Where do you live in the city?
I’m in the Gold Coast. [My fiancé and I] are moving to our ‘adult home’. [Smiles] We are moving just down the street [but] I’m moving and it’s like Fall wardrobe season! I need boots and I’m having to buy couches!
The real deal! Congrats on your engagement by the way! How did you meet your husband-to-be?
We met actually through my former publicist. He races cars for his hobby and he took a vacation for two weeks and competed in a reality show on SPEED and he ended up winning it and we met at his wrap party. We have been together ever since!
How did he pop the question?
[It was] amazing. I had no idea. I knew we would get married, I just didn’t think it was going to be on vacation. It was our first real vacation together. We left the country for three weeks and our friend Faraone Mennella, who designed my ring, opened a new store in Capri, [Italy]. That night at the store opening I was borrowing jewelry to wear and we were walking around and he’s like, ‘What about this ring?’ and I looked down and was like, ‘That’s my ring!’ because I requested diamonds to my knuckles [laughs], no single stone, and I wanted to incorporate color. So it’s black, white and yellow diamonds. We just ordered a pink sapphire so I can switch it any day [based on] however I am feeling, to match my outfit [smiles] … I was so surprised! I was happy, I was crying. It was amazing.
What was going through your mind in that moment?
Prior to that we had been at the beach all day—it was our first day there—and we were beat. He was like, ‘Maybe we should just go to the party tomorrow and skip the cocktail hour [tonight]’ and I was like, ‘No! We flew halfway across the world. We are going!’ In Capri it’s all cobblestone [streets] so it’s really hard to wear heels but the jewelry store was next to the hotel so I was like, ‘Screw it. I’m wearing heels!’ And the first thing I thought [when he proposed] is, ‘I’m so glad I’m wearing heels!’ [Laughs]
When did you know he was ‘the one’?
I knew the night he told me he was falling in love with me. I had been in a relationship prior to that and I knew what I wanted. It just clicked … We are going to go back to Capri to get married. We are going to do it next summer.
Before you met your fiancé, Spiro, how was your dating life?
I didn’t date a lot because I was really busy. I’m not an easy person to date! I’m a handful! For a guy, it takes a very secure man to be with someone and support someone [like me] and embrace a woman having her own business.
As the founder of eDrop-Off, your life revolves around luxury consignment apparel and accessories. Have you always had in mind who you wanted to design your wedding dress?
Christian Siriano is one of my dear friends so he is doing my dress. I’m just doing a wedding party of three and he is doing head-to-toe [designs] for my party … I just want a long 75 top table—all white, floral and good food.
What is a typical day like for you?
I got up at 4:45 a.m. today. I did WCIU today—I do a segment once a week—and from there I went to a breakfast meeting at Trump. From there I went and did a [consignment] pick-up for one of my clients and then came into the office!
What was the experience like for you starting your own company at such a young age?
I remember when we first started eDrop-Off—we are actually now celebrating eight years this week—so when we first opened I was twenty two years old. I started this business plan for my graduation portfolio project. I had [actually] missed my college graduation [in order] to go to eBay Live in New Orleans and find the software to run [eDrop-Off] and I opened my doors October 1st, 2004. I remember opening the door and being like, ‘Sh-t! What do I do now!?’ because I had spent all of my time and I had no money when I did it. I took out an SBA loan and I maxed out all of my credit cards and created my own logo. At that time in 2004 eBay was still very new so I wasn’t even trying to sell people the concept of selling for them, I was explaining what eBay was! So it was a whole other beast! It was pre-social media. I sold everything from fly-fishing equipment to electronics to coins; you name it, I sold it like ‘Pawn Stars’! But I wanted to sell designer and luxury goods … [now] we sell 2,500 unique items a week!
What is something about you that people may not know?
I graduated with $36 in my checking account. I recorded every single purchase from a Panera soup to a Chipotle taco. I moved to Chicago and I didn’t know one person when I moved here.
How did you stay fashionable when starting out with no money?
When you are on a budget you have to work within your means because when you go out of your means you associate guilt with wearing it and it takes all of the fun out of it! So why stretch yourself to where you are panicking to open up your credit card bill? That is stupid. Polish your nails. Your skin is so important… People look at your skin, your hair and your nails before anything else. Your shoes should be clean! No matter what they look like. If they are clean, that’s it. People are just going to notice if you’re not taking care of yourself.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
As a child I saw a need for candy on the bus because we didn’t have vending machines in my junior high. So I called the director of who sold the candy and organized for them to deliver me candy on a 180 day payment plan and I would sell the candy on the bus on the way home to everyone! Everyday I would go through a case.
