Team Spirit — Competitors Build a Vintage Dream Shop in Chicago

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Kim Tanner (left) and Marianne de Ley have bonded over their love for vintage.

Kim Tanner (left) and Marianne de Ley have bonded over their love for vintage.

Running an independent business can get, well, lonely. To combat the isolation, Marianne de Ley and Kim Tanner have joined forces based on their mutual love of vintage. After meeting each other at Chicago’s Vintage Bazaar last summer, where Kim sold her retro wares under Strangelovely and Marianne peddled one-of-a-kind finds for The Savoy Flea, the two developed a friendship. Despite being competitors, these Windy City locals established a strong camaraderie.

Their empty studio space before the build out.

Their empty studio space before the build out.

Recognizing that you can only grow your business as big as your physical space, Marianne and Kim decided to put their heads and shops together and recently moved into 1400-square-foot warehouse space at 2621 West Grand Avenue. The large space gives them more room to work on restoring finds, a showroom and a place to interact with the community.

Christening their new studio walls with charcoal paint.

Christening their new studio walls with charcoal paint.

Strangelovely and The Savoy Flea will operate independantly within the same space but will team up often to offer workshops like painting techniques and styling how-to’s. They also have plans to hold several special events and pop-ups throughout the year. Outside of their shared studio, Kim and Marianne often collaborate and share booth space at various flea markets around the city. Catch them later this month at the Randolph Street Market on June 29 and 30.

The Savoy Flea and Strangelovely share a showroom.

The Savoy Flea and Strangelovely share a showroom.

“At first I was protective of my business but after meeting Kim, I realized how important it was to have someone to bounce ideas off of,” Marianne says. “I’m so thankful that we met. It’s opened so many doors that may have never been opened.” By teaming up, Marianne and Kim have created a support system for each other, splitting the costs of their large studio and offering each other a helping hand on everything from advertising to moving furniture.

Having a partner-in-crime means extra hands when it comes to moving furniture.

Having a partner-in-crime means extra hands when it comes to rearranging furniture.

“Marianne and I work so well together,” says Kim. “Our styles blend nicely without being too similar and we think differently which is such an asset. Two minds are better than one and all that.” While Kim’s business has grown to offer upholstery work, The Savoy Flea has evolved into vintage prop rentals and interior decorating.

This dynamic duo has been hard at work putting their finishing touches on their showroom.

This dynamic duo has been hard at work putting their finishing touches on their showroom.

Kim and Marianne are in the stages of setting up their showroom. Starting in early August, they’ll be open most weekends and by appointment at any time. In the meantime, Kim and Marianne are available 24/7 on their respective Krrb corners, Strangelovely and The Savoy Flea.

 
  • Vanessa Londono

    Good catch! I don’t know how I didn’t see that.
    They really did something special with that space, right?

  • fooj

    FYI, the first image of the space is upside down.

  • They look very cheerful and happy. always wish them luck