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What's On Lori's Feet // Early Fall Edition

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Fall is my favorite season for fashion. I get so excited when new shoes, clothing and accessories hit the floor. I don’t know what to touch and try on first. Honestly, I’m like a “kid in a candy store.” This season, in particular, I’m excited about all the “newness” from Italy — the rich colors, interest in heel shapes and lush fabrications. I can’t wait for the first real fall day when I can throw on my jeans, a warm cozy sweater and a great pair of booties.


So, what’s going to be on my feet this Fall? Here’s a preview of some of my favorite looks for Fall ’17 (That’s me in the photos wearing them all!). Not to worry, there will be lots more to come.

-Lori Andre

Navy Suede Sneaker - D.A.T.E.

Suede sneakers are perfect for fall in rich navy blue with a fun hint of shimmer. Paired with camo joggers, they’ll be your go-to for a casual, chic weekend outfit.

Embroidered Loafer - Sam Edelman 'Loraine'

The brocade trend transitions effortlessly from summer to fall with this classic loafer style. We love the contrast of rich texture paired with distressed denim.

Velvet Slip-Ons - Kenneth Cole 'Jeyda'

With soft velvet and silver stud detailing, this platform sneaker from Kenneth Cole - which we love - can be styled with a shirtdress or cropped denim and your favorite pair of shades.

Camo Boot - Jeffrey Campbell 'Siren'

This is the perfect statement boot for any outfit or occasion. The on-trend camo print and block heel are super versatile and add the perfect edge to this otherwise sleek silhouette.

Slingback Kitten Heel - Sam Edelman 'Ludlow'

Purr…fect for day to night, this kitten heel sling back is a modern play on a classic style. The Ludlow is available in metallic patent leather and elegant brocade, both of which look awesome with distressed denim or tailored pants.

Hiker Boot - Vagabond 'Kenova'

Stay warm without sacrificing your look. Street style is elevated in this faux fur-lined hiker boot from Vagabond. It’s all you need for those chilly fall days, perfect with jeans and an oversized sweater.

Velvet Floral Boots - Fabio Rusconi

This gorgeous boot from Fabio Rusconi combines two of our favorite fall trends in one perfect boot. The metallic block heel and rich floral velvet make a statement with any outfit.

Metallic Fringe Loafer - L'idea by Lori

We love all things menswear inspired for Fall and these metallic loafers are no exception. The chain and stud detailing add a bit of glam to an otherwise masculine shape.

JSlides - 'Aghast'

Why not live on the edge? These leather studded buckle sneakers from JSlides are perfect with joggers or jeans.

Metallic Sneaker - Vagabond

Shine bright in these silver metallic sneakers from Vagabond. They feel as awesome as they look and are a great addition to your sporty casual wardrobe! These sneaks look great with any jogger and can be dressed up or down.

Woman Behind The Business: Julie Mazer

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A note from Lori:

Eight months ago, I discovered Pilates with teacher extraordinaire, Julie Mazer. For all of you who practice Pilates, you are probably wondering, "what took so long"? I am wondering the same thing, too. I can't say enough about how much I love Pilates; it has helped me with lower back pain, find my breath, and build a strong core. Twice a week I dedicate myself and my body to Julie. She often jokes with me and tells me that I am the shoe "guru". But, Julie is truly the Pilates "guru". She has been practicing Pilates for over 30 years and has built a strong following in her business called, The Home Stretch. I am so incredibly fortunate that I found Julie. Today, I feel healthier and stronger than I was 8 months ago. – Lori Andre

Spotlight on the Woman Behind the Business: Julie Mazer

Q: What is the name of your business and how did you come up with the idea?
A: The Home Stretch Pilates Studio. Twenty years ago, I decided to open my own Pilates studio. The name of the studio was “coined” with a dear friend/client of mine and has a double meaning: incorporating my family’s ties with baseball and a Pilates studio in my house. After giving birth to my last child 24 years ago, I was desperate to find a way back to my abdominals because I was having lower back issues. With my modern dance background, I was intrigued with a tiny blurb I found in Redbook Magazine. This paragraph described an exercise method that lent itself to dancers to help restore uniformity/strength/flexibility to the body. It’s hard to believe there were only two studios in the city of Chicago at that time.

