Each month, the Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce spotlights a different business from our neighborhood. This month we catch up with Carrie Bowers of Embellish! Located at 4161 N Lincoln Avenue, Embellish is an independent boutique selling jewelry, watches, bags & decorative items made by local designers & small labels.
Can you tell us a little about your shop and what you offer?
Embellish is a friendly neighborhood accessories and gift shop featuring unique products from independent, local and global artists. There is usually a story to tell about each of our designers and many give back to a cause that they are passionate about. Because we are passionate about supporting organizations that are spearheading positive change in the world, our customers are able to change people’s lives through their purchases.
What inspired you to start the business? How long ago did you open?
I worked in a little Surf Shop in my late teens and early twenties. I never stopped thinking about how much I had working in that shop. I was also always interested in interior design and was very inspired by my Grandma’s and Uncle’s decorating style. The logical step for me was to open a store to get the best of both worlds. Embellish has been open for 9 years now!
Is there something I can find at Embellish that I won’t find anywhere else?
From time to time we will get an emerging artist that has never sold in another store before.
Do you have a favorite item in the shop?
I’ve had an small obsession with bracelets the past two years. I love creating new arm parties!
What do people find most surprising about you or your store?
That we’re an accessories shop but we have a bunch of little succulents for sale as well.
Is there anything about Embellish you’d say you’re most proud of?
I’m so proud that we have been able to give back to so many different charities and causes and set a good example for our community and other businesses.
What’s the biggest challenge in running a small business?
My biggest challenge is wearing too many hats. My business requires me to be the head of marketing, buying, accounting, hiring, merchandising, cleaning, social media, customer service and so many other things. I’m also a mom and wife, president of my condo board, and I volunteer as much as possible at my daughter’s school. Sometimes my brain feels like mush! It’s worth it though. Sometimes I feel like pinching myself because I can’t believe that I am so lucky to actually work in a store that years ago was just a daydream.
What’s your experience been like doing business in Ravenswood?
This neighborhood is a hidden gem and is so supportive of small business. It is a wonderful experience to get to know so many nice people and make so many new friends. GRCC comes up with so many new, fresh and engaging marketing ideas to help small businesses prosper. The events and workshops are relevant and exciting. The GRCC also has a plethora of connections and has been able to give me successful referrals.
In what ways do you get involved in the Ravenswood community?
We donate to a number of local fundraisers and host events for many local charities in the store.
Do you have anything exciting going on for the holidays?
If you donate to Music Inc Chicago, we’ll give you a 20% discount on your entire purchase through 12/31/17.
If you could throw a parade, what kind of parade would it be?
An electric light parade, like in Disney World.
And finally, when you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be on the Harlem Globetrotters- but I also liked playing store all the time!
For more on Embellish, visit embellishchicago.com, follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you swing by the store to do some Christmas shopping, be sure to save your receipts and turn them in for rewards through our Unwrap Ravenswood local shoppers rewards program.
4161 N Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618