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Meet Sarah Sharpe of 444 Evergreen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Sharpe.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Sarah. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I always knew I wanted to go into the fashion industry. While in high school, I worked at my local Nordstrom in Oakbrook, IL and knew I wanted to work with the company after college.

I went to school at Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI. It was here that I discovered my love for yoga. It was a great way to relieve stress in college while trying to stay healthy. In my senior year, I lived in a house where the address was 444 Evergreen. This is where the name of my website comes from. After graduation, I did an internship with Nordstrom in Novi, MI, continuing my career with the company.

Upon completion of my internship, I decided to move to Denver, CO to continue my journey with the company. I was ready to become an assistant department manager but there were no open positions at the Denver location at the time. I accepted a position in the Activewear Department as a salesperson. After a few promotions within this location, I finally ended up back in the Activewear Department in a management position. It was here that I discovered my passion for Activewear. It combined my love of yoga and fashion. This was in 2014 so it was right when Activewear was starting to take off and leggings were becoming a staple in every woman’s wardrobe.

For about a year I worked in a showroom where we represented various activewear brands. I would go to different stores/studios in the Midwest, and they would order the collections that they wanted to sell in their locations. Essentially, I was on the opposite end of the buying process. I loved this job and I learned a ton about activewear and the buying process. However, at the end of the day, I wasn’t passionate about what I was doing.

When looking for a new job, I gathered all of the aspects of my work history to discover where my passion lied. I knew I loved working in the activewear industry, and I really loved the web design aspect of my boutique job. I was having a hard time finding a job in Chicago that combined these aspects. It seemed that every job I found was in retail sales, and I knew this was not what I wanted to do anymore. Since I couldn’t find a job that combined my passions, I decided to create one for myself. I decided to create 444 Evergreen so I could finally accomplish my goal of becoming a buyer of activewear clothing. I feel that my work history has prepared me for this job perfectly, and I am finally 100% happy with what I am doing.

Has it been a smooth road?
Ultimately, creating the website has been a smooth road. I am doing it all on my own, so there is nobody to butt heads with – I have total creative freedom. This is great, but it can also be a challenge. It was very overwhelming to start a business from scratch, especially since I didn’t know exactly what I was doing in the beginning. Luckily, I had some great mentors that helped me along the way and gave me some guidance to get started. Since I decided to make this my full-time project, I didn’t have any other distraction to get in my way. I sat down and was able to get most things going very quickly.

Other struggles in starting a business alone include that fact that all start-up costs and risks are 100% your responsibility. If you are questioning how to do something, you do not have a partner to turn to. You really have to just figure out how to do it on your own and trust your gut that you are making the right decisions. If there are any mistakes, it is all on you. However, unless you have someone that you can trust fully to become a partner with you, this is the best option. There are of course many pros to starting a business on your own. You really have to weigh both options before starting to choose which is best for you.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with 444 Evergreen – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
444 Evergreen is an online women’s boutique specializing in activewear and loungewear. I run the business by myself so I do everything down to buying merchandise, shipping packages to customers, customer service, social media, and inventory management. I have also started doing trunk shows locally in Chicago, so I plan for and run those as well so customers can try on merchandise and shop in person.

I try to run a website that I, as a customer, would want to shop at. I want to make the process as easy for the customer as possible. This is why I offer free shipping on all purchases, and I get boxes shipped out as fast as possible. I hate when I order something online and I have to wait almost a week before the package even ships. A tracking number is sent to the customer as soon as the order is fulfilled, so they know the status of their order at all times. I try to make things very personable for the customer as well. If they have a question regarding sizing, they can start a chat on the website or email me directly and I will get back to them that day. I think communication with your customers is a really important aspect that many online companies miss.

I also try to keep the price point reasonable for someone that is similar to my demographic. It is very easy to find a pair of leggings these days that costs close to $200. I try to make it possible to find a whole outfit for at this price point.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
My favorite thing about Chicago is the fact that you can go anywhere on a weeknight and there will be a large crowd there. That was one thing that was missing for me when I moved to a smaller major city. I would drive around downtown at night on a Wednesday and the city would look deserted. I also love that Chicago has a small town vibe despite the fact that it is one of the largest cities in the US. The people are friendly and down to earth and there is always something to do.

I absolutely love the food in Chicago! It is one of my favorite things, but it can also make it hard to be healthy at times. Since the weather is so unpredictable, it’s definitely difficult to stay active in Chicago than in other cities.

One of my least favorite things about Chicago is the traffic. This combined with the treacherous winters can make it very easy to be a hermit from November-February.

Pricing:

  • With the exception of a few styles, I generally like to keep leggings under $100

Contact Info:

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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