Q: What was your goal or mission at the outset?
A: My mission was and still is to help others grow by waking up the mind, body and spirit through the Pilates Method—my life dance. Pilates is an idea that restores balance, control and coordination to the deep intrinsic muscles throughout the body. Joseph Pilates believed that it is difficult to exercise efficiently if you are not breathing correctly. To me, Pilates is a method that reorganizes the body to help promote perfect alignment and core strength. The body learns a new dance, the partnership between mobility and stability.

Q: What is your super power?
A: My intuitive nature when a client walks into my studio. I instinctively know what their body needs. Also, I have to say that my feet have healing powers and a sensitivity to issues in other’s tissues. My clients love when I walk all over them.

Q: Where do you find inspiration?
A: I find inspiration through connection.

Q: If you could sit down with anybody for dinner, past or present, who would it be?
A: I have enjoyed many memorable Sunday dinners with my parents. I wish I could bring them back for one more!

Q: What nourishes your soul?
A: My soul feels nourished when I experience the beauty of nature. For the past decade, I have traveled with my boyfriend to the Northwoods of Minnesota to experience the awe and beauty of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. I am new to the sport of fishing (catching for my boyfriend) and with his help I can reel in quite the fish. It really allows me to step back, unplug and be still. I am “hooked”! I find being “one” with nature feeds my soul.

Q: What movie, no matter how many times you’ve seen it, would you watch again?
A: The Last of the Mohicans. I am a true romantic and love the soundtrack.

Q: What are you most thankful for?
A: I am grateful for all my “teachers” in my life, my children, my boyfriend, friends, business associates, clients, yoga, pilates and meditation. Finally, the gift of a sound body and mind.

Q: Best life advice?
A: To remain teachable for your entire life. “You must learn one thing…the world was made to be free in”.

Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in business.
A: - Go for it!
- Every plan A has a plan B.
- If you are lucky enough, as I am, love or at least enjoy what you do and it will never feel like work.
- Learn to say goodbye with grace when an associate, fellow worker or client departs.
- Be open to suggestions and have a solid team of advisors.
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, it is how you grow. The most valuable lessons can be learned from difficulties and challenges.
- From my experience, nothing beats “word of mouth” referrals. It carries more weight than advertising on a website.

Lori's Travels: Florence, Italy

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Hills of Tuscany from above.

When I am in Florence our favorite place to stay is the Residence Hilda, which is right at Piazza Santissima Annunziata.

For as many times as I travel to Florence I never seem to miss a cooking class with my dear friend and amazing cook, Manuel. She owns Cook, Eat, Italian and her classes take place in her home. The freshness of ingredients are amazing.

Did you know that there are certain tomatoes for cooking and certain for just plain eating?

I made this puttanesca sauce when I was recently there. The fresh ingredients make all the difference.

Nothing like fresh homemade pasta.

Lunch with a view in Chianti.

Lori's Travels: London, England

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

We didn't expect it to be sunny in London.

London is known for it's beautiful gardens. Everything was in full bloom and it was so lovely.

Tate Modern. Definitely my favorite museum in London.

I was so excited to see the Balenciaga exhibit while in London.

Could have been my breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food! Everything is so delicious in London.

Chocolate, anyone?

Walking around Spittlefields on a Sunday afternoon. I love the vibe, the people and the sights.

Who doesn't love a good hearty bowl of porridge??

Spotlight On The Woman Behind The Business: Kathy Bresler

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A note from Lori:

For my third interview in our series, “Woman Behind the Business” I recently sat down with Kathy Bresler to learn more about her business. Coincidently, on my recent trip to Florence, Kathy was there, too. We spent the afternoon together admiring Florence’s beauty and discussing her business. She shared her unique blend of insight and inspiration. Just reading her interview will bring you a sense of calm.  – Lori Andre

Spotlight on the Woman Behind the Business: Kathy Bresler

Q: What is the name of your business?
A: Tend Your Soul

Q: And what is it?
A: Honestly, I’d describe it as a community more than a business, but that’s what I love - connecting people through sacred and transformative conversations. It’s the thread that runs through everything I do and it blends my personal and professional passion for inspiring people to live their most authentic, creative, and soulful lives.

