Morgan Gutterman is the owner of one of Chicago’s most loved boutiques, Edith Hart. Named after her glamorous grandmother, the Bucktown boutique reflects a blend of Edith’s Hollywood glam style along with Morgan’s edgier, downtown sensibility, and has become known for it’s superior service and stylish, yet affordable, finds. We recently caught up with Morgan, in anticipation of her upcoming Gold Coast pop-up shop at the Thompson Hotel, to find out if owning your own boutique is as glamorous as it looks, among other things…
When/How did you decide you wanted to open a boutique?
About a year and a half before I opened! It had always been a thought during and after college, but after working at so many small boutiques in the city it became clear to me that I wanted to open my own boutique.
Have you always had a passion for fashion?
I have always loved shopping and clothes. But… I wouldn’t call my love for Abercrombie & Fitch in High School, fashion.
Where does the name Edith Hart come from?
What hurdles did you face getting your business off the ground and how did you overcome them?
Oh my, I had quite a few, location was first–we were supposed to be closer to North Avenue but that did not work out due to a landlord issue and then I found this space and although it is a little further North than I wanted to be I love it! I also had a name change, which was a very large hurdle, but I am happy with the name now, and it feels much more fitting!
How do you make Edith Hart stand apart from the hundreds of boutiques in Chicago?
How has online shopping changed your job as a boutique owner?
When I opened I knew I wanted to launch the website in the first year, because it is such an important part of retail now. I feel like I own two stores, the website is very time consuming, we do everything ourselves, from the photos to the editing. So when I close up shop here and go home – I continue to work, replying to customers inquires online as well as photo editing! Basically the online store needs just as much love and attention as the physical store.
How do you connect with the people/neighborhood that surrounds the shop?
Are you involved in the community? I support all the local schools nearby, donating to the neighborhood is important to me! I have friends in businesses up and down the street, Damen is a very friendly street.
What’s the least glamorous thing about your job? It can’t be as fun and fashionable as it seems!
Hahaha, most definitely not. Upkeep of the store is not glamorous, by any means. Shoveling snow in heels is not a good look.
What do you do to relieve stress in your free time away from the store?
Like I said, I don’t really feel like I’m ever away from the store, BUT on Mondays when I am not physically at Edith Hart. Working out is probably the best stress reliever … am I allowed to say tequila?
Yes, yes you are! What about advice for women looking to start their own business or open a store?
DO IT! No matter what happens, in the end you won’t regret it, this has been an INCREDIBLE learning experience for me. Also, be prepared not to have much of a life.
Where do you see your life & career in 5 years? What about 10?
I would love to continue my focus on the website and have that grow nationally.