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Meet Eleanor and Jennifer Detrich Smith of Birdseye Rule in Logan Square

Today we’d like to introduce you to Eleanor and Jennifer Detrich Smith.

Eleanor and Jennifer, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
There is a little stretch of land in northwest Michigan that our family has had for 103 years. We’ve camped there each summer since then, eventually building cabins along the lake. Our name comes from a camp rite of passage; swimming to Birdseye Island in the middle of the lake and back in order to show we were ready to canoe and kayak by ourselves.

Birdseye Rule is made up of us sisters, Jen and Eleanor, and our mother, Diane, all of whom bring our own interpretation of our family camp to the table in our men and women’s apparel and goods store. We have family artwork in the fitting rooms, old camp photos on our tags, and even a 1951 Old Town canoe mounted to the wall.

That’s why we like to call Birdseye Rule a love letter to our roots. Everything we offer comes out of our connection to camp, and by extension, to each other, which we hope to share with each person that comes through the door.

We just recently released a film that was shot at our camp to poetically capture that birdseye rule swim! That can be found at our website (www.birdseyerule.com)

Has it been a smooth road?
One of the biggest struggles was waiting it out through a year of construction with delay after delay, and the hurdles that Chicago permits and inspections throws in to extend that timeline even longer. We found our space at the end of 2015 and didn’t open until March of 2017. At times we wondered if we were ever going to get to open our doors.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Birdseye Rule story. Tell us more about the business.
We specialize in everyday wear for men and women. We work incredibly hard to keep our price point reasonable so that anyone in our community can shop with us while maintaining quality and ethical offerings.

One thing very special about our shop is that every fixture and piece of furniture in store is up for grabs. We have antique rugs and reupholstered vintage chairs and couches, as well as beautiful newly made shelves and tables. Plus, the exterior of our space is a black and white mural of Great Blue Herons done by a local street artist.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
While some argue the future of clothing retail is only online, we believe the experience of a brick and mortar store is something that is not just helpful and fun, but necessary to foster the kind of connection to each other that humanity needs. Real life is offline. We believe deeply that if schisms and divisions in our culture are ever to be addressed, we have to have spaces that we look each other in the eye and get to know one another, even if only for a short time. We may not have the kind of clothing every person is looking for, but we promise to be a store that anyone and everyone can walk into and feel safe and be loved.

As far as Birdseye Rule, specifically, we will soon have an online store, and have plans to release a shirt line that will exist to raise money for local nonprofits. In 5-10 years we have plans to introduce our own in-house brand as well.

Pricing:

  • Average clothing items retail under $100
  • Average home goods retail under $50

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Richard Smith III
Nina Johnson

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