We Are Moving Locations!

       If you've ever checked out our About Page, you're familiar with some of our story.. South Loop Loft started (accidentally) in my South Loop Apartment 3.5 years ago after a cross country move from San Francisco and the hard decision to reconsider my career as an Adoption Specialist and Foster Care Case Worker. 

     I moved. I was offered my old job. My heart sunk. It wasn't what I wanted and I knew it was time to explore what was next. In the  meantime, I went about hunting for stand out vintage pieces for our really unique Loft apartment. In a short amount of time, people were asking to buy items from my collection on Instagram, Chairish invited me to be a vendor and I set up an Etsy shop. 

Well, the rest is history. (or atleast another blog post!) 

Now we are celebrating an exciting milestone- WE'RE MOVING into a Retail Space!  I have to thank YOU so much for your support over the last 3 years. As we move forward, every decision we make is focused on YOU: What do our clients love? Want? Respond to? Ask more for? We hope this new space delivers in a seriously amazing way.  Your support and enthusiasm mean the world to us! 

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The drop ceiling is down and the floors are almost finished! 

  The space has come along way in 2 weeks! Watch out Instagram Stories for daily updates. 

1. WHY?! Your current space is so awesome!

-  It IS awesome and I will miss many things about it. In all honesty, the building is old and we were facing some challenges with how it was aging and the maintenance it required. The space wasn't serving the needs of our growing business and I knew that something with more visibility would allow us to continue to grow. I have loved the unique experience our current loft space has provided. Creating an experience and not just a shop has always been the big picture and what excites me most about working with people. Trust me when I say the new space will be an even better experience - and I'm working really hard to create something unique and exciting that awakens creativity as much as it is a gorgeous oasis within the city. 

2. How did you find the new space? 

    I wish my answer was as easy as -  we had an awesome realtor!  But alas, I found it after many months of leg work, 1am internet searches, dozens of visits to see spaces, hours of phone calls with realtors, and many late nights pondering the decision entirely.   I learned very quickly that the commercial real estate market in Chicago is not as easy to navigate as I had hoped. Things are priced very high and move very slow and everything requires a ton of work.  This space was the only one out of dozens, where i stepped in and actually could envision our business growing in this space. I saw the potential, I saw the experience our shoppers could have, and I knew I had to bring the space to life. After that, it was another FOUR months of negotiations, attorney contract reviews, etc. The landlord actually rejected my first offer entirely and I had to convince her that myself and South Loop Loft were the right tenants for her space. It was a rollercoaster! 

 

3. What are you doing to the space? 

      Lots! Our biggest projects included removing the 1990's drop ceiling and exposing the 1890's timber ceiling, redoing the floors, tearing down some walls, replacing the stair case railing, remodeling the bathroom, installing a kitchenette, office and design center downstairs. I can't wait for the results. 

 The space is TWO levels with 13 ft ceilings and a two story atrium area that we will be using for Design/Industry events, Pop Ups, Rotating Art Exhibits and for private events. We take our role in the Design Community very seriously and want to be a place where growth, education, community building and creativity happen. 

 The space was formerly leased by an Art Gallery, one that we have personally admired and have a fantastic legacy! We will be collaborating on an event soon. 

4. WHERE is the new space? 

      It's in River West on Milwaukee Ave and Erie! 

5. WHEN will you open? 

  - Great question. It's been hard to predict a time line from the very start - because the process of negotiation the lease took months longer than expected! (But it was worth it, as most hard things are). First, the floors, ceilings, electrical work and painting has to be complete before we physically move all the inventory into the new space. 

After the physical move of all the inventory, it will take 1-2 weeks for set up. (making dreams come true doesn't happen overnight, as much as I wish it did). PS. We are looking for temp stylists and merchandisers to join us for a marathon few days of setting up the shop!  Email us: info@thesouthlooploft.com if you're interested!   We will open by appointment and then once ALL the projects are complete and every light fixture hung, we will open with Retail Store hours!  My prediction is Mid November for appointments and December with Retail Hours. 

  Are you following all the progress in the new space? It's getting a pretty dramatic makeover! Follow our daily updates on Instagram Stories. 

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6. Will you have a moving sale? 

    YES!!!!   The Moving Sale Starts THIS WEEK!! Shop some it online and visit our showroom to shop ALL of it  in person. We have special Moving Sale Markdowns you can Shop here in Furniture, Rugs, Lighting, and Decor.  ALL other inventory will be 20% off  with Discount Code MOVINGSALE at checkout**Excluding Items Categorized as New Arrivals and Runners**  ** Trade Discounts Do Not Apply to Moving Sale Markdowns** 

We will have extended hours for the Moving Sale! Come Visit Us One Last Time in our Loft Showroom before the move! 

Extended Moving Sale Shopping Hours

 Saturday, October 21, 11-5pm

 Thursday, October 26, 2-6pm

 Friday October 27, 12-7pm, 

 Saturday, October 28, 11-5pm 

 

 

7. We can't thank you enough for your support! Each positive comment, Instagram Message and email encourages us as we work to provide you with awesome Vintage furnishings and a unique, memorablel shopping experience. We're excited to share this next adventure with you!! 

 

 

 

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The Look: Modern Office

Featured on Elle Decor, Architectural Digest, Luxe Interiors + Design, Domino Magazine and Time Out Chicago.
Visit our Chicago Showroom on Saturdays from 11-5pm or Shop Online 24/7. 
SHOP THE LOOK: Modern Office 
Maximize Your Work Space While Keeping' It Stylish

Neutral Rugs You'll LOVE. 
Can't get enough of neutral? Neither can we. Shop These Turkish + Persian Rugs in easy, transitional shades of gray, beiges and light browns. 

