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Andersonville’s Milk Boutique Wins Pop-Up Shop Downtown, Expands Local Message

After just two years running, Andersonville’s Milk Handmade is expanding its collection of handmade women’s clothing, accessories and local, independent designers to a temporary storefront in the heart of downtown.

The locally-sourced women’s clothing boutique recently won Block 37’s “The Next Great Pop-Up Challenge,” earning the neighborhood shop two months of free rent and $2,500 in build-out expenses for a 731-square-foot pop-up store in the State Street mall.

Open now through the end of December, Milk and its collection of local designers are expected to gain high-traffic exposure in the height of the holiday shopping season, as well as a band of new customers interested in Milk’s local-friendly mission.

Hallie Borden, creator and owner of Milk Handmade, opened the boutique after leaving her corporate marketing job in pursuit of her interests in local fashion and design. Working directly with independent artists and designers, Borden said nearly 75 percent of Milk’s merchandise is conceptualized and produced right here in Chicago.

“I love working directly with independent artists and watching their small businesses grow,” said Borden. “Customers are able to support the amazing art and design scene in Chicago, and help foster a community that keeps creative jobs in our backyard.” MilkBoutique1

According to Hallie, the pop-up store is another exciting opportunity to do just that. The new location offers Milk the space and resources it needs to organically bolster its name and philosophy in a new and energetic neighborhood bustling with fresh faces.

“Folks in Andersonville are generally very conscious of the environment, of what their dollars are supporting and of maintaining a community of small businesses. They know why supporting ethically-made, eco-friendly, independently produced merchandise is so important, and they feel good about shopping with us,” said Borden. “I’m looking forward to spreading that message in a new neighborhood, and having the chance to talk with people I otherwise might not have met.”

The pop-up store remains similar to Milk’s Andersonville location, but features a smaller group of local designers, each showcasing a more complete collection of their work. Details about each designer’s background and creative process are displayed alongside their respective collections throughout the store.

Milk will also shed light on the neighborhood organization Care for Real, an Edgewater-based nonprofit that provides food, clothing and referral services to those in need. Through “The Giving Spree” holiday promotion, Milk will collect gently used clothing donations from Nov. 22 through Dec. 7. For every piece of clothing donated (up to five), customers will have the opportunity to pull a card with special offers from the store’s “Milk Jug.”

“Large stores tend to offer extreme discounts for Black Friday shopping, and as a small business, that is just not something I can compete with,” said Borden. “I wanted to rethink the typical post-Thanksgiving sales and do something more in line with the spirit of the holiday. [Through ‘The Giving Spree’,] our customers can be thankful for what they have, give to those who have less, and treat themselves and their loved ones at the same time.”

“The Giving Spree” Holiday promotion will be featured at both the Andersonville and new pop-up shop locations. MilkBoutique2

Opening its doors and flipping on the switch, Milk welcomed customers to its new pop-up location this past Saturday, Nov. 8. It has two months to expand its mission, spotlight its local designers, harness a new following of eco-minded fashionistas and milk it for all it’s worth.

(Milk Handmade will be hosting a grand opening celebration Tuesday, Nov. 18 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at its pop-up shop location.)


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