I started Tend Your Soul in 2008, when I discovered the simple yet profound practice of SoulCollage® and wanted to share it with others. I began offering introductory workshops, one-on-one coaching and customized retreats for milestone celebrations or team building. Although Soul Tending is not really a recognized term, it’s the best way I know to describe the work I do with individuals and groups. Through my unique blend of insight, inspiration, sacred space holding and facilitation, I help people cultivate the capacity to recognize and follow their own deepest wisdom – to live their lives from the inside out.

In 2012, I co-founded LiFT (Living in Flow Together) with friend and colleague, Susan Hyman. We created LiFT in response to the pervasive desire we saw among women to find real community and move through life’s challenges with more ease and clarity. We offer bi-weekly facilitated groups and seasonal retreats to individuals coming together for the “soul” purpose of creating more possibility in their lives, work and world. Our initial circle of 12 women has grown, simply through word of mouth, to include a community of close to 100 women who have participated in a LiFT program at one point or another.

In recent years, I have become passionate about transforming our experience of aging and death in America. In 2014, I helped create a conference called Dying to Know: Life Affirming Conversations about Living and Dying Well. I am currently involved in a project to create a multi-generational neighborhood health care community that would support people’s total well-being from birth through late life.

Q: What are you most thankful for?
A: My family. My health. The inspiring and supportive community of women that are my friends and colleagues.

Q: What nourishes your soul?
A: An authentic and meaningful conversation. Being in nature. Learning something new. Helping people see themselves and their lives more clearly.

Q: Where do you find inspiration?
A: Poetry, Quotes, Listening to On Being with Krista Tippett, reading Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings, my favorite Sunday morning ritual.

Q: What do you most admire about yourself?
A: My curiosity. My commitment to a path of conscious growth and development. My genuine desire to help.

Q: What’s your “super power”?
A: I’m known as The Consciousness Concierge because somehow, in the midst of a conversation or difficult situation an insight in the form of a poem, or quote, or book I just read, will pop into my mind. Inevitably when I share it people say, yes that’s exactly what I needed to hear! It really is like a super power in that it just happens. It takes almost no effort or thought at all. In some ways, it’s the basis for Tend Your Soul and all the work I do.

Q: What does a perfect day look like to you?
A: I watch the sunrise over Lake Michigan from my bedroom window, drink my butter coffee in the quiet of my apartment, read something inspiring or do a soulcollage reading to set the tone for the day. Meet a friend for a walk or lunch and have one of those magical, inspiring conversations that seamlessly blends the metaphysical and the mundane. Do something creative on one of my many projects. Walk somewhere in the neighborhood with my husband for dinner. Rest. Repeat.

Q: How do you describe your style?
A: I think I’d describe my style as urban classic. My aesthetic in both fashion and interiors is simple, textural, monochromatic. I tend to be pretty minimalist but I always like to have some kind of personal twist. In my home its the objects I’ve collected in my travels. In fashion, I always like to have something that feels unique to me, even if it’s just in the way I put things together.

Q: When you were just a kid, did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up?
A: Not really. I was always interested in personality theory and what makes us all tick, but it was a personal passion. In school, I studied economics and business. I didn’t connect the dots to my current work until much later when I was diagnosed with cancer in my late 30s and I got very clear on what I really wanted to do with my life and it wasn’t the traditional MBA track I had been on.

Q: What was your first job?
A: My first job out of college was in consulting at Bain & Company. It was an incredible training ground and although I do very different work today, I use the skills I learned at Bain every day. I met so many bright and inspiring people there, including my husband, on my first day of work.

Q: Describe your greatest accomplishment?
A: Dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis at 38 with two small children in a way that transformed all our lives for the better. Cancer was a wake up call to change the things that were not working and a permission slip to define success on my own terms. I would not be doing the work I do today if I had not had not been able to approach cancer as a catalyst rather than a devastation.

Q: What did you learn from your biggest failure?
A: It never works to go against your nature and try to be something you’re not.

Q: Best career advice?
A: Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you have to do it.

Q: Best life advice?
A: Show Up, Pay Attention, Speak the Truth without Judgment or Blame. Don’t be Attached to the Outcome. Attributed to Angeles Arrien.

