One of the most important things to focus on when having a business is relationships. This means getting personal and focusing on others.  It will take some time and effort but is both necessary and possible. If you need some help, take a look at this local boutique. Those at Penelope’s work hard to show they care about people and the community.

Boutique Background

Penelope’s has been catering to the fashion needs of Chicago since 2002. This independent boutique was opened by husband and wife, Joe Lauer and Jena Frey. A true team effort, even their dog played a part in the beginning.

Many different factors led the couple to open the boutique. First of all, they wanted to work for themselves. Along with that, they had interests in retail, fashion and hospitality. Most importantly, they saw a need for the kind of boutique they wanted to shop at in the area.  They strived to create an independent store that gave off a friendly, neighborhood-focused feel.  With that, they decided to open their own shop and name it after their dog at the time.

Penelope was actually more than just the inspiration behind the business name. In fact, it could be said that she added to the personal vibe of the boutique. During the early business years, the owners would bring her to the shop almost every day.

Accomplishing A Personal Goal

Relating to Shoppers

First of all, this boutique is a lifestyle store. There are clothing choices for women, men and children which leads to customers returning for different needs. Additionally, there are home goods including items such as rugs and throw blankets.

Also, when stocking clothing, decisions are made based on the needs of those in the Chicago area. For example, there is a wide price range. This allows quality items to be accessible to those on a budget. Similarly, there are a few fast fashion choices for those who crave the latest trends.

Today those at Penelope’s are still working to set the boutique apart by making shoppers feel welcome. To accomplish this mission, they think about the customer experience. This includes considering how employees interact with customers and even the music in-store.

 Keeping Local Communication

It is one thing to talk about wanting to have a personal part in the community.  However, it is another to prove you want that kind of a part by putting in the time and effort. The actions those at Penelope’s take to achieve this status show their dedication. The work being done to have a personal, active presence expands beyond in-store.

Although customer relations is important, there is also a focus on creating and keeping other relationships as well. One way they play an active part in the neighborhood is connecting with other businesses on Division Street. This means going to local events such as craft shows, where they can also talk with potential customers.

Old and New Connections

Furthermore, there is a history with some of the brands that can be found at the boutique. One of the most popular brands, A.P.C., has been sold at the boutique since the very beginning.

Although there has been a relationship with A.P.C. for years, there is an interest in connecting with others. They are always looking to take in new, independent brands and see how they sell.  However, they like to be sure that the products they take in are ethically made.

The future looks bright for the boutique, as it continues to see sales growth. While there is hope to expand, there is no rush. The main focus currently is to ensure quality standards and maintaining relationships.

Those at the boutique feel grateful they have met many inspirational, creative people who are doing great things. By owning a business, they feel as though they can support these individuals.

 Business Advice

Lauer encourages those who want to own their own business to stay organized and keep good records. He knows paperwork can take up a lot of time and that there are several organizational tools for small businesses. The time saved from being organized will allow for more time to be spent on one’s passion.

He also believes to be fair to everyone in the business process. This idea ranges from vendors to customers, as everyone is in it together.


Take a Personal Look

If you don’t have plans for this weekend, check out Penelope’s at The Chop Shop for The Wicker Collective Boutique Warehouse  Sale.  This event will take place on Saturday, October 28th, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This year, the biannual event will feature a total of sixteen Chicago boutiques making space for new items. These boutiques will be selling items for discount prices and have new products at the event. You can also visit Penelope’s online or in-store at 1913 W. Division Street.

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