elenandtuka began in 2002 when elen, due to her thrift store addiction, realized her guest room was so full of her clothing and fabric collection there was no room for guests! Something had to be done since moving was not an option and neither was making her friends sleep on the sofa with two overly friendly cats. So, with a friend from Philly, Tuka, who had found herself with too full cellar of belly dance and exotic clothing due to an eBay addiction, they dragged their stuff to Center City and set up at Philcon, a science fiction convention. They billed themselves as “Lady Elen and Tuka,” (title courtesy of her friend), and proceeded to sell enough to diminish their stock by half by the final hour of the con. While packing up, Tuka remarked that she was going to take the leftover stock to the Salvation Army, and elen, looking at the colorful and exotic saris, harem pants, shawls, wraps, hip scarves said noooooo! I’ll give them a good home, and stuffed everything into her old Blazer to take to her house.
Obviously this did not solve the guest room problem.
A few weeks later elen met an old friend who told her about a holistic and spiritual expo at the Allentown Agri-Plex that sounded like the perfect place to take her collection to sell. The expo would attract women who liked to wear unusual items which expressed hidden parts of their personalities, and seemed perfect for the kinds of things elen was attracted to and bought. And so it was. That spring expo inspired elen’s imagination and she began elen and tuka as a company.
The company has entertained several “tukas” since its founding: Sue Frank, the original Tuka of Philcon fame, Gary, Ellen’s husband who fulfilled the “slave” role by schlepping all the various bits and pieces of clothing and accessories to various venues (and still does as needed), and Carla Messinger, the current 2Kaa (an alternate spelling, so named because of her Native American heritage.) There have been occasional substitute tukas, but most leave the ring exhausted. So far, there is only one elen.