Q: How do you find balance between work and home?
A: I think sometimes the metaphors we use like “juggling” or “balance" do women a disservice by painting our options too narrowly. I once heard an On Being interview with Mary Catherine Bateson, author of Composing a Life who pointed out the inherent threat in the widely accepted metaphor of juggling work and family which implies something of value is always in danger of crashing to the ground. That really resonated with me. Instead she offered a metaphor of life as an improvisational art, much like playing Jazz, in which we compose and recompose a pattern in time that expresses who we are based on interests, talent and circumstances. Maybe I liked it because it speaks to life as a collage in a way, but it has stuck with me and I try to see my own life through this more creative and expansive lens as much as I can.

Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in business?
A: I’d offer a favorite quote by Howard Thurman - Do not ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. I believe it with every fiber of my being.

Q: What inspires you most about Chicago?
A: That feeling we all have on first warm day in spring.

Q: What movie, no matter how many times you've seen it, would you still watch again?
A: The Parent Trap. I loved the original as a kid and I never get tired of watching the new one with the once adorable Lindsay Lohan.

Q: Is there a book that you would recommend that every young woman should read?
A: The Untethered Soul. I think it should be required reading for everybody. It’s like a manual for being human well.


Spotlight On The Woman Behind The Business: Julie Neff

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A note from Lori:

Many people don't realize that becoming a successful entrepreneur means you have to be willing to take some risks. You also have to have the ability to make decisions and live with those decisions. And, the ability to react quickly to any given situation is a must. I'm always striving to make my business better, so I often try new ways of doing things, new lines, etc. If it doesn't work out, I'm very quick to change it, fix it or move on to something better. I try very hard not to repeat the same mistakes. Being an entrepreneur is very different than going to work for someone else. I recently sat down with one of my entrepreneurial customers, Julie Neff, who shared her story of taking a risk to become a successful woman in business.  – Lori Andre

Spotlight on the Woman Behind the Business: Julie Neff

Q: What is the name of your business and how did you come up with it?
A: J. Markell. Everything that I do in my business, I try to tie in something meaningful about my mother who passed away 17 years ago. J is for Julie (me), Mark is my dad and Ellen is my mom.

Q: And what is it?
A: Exotic skin handbags and accessories. What attracted me to start making handbags in the first place was that there’s no size, I love that I can sell something to everyone. Accessories also really make you feel complete. A handbag, in my opinion, is one of the only pieces that you can wear every single day and get away with it. Every woman should invest in a really great handbag.

Q: What is it about exotic skins that women love so much?
A: The texture and three-dimensional feel of exotic skins is really special but it can be very expensive. I took advantage of the loophole in the market place for quality skins at an accessible price point, hence: J. Markell.

Q: Where do you find inspiration?
A: Most of my inspiration comes from what I feel is missing in my personal handbag collection. I do try to follow trends somewhat, however, I like function. My Ella Bag is so functional and I love that it’s light, and you can have only the things you need and be hands free while looking fashionable. I also snap pictures everywhere I go. If I like something, I take little pieces and incorporate it into my own designs.

Q: What do you most admire about yourself?
A: In three words: compassionate, caring, optimistic. I am truly happy for other people’s accomplishments and success, I love watching people succeed and seeing their dreams come true.

Q: What does a perfect day look like to you?
A: If the sun is shining when I wake up then I already know a great day is ahead. Add coffee, exercise, (and of course a trip to Lori’s Shoes), ending with a family dinner – those things are the cherry on top for a perfect day!

Q: How do you describe your style?
A: Casually sophisticated with an edgy flair.

Q: When you were just a kid did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up?
A: When I was in high school I worked most days after school at a clothing store. That’s when I knew for sure I would do something related to fashion, just didn’t know what.

Q: What was your first job?
A: My very first job out of college was working in a clothing showroom at the apparel center.

Q: How did you come up with your idea for your business?
A: While being a stay at home mom and raising my 3 kids I always craved something more, but I didn’t want a 9-5 job, I wanted to work for myself. I have always dreamt of doing something with fine leather and exotic skins because I have always been attracted to them. I hired a local artisan to make a few things for me which spiraled into a business. Three years later, I am in 48 stores across the country and producing handbags in three different factories – one being right here in the U.S. which I’m very proud of! I love supporting made in America.While being a stay at home mom and raising my 3 kids I always craved something more, but I didn’t want a 9-5 job, I wanted to work for myself. I have always dreamt of doing something with fine leather and exotic skins because I have always been attracted to them. I hired a local artisan to make a few things for me which spiraled into a business. Three years later, I am in 48 stores across the country and producing handbags in three different factories – one being right here in the U.S. which I’m very proud of! I love supporting made in America.

