Featured Faculty: Dr. Deborah Hokien


Photo credit/ courtesty of Deborah Hokien

Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, Professor of Chemistry, and Owner of RetroChic, Dr. Deborah Hokien.

McKensie Curnow, A&E Editor

Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies and Professor of Chemistry, Dr. Deborah Hokien is a woman of balance. Clearly, she has a scientific side to her, but what some may not know is that she also has a knack for creativity.

When Hokien isn’t working at Marywood, she can often be found creating crafts, repurposing furniture, or searching for vintage items to sell at her store, RetroChic.

“It’s a passion of mine. It’s kind of a creative side that counterbalances my scientific mathematical side,” said Hokien.

RetroChic is Hokien’s side business that she started in November 2014.

RetroChic was originally located in Dickson City, but Hokien’s business recently moved to a new location as of January 2016. Despite the move, Hokien kept the business name for branding since she has a following of customers on the shop’s Facebook page and Etsy shop.

Hokien now rents a vendor space for RetroChic at a new shop downtown called On&On Vintage Marketplace. She says that having a full-time job and owning her own business can be demanding, so renting the vendor space instead of owning her own building has taken pressure off of her.

“When you’re doing a business, you always find out what works, what needs to be tweaked, and what changes need to be made. [At the old location], we were only open during the weekday nights for a few hours and I was working every other Saturday,” explained Hokien.

Hokien said that moving RetroChic to On&On is a better model for her in order to keep her business and still do what she likes to do.

“I’m actually very happy at On&On. It’s a perfect fit – I don’t have to work. I just show up, I do my crafting and my repurposing and the owners work the shop,” said Hokien.

At RetroChic, you can find wreaths, home decor, vintage items such as jewelry and clutches, and refurbished furniture. The crafts are handmade by Hokien and her friend, Debbie Winsor.

“A lot of our stuff is one of a kind, especially my stuff. It’s one of a kind, so I might find something and make it and that would be it. I wouldn’t have any duplicates,” said Hokien.

Hokien said that she finds a lot of inspiration and materials from Pinterest, flea markets, yard sales, and Ebay. She enjoys hand-crafting, vintage, and repurposing, but she stated that repurposing is her “thing”.

“I just picked up some very shabby chic old fashioned doorknobs, they’re porcelain. And I was able to get my hands on some old barn wood of a barn that was falling down in Tunkhannock. So, I cut a piece of the barn wood that’s sort of white-washed, and now I’m making one of those boards with the knobs so someone can hang their coat up or something like that,” said Hokien.

Hokien admitted that she has dabbled in some sort of side business throughout her whole life.

“I feel it’s a counterbalance to my day to day job. I’m always working very hard, always thinking critically in this job of higher education capacity, and I appreciate art and music… My mom was the nurse and the math person, and my dad was the teacher and the artist. So, I have a little bit of both of my parents,” said Hokien.

Hokien’s passion for arts and creating, uplifting attitude, and ability to combine work with her hobbies and interests is a recipe for success.

“I can appreciate something old and well-made. I think our society today is very disposable. And it’s kind of cool stuff, too,” said Hokien.

You can find some of that cool stuff by visiting RetroChic at 518 Lackawanna Ave. in Scranton or shopping online at RetroChic’s Etsy shop.

Are you interested in creating some crafts of your own? On Wednesday, April 13 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., RetroChic is hosting a Ladies’ Craft Night Out at Case Quattro Winery in Peckville. Check out their Facebook for more details of the event.

Contact the writer: [email protected]
Twitter: @KensCurnow_TWW