Before she hit 24, Nicolette Karney had already worked a slew of dream jobs. She’d been a professional dancer, a model in New York City and was involved with casting for reality-show hits like “Survivor” and “The Apprentice.” But her real goal was to open her own boutique. A trip to Arizona proved fateful when Karney met Lindsey Madigan, a buyer who had worked for Crush (a successful Malibu boutique) and was planning to move to Chicago. From there, “everything just fell into place,” Karney says.
Today, the doors open at SHE, Karney’s Lincoln Park boutique. (Madigan is, of course, the buyer.) An acronym for “she has everything,” the store’s selection of women’s clothing and accessories reflects the fashion-forward tastes of its proprietress. “When I was researching, I went into a bunch of boutiques, looking for what’s missing,” Karney recalls. “Some places were so un-colorful and drab…no one was really daring. I take risks with what I buy, and I don’t buy anything I wouldn’t put on my own body. If it doesn’t look great, I don’t buy it.” And shoppers can rest assured that if the SHE girls would wear it, it’s on the cutting-edge of fashion: “Every day, we’re online, we’re on the phone [researching trends]…right now, I’m sitting here with a pile of British magazines,” Karney says.
So what’s on Karney’s must-have list for summer? “I live in Enzo Costa tank tops,” she enthuses. “As soon as the box comes into the store; I rip it open. I need one in every color! They fit so well—they just fall on you.” She also waxes poetic about Kushcush swimwear; jumpers by Sophie Simmons, Jet jeans (“the most fabulous jeans I’ve ever owned), mini-dresses from several designers and backless tops by Alisha Levine.
Despite all the fabulous fashion, SHE is “a place where people can relax; we’re all about the customer service,” Karney says. “We serve champagne to shoppers, boyfriends can watch football on flat-screen TVs and when we’re in the store, we’re open! If people walk by after we’ve closed, we’ll open the doors to them.” (Jennifer Berg)
SHE, 1024 West Armitage, (773)380-8061.