Q: When you first were thinking about starting your own business was there someone you turned to for advice?
A: Yes, my husband. He was very supportive and helped tremendously, he still does! Couldn’t do it without him.

Q: If you could start all over what lessons have you learned? And, what would you do differently?
A: I have learned that organization and goals are the keys to success and that it’s so important to write everything down, less room for error. I use Siri all of the time, “Hey Siri, remind me tomorrow at 9am to call this person” and I also have a legal pad on my nightstand so when I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea, I can write it down and go back to sleep. If I don’t write it down, I’ll keep myself up trying to not forget.

Q: Best career advice?
A: Never say you can’t, never give up! As long as you have passion it will pay off.

Q: Best life advice?
A: Don’t worry about yesterday or tomorrow, live for today – enjoy the now.

Q: Who is your role model and why?
A: My father, everything I learned about business is from him. My father was in the drugstore business and when I was little every Sunday he would take me with him to the store. I loved watching all the interaction in the pharmacy, I even helped out.

Q: How do you find balance between work and home?
A: It’s hard, I could have never done it when my kids were younger. I feel so lucky that I was able to be a stay at home mom while they were little. Two are in college now so it’s much easier to focus on work.
Q: What advice would you give to young women who wants to succeed in business?
A: Stay focused, be organized, make sure you love what you do and follow your dream!

Q: If you were going on a weekend trip where would you go and what’s the one thing you always take with you?
A: Miraval Resort & Spa. I never go out of town without my grey Oats cashmere wrap, it’s a travel must.

Q: What are you most thankful for?
A: My family and friends and of course my health because without that you have nothing!

Q: What nourishes your soul?
A: Laughing, good food, traveling and enjoying time with my family.

Q: If you could sit down with anybody for dinner, past or present, who would that be?
A: My mom! I miss her so much!

Q: What movie, no matter how many times you’ve seen it, would you still watch again?
A: Pretty Woman

Q: What is your definition of being an entrepreneur?
A: Being really passionate about what you are doing and really wanting it wholeheartedly – living and breathing it. I don’t think something can succeed unless you live and breathe it and of course, you have to be willing to take a risk.

Spotlight On The Woman Behind The Business: Susan Winter

Thursday, June 1, 2017

I am always seeking inspiration from people who do things completely different than me, because I love the opportunity to learn. What’s so great about women in business, is that we all have a real sense of who we are, what we want to get out of life and where we want it to take us. I recently sat down with one of my customers, Susan Winter, to share her story of being a woman in business.
– Lori

Q&A with Susan Winter

Q: You left the corporate world to start your own business, ARTistic Storage, what is it exactly that you do?
A: I offer mobile storage/shelving to house Private Art Collection Storage – Museum Collections Storage – Gallery Paintings – Archives for Corporations. My sexy elevator talk is think “California closets for Museums,” but really it has nothing to do with California Closets.

Q: When you were just a kid, did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up?
A: There is no way I could have dreamt up what I do now as a kid, I grew up with a heavy case of dyslexia and went through college in a handicapped service because of it. Thank goodness I learned I excelled in other capacities, and focused in that area of my career.

Q: What was your first job?
A: Window displays – buying – fashion shows for United Colors of Benetton large franchise, it truly let my creative side out. My boss and mentor is one of my best friends to this day. We got to travel Italy, meet the Benetton family and see the Villa and factory in Treviso Italy.

Q: How did you come up with your idea for your business?
A: I truly wanted to love what I do for a living. I am invited to see collections that no one gets to ever see in the back vaulted areas. I let my visual creative side out again, as I have to measure the space, assess the collections, draw it on CAD, and once it is installed and have gained 50% to 75% more space, I get a BIG HUG from my clients! Win Win!

Q: What is one of your favorite customers so far, and why?
A: I would say History Colorado Center. This layout was approximately 10,000 sq ft of different kinds of collections. I went through all of their collection with the head of each department to make sure we had every elevation custom to each collection. We built the shelving 16’H to maximize their space. It took a year and a half to ship and install this project. It is beautiful, and ARTistic Storage’s customer is thrilled with the product.

Q: When you first were thinking about starting your own business was there someone you turned to for advice?
A: I am very thankful to all the people I have learned from and turned to for advice over the past 10 years. I still look for advice from people I respect in business.

