Mr. & Mrs. DIGZ is a trendy Chicago boutique that offers new apparel, high end designer vintage, local handmade designers and nostalgic gently used items for both men and women. Mr. & Mrs. DIGZ carries a vast array of apparel and accessories for all ages. The boutique started after its owner Emilia was laid off from her corporate position and has since grown into one of Chicago’s “go-to” boutiques for fashionable and fun pieces. Emilia’s story serves as inspiration for all of the fashionista’s wanting to start a business. Check out the one of a kind piece’s at the store’s website and be sure to join us as we celebrate its Fall for Fashion event this Thursday from 5pm-9pm.
I had the opportunity to pick the owner Emilia’s brain in order to give the CFTE readers insight into Fall fashion “must-haves” and tips on becoming an entrepreneur within the Chicago fashion industry.
Tell me more about your boutique and the apparel you provide within the Chicago area?
I opened the boutique 4 months after I was laid off from my corporate job (opened May 2009). The store is a 4-part concept consisting of new apparel, handmade apparel, designer vintage and consigned designer items. The reasoning behind this is based around the economy and how hard, if at all, you have been hit by it. Driving down Lake Shore Drive to work one January morning, never did I think it would be my last. I always enjoyed seeing the lake and how it changed day to day and season to season. It was a beautiful commute. Life was good. I had a steady paycheck, a hefty one at that, health insurance was never a thought in my mind, 2+ week’s vacation and much much more. I spent $160.00 a month on a health club membership just to use their tanning deck in the summer months. Money was no object. I spent it like it would never run out and then BOOM! “I need to talk to you in my office.” “I’m so sorry but we have to let you go.” Nothing in my life ever strayed from my control until that one day. There I found myself… back on Lake Shore Drive but this time the lake didn’t seem so pretty. I was in a state of shock. I don’t even think I looked at the lake once. I don’t even think I looked at the road for that matter. Somehow in a heavy daze I made it home and just sat down. I looked around me and thought, “What just happened? Was that for real? Am I dreaming?” but I wasn’t dreaming.
I knew one thing, I was not let go because of performance and for that reason I understood the situation and accepted it “like a man”. I was not upset. I did not feel sorry for myself. I knew it “wasn’t me” that was terminated, it was the real estate industry tanking and companies doing what they had to do to survive the situation they were in and are still in for that matter.
I knew one thing for sure; I did not want to continue working for the corporate world. I was a bit of a Corporate Punk (which is a clothing line I sell in the boutique), meaning I would dress and wear my hair one way for work but the second I came home those clothes came off and out came the “me” clothes and hair. My spirit is too wild for suits and soft pink nail polish. Once I knew I wasn’t going back the new issue was “well, now what do I do that can still pays the bills but also allows me to be me?”
I am a very creative person and love fashion but more than that I love creating clothing, handbags, painting, knitting, note cards, jewelry, etc. I had done it for years but for friends and family never as a “means of paying the bills”. The store’s concept is one of understanding, sympathy if you will, as well as fun and outstanding style and fashion! How is that done? I want people who have been hit by the economy to still feel like they are human. To still feel like they can participate as they did when they had their jobs. Doing that consists of low prices of department store items. I am a huge supporter of creativity and giving people a chance to make money doing so. I have a passion for unique vintage pieces in my wardrobe so I scour the globe for one of a kind item’s. Lastly, to keep price points down for consumers I include consigned items in the boutique. This allows a Dolce &Gabbana blouse to go from $400 to $50.
Who are some of your favorite designers? Why?
Some favorites are Ferragamo, BCBG, Tory Burch, and Calvin Klein. I love a classic style, clean lines, gold hardware/accents as well as fabric combos – tweed and leather, satin and lace, etc.
With fashion week underway what are some of the latest trends you have noticed? Do you plan on implementing any of these trends in your boutique?
HATS HATS HATS! I love that hats are coming back! You need confidence to rock a hat and I thank Mad Men for that. That show made a hat look amazing (on both a man and woman) and I think it made people say, “yah, I can do that!” Yes, I have a few local milliners in the boutique and I can’t wait for people to come and see their work. These items are stunning and all a one-of-a-kind which is the purpose of my store, offering unique one-of-a-kind pieces.
Do you have any style tips you would like to share with our readers?
Yes. Please…when you read that, for example, RED is the “it” color this Fall, don’t go and spend your entire budget on a new red wardrobe. EVERYONE is thinking they need to run out and buy red, red, red and then what do we have. A town full of women all in red. How unique is that? Purchase a few (3-4) pieces of the current “it” color. A jacket, scarf, blouse and sweater perhaps. Buy items that are functional as well as versatile.
Also, incorporate your summer wardrobe into fall. This not only saves money but allows you to continue to wear your favorite summer pieces for a few more months. Keep that tunic and wear it with leggings, boots, cardigan and scarf. Oh, and don’t forget your great hat! Find a style that fits the shape of your face and length of your hair. Need help, give me a call!
You have an upcoming event fall for Fashion; please tell me more about this event and when it will take place?
This fun event will be taking place Thursday, September 22nd from 5-9pm. We will be serving hors d oeuvres and cocktails as well as celebrating the new Fall season and all of the style trends that go along with it! We will also behaving hourly raffles, tons of sale items and discounts for that night only.
What can we expect from Mr. & Mrs. DIGZ in the future?
We have branched out! Mr. & Mrs. DIGZ is now in Edgewater on the corner of Broadway and Granville. Visit us there every weekend from 10am – 4pm. We offer style consultations as well. Call for your appointment!
What advice would you give other inspiring to become entrepreneurs within the fashion industry?
In this current economy consumers are penny pinching to get by. Starting a business now? Do your homework! Find a location with a low rent, do not buy your fixtures/mannequins for full prices – use your resources and use Craigslist or other local means for furnishing your establishment. Vistaprint is also an amazing tool for all of your branding needs (business cards, promotional items, etc.)
Head out to Mr. & Mrs. DIGZ this Thursday and enjoy refreshment’s while you shop for vintage finds and the latest trends!