This month’s local business highlight is Dear Society. We had the chance to attend the soft opening of their new vintage clothing shop. They are located in the retail space of one of our very own apartments, Ambassador Apartments, at 3560 Broadway. The owners were as hospitable as the aesthetics of their shop were welcoming, so feel free to stop by their official opening at 11:00 AM, on Saturday, March 19th, 2016 – mimosas and fresh lemon-mint water will be served as supplies last.
- Who is, Dear Society?
“Our names are Chanel Jezek & Maria Casteel and we co-own, Dear Society – a modern & vintage clothing, home goods & gift shop. ”
- Where are you from?
Chanel: “I am originally from Nevada, but my family moved us to Missouri at a very young age. The older I become, the more I appreciate this city and what it has to offer. ”
Maria: “I grew up in Illinois, and moved to Kansas City when my husband found an engineering position here. Kansas City is such a friendly Midwestern city, and we’re so happy we landed here.”
- How long have you been in the business?
Chanel: “I started the online boutique, Bogatte.com, after I graduated college in 2011. After 4 years of online selling and pop-up shops around the city, I knew a brick and mortar was the next step for my vision.”
Maria: “I began selling vintage clothing on Etsy in 2009, and my love for vintage clothing just grew. I started selling in the west bottoms at Bella Patina a couple of years ago. That taste of having physical space to sell in, intensified my feelings of wanting to open a brick and mortar.”
- Why did you decide to go into this field?
Chanel: “I’ve always been drawn to the fashion industry – maybe my name began that destiny. When I was 14, my school had us take career tests – I got Fashion Designer & Crime Scene Investigator. As much as I loved watching C.S.I. Las Vegas, I enjoyed watching runway shows more. I later went on to college for Fashion Merchandising and Marketing. I’ve always had a passion for helping people feel comfortable and beautiful with themselves, and I think the clothes you wear has a lot to do with that.”
Maria: “Honestly, I feel like a big part of my story is that my family didn’t have a whole lot of money to spend on clothes when I was a kid. We were always going to thrift stores and rummage sales; I would make do and mend with whatever I found. I began to see the beauty in vintage and used items, and became passionate about reviving pieces that might otherwise be thrown away. I’ve been creative from a young age, and the photography, styling, and sewing aspects of this career fulfill that creative drive. I also want people to feel good in their clothes, and want to help people to find their unique style.”
- Why did you choose this location?
“We loved the fact that this shop is attached to the Ambassador; designed by KC’s most memorable woman architects, Nelle Peters. This building has such great history, and when we walked into the space, we knew instantly that it could be turned into something lovely for, Dear Society.”
“We love this little area of Kansas City, and can’t wait to see it grow as new shops come in, and more buildings get renovated.”
- What are your goals for 2016 and beyond?
“We just hope to add another layer to the culture of Kansas City. There are a lot of lovely shops here, but we feel our aesthetic is a bit different, and we’re happy to offer something new. We want to keep evolving our store so each time you walk in, there is a new piece added, and a great new selection of clothes on the racks.”
- Who are your primary clientele?
“Our main customers are trendy 20 to 40-something year olds that take pride in their style and homes. They love classic pieces that can translate over time. These women want to look great without a lot of fuss. We want them to be able to throw on a Dear Society piece and go.”
- What do you want people to know about you and your business?
“We want our customers to feel special the minute they walk through the door. We hope the positive energy and passion we poured into the space will make people feel welcomed and inspired. Our purpose for Dear Society was to create an inspiring atmosphere where customers could find beautiful treasures for themselves and for their homes at an affordable price.
Maria: “Personally – because I am a mom – I have a passion for helping mom’s find their style. It feels like there’s a period after you have a little one where you just don’t take good care of yourself and sometimes lose your style. We’d like to help mom’s who are struggling with feeling beautiful again.”
- Tell us one interesting story about your business.
Maria: “The moment we started to dream about a shop was incredibly serendipitous.
I had recently gotten back from a trip to Portland and was incredibly inspired by the shops I had visited there. Wishing similar shops were here in KC.
Soon after, Chanel, bought a dress from me on Etsy for her wedding, and wanted to pick it up in person in the west bottoms. After chatting for a while, the question of creating a brick and mortar shop came up. As we talked more, we realized it was both our dreams, but something neither of us desired to do on our own. A whirlwind of ideas, coffee dates, and planning later, Dear Society was born. She has been the perfect business partner for me. ”
Chanel: “I am so thankful the universe collided us into each other. That dress was the most excellent purchase!”
- What are your hours of operation?
“We are open Thurs & Fri: 10 AM – 7 PM | Sat: 11 AM – 8 PM | Sun: 11 AM – 4 PM”
- Where can people find you online or otherwise learn more about your business?
“We have an online shop that you can visit and shop anytime – www.DearSocietyShop.com
Find us on social media so we can connect! Facebook: Dear Society , Instagram @shopdearsociety
Mac Properties: A special thanks to the Dear Society owners, Chanel, and, Maria, for the interview – we wish them all the success.
Photos taken by: We are the Parsons — wearetheparsons.com