After working in retail for years, sisters Maggie and Jennifer Gelber decided that it was time to be their own bosses and run their own store in their own town in the heart of the meatpacking district at Fulton Market. Raised in the suburbs of Chicago and inspired by their fashionista mother and the fashionable people they saw walking down the street, the Gelber sisters have always loved clothes and admired the people they knew who wore them well. But their concern was that fashion often wasn’t made for real people, and didn’t work with an ordinary lifestyle, which is why they established Fix boutique with “Chicago on the brain,” Jennifer says.
Jennifer noted that many of the styles she and her sister saw at fashion shows would not work for her family and friends. Because of crazy Chicago weather and a distinctive Midwestern fashion sense, Jennifer argues that Chicagoans need a fashion boutique for Chicagoans, and that is why she and Maggie handpicked each clothing item with a particular person or a particular situation in mind, customizing the clothes for lifestyles and people rather than trends.
With a focus on versatility, Maggie explains that they tried to choose items that could be worn differently by different people—that could suit both more conservative dressers like Maggie herself and more edgy shoppers like her sister Jennifer. Refusing to cater to one gender niche or one type of customer, the Gelbers include casual and formal clothing for both men and women in their collection, and have selected from a broad spectrum of designers, including mainstream big names like Loeffler Randall and Generra, and harder-to-find brands like Robert Rodriguez. Refusing to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach, Maggie stresses that, at Fix, they try to give customers what they want and what they need, even if what they want is something slightly quirky and weird. “We want to help people find their personal style,” Maggie emphasizes.
Maggie and Jennifer hope to develop a close relationship with their customers, and they reward loyal customers with special perks, like a VIP dressing room and after-hours fashion consultation appointments. With clothing items ranging upwards from $50 and some gift and accessory items that are in the $20 range, Maggie and Jennifer argue that their store does not exclusively cater to the rich and famous, even though some of their items are as expensive as they are fabulous (Jewelry can cost up to $1,000 and coats can cost as much as $900). In fact, Maggie and Jennifer argue that much of their work has a common touch, since the business is family-owned and run, and designed with their friends in mind. Though her store carries some conventional brand names, Maggie stresses the fact that their boutique has a unique vibe that you won’t see anywhere else. With a sleek, simple design and hardwood antique furniture, the store looks elegant, and yet—because of tables sporting popular fashion magazines and TVs playing fun shows like “Sex and the City”—the place seems fresh and familiar at the same time. (Ilana Kowarski)
Fix, 1101 West Fulton, (312)226-4565, shopfixchicago.com