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The Four

At Nykamping, Elijah Nykamp creates handmade and ethically-sourced clothing

“Nykamping is a tent for your body. It relates to the oversize nature of the coats and also is my last name. So, a personal touch, but also an ode to just the oversize nature of the coats,” said business owner, Elijah Nykamp.

Nykamping is a business idea that was brought to life by Elijah Nykamp during the COVID-19 pandemic when everything was shut down.

“I worked at the school in Glen Arbor, and during COVID, I really started working on two things that I hadn’t had time for in the past, which was landscaping and sewing. All of a sudden had a lot of time where I could figure out what I really love to do and in quarantine and how to spend my time. And sewing was one of them. And I really dove into garment construction. I went to YouTube University, and I didn’t get a degree in fashion or anything, but YouTube is really helpful, and a lot of creators are really awesome at teaching skills with garment construction. And that made it possible for me to troubleshoot different techniques,” said Nykamp.


And while he didn’t get a degree in fashion, the seed for making clothing was planted very early on.

“Honestly, my mom used to make a lot of our clothes growing up. Even with Easter just passed, she was talking about like every Easter she would make matching sets for each of us. So, we would come into like a family gathering or something with like matching prints. And so, growing up with that kind of mentality of you can figure out how to make something, whether it’s clothes or anything else. But I think that mentality feels very inspiring to me just in general,” Nykamp said.

From an idea to now a small business that is up and running in downtown Suttons Bay.

“I started with an online website in January of 2023 is when I launched it. So started with 66 ish pieces at the very beginning of the year in 2023 and launched my website and basically pushed it out to Instagram. And I had 1500 ish Instagram followers and I had had a lot of people asking, where do you get your coats from? And just wondering if I would ever sell them and make them for other people. Just really ran with it and decided to say, yes, I love being a yes person and be really excited about new stuff. So, I had some help from friends to make the space and really make it what I wanted it to be,” said Nykamp.


Elijah specializes in creating outerwear like coats and jackets by hand, but his creations wouldn’t be possible without the community surrounding him.

“I think about the time invested in my business. 50% of it is conversations with people and having perspective shifts and me learning how people feel in my clothes and then pivoting off of then their input and making sure that I’m providing something that a wide range of body types can feel really comfortable in, because that’s utmost priority for me. So, I think that’s really, really special, is the one-on-one interaction that people get with the designer and the seller. And that’s somewhat, I think, removed from our lives on a day-to-day basis. We don’t get that opportunity a lot. So, to provide the opportunity to Suttons Bay and Northern Michigan is, I think, really special and really unique,” Nykamp said.

You can shop the ethically sourced and zero waste clothing brand Nykamping in downtown Suttons Bay Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 100 E Adams Street Suttons Bay, MI 49686.

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