It’s that time of year again! As fun as Chicago summers are, my heart always and forever belongs to the fall season. I can’t describe it, there’s just something about the brisk weather and falling leaves that always seems to recharge my creative senses. Considering my busiest time of year is straight ahead, that’s one heck of a happy coincidence! As the temperature dips, you can bet that I’m breaking out my coziest sweaters and boots. You’ll most likely find me in the studio making jewelry, filling orders, and generally working the days away with a yummy beverage by my side. ☕
While I’m really looking forward to all of the above, the fall season tends to bring on warm fuzzies for me in general because it’s filled with major milestones and celebrations for my jewelry business. Along with the launch of my brand new handcrafted jewelry site in late September this year, I’m also incredibly excited to be celebrating my showroom’s third anniversary at the Andersonville Galleria over Andersonville Arts Week! To help celebrate the occasion, I’ll be offering 10% off your ZKD jewelry purchase at Galleria this weekend from Friday, October 13th – Sunday, October 15th!
When I started selling jewelry back in the day, I sold online exclusively, and later gained experience with selling in stores and at markets. Selling online has been a must must for a while, but it was as I began selling at stores and markets that I began to realize the benefits of having my ear to the ground with customers. Seeing my customers on a regular basis helped me to get an idea of who they were and what they liked, and informed me on how to best suit their needs through my work. It became an integral part of my how I designed my jewelry line and informed my creative process overall.
As time went by, it really did seem to be a dream to have my own space. While having my own little handmade jewelry boutique became a real goal down the line, I had no idea how I was going to accomplish it! When you’re working on a small scale and have to consider things like limited capital, expansion can seem a bit daunting. Luckily, when you do markets in Chicago, you have a tendency to meet great people who are also amazing resources. This is exactly how I found out about the Galleria!
I first heard about it from friends early in 2014, and near the end of the summer started hearing vendors tell me that my jewelry line might be a good fit. Anyone who makes jewelry or does markets probably is aware that handmade jewelry can be a very saturated area, but I was encouraged to apply anyway. What could it hurt, right? The real goal was to secure a booth by the holiday season. So I took a trip there to check it out myself, and loved the concept straightaway. I figured it was worth the risk, so I put in my application, and was thrilled when I find out that I got accepted! It was a couple weeks before Andersonville Arts Weekend, which meant I had a lot of work to do in order to be ready in time. I was up to the challenge though, and am so glad it worked out!
What is the Andersonville Galleria, You Ask?
For those unfamiliar, the Andersonville Galleria is essentially an indoor art festival that’s open year-round, seven days a week. The shop itself looks small from the outside, but don’t be fooled! There are two full floors, each with their own mezzanine level. Depending on the time of year, there’s anywhere from 70-100+ vendors showcasing their work. Vendors are responsible for the design, display, merchandising, and maintenance of their booth/area. It’s a great gig for up and coming artists or new small business that have the time and resources to dedicate. There is a staff at the front desk, so I don’t have to be there all the time. I do go at least once a week, just to make sure there’s inventory and the space looks nice. I’ve found it makes a big difference!
Nestled in one of my favorite areas of Chicago, Andersonville is a historic neighborhood with Swedish roots that boasts a bustling, pedestrian friendly retail corridor featuring lively restaurants, cafes, bars, and theater. In addition to all this goodness, it’s home to a unique selection of cool shops with local flair. The neighborhood locals are incredibly supportive of the artistic community, which makes it the perfect place for small and creative businesses to thrive.
It seems like only yesterday that I walked into the Galleria – I can’t believe it’s already been three years! I have to say, it has been one of the most awesome things I have been able to do. Not only has it fulfilled an important personal and professional goal for myself, but it’s taught me so much about how to operate a successful creative business. Now that I’m thinking about it, might be worth another blog post, no? 😉
So come out to the neighborhood and support local artists this weekend. While you’re at it, drop by my Andersonville Galleria showroom to get a 10% discount on your ZKD jewelry purchase to celebrate my showroom’s three year anniversary. Here’s to success – past, present and future! 🥂