IRVING PARK — The owners of a boutique venue that specializes in small events and sells items from local artisans have taken over the space next door.
Married couple Myriam and Manny Morales opened Him + Her Vintage, 3434 W. Irving Park Road, last summer as a micro venue for things like dinners and tea parties for 20-40 people.
The recent expansion into 3432 W. Irving Park Road will provide more space to offer pop-up markets and consignment opportunities for local creators, Myriam Morales said.
“Right now, we have 12 artists who will showcase their businesses here and rent a space within our vintage shop to sell,” Myriam Morales said. “Everybody comes with their own community, and it’s very cool to see just how different artists can be, even if they’re within the same field. Everything is very unique.”
Myriam Morales grew up in Irving Park, where her mother and aunt ran a wedding shop specializing in decor, dresses and alternations. Organizing events is in her blood, she joked.
“I’m Puerto Rican and my husband’s Puerto Rican and Mexican. Hosting family gatherings is just something that we know,” she said. “And I remember being in my mom’s shop and seeing her do that, thinking that one day I’m going to get a cash register and be a businesswoman.”
Myriam Morales previously worked as a wedding planner, but, during the pandemic, she pivoted to helping people sheltering at home plan more “intimate” evenings and date nights, she said.
“They’d order their food and we’d come and set up a beautiful table, chairs and candlelight,” she said. “It was just this fancy affair for two, but in their backyard. We even did a micro wedding, transforming someone’s living room and dining room into a full-blown ceremony space.”
After coordinating a few of these smaller events, the couple decided to try their hand at opening their own boutique venue to scale up their work. Their Irving Park Road space isn’t far from where Myriam Morales’ mother’s wedding shop was, she said.
“It’s kind of full circle,” she said.
The 450-square-foot storefront initially felt “like a box,” Myriam Morales said. While building out its interior, the couple got creative by repurposing antique and vintage furniture and decor they’ve collected, she said.
“I’m very nostalgic, and repurposing is very important to us,” she said. “I know thrifting is cool now, but we were doing it before it was cool.”
Myriam Morales also took inspiration from West Town’s massive Salvage One showroom and venue by having all the Him + Her decor and furniture also be for sale, she said.
“I’m obsessed with that place. That was very much an inspiration for us because we’ve been there and love it. We realized we can have Him + Her be a home for all of our collectables and provide an experience for people,” she said.
The couple had their eye on the space next door when they opened. But they decided to start with the smaller store to slowly grow their business, Myriam Morales said.
But it was time to take the leap to buy the larger space, she said.
“It’s still an intimate space, but now we can host about double the number of people we could next door. It also allows us to rent our first home to artisans so they can host workshops,” Myriam Morales said. “We’re really trying to build a community, meet artists and new people while also beautifying our block.”
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