Tuesday, June 3, 2008
It's hard to believe that the Juicy Couture brand is only 12 years old. Its signature sweats, tees, scents and accessories have swept the nation making it one of the most recognizable brands for women of all ages. Yet until now Juicy fans were sent to department stores or other retailers to buy this trendy brand. Now, Chicago has become home to two, yes two, Juicy boutiques, the first Juicy stores of the Midwest. One location opened at 101 E. Oak Street on May 29th and another in the Northbrook Court that opened mid-April.
To celebrate their arrival in Chicago, the stores are having complimentary macaroons and champagne June 5th and from the 5th through the 7th ten percent of the profits will all go to benefit Common Threads, an organization that gives back by supporting children to recognize a healthy lifestyle. We caught up with Gela Nash-Taylor to see how they started it all, find out about new lines and to get a look at her favorite places to travel.
Tell us about the early days of Juicy Couture. How did you start the company?
We started the company with $200 and the desire to create the perfect girlie collection.
Did you know that it would be a success when you started?
What do you think about the retail scene in Chicago and did it effect your decision to open two stores?
When Pam and I went to Chicago to do the Oprah Show, we fell in love. After the taping, we ran around going crazy. We had the best time - Chicago has the best stores and the best restaurants and we wanted to be a part of that.
How does your (fashion) style differ from your partner, Pamela Skaist-Levy?
We both go through phases - we are pretty much twins separated at birth. If there is a difference, I sometimes go off on an Angelomanic/English Country/ London Rock n' Roll vibe. Pam can tend towards Malibu surfer/hippie chick.
Your company is ever expanding with new lines and products, what’s next for the Juicy Couture brand?
Choose Sleep, our new intimates/lounge line and our new yoga line.
How do you view the style of the Chicago woman?
All women are the same the world over. We all love looking good and feeling great.
Are you inspired by travel and what are your favorite places to go?
I live to travel. My favorite places at the moment is the English countryside, Tokyo and Oak Street, Chicago.
What should every woman have in her closet?
A Juicy track suit, high-waisted flared jeans, a long hippie dress, wide belts, gladiators sandals, wide cuff bracelets and, of course, a diamond tiara.
What is the best business advice you’ve ever gotten?
From my father who was an insane businessman. One day when we were sitting in the office pulling out our hair, because every time we picked up the phone, there was another problem (this is back when we were baby-mogulettes), he said, but that's your job. You are there to solve the problems.
What is something people are surprised to know about you?
We come to work everyday and love it as much as we did as when we first started and that Pamela and I are still best friends. We are the first phone call of the day, everyday.
The Oak Street store, a two-story brick building that brings in city chic with the Juicy vibe, is open Monday-Friday 10 a.m-6 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.-7 p.m., and Sunday 12 p.m.-6 p.m. The suburbanized Northbrook Court location includes many of the same products but within a mall and is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Both stores will offer lines that have never before been sold in Chicago. For more information, visit www.juicycouture.com.
Intro by Nora Silver, Interview by Melissa Maynard