VH1′s House of Consignment brought eDrop-Off to a national audience, following you through the ups and downs of running your own business. What is it really like to be the star of your own reality show?
Craaaazy! [Laughs] It’s from the time you get up to the time you go to bed. It’s six days a week. We filmed for about seventeen weeks but I learned so much. I went into the show thinking I was maxed out, like this is the most I can do, the most people I can manage and I couldn’t take anymore in my day. And suddenly you literally have another full-time job and a serious job where you are reporting to a network that has a lot of money invested in the show and you have to report to them everyday. So suddenly your job that has always been first priority becomes put on the back-burner. I learned really what I was capable of.
Do you think the way you were portrayed was true to your authentic self?
Yeah, exactly! … It’s like a diary. You can see how reality can be completely destructive, how it ruins marriages because it is hard and it puts pressure on you and everything is out in the open but the only reason I did the show was because I am content with that.
What’s the key to balancing it all?
I think as long as you love the person you are with and [loving yourself] if you are by yourself, that is the most important thing. You have to love what you are doing; it’s not about money. I have been in some of the wealthiest [people's] closets and there is a mix of two people; people that are amazing and happy and those that are filling a void. I’ve always said it’s just having a healthy balance and it all just falls into place. But I’m like really good with home services. [Laughs] I have a home service for everything! Manicures, spray tans, hair, you name it! That’s how I do it. So I’m getting a blow out at 8 o’clock [in the morning] and a spray tan at 9:30 and then my trainer comes. There is a misconception about being high maintenance. Those are luxuries and I am blessed I can have them but at the end of the day that is the only way I can do it. That’s what works.
Well, we are growing. Right now we are at 46 employees. I soft-launched my jewelry collection and I just live day-to-day. I am very content. I obviously want to grow my business and I have big plans but I’m a self-funded company and I don’t have investors where there is this pressure [on me] so as long as we are enjoying our work environment and everyone is happy and we are making our overhead, awesome! We pride ourselves in being extremely innovative and doing everything in-house.
Are you in Chicago to stay?
Yes! I am not leaving. I grew up in Kansas City and I’m a Midwesterner. We are finally getting a spotlight! Our city has so much to offer. I go to New York twice a month, I can go wherever and pop in and out but this is my home and I want my kids to be raised here.
Are kids on the near horizon?
Probably within the next two years.
Well for now, your dogs are adorable!
Harley and Emma! Harley I got for college graduation. I got him two weeks before I started eDrop-Off, so he’s been there every step of the way and Emma is his daughter.
You always are so well put together. Can we ever find you just lounging around in sweatpants?
I own one pair of sweatpants. [Laughs]. I despise working out and I have had the same Hanes beater tanks for like four years and finally [my trainer] Kim was like, ‘Corri, seriously…’ so now I have a Lululemon tank and a pair of pants.
What are your guilty pleasures?
I love Chili’s chips and salsa. Uncle Julio’s queso dip is insane; I get it twice a week. I’m addicted to it. I only drink white wine because I get migraines.
What is one thing you wish you would have known when you were just starting out?
I had a lot of shit days and a lot of crap situations and all I can say is the more [you have them], the more you grow. Failure has never been an option for me. I look back on things and I’m like, ‘That was nothing!’ Just work through it, be as positive as you can be about it and vent however you need to vent. You have to find a release, whether it’s working out or having a drink or whatever it is, you have to find a way to balance that emotion so that it doesn’t take over your day.
If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be?
I would probably go with… I can’t say it… I will get in trouble… [Laughs]
You can say it! [Laughs]
I need to have a drink with our President! [Laughs] That and I’d love to have a drink with Anna Wintour.
Are you passionate about politics?
I’m really into our city more than politics. Chicago has a lot of problems and they need to be addressed. In a city where I’m trying to make it amazing and I’m in New York and I’m seeing our crime reports overshadow theirs, that’s upsetting. To have 46 girls that I lecture every single day before I leave, to make sure they are in flats or their bags are turned around or their jewelry isn’t showing, I don’t like that! I want help. What do we do? How do we solve this problem? It needs to come from the top and this is his hometown, so help us!
What sparked your interest to try and difference in something so far from fashion?
I wanted to be in the FBI! I wanted to be a cop growing up. It’s just how my brain works. I would be the most wicked cop ever. [Laughs]. If you see my Facebook, my Facebook page is mixed with fashion and crime reporting. [Laughs]. I’m not trying to ruffle anyone’s political feathers. All I want is to clean it up. This is a problem as a whole that we are all dealing with