Eskell, the vintage inspired Lincoln Park boutique, celebrated its first anniversary Thursday, Spetember 21, 2006 with a small party and trunk show from jewelry label Mifflin. In addition, shoppers were also treated to a 25% discount on all new merchandise. The back room behind the boutique was opened up, and inside guests dined on complimentary appetizers and drinks, while music played from a nearby table. Handfuls of people browsed through selections inside the cozy space, including pieces from Mifflin’s collection, while owners Elizabeth Del Castillo and Kelly Whitesell mingled along with the crowd.
Elizabeth and Kelly, who have been friends since high school, first collaborated on a clothing line with the same name as their current boutique. What began simply as a fun pastime soon turned into a serious decision to open a business. When Eskell debuted a year ago, their line sold out almost instantaneously. Since then it has expanded to retailers in Australia, Miami, Tampa, and New York. As for the other items that you can find in the store, many of them exemplify the pair’s love for vintage. â€œWe like to mix and match vintage with designer labels in our own wardrobes. And we love hunting for one of a kind pieces,â€? says Kelly. Some of their top selling labels include H. Freddrickson, Porridge, Prairie Underground, and Parisian label Manoush. Eskell is also insistent on providing their customers with clothes at a reasonable price, with almost everything in the store costing under $300.
The boutique’s dÃ©cor also reflects on those aesthetic sensibilities. An antique sewing machine, framed retro pin-up calendar posters, and small vintage boxes are a few of the fixtures you’ll find along the walls. Adding to the coziness is a string of old post-cards, a beautiful, expansive potted plant, and pages from current magazines that highlight trends and must-haves for curious shoppers.
As for the best part of opening up their own boutique, Kelly says, â€œIt’s exciting to see people’s reactions. I love it when someone comes and tells us that your store is so unique or you have a good eye or I want you to decorate my house.â€? More importantly, they enjoy the instant feedback they get on their label. She adds, â€œOther designers don’t always know what pieces sell well and what doesn’t work, but we get all that information straight from our customers, and plus, I can custom alter the merchandise to suit all different types of women.â€?
And don’t expect these Chicagoans to pick up and leave anytime soon. Though Eskell is located off the main Lincoln Park shopping street of Armitage, which at times has been challenging for the Webster St. boutique, both of them are firmly planted in the Windy City. According to Kelly, â€œSo many people I know leave for New York, but I want to stay in Chicago. I really like the support that I have here.â€?