “hunger”, an inner drive to accomplish something.

TOKo Santa Fe is a relatively new business, having only been open for a little over two years, but Jill has deep ties in the arts and textiles world in Santa Fe. She moved here in 1992, subsequently bought the Santa Fe Weaving Gallery, which she owned with a former business partner for 22 years. Overall, she’s been involved in women’s apparel for 29 years. “Textiles are a road map to culture,” she explains and the style of TOKo illustrates that, showcasing an international assortment of smaller studio designers. Light and modern Japanese streetwear blouses are sold alongside Bauhaus-influenced jewelry from Germany. She sees Santa Fe as an intersection of different people. Jill knows many customers by name and everyone who comes in is a welcome friend.

Pride, self-assuredness, and passion: these are all traits that are inherent to every girl. Jill is a perfect example of what can happen when you allow those traits to flourish!