Last week, as you may remember, I had a wonderful shop tour featuring the new Fact & Fancy shop in Brooklyn. I loved it and immediately wanted to make it a regular feature here, so I sent out a call to other shop owners to share tours of their shops with us, and the first to answer? The spunky Kay, owner of Unique Freaque, a shop located in the lower lever of one of Oak Park's (a Chicago suburb) historic row houses. 99% of their goods are hand-crafted and include lots of art and jewelry. Let's stop on in and take a peek, shall we?
What is the name of your shop and where is it located?
How long have you been in business?
Unique Freaque, Ltd. located at 121 N Kenilworth Ave, Oak Park, Illinois 60301. We've been in business for 6 years (est. May 2002)
What sorts of items do you sell? Who are some of the designers you carry?
We carry original, one-of-a-kind art, jewelry and gifts by Jill Buckingham Designs, Michelle Kendrick (recycled rings), Kendra Roberts, Elizabeth Wohltman and many others!
What sort of mood/design aesthetic does your shop have?
The mood is unique, eclectic and inspiring - we have sculpted strong men holding up the ceiling, a fireplace, stone flooring with Scottish Thistle embedded in it, and a stenciled ceiling. We're located in the lower level of an 1890's rowhouse, there's lots of history.
What price range do you carry?
Our price range is $2.00 - $500. We strive to carry "Art Within Reach"(tm) so there's something for everyone.
What do you think makes your shop stand out from the crowd and keep people coming back?
ME! LOL... And our ever revolving one of a kind art, the shop ambiance, good location, artist shows, unique items, and affordable prices.
Do you operate on wholesale or consignment? Do you accept submissions of handmade items from designers? If so, what's the best way for them to approach you?
We work mostly on consignment. And yes, we accept submissions of items from designers via the internet or walk in or referral from other artists.
What is the best thing about owning your own shop? And the worst?
The best part is meeting a wide variety of unique personalities, both in customers and artists. We are in a tourist area, therefore I meet a lot of people from all over the world. The worst part is the drive to it, I live over an hour away, and the long hours.
What is one lesson you can pass down to future shop-keeps who are just getting started?
Don't give up.
Thank you, Kay, for giving us a little glimpse into your shop! If you're in the Chicago area, be sure to stop in and see Unique Freaque in person!
And, if you're a shop owner who would like to give us a virtual tour of your own store, just email me with the subject "shop tour" and let me know!