Launching a Clothing Brand During COVID

Posted by Shannon Sutton on Sep 28, 2021 8:00:00 AM

On the first episode of the Chicagoan podcast, realtor Shannon Sutton sits down with her friend, Samantha Clark, a local clothing boutique owner.

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The two ladies first met with Shannon, voting early in Wicker Park in October 2020, spotted Samantha’s store, Steely Boutique, and had to go in. One Def Leppard tee and a silk bomber jacket later, these two became fast friends. They talk about how Samantha opened up her store at the beginning of the pandemic in July 2020 and what that roller coaster has been like since. 

The two ladies go on to chat about what it’s like living and working in Wicker Park. Samantha’s husband has dubbed her the “mayor Wicker Park” which she ascribes to being both a business owner and a resident of the area.

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They go on to talk about the difficulties of owning a retail store in the middle of a pandemic, especially one whose success hinged on predicting what people would be wearing months in advance. Samantha also shares what the buying process for a boutique entails. 

Shannon uncovers the many layers of what it’s like to own your own boutique from the shows you go to in order to find your stock to picking up on the nuances of buying trends and planning accordingly. 

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This segues into their mutual lament over putting yourself in front of the camera on social media for your business but agree it’s incredibly important in the world we live in today. Referring to what it’s like being a business owner in current times, Samantha says: 

“The hardest part, COVID aside, is giving up so much of your time into something. I don't have free weekends. I don't get to see my husband that much.”

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She goes on to share that seeing a woman fall in love with an item and seeing how good they feel in it makes it all worth it. “It’s just the best feeling.”

Tune in as these ladies talk about neighborhood businesses and the magic of Wicker Park. Be sure to stop by Steely Boutique the next time you’re on Division.



Shannon SuttonShannon Sutton, a real estate broker at Baird & Warner, not only was a finalist for Chicago Agent Magazine’s Rookie of the Year 2019, she’s a current member of her company’s Chairman's Club. Impressive as her numbers are in only two short years, Shannon is the first to tell you that it took a lot of tough self-work to get here.

Several years ago, she found herself stuck in a job that made her unhappy while simultaneously struggling through a difficult break up. After finally turning to a therapist and spending a few years working on herself, Shannon got to a place where she felt brave and whole enough to leave her job, travel for two months, and dive into the next chapter: real estate. 

Going through a rebirth into a new life, Shannon found a way to marry her passion for design with her newfound hunger for growing her real estate business. She consults with her clients as they search for and customize a home, designs her own marketing materials, and curates her social media presence. 

Shannon brings her love for helping others find the comfort and security of their own homes to her work with Habitat for Humanity. She volunteers at their West Pullman site. With this new life she’s building, the message she wants to encourage others to do is to challenge their own self-perceptions and let go of the things that aren’t feeding them anymore.