One local artist has found a way to seamlessly incorporate the beauty of San Marcos into wearable items.
What started as a Texas State student’s idea in 2006 has grown into a thriving local company called Daughter of the Wild.
Nikkye Re’Anne Vargas, founder, said her business specializes in creating custom-made items using natural resources from the community.
“Daughter of the Wild is a personalized expression, utilizing as much natural resources as possible,” Vargas said. “It’s a lot of playing around with stones, bones and plants and incorporating those into different types of wearable art.”
Her business sells a variety of necklaces, rings, bracelets, dream catchers and home-grown succulents, all of which she crafts herself.
Vargas said her drive to create and sell items was never about money.
“Even if there wasn’t any money exchanged, I would still go out and do this because it’s a way of reconnecting people to nature,” Vargas said.
Vargas said it is important to her that the products she creates help people develop a better relationship with nature.
“With these creations people are exposed to natural elements and their benefits,” Vargas said. “I create something out of them to allow the stone to potentially help whichever individual purchased it.”
Vargas said her ultimate goal is to use natural resources to bridge the gap between the natural and spiritual worlds. She often looks to indigenous cultures, which do not differentiate between nature and people, for inspiration.
Vargas hopes to use her platform to raise awareness of the need to respect the environment.
“We have to reconnect back to nature—respect the water, protect the land and stop choosing money (and) illusion-driven options for society,” she said.
Vargas said the Daughter of the Wild booth can be found in the Quad or at the San Marcos Farmers’ Market two to three times a month.
“I’m sponsored by the chartered LGBTQIA student organization, Lambda of Texas State,” Vargas said. “I wouldn’t be able to set up in the Quad if it wasn’t for them.”
Vargas said she enjoys selling items in the Quad because of the exposure it gives her to diverse crowds.
“You never know who you’re going to interact with,” she said.
Vargas said the support she has received from the community has been astounding.
“It’s such a rewarding process to have validation of what I’m doing,” Vargas said. “People really seem to be in support of it and wanting to see more of it.”
Caitlyn Dean, psychology junior, Lambda member and student assistant for Daughter of the Wild, said she is honored to be able to learn from Vargas.
“I’ve only been in collaboration with Daughter of the Wild as the Lambda representation for her for this past semester, but I’ve been purchasing her items for years now,” Dean said. “She’s honestly one of the most genuine people. She’s always welcoming and friendly no matter what.”
Dean said she has personally witnessed the healing powers of the merchandise Vargas offers.
“I have experienced firsthand how the crystals and stones within her merchandise really do have helpful aspects and healing abilities,” Dean said. “Especially because of her outlook on wanting to help people grow, the brand itself just has a good energy that’s nice to experience in this stressful world.”
Tylar Cowart, Lambda president and psychology junior, said Vargas is a force of nature.
“She is so in tune with everyone and everything surrounding all of us,” Cowart said. “She can read whomever comes into her booth and figure out what they need.”
Cowart said Daughter of the Wild is more than just a brand. It is a philosophy.
He said shoppers are ultimately supporting nature conservation in San Marcos.
“She is a river guardian for San Marcos, she is part of an initiative to stop littering and she’s always cleaning up the city to give back to nature and restore this area,” Cowart said. “I definitely think people should check it out, because it’s so much more than supporting the company.”