SouthLoopLoft
308 N Leavitt St.
Chicago, IL 60612
www.thesouthlooploft.com
262-490-4215
beth@thesouthlooploft.com

Copyright © 2016 SouthLoopLoft, LLC

Travel: Shopping the Moroccan Souks

Gone are the days when Morocco was considered an "off the beaten path" travel destination. Thanks to Instagram and a trending love for rugs and all things boho- it seems like everyone is exploring the colorful streets of this North African country. 

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Touristy or not-  Morocco IS absolutely a fantastic destination for the design obsessed. With color and pattern inspiration around every corner- there is no time to even blink between photo op's. 

Our trip was 12 days, seven women and one fearless Arabic speaking leader. Erin of Relativity Textiles and I had been talking about a Morocco trip for over a year and even came extremely close to spontaneously booking tickets a couple times but waiting was worth it because this trip included a group of top notch design and creative talent. 

The South Loop Loft GuidE to The Moroccan Souks

  Shopping the Souks of Morocco was my very favorite activity during our trip (I'm sure you're shocked) I've always embraced crowded, colorful places teeming with people, textiles, foreign foods and loud noises. The combination is exciting and adrenaline inducing  - and the Souks of Marrakesh were just that and no disappointment. The narrow streets are filled with locals grocery shopping,  shop owners coaxing you into their stall, donkeys pulling carts of oranges, men heading to the Mosque for prayer and a sprinkling of European tourists slowly meandering their way through. 

The main souk of Marrakesh is filled with everything from soccer jerseys and fake Ray Bans to all the handwoven textiles capable of making your shopping dreams come true. There are areas where it is especially congested and when you first enter, you'll find Tour Guides offering a walking tour of the souk and tours of the rest of Marrakesh. Personally, I prefer independent travel and would opt to not shop with a guide but who knows- maybe you'd love it! We had a guide in Fez and I felt like it sterilized our ability to explore and spontaneously stop where we wanted to stop. 

 Let yourself get a little lost in the Souk. They are wind-ey and it's easy to get lost- so don't fight it. Bring cash, a bag or small cart to tote your purchases in and don't be afraid of the crowd. Watch you purse,  pockets and camera but otherwise be ready to soak in one of the most sensational shopping experiences you will ever have.  My best recommendation is to give yourself two days to explore and shop. Utilize the first day to enjoy the full experience - take photos, people watch, snack your way through and ask the shop owners questions about their goods. Get inspired, learn and take note of what you're drawn to. While I was drawn to all the Moroccan lanterns, I learned from asking around that they are difficult to ship back because they dent easily - I'm glad I asked around. If you see something you LOVE, don't tell yourself you'll "come back to get it," Just get it. Trust me, finding your way back to that stall will be a huge task, especially if you're already lugging around a few purchases. 

Which is why I recommend a second day in the Souk. Use this day to get serious about shopping, especially if you want to buy rugs. Today is the day to dive in. We spent HOURS in rug shops. Purchasing is a relational transaction as much as it a financial one. Shop owners will want to give you a full rug demonstration and serve you tea. Bargaining, should you choose to partake, will take a chunk of time, too. (Pro Tip:  If you're purchasing items you'll take back in your suitcase, ask the shop owner if it's possible to have it dropped off at your hotel. That way you're not schlepping it around the rest of the day)  You could easily spend 2 hours in one rug shop, which is why it's great to have a whole day to guilt-free indulge in it without the pressure of having to sight see the rest of the souk (because you did that yesterday!)  

Moroccan rug Hand Woven Women Artistans

OTHER TIPS:

Don't expect the restaurants in the souk to be the most authentic, home cooked Moroccan food you'll ever have. It's not bad but don't lose time looking around for an amazing dining experience IN the souk. Save that for another day or a late dinner somewhere else in Marrakesh. 

Ask shop owners before taking a photo of their shop or them. (As a shop owner myself, I would be weirded out if a random stranger swooped in talking another language, took my photo, and swooped out). 

If there's a shop you love and DO want to return to, take a photo of their business card WITH the shop in the background. It's easy to forget what was what later on. 

Pack: Lots of cash and TWO ATM cards, in case one doesn't work. Layers, because you'll work up a sweat in the afternoon but it does get chilly in the evening. Comfortable walking shoes, dress respectfully

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My Favorite Things to Buy: 

  • Rugs (obviously) - if you can't bring back a big one, buy a baby Beni and call it a day. Or shop our gallery - we ship for free! 
  • Indigo Dye- I didn't buy some and regret it. 
  • Leather Shoes- of all the places I shopped, the Marrakesh souk had the best selection and styles of handmade leather flats. 
  • Wedding Blankets - the vintage Handiras are hard to find (and there are a lot of sad, new reproductions). If you find a vintage one, don't expect it to be cheap but it IS glorious and worth it. 
  • Mini Tangines- everyday pottery used for cooking comes in a variety of sizes including  MINI.  Glazed in bright white this makes an awesome sculptural element in your kitchen. 
  • Vintage Brass Objets- Yep, the kind we all love and buy in american flea markets are originally made in Morocco and India- so buy a a door knocker or coat hook and scratch that itch to find a treasure. (I regret not buying ALL the lion door knockers)