Shop Around the Corner: Classic styles blended with a modern look — and a focus on statement pieces — at the new Sooo Cute Boutique in Park Ridge
A love of retail: Vania’s love of retail, clothing and accessories started at a young age, leading to jobs at Lord & Taylor and Arden B before she opened her own store in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago. But soon, starting a family took priority, and she left the retail life to raise her son. Years later, when Covid brought the downtown hotel Vania was working at to a standstill, she took it as a sign to follow her passion.
“Retail has always been my thing. I looked at a space (in Park Ridge) two years ago, but I knew if I was going to do this, it’s got to be right,” says Vania, who opened Sooo Cute next to the Pickwick Theater in December. “Covid gave me the push I needed to get out of Chicago. That’s how I ended up here: I was picking up a pizza with my son and saw the For Rent sign. I went home and talked to my husband and knew exactly what I was going to do.”
Vania takes aim at being able to “freshen up an outfit” for her clients by adding a new top or bracelet-and-earrings combination to match that favorite pair of jeans in the closet.
What you’ll find: Think classic styles blended with a modern look — and a focus on statement pieces and conversation starters. “I’m always trying to find cute, interesting and unique items that are perfect for yourself or as gifts,” Vania says, and fresh inventory is never an issue, as new items arrive multiple times per week. Sooo Cute offers outfits and seasonal gear, as well as trendy accessories like earrings, necklaces, purses, scarves and hats.
With an expanding apparel section, Vania takes aim at being able to “freshen up an outfit” for her clients by adding a new top or bracelet-and-earrings combination to match that favorite pair of jeans in the closet. She’s a big fan of cotton, too, because it’s classic and everlasting.
Keeping it local: Vania appreciates the support she’s received, and several local vendors are beginning to approach her about selling their goods in her store, like a candle maker who uses all-natural products in her attractive glass jars and metal tins.
Think spring: Covid has taken its toll on our collective fashion sense, and Vania believes finding a balance is necessary as we begin to get our social lives back. “For spring, we’re looking at mix comfort and cuteness,” she says. “Feel comfortable lounging around at home, but look cute enough to go out to dinner.”
Final thoughts: “I’m happy that I get to be close to home and do what I love, and when you do your work with love, it shows and people see it. They appreciate it.”