PORTAGE PARK — Business owner and serial entrepreneur Kelsey Haywood is used to being busy.
From juggling three young children to managing multiple design clients, a business and a new homeware shop, the Portage Park resident said piling on duties is a theme in her life that makes her feel energized.
“I don’t do one thing — I do it all at once,” said Haywood, who moved her design company, haywoodmade interiors, into its first store earlier this year. “It’s where I tend to do my best work.”
The housewares and gift store, the shop by haywoodmade, 4942 W. Irving Park Road, opened at the end of November.
Haywood has been slowly growing her inventory and wants to bring more commerce to the Portage Park strip, especially as more transplants and businesses come into the area.
Nestled between Junebug Cafe and Kit: A Bar Supply Store, Haywood’s shop sells a curated selection of houseware items like towels, glassware, bowls, vases, pillows and vintage rugs. The inventory includes items from local and national creators, with an emphasis on women entrepreneurs.
Haywood hopes to work with local artists to add artwork to the space to give them exposure.
“I want to partner with an artist or two on a bimonthly basis, where if someone doesn’t have a physical location to display their artwork, [they can] have the opportunity to showcase some art,” Haywood said.
Haywood recently held a sip and shop event where neighbors came to shop and learn more about the brand and Haywood’s style. Those kinds of community-building relationships are part of her mission, she said.
“That was a powerful night because it was mostly women just being so supportive. … I am passionate about women getting together and making a community better and stronger,” she said. “I want people to realize what we have and what we are about.”
After quitting a corporate job and starting the design company in 2017, Haywood began working with commercial and residential clients. With a background in human relations and growing up with family members in the renovation industry, her business quickly boomed, she said.
Haywood began looking for spaces in the same building strip in late 2019 but took a pause because of the pandemic. She kept in touch with the landlord and would often pass the stores on her daily walks. In June, she was convinced to step into a newly remodeled unit and loved it.
“I ended up moving forward [with the space] and, basically, did not look back,” she said. “We have been able to use the space pretty much just as I intended.”
As the new year dawns, Haywood said she’s grateful for design projects in the pipeline for 2022 and wants to encourage folks to check out her shop, support local entrepreneurs and boost the local economy. She said she’s also open to taking feedback on what locals want to see in the shop going forward that highlight a unique style.
“I want something you cannot find elsewhere and that feels unique and special if it’s for you or someone else,” she said.
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