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Independent Chicago neighborhood businesses collaborate to expand their reach and profits.
Small, independent businesses in Chicago’s Roscoe Village neighborhood initiate a collaboration resulting in expanded reach and profits for retailers and service providers. No Chamber of Commerce promotion nor City program-- just keeping it local.
Wishcraft's fashion and sewing camps have been a hit since they debuted in 2009. The many campers that return year-after-year know that there are always new fashionable surprises to find at the Wishcraft Workshop come summer. This year Wishcraft approached fellow independent Chicago businesses CRUSH on Roscoe to explore opportunities for a field-trip during which campers would learn about fashion merchandising. “Candice contacted me with the idea and I was so excited to be a part of it. It gave me so many other ideas for how we could make the experience fun for the campers and cross-promote the businesses. We offered to feature the camper’s styled outfits on mannequins in our window display and we sent campers home with a coupon and a small present”, says Amanda Shell, Manager of CRUSH on Roscoe. “Those coupons turned into new sales and many visits from campers proud to show off the garments they made in camp.”
The Wishcraft team was so thrilled with the collaboration that they looked for other opportunities. Interior-design campers learned about interiors on a field-trip to Workroom, Inc. Green-fashion campers learned about recycling vintage clothing from the owner of Shangri-La Vintage. The reach expanded beyond the immediate neighborhood and to larger businesses. Photography students snapped pictures of produce in the local Whole Foods Market. Garment and other project materials were sourced at a discount from an independent fabric store in an adjacent neighborhood, The Needle Shop, and then photos were posted on Facebook and Twitter with links to that shop’s online store.
The summer programs are now drawing to a close and classes and new programs for Fall 2012 are about to begin. Blansett-Cummins concludes, “This won’t be the end of this new way of working together. It has just been too successful, too easy, too fun to go back to doing it any other way.”
The Collaborating Companies
The Wishcraft Workshop 2312 W. Roscoe St, Chicago http://www.growartists.com
CRUSH on Roscoe, 2138 W. Roscoe St, Chicago, http://crushonroscoe.com
The Needle Shop, 2054 W. Charleston St, Chicago, http://theneedleshop.net
Workroom, Inc., 1906 W. Belmont Ave, Chicago http://workroominc.com
Shagri-La Vintage, 1952 W. Roscoe St, Chicago https://www.facebook.com/
Whole Foods Market 3300 N. Ashland Ave, Chicago http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/