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Meet Jessica Garrett of Loft on Lake in Fulton Market District

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Garrett.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My parents have been working in the west loop since the early 90’s at 213 N. Morgan St., my mom, Cher Garrett, ran a successful Design & Branding firm at that time had a staff of 30. My Dad, Steve Garrett, had a photo studio in the same building. They also ran an art Gallery in the same building too! For as long as I could remember my parents have always been hard working creatives in this area. As kids, my brothers and I would always come into work and do our thing, either setting up our markers in the conference room or watching the illustrators work on client projects. My favorite was watching them draw Keebler Cookie Elves and Trix Rabbits for cookie and cereal boxes, which inspired me to learn Adobe creative suite and become a Graphic Designer myself. From 1990-2000 my parents agency was booming! The recession had us downsize, and she felt like she needed to make a move. My parents noticed a building with a beautiful 60ft. skylight on Lake St. just a few blocks down. It was a perfect space for a photo studio with an office upstairs to run the design business. Once we got the building running, we opened the space to other photographers for photoshoots, which led to people wanting to utilize the space for business meetings, social events, and eventually, weddings! The wedding industry embraced us with open arms and so much love. We became part of a large family with the event industry. Loft on Lake has become the best blessing for our family!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It’s been really smooth! My mom Cher is truly a genius with her strategies, and Loft on Lake’s success has been organic. Since opening nearly 10 years ago, we now have a pretty good handle on operations; we’ve been growing and editing our preferred vendor list and feel like it’s in a great place. My parents are both really kind people and like to educate young creatives; so we’ve been working with schools around Chicago and offer internships for these students to get a start and real experience. The event industry is a great industry to be in by association because its fun and the people are so friendly! One of the best things about Loft on Lake is our name because it describes the space, and word of mouth… people talk and we get lots of feedback!

We’d love to hear more about your business.
My mom really is the brains behind the business, she’s been a prominent female business owner in the West Loop for a long time. She was aware of the neighborhood trends and jumped at her opportunity. Her and my Dad birthed Loft on Lake with the intent to have others make money and memories in our intimate space. What sets us apart is that we are family owned and run. The exposed brick and timber beams make us the quintessential Chicago Loft space embodying urban elegance and west loop original charm! “The Loft” is a creative canvas, it’s turn-key and ready to transform for any special event. Some details that set us apart is we do allow outside vendors and BYO. We have the easiest load in and load out in the city! Our double back doors are wide enough to fit an SUV, so we often host auto events in the space. We also have a chefs kitchen on-site, allowing caterers to prep food on-site, and we often hold chef/food related events.

What were you like growing up?
For me, I’ve always admired my parent’s skills and talents. I love how creative and different my family is compared to my friends families. My parents were always working hard to support us, and exposing us to unique opportunities. My Mom started as a fashion illustrator, then went on to illustrating logos and advertisements, excelling in her leadership and organizational skills, she’s able to think so big, and became the president of her own Agency, working with top tier clients. My Dad the in-house photographer to my mom’s agency, he was able to work with the same clients on the same projects. They started with nothing, and have worked together as a creative team to this day. This has inspired me more than anything else, to become a Designer + Photographer myself. I have merged both of my parent’s trades and have come into my own, I graduated in 2013 with my BFA in Visual Communications. At Loft on Lake I’m able to focus on the design arm of the family business, grow as a photographer in the photo studio, run the day-to-day operations as the Director of Marketing, Sales, and Day-of Planning and Venue Liaison for Loft on Lake, all under one roof with my family to help me. I am currently embarking on a creative portrait project, Regal POP Portraits. The photograph of me in this article was created in collaboration with my Dad in Loft on Lake’s photo studio. Regal POP Portraits is an exploration of the modern day portrait/profile picture; experimenting with lighting techniques, film and digital manipulation, appropriating renaissance portrait paintings and our love for flemish floral still life’s – all incorporating design, photography and painting – with regal flair.

Pricing:

  • $900 M-F 9-5pm photo studio rental
  • Saturday : $5,700 for a 10 hour rental (Reserved for Weddings)
  • Saturday (during down season, Jan-April) : $5,200
  • M-F, Sunday : $1,500 – $5,200 Rates are based on hours (4-8 hours) guest count (1-250) and event type
  • M-F Corporate events : Daytime $3,000-$4,200, Evening $4,500-$5,200 (8-10 hours)
  • NFP Discount $500.00

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Images copyright Loft on Lake

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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