Alex: So Corri, congratulations on The Collection. I’m sure a ton of planning went into putting it together, how long has it been in the works?
Corri: We started this project about five months ago. The biggest thing was our clients. There are different shoppers out there and we heard that there are so many people that want to walk away with it now, like why can’t I buy it now? So, being ten years, it was kind of a way for us to thank our clients as well as extend a different arm of the business. Now that we’ve been established for quite a while and understand auction from A to Z, this was a way for us to have a retail presence here in Chicago. When people come from out of town, they can come and shop these amazing pieces.
Alex: Is this long term? If so, how often will we see new pieces in the store?
Corri: It’s not going anywhere, the whole mindset is that it being “The Collection,” each piece is highly curated and it’s not just a bunch of stuff on racks and the floor [products] will turn over twice a month. Basically if you come in at the beginning or the end of the month, you will see different merchandise every time you come in.
Alex: So basically there is always going to be something new that I want to buy…
Corri: Yes, always something you want.
Alex: So this was a major surprise, do you have anything else coming up that you can tell us about?
Corri: I do, but nothing I can really speak about right now! We are just relishing in ten years and the launch of The Collection right now, and I just had a baby! That in itself has just been a huge adjustment, but absolutely amazing.
Alex: How do you balance it all?
Corri: If you have a really good team, and a solid partner…I always credit back to Spiro [Tsaparas, Corri’s fiance.] You need someone to motivate you on the days when you feel like you can’t. That’s my biggest thing, having a solid support at home.
Alex: A great partner makes all the difference. One last question and I’m done torturing you. You, as well as Christian, started your businesses at 21/22 years old. What advice can you give our readers entering the work force or looking to start their own business?
Corri: The biggest thing, is that you have to find what you’re passionate about. You also have to stick with things long enough to figure out what you’re good at, as well as nothing comes quick. It takes a lot of hard times and a lot of sweat equity, and the biggest thing is that not everyone is intended to be their own boss. There are these misconceptions, and so much pressure on entrepreneurship now and that you have to work for yourself, and if you can do that, that’s amazing! But don’t forget that all these amazing companies out there would never be in business without the support of amazing employees. There is so much pressure now that you need to found something, and you can brand yourself and be your own brand and stand for what you represent, but that doesn’t mean you have to work for yourself.
Alex: The pressure of owning your own business, especially as young as you started it, would be very difficult.
Corri: It is so, so hard, and you are always the last priority, and you are always the last paid. Everything around can look like it’s so easy and glossy from the outside, but at the end of the day there is so much behind the scenes…it’s nuts. It’s rough, but at the end of the day, it’s awesome. It’s moments like this where I think “Alright, this is cool.”
Photos: Kohl Murdock