Lake Forest Woman Realizes Homecoming With Clothing Boutique Store
Opens doors Monday at former Emporium Luggage location.
Mallory Ulaszek wanted to study fashion design and merchandising when she went to college, but her parents "weren't so keen with the idea.”
So the Lake Forest resident at the time moved toward something more practical, first dabbling in pre-med before settling on English and art history.
She worked in the corporate world for a year after college, “but I knew what I really wanted to do was open my own retail store,” said Ulaszek, who graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
In 2009, she realized that dream by opening Cityblue Apparel & Denim in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood.
On Monday, April 2, she will realize another when her second store, CB, opens in Lake Forest. CB will occupy the empty storefront at 662 N. Western Ave., previously the Emporium Luggage store.
Ulaszek has wanted to return to Lake Forest to open a shop in her hometown for a number of years, confident in her familiarity with local client preferences.
“I grew up shopping at local stores in Lake Forest. I knew what was lacking in terms of brand styles and knew I wanted to fill a niche market,” said Ulaszek, whose parents still reside in Lake Forest.
With luxury labels for men and women from both local and national designers, Ulaszek seeks to provide “cutting edge, yet effortless pieces that can be worn every day.”
Shoppers can choose from Marc Jacobs, Helmut Lang, Yigal Azrouel, Elizabeth & James, Theyskens’ Theory, Cut 25, and others. CB also will carry shoes, handbags and jewelry accessories.
CB's line is a reflection of Ulaszek’s own style honed during and after college.
“People would ask me to help pick things out for them to wear,” she said. They would ask, ‘Will you dress me?’ I am comfortable with what does and doesn’t work for certain body types, and found I do really well with helping a person with their own style to get them what they want.”
Her intuition is especially valuable when engaged in New York City buying trips.
“Buying is the most critical part and it is what I do well,” Ulaszek said. “There are gut feelings involved and consideration of different stages with different styles. I often think of whether my mother, sister and friends would wear the item. I don’t see clothes as a status symbol but a way of self-expression.”
The boutique, in its new 2,600-square-foot location on Western Avenue, is planning a decor every bit as chic as its clothing lines. A bright and open space with custom-made furniture, glass fixtures and modular shelving, it is intended to be a place “where all the employees can bring something to the team,” said Ulaszek.
Store hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday; it will be closed Sundays.