I consider myself incredibly lucky to be a part of such an empowering community of bloggers. I, in fact, am so inspired by the women that I have had the privilege of interacting with and getting to know, that I was moved to action. When a woman strikes me as encouraging, passionate, and above all working to empower other women, I take notice. The world gives women a hard enough time as it is, the last thing we should be doing is tearing each other down. Growing up I had no positive female role models, this was something I always yearned for. I want to change this for any other women that may have had a similar experience, or perhaps be that woman for young girls.
Starting this week, I will be featuring a new series on my blog: Woman Crush Wednesday. Each Wednesday I will be focusing on a woman that works to enliven others through her work, or simply just by being herself. This week’s feature, and kicking off the series is fellow blogger, owner of 522 Envy, the intrepid Kristi Pawlowicz.
Exhilarated by her urban surroundings in Chicago and how that influenced her style, Kristi created 522 Envy. Envy 522 is an online boutique with a diverse selection of garments ranging from bra-lettes to blazers, catering to young professional women in their 20s and 30s. 522 Envy even has a storefront in Chicago where Kristi is based – if you are in the area do yourself a favor and check it out!
I had the good fortune of being able to sit down with Kristi and find out what really drives and inspires her. I found Kristi’s message overwhelming positive and thought it would benefit not only myself and my endeavors; but also the aspirations of you, my dear followers! In my eyes there is nothing more forceful then a self-made woman and Kristi is one deserving of admiration. Now do us all a favor and check out 522Envy.com!
Kelly: What makes your online boutique stand out from others? What is different about it?
Kristi: 522 Envy is a business, but we are also real people. The same girls that are modeling the clothes on Instagram are also helping customers every day in the boutique. We get to know our customers on a personal level, and people seem to really love that personal touch that translates from their phone to the physical store.
Kelly: What inspired you to create this brand? Is it what you thought it would be? More? Less? Exactly?
Kristi: I say that 522 Envy was just born a few months ago when I decided to end my licensing agreement with a group of stores called "Envy." I rebranded the boutique by adding the 522, a nod to our address at 522 Davis Street, and we thought about our customer much more carefully.
The 522 gal is much inspired by my life in Chicago. Like many of my customers, my urban lifestyle affects my wardrobe as well as my taste. There is a practical aspect of living in or near a city, but there is also very vibrant and creative spirit that lives within Chicago and the near suburbs like Evanston. I look around to the girl standing next to me on the train, or to the table of girls grabbing drinks after work, and those are my inspiration for what to curate into the boutique.
Kelly: How do you feel about the Nineteenth Amendment?
Kristi: Obviously the 19th Amendment opened the doors for women to take an active role in their government and their livelihood. I always take the time to vote, and I also am very vocal about supporting candidates that support small businesses. I think it is important that we don't allow the government to get in the way of our community's businesses, because they are the building blocks of local economies. It's great that the 19th amendment allows me to voice that opinion with my vote.
Kelly: What kind of woman are you trying to attract with your brand?
Kristi: Our typical customer is a young professional in her 20s and 30s. She is busy with work but her lifestyle always presents her with fun things to do in the evenings and weekends. She mixes comfortable with fashionable, and needs interchangeable pieces from day-to-night.
Kelly: Let's say 522 Envy blows up (which we all think it will) - who is your direct competition?
Kristi: 522 girls also really love Zara, Top Shop, and Akira, to name a few!
Kelly: What is 522 Envy's mission statement?
Kristi: I don't think I've ever formally made one, honestly! However, on our "About" Page on 522envy.com, we always say, "We love helping you feel good in everything you wear, but most importantly, we love outfits that are affordable for everyone." I think that is a great description for our on-trend and affordable style combined with our personalized customer attention.
Kelly: What motivates you everyday? Where did you get your dedication and drive from?
Kristi: I've always been a self-motivating and competitive person by nature. However, it's not always easy to sustain it on a day-to-day level. First and foremost, my customers motivate me. I am the happiest when I hear stories from my customers about how they got compliments all night, or they felt so good in what they were wearing. That is not only motivating, but inspiring. On a more personal level, my fiancé is a huge source of motivation. He keeps me accountable to all my crazy ideas, and always provides a "can't quit" attitude when I need it.
Kelly: What advice would you give other young women on how to cultivate dedication?
Kristi: I think it's easiest to be dedicated to something when you are able to see the situation realistically. Being dedicated to something means you are 100% all in. You're 100% in even when you're sick, even when you're tired, and even when you hate it. You have to be okay with hating it some days, because you probably will. In my experience, it becomes much easier to stay committed to something when you understand that it is not always glamorous and fun. I hope that doesn't come off as negative, but I think people lose their motivation when it becomes too hard. But the reality is that it IS hard, and that's just part of the process.
All in all, I had a wonderful time getting to know Kristi better and I hope you did as well! What do you think of my new series?