ANDERSONVILLE — Bergen Anderson has run her clothing company, production and all, from her Chicago home for over 10 years.
After outgrowing her home studio, Anderson’s Lilla Barn Clothing has opened a store and production studio on Clark Street in Andersonville, where the clothes are made within feet of where they’re sold.
Lilla Barn Clothing‘s new store opened on Small Business Saturday in late November at 5535 N. Clark St. The store houses Lilla Barn’s Swedish-inspired clothing for kids and adults plus other locally made and sustainable clothing, decor and gifts.
Behind the retail area is Lilla Barn’s studio, where Anderson works making the brand’s clothes. It is the latest evolution for a brand that prizes local and thoughtfully made items, Anderson said.
“It made sense to get my studio out of my home,” she said. “It feels good to have a space that’s mine. This feels like the right step.”
Lilla Barn was founded in 2011 when Anderson was pregnant with her first child. Unable to find the baby clothes she was looking for, Anderson decided to start making her own.
She began selling her line of clothing on Etsy before moving to other e-commerce platforms and craft fairs. Lilla Barn later expanded into adult clothing.
The brand is inspired by Nordic design, as Anderson has Swedish roots and spent time living in Sweden. Its clothing includes vibrant colors and bold patterns that are to be worn for playtime or physical activity. Lilla Barn is Swedish for “little child.”
Lilla Barn makes clothes for newborns up to 5-year-olds as well as items for adults. Both its kids and adult lines are gender neutral.
An emphasis is placed on sustainability, another tenant of Nordic design. The clothes are made to withstand wear-and-tear so they can be handed down, Anderson said. Lilla Barn also seeks to use every bit of fabric it sources. Fabrics left over from clothes production end up being used in items like wallets, scrunchies and headbands.
Lilla Barn’s store stocks similarly minded businesses including Earth Cadets, which sells sustainably made pillows and other items including sweatshirts. It sells necklaces made by Gunner & Lux, a brand started by a local daughter-and-dad team.
“I want to support other brands who work in a similar way and that fit with our product,” Anderson said.
Anderson plans to use her production studio as an incubator space for other artists and as a community area for workshops that will include how to make new products out of old items, she said.
The store already has its first artist-in-residence: Andria Green. Her namesake brand produces prints, bags and other gifts, which are now made and sold in the Lilla Barn store.
Anderson, who lives with her family in Rogers Park, looked throughout the city for a new store and production space. It made sense to locate in Andersonville, which was once a hub of Swedish business and culture and where Anderson lived for 10 years.
“It feels good coming back,” Anderson said. “My adrenaline hasn’t shut off since opening.”
Lilla Barn is open 1-5 p.m. Thursday-Friday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. For more on the business, click here.