Capsule Chicago: Fashion Forward Clothing and Accessories

By Kristin Boza

Capsule Chicago, a women’s clothing and accessories boutique, opened earlier this fall at 9915 S. Walden Pkwy. The boutique is the culmination of years of planning by local resident Maura Conine.

The store offers something for everyone, a major goal of Conine’s. “There’s something for every new college graduate, but also something for her mom and sister,” she said. “We infuse contemporary brands with progressive brands that are more fashion-forward. I try to carry really well-made garments that are classics, but with a twist. There are some really classic pieces with a simple color palette, with some punches of color and trends mixed in.”

Conine worked for Nordstrom for years and cultivated a list of favorite brands, many of which she now carries at Capsule. Most of the brands are American made or artisan made, and include clothing, jewelry and handbags.

“Customers are really excited to have another option in the neighborhood and they’re very grateful that I’ve taken a chance in Beverly in being a progressive store,” Conine said. “I think we’re seeing a lot of changes happening in Beverly; many young families are moving in and while this is a great place to raise a family, many people miss certain aspects of living elsewhere in the city, like walkable restaurants, bars and boutiques. We don’t have a main street downtown area, so we’re creating a little destination here on 99th and Walden.”

It’s important to Conine to carry a wide range of sizes and price points in her merchandise. She spent time at boutiques in San Francisco and Los Angeles to find interesting brands, as well as scouring Etsy for unique, hand-crafted items. “I want to buy the clothes that I think will sell, but I also want to introduce customers to something they might not expect to love.”

Conine said she dreamed about opening a boutique for years. “I have tear-outs from magazines — before Pinterest — and I’ve used some of those ideas! It’s definitely been a dream and the fact that it’s happening is incredible. I’m so happy and lucky and just really excited,” she said.

As any new business owner will attest, Conine is finding her way. The biggest learning curve was making sure the store has enough stock on hand. “We ran out of clothes faster than I thought! I’m learning what brands I can count on to get something to me next week, since I usually have to buy six months in advance,” she said. “I definitely don’t want an empty store; you want everyone’s first time to be incredible.”

The gratifying moments are still catching Conine off-guard. For example, she recently attended a fundraiser for St. Barnabas and despite not knowing a few women at her table, she realized they had all been in her store. “Every single one of them had on a piece of clothing or accessory from the store. It was a really cool moment and definitely one that made me stop in my tracks,” she said.

Capsule will play host to trunk shows from the designers carried in the store; SoCo Jewelry will be there on Nov. 16 to showcase their handmade jewelry from Kenya. Conine also hopes to host a “girlfriend party” where five to eight friends can set up a time for a private shopping event. “The idea is to bring your own wine or cupcakes and have a fun girlfriend party to get out of the house and shop with your friends,” she said. “I plan to do it twice a month and give personal styling sessions to each woman.”

To stay up-to-date on Capsule’s events, check out their Facebook page at Facebook.com/CapsuleChicago.