Photography by Jessica Turner.

Delicate embroidered dresses and colorful children’s jumpers hang over boxes of blood-clotting bandages and bullet-proof vests ready for shipment to war-torn Ukraine. 

An assembly line of volunteers pack, seal, wheel and load boxes to an airport-bound moving truck. 

 “I don’t even know how many people there are in here,” Ukie Style owner and Preston Hollow-area resident Olena Jacobs says in a video streamed to her business’ social media pages. “My beautiful store has become a hub for volunteers all helping — boys, girls, Ukrainians, Americans, even some Russians.”

The helpers in Jacobs’ store on this day in early March are not only packing and shipping supplies to Ukraine, but they are helping with everyday shop orders. That is also important, because Jacobs says 100% of the boutique’s proceeds are going to support the people of Ukraine.

The tiny boutique on Preston Road, just south of Interstate 635, since the threat and outbreak of war with Russia, has become a charity and gathering place for collecting supplies for soldiers and refugees in Jacobs’ homeland. The Ukrainian Cultural Club of Dallas receives donations for the places that require them most.

Board member Nataliya Shtanyuk says Jacobs and Ukie Style have been an “absolute blessing” for the club and its mission to support humanitarian needs of Ukrainians. 

In early April, the store is quieter. Jacobs had to ask people to stop bringing in-kind donations because too many were ignoring her list of needed items,  dropping off unnecessary goods. Boxes still line the walls, ready for shipment — medical supplies for the war, she says. 

A girl’s set — a vivid floral vine hand-stitched onto a white blouse over a red ruffle skirt —  hangs from a hook. It was made in Ukraine, Jacobs says, and it’s the last one. Because most of the shop’s inventory is made in Ukraine, her once-vibrant stock of clothing and accessories has dwindled. She is printing “Pray for Ukraine” T-shirts and selling blue and yellow bracelets made by members of area churches.

Over a speaker, a voice broadcasts in Ukrainian. Every news outlet is discussing the brutality of Russia’s invasion, specifically the latest shocking images, which show dozens of dead Ukrainian civilians strewn about the streets of Bucha, a town northwest of the capital, Kyiv. 

Shopper and area resident Lee Erickson saw Ukie Style’s videos and stopped by to show support, she says. 

“My heart is broken. I’ve never been in before now,” Erikson says. “The store is beautiful, and I just want to give some money, wear a pin in show of solidarity, whatever small way I can show my love for their country, the people, and my objection to what the Russians are doing.” 

Jacobs, a native of Donetsk, Ukraine, living in the U.S. since 2009 says a brand based in Kharkiv, which Russia bombed in March, served as motivation for her own entrepreneurial aspirations.

“I lived in Kharkiv for 10 years before moving to the U.S. I studied and worked, loved and made wonderful friends there. It was known as City of Students and was peaceful, fun and dynamic,” she says. “It was the Kharkiv-based brand Nenka and their contemporary outfits with traditional Ukrainian designs that inspired me to start the Ukie Style business. Now Putin’s command has brought unthinkable destruction and devastation to this city’s residential, cultural and business areas.”

Jacobs launched Ukie Style online in 2015 and opened a physical location in Preston Valley shopping center in 2020.

Just before The Advocate went to press, an unexpected delivery of Ukrainian blankets, shawls, head wreaths, dolls and other merchandise, flown in from Warsaw, Poland, arrived at the shop. 

“It’s a happy miracle during a dark time,” Jacobs says of the shipment. 

The Ukie Style store at 12817 Preston Road, suite 124, will be selling its new merchandise and donating 100% of its proceeds to the UCCD.