Tell us about yourself and your business! What do you do or sell?
We've been enabling fabriholics since 1945. We specialize in fashion fabrics for apparel and home decor, but we dabble in quilting and bridal and cosplay as well.
How did Vogue Fabrics get its start?
Post war, 1945 Evanston. Sy Sussman and his wife's uncle, Sol Farber, prepare to open a dressmaking boutique on Chicago Avenue north of Main St. They decorate the windows with beautiful fabrics, while setting up shop and waiting for the machines and supplies to arrive. Women kept knocking on the door saying, "I know how to sew. Would you sell me the fabric?" Sy and Sol canceled the order of the machines and supplies, loaded up on fabric, and Vogue Fabrics was born.
What's the story behind the name of your business?
It sounded really chic.
You've been around a long time and you have a great reputation. Who is the most interesting client that's ever reached out to you?
We sell regularly to NASA, Spamalot, Disney, Universal, and Cirque du Soliel. We've sold to Celine Dion and Elton John, and various designers from Project Runway (although I don't think Mood would like to hear that). Rogie has met with Nicole Miller and Cynthia Rowley when buying their fabrics in New York.
For MOST interesting ... we sold bolts of white fabric to Madonna's entourage to cover the locker room at a stadium where she was playing some concerts - she didn't want to look at the locker room decor. Sean also had one order for Anti-Tarnish Cloth that he "can neither confirm nor deny it was for the White House" (it was, but he just loves saying that). And one guy bought 700 yards of Thinsulate for geodomes - a sort of new housing concept.
Tell us the story of selecting your location.
Sy and Sol picked it because of its proximity to the trains. Evanston wasn't too far of a hike from the city, and it was easily accessible to the North Shore, the clientele they wanted to attract for the original dressmaking business.
What sets your business apart from others that sell the same products?
Prices, selection and diversification. We sell the same goods as other fabric stores around the country, but for a lot less. We stock more choices. We offer retail and wholesale, and we travel around the USA to sell at consumer sewing shows. These people become shoppers online and always stop for a visit when they are in the Chicago area.
We also have higher end designer and high fashion specialty items that you just can't get anywhere else. Chain stores need to buy 1000 yards of one fabric to go in all their stores, and small boutiques will choose the perfect selection from the finest mills to cater to their clientele. We can buy excess goods from cutting rooms and mills, where they may only have 15-50 yards of any one fabric, and we will take everything they have left from the season. This gives us the freshest fashions that no one else will have, and it leads to a wonderful variety.
What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about opening a business?
Do what you love. Be flexible - times change and you need to change with the times.
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