As many of Chicago’s boutique owners will tell you, online purchasing has changed the face of the shopping landscape. Whether it’s a way of life, a procrastination tool or a method of scoring killer deals, countless shoppers spend hours scooping up duds from online sites like shopbop.com and net-a-porter.com. Recognizing the rapidly growing dependence on shopping via the Web, shuttered boutique Language made the switch to an online boutique, and this month two successful brick-and-mortar boutiques, Veruca Salt and SHE, launched consumer sites that are attractive, user-friendly and chock-full of more goods than any store can carry.
Shrink, a new Chicago-based online boutique, is throwing its stylish fedora into the online ring with the recent launch of its new Web site. Featuring men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, Shrink focuses on clothing with an urban aesthetic, with goods that carry elements of streetwear, sportswear and ready-to-wear, with each piece standing out on any Chicago street for being hip, edgy and utterly unique. The brainchild of brother-sister team Kenneth Carney and Nicole Briggs, the name comes from the idea of shrinking down the unnecessary merchandise and providing only the best, and Shrink does just that. Women will find baby-doll tops from Converse by John Varvatos, a jersey hooded dress from Eros, retro-printed tees by SWNDL and red leopard-print leggings with purple stripes by Brian Lichtenberg that bring a dose of Prince in his “Purple Rain” days. Guys can check out attire ranging from dressy to laid-back, with a classic white button-down from Ulterior Motive, and a wide array of tees from Eio, Baroke and Cake.
“We did online because we feel it is the wave of the future and retail,” Briggs says. “It was a cost-effective way to test our market.” Though the Web makes Shrink a global company, Briggs and Carney shout-out to Shrink’s hometown, as visitors are treated to tunes by local Chicago artists as they surf the site, and a blog keeps track of the best gallery openings, parties and events around our city—fitting, as any streetwear aficionado would attest that the streetwear style is as much about camaraderie as it is about the head-to-toe look. Shrink offers amenities such as free shipping with a $100 purchase, reasonable price points and customer alerts when a new product or line drops into the ever-evolving repertoire. After all, online boutiques have to stay as competitive as their brick-and-mortar counterparts do. (Molly Each)
Visit Shrink at shrinkboutique.com