Omaha’s creative culture expands as Esoteric Velvet grows


By Anna Lynch, Contributor


Esoteric Velvet, an Omaha based design consultant company run by Meghann Schense and Sarah Stormberg, is no doubt “special and rare.” The definition of esoteric is “limited to a small circle,” or of “special, rare or unusual interest,” according to  However, Esoteric Velvet is far from “limited to a small circle.”

Whether it be retail consulting, personal styling or putting a fashion show on for local jewelry designer, Elisa Ilana, Schense and Stormberg seem to do it all. The company, founded in May of 2011, offers consulting services in styling, design, branding and marketing and has collaborated with Omaha Fashion Week, Haute City, the Bemis Center, The Boiler Room and Scout: Dry Goods & Trade, to name a few.

The idea of Esoteric Velvet initially came about when Schense, who was raised in San Diego and graduated from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, made her way back to the Husker state after living on the East coast.

“After being so overwhelmed with all of these cultural outlets on the East coast, Omaha didn’t really have anything highlighting what was going on here,” Schense said. 

Esoteric Velvet has really grown from an outlet to a consulting business, Schense said. 

As the company has continued to evolve since its start a year and a half ago, Esoteric Velvet added Omaha native and Creighton graduate, Sarah Stormberg, to the team this past summer. 

 The two feel passionate about their ties to Omaha, and contributing to the city’s culture and creative arts. 

“It’s what we know and love,” Stormberg said. 

Along with forming collaborations locally, Esoteric Velvet’s reach goes beyond Omaha as the duo’s latest project includes “creating an online platform to bring in local, regional and national vendors, and creating a niche, similar to Etsy [a social commerce site that sells vintage and handmade jewelry] but it would be curated and have a lot of editorial in there to keep the value of these small designers,” Schense said. 

As Schense and Stormberg find ways to highlight culture and foster creativity on local, regional and national levels, they are set to launch the shopping sector of their website on Cyber Monday. The website can can be accessed at starting Nov. 26.

Starting with Omaha, they’re continuing to bring in vendors from  other areas like Kansas City, Denver and Chicago. The pair hopes to expand Esoteric Velvet’s market, along with spreading the idea of localizing culture in other cities, by bringing in vendors from all over.

 “The idea of taking this to other cities and localizing their art and culture scene is definitely the way we want the technology band to  grow,” Schense said.

Stormberg agreed.

“I think this sort of momentum is happening in a lot of places and we love the idea of being able to localize your shopping and provide these art outlets,” she said.

The team has taken a jump start on reaching out to a national audience, as Esoteric Velvet has recently been chosen to be a Style Setter and Ambassador for fashion publication “Harper’s Bazaar.”

Perhaps Merriam-Webster should think about changing the definition of esoteric to “culturally awesome and oozing with knowledge in fashion, creativity and the arts.”