Q: How did you get started?
A: By believing, envisioning and staying committed to my one loved museum market, when it had never been done before. There were some skeptics that did not see what I saw as possibility, but it did not blur my vision.

Q: What was your goal or mission at the outset?
A: Every job will gain much needed space for collections that in their current state, are not being housed properly. To put it simply, double the space while taking the best care of irreplaceable collections.

Q: How do you handle being a woman in a male dominated field?
A: Almost 90% of the field that I’m in, mobile storage, is men. In the beginning, I really had to learn and understand how to pour concrete, give weight loads to architects, work with installers who are configuring different spaces and so on. I go into each day not thinking that I’m a woman in a man’s world, but do tend to approach situations on the soft and caring side which has worked out very well for me. When people sit down with me, you can genuinely tell that I care and that’s so important. And, I always go into meetings knowing I have something to offer, my knowledge.

Q: What does happiness mean to you?
A: Being loved. The more love you give, the more love surrounds you. It is simple and it gives great happiness to one’s life.

Q: What nourishes your soul?
A: Being on the water – whether it be boating with friends and family on a warm summer day in my Ski Nautique that sounds like a Harley-Davison, paddle boarding with my beloved 5 pound all black Chihuahua named Mighty, swimming, sailing or waterskiing on water that is like glass.

Q: What do you most admire about yourself?
A: I have great strength that I have had to pull from when life has given me challenges. Friends have said I am very “strong” but that I do it “softly” that is quite the juxtaposition, but I will take it!

Q: What’s your “super power”?
A: Manifesting wonderful things to bring to my life. Where I excel the most is visual. Honestly, manifesting to me is envisioning exactly what you want to bring to your life and knowing it will come.

Q: How do you describe your style?
A: Classic with a Twist!

Q: What are you most thankful for?
A: I have been blessed to meet so many wonderful people who have enriched my life. Humans are meant to share.

Q: Describe your greatest accomplishment.
A: Dreaming it up, and seeing the dream come to life.

Q: What did you learn from your biggest failure?
A: One can ALWAYS make lemonade out of lemons if you stay positive.

Q: If you could start all over, what lessons have you learned? And, what would you do differently?
A: I truly believe things “lessons” happen for a reason in life. We can always learn from them and become stronger/softer, so truly I would not do anything differently in my life. In life, we have to take the highs with the lows, that IS life.

Q: Best career advice?
A: If you believe you know it all, one will become stagnate. So always stay open and listen and learn more than speaking.

Q: How do you find balance between work and home?
A: I believe it is extremely important to have a work life balance. I once closed my biggest job yet while skiing in Aspen Co. It was a great day!

Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in business?
A: Truly figure out what you have a passion for, and work to your strengths. It will never seem like work that way, and you will stand out and shine.

Q: If you were going on a weekend trip where would you go and what’s the one thing you always take with you?
A: The summer home on the lake in Eagle River WI, and I always pack too many great shoes even though we will be in the woods!

Q: Is there a book that you would recommend that every young woman should read?
A: Oh, the Places You’ll Go! By Dr. Seuss

Brighten Up Your Handbag

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

It’s amazing how a purse can feel ‘new’ again with the simple addition of a handbag charm. We’ve hand selected three of our favorites to help you make a statement with your bag.

Our faux fur heart charm is super soft and brightens up any bag for the summer.

This charm features a slender “tres chic” scarf wrapped around the ring of a trendy leather tassel. If you love the look of this charm, we have it in a variety of color combos. 

This adorable horse charm adds a playful touch to a classic tote. Shop it here.

10 Things Any Mother Would Love

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Espadrilles are a must for the springtime. These wedges can go from day to night and they are so comfortable you won't want to take them off.

Eric Michael Serena
If wedges won't cut it, try zipping into the Serena from Eric Michael. This espadrille/sneaker combo has the perfect fashion vibe for this spring season.

Inzi Thread Thru Strap Tote
Every woman deserves a great tote bag. This one is a completely neutral/wear with everything blush patent(which also means easy cleanup for those inevitable spills).

Momenti 1088
A penny loafer never goes out of style; slip it on and go. This style, from Italian shoemaker
Momenti, comes in fresh spring colors.

The Flexx Front Row
The Flexx is the brand every mom doesn't know she needs; super comfortable and walkable, styled with Italian leathers that feel great on the foot.

ILI Front Zipper Waist Pouch
Being hands-free is an absolute necessity for a mom with little ones! Combine fashion and function with this fanny pack in silver or bl

Big Dot Designs Necklaces
A little sparkle goes a long way. These necklaces from local designer Linda
Emmerman-Kornick can be worn alone for a simple look, or layered together to make a statement.

Steven by Steve Madden Razzi
If you're living in jeans and t-shirts, this spring fashion take on a classic loafer can elevate your look instantly. These slides are comfortable and oh so cool.

Crime London Sneakers
Sneakers have become the "cool girl" shoe, and we couldn't be happier! Sacrificing comfort for style is a thing of the past, thanks to Crime London.

Birkenstock Arizona
When temps heat up, Birkenstocks are back in fashion as the go-to slip on sandal. They offer support and comfort for long walks or summer travel.

Spotlight on the Woman Behind the Business: Lori Andre

Monday, April 24, 2017

"How did you do it?"
I am asked this question at least once per week. So, I decided to share my story here on our blog, called “Stories” at Being the curious person that I am, and having met so many interesting women entrepreneurs who shop in the store, I decided I wanted to hear “how they did it.” That led me not only to hear their stories, but to share their stories, too. I have chosen 4 different female entrepreneurs, all who shop in my store, all who do something completely different, to interview and feature in the coming weeks. As entrepreneurs we have been faced with different challenges, and we all have achieved success. I hope our stories inspire you!
Here is mine.

Lori Andre began her journey as an entrepreneur nearly 35 years ago opening Lori’s Shoes on Lincoln Park’s Armitage Avenue. Several decades later, she has three stores (Chicago, Highland Park, Northfield) and a thriving online business. She has never swayed from her original vision: fashionable, high-quality shoes that you don't find everywhere, at great prices. Her unique retail model features stacks of shoes on the floor along with racks of shoes along the walls, for customers to help themselves. In our first, “Spotlight on the Woman Behind the Business” we sit down with Lori to learn more about what it takes to run a successful retail business in the always evolving fashion industry.

Q&A with Lori

Q: How did you decide to start the business?
A: After graduating college, I was working for a fine art print gallery, helping to curate collections for art collectors and doing corporate sales. I loved my job, but I always wanted to do something on my own. My husband was in law school, and we had just gotten married and were living in Lincoln Park. We saw there was a space for rent on Armitage. I initially wanted to do gourmet takeout, but I was talked out of it. I thought, I love food, but I also love shoes.

The original concept was a discount store (in ’83 we were in a recession). I did some research and was able to make a connection with a group of wholesalers who sold overruns and cancellations. I filled my store with name brand shoes at discount prices. It all started on a shoestring budget with a $20,000 loan from my parents.

Q: You have the most unique shoe selection of any store in Chicago, are you still involved with a lot of the buying?
A: Yes, of course. Twice a year I travel with my husband to Milan where we attend Europe’s largest shoe fair. We have built relationships with many smaller Italian manufacturers there. We select styles from these vendors to create the L’dea by Lori line for our stores. We look for styles that are on the forefront of fashion, but not so aggressive that people can't understand them. We're also very conscientious about the price point. It's just having an eye, honing in on certain items that are new or fresh or might not yet be represented in the U.S. I also travel to New York, Las Vegas and LA multiple times per year to attend shoe and accessory shows.

Q: You work with your spouse. Is that hard?
A: No, it's the greatest thing ever. We do different things, so that helps. He does all of the merchandising and the inventory control. We're very fortunate that we can work together.

Q: What are some of your proudest accomplishments?
A: The first is that I have three amazing kids. The second is that I’ve stayed in business for 35 years and I still love what I do.

Q: What is your greatest attribute?
A: My determination. There are so many challenges every day in business, and if you don't approach every day in a positive, determined manner, you can't continue to be successful.

Q: What is your greatest fault?
A: I probably obsess too much about certain things. If we're out of a $2 hair accessory, that drives me crazy.

Q: What is the best lesson learned from your parents?
A: My dad taught me you have to have just an amazing respect for people, no matter where they came from. From my mom I learned to ask a lot of questions. Information is just so valuable.

Q: What is one piece of advice you’d give to young women today:
A: Weigh all of your options when it comes to where you want to be in life in terms of your career or taking a job. Think about what a year from now will look like, so that you can make a good decision and a practical one.

Q: What are some of your top-selling brands?
A: Vagabond, Jeffrey Campbell, Jslides and our own L’idea by Lori brand from Italy.


Q: What is one of your secrets to success?
A: Listening to my customers. I'm on the selling floor at least three days a week. I love it! Also, the help of a great staff of people, some of whom have been with us since the beginning.

Q: What do you consider your biggest mistake?
A: My mistakes are the little yellow sale tags on shoes.

Q: What are your guilty pleasures?
A: Italian cheese (Pecorino and Tomino) along with an Aperol Spritz (the Italian apertivo) and patatine (potato chips).

Q: What’s your favorite restaurant in Chicago?
A: Sai Cafe for sushi.

Q: Favorite Coffee Shop?
A: La Colombe for my Almond Milk Latte.

Q: What couldn't you live without in your closet?
A: My bathrobe. I've had it since my oldest son was born. It's cozy, comfy and just reminds me of home.

Q: What's something essential in your vanity?
A: Profumo di Firenze Terrarosa, my signature fragrance.

Q: How do you wake up/revive in the morning?
A: Two shots of espresso with hot water, steamed almond milk and Truvia.

Q: What is one shortcut you take in life?
A: When I cook, I don't measure. I just taste.

Q: What did you want to be at age 13?
A: What I actually was — an entrepreneur. I was selling beads by the scoop and making necklaces and selling them to my friends.

Q: What is the one pair of shoes in your closet you can’t live without?
A: My Vagabond Casey in black.

Q: What would you say is your greatest attribute are as a successful business owner in a highly competitive industry?
A: My intuitiveness.

Meet Lori’s Shoes Personal Stylists

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Get to know our personal stylists, Leslie (left) and Sophie (right), and hear what they have to say about Spring 2017!

Sophie Berman

Sophie and her personal style: I’m definitely a minimalist. My colors are: White, black, grey, taupe and navy. I practically live in denim. I like to accessorize with some jewelry. And, lipstick is a must.

My favorite trends this season are: Patterned socks with just about everything, including loafers, sneakers, and pumps. I love all the interest in material and color; brocades and pastel velvets, just to name a few. Rose gold sneakers look fresh this season. Espadrilles should be part of anyone’s shoe wardrobe. Block heels and lace-up sandals for day or night will continue throughout the season. I love that look with denim.

My favorite brands this season are: Our own brand, L’idea by Lori that are made in Italy. I love Jslides, and Vagabond. (You will often see me in my Vagabond Caseys)

Leslie Henderson

Leslie and his personal style: I’m definitely a “jeans and t-shirt” kinda guy. But, I always pay attention to detail. I like to mix and match different colors and textures.

My favorite trends this season are: I really like the open back (mules) for this season. I love the casual look of mules with a great pair of distressed crop denim. Platforms and flatforms are having a moment this Spring. You can pair those with a wider leg pant or cropped jean. For the more adventurous person you can also pair a platform sandal with a sheer socklet. I still like the off-the-shoulder top that has interest in material, like a beautiful floral eyelet. My favorite colors this season are the dusty rose, khaki and shades of melon. Bold stripes make a statement this season.

What's in Lori's Suitcase

Friday, February 24, 2017

Twice a year, I travel to Milan, Italy to attend Europe’s largest fashion footwear exhibition.

Here’s a sneak peak of what’s in my suitcase…

I always travel with these beauty essentials. These help stay hydrated and feeling fresh during the trip.

I never leave home without my gold bangles and watch from my mom. My Hermes tuile is always nice for a pop of color.

Levels 99 denim embroidered jeans and denim shirt, paired with my Silent D loafers in pewter.

Chic, but comfy sweats from N.Philanthropy, paired with my equally comfortable Zalen sneakers from Dolce Vita.

Faux leather leggings from Blank NYC, paired with my favorite Crime London sneakers. 

BB Dakota bomber in navy blue with The Fifth Label tee. Paired with my Jslides Annabelle in bone leather. 

Buonogiorno! Of course, a croissant and cappuccino for breakfast.

Everyday is an eating experience in Italy. 

Who can resist dessert?

I always leave time to spend at least one day in the countryside with my husband Brian. 

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