Small Business Profile: Julie and Bridget, Owners of STORE. - Chicago
Hi Julie and Bridget! Tell us a little bit about yourselves.
We’re Julie and Bridget, co-founders of STORE. We are two girls that love anything one of a kind which leads into our enthusiasm for vintage and resale. We launched STORE. in June of last year as a way to share our passion with others.
What are your backgrounds (i.e. education, previous jobs, experiences that led you to create)?
Bridget: I worked several retail and customer service oriented roles while living in Seattle. Before moving to Chicago a little under 2 years ago, I had spent 3 years as a personal stylist for Nordstrom. I left the company in search of more creative freedom. Reluctantly, I went back to work for the company in women’s designer when I moved. In hindsight, I'm glad I did because it lead me to STORE.
Julie: I am originally from Western PA. I started working for Nordstrom in women's designer in Pittsburgh, which then took me to Cincinnati for another role. Ultimately I ended up in Chicago working as the SPACE ambassador for Nordstrom. This role entailed growing a smaller branch within women's designer thats focused on emerging brands. SPACE almost felt like a start up in the sense that I was in charge of monitoring both front and back ends of the business. It was a great learning experience for my future endeavors.
When did you two meet and what made you want to be business partners?
We met through our roles at the Michigan Avenue Nordstrom in women’s designer. We immediately clicked as friends and bonded over our unique outlooks on fashion. We spent most of our free time going to estate sales, initially looking to add to our own wardrobes. It wasn’t until our estate sale hobby got out of hand, that we considered becoming business partners.
What led you to start STORE.?
We ended up with an overabundance of product when we couldn’t leave behind pieces we found at estate sales. Even if they weren’t our personal size or style, we were finding such great pieces and we knew someone needed to have them. After we managed to fill both of our spare bedrooms, we knew it was time to take the next step. STORE. evolved quite a bit from its initial concept. While buying our product, we started seeing trends. This is when we decided to integrate the rotating curations. Since we both come from designer backgrounds it made sense to elevate the experience by showcasing our product more like a runway collection.
How did you go about finding a space?
Initially, we were toying with the idea of an actual storefront, however, as the search went on we discovered that didn’t make the most sense for our concept. We decided to utilize a by appointment space for several reasons. We want to make sure that STORE. is a resale shopping experience like no other. Providing a one on one appointment makes the experience feel so much more personal and we can really take the time to show clients how to style and pair the garments.
What makes you passionate about the work that you do?
There are so many things! We both definitely share the passion of elevating vintage and resale. We love thinking outside the box in how we curate and present our product in a way unlike other vintage shops. Another super gratifying thing that keeps us excited about the work we do is seeing our customers reactions. It’s such a great feeling when someone finds a piece they love just as much as we do. Lastly, the sustainability in vintage and resale is something we both feel strongly about. It’s so important to be conscious of your environmental responsibility and its wonderful to be proud our business takes part in that.
At The Glossary, we believe in women working together and helping one another. Why do you think it is important for women to support each other?
We think it's important for everyone to support each other! At STORE. one of our fundamental values is inclusivity. We want everyone in the STORE. community to know that we support whatever makes them happiest in self-expression and fashion. Fashion should be fun!
What creative women do you find inspiring?
A favorite is Rei Kawakubo. We love that she is a rule breaker. She’s never listened to any “rules” with her designs. We also adore Zana Bayne, a leather worker out of New York. She brilliant merges BDSM inspired design with high fashion. Ashley Williams would be a third woman we admire for un-apologetically sticking to her design aesthetics.
What are some of your favorite places in Chicago?
Wasabi for sushi (we also had our “first date” here), The Robey; theres something there for every occasion from brunch to late night drinks, Olivia’s Market for flowers and fancy treats, Ikram for a splurge.