Oh, the times they are a-changin'
Over the past five years, dozens of stores have come and gone in Chicago. Four former shop owners tell us about life after the boutique.
Beth Berlin, 36, co-owner of Him from 2005–2007
Then “[My partner Dion Antic and I] opened at the beginning of the metrosexual phase,” Berlin says. “The idea was to give men in the neighborhood a place where they could be comfortable shopping.” Decked out with a foosball table, Playboy magazines and beer, the Wicker Park shop purveyed a collection of casual menswear, with lines such as Rock & Republic, J.Lindeberg and Hudson. In the end, the combining forces of internal conflict between Berlin and Antic and neighborhood changes were too much to bear. “It was hard to compete with Marc Jacobs and BCBG. I was thrilled to close.”
Now With more time on her hands, Berlin focuses on freelance wardrobe styling; recent work has included a Ting Tings music video and a Sears commercial starring Brett Favre. She also spends part of the week working at a high-end women’s apparel showroom. As for opening up another store? “I loved it, and if the economy gets back on track, who knows,” Berlin says. “It was the most fun I’ve ever had, maybe just [because I was] surrounded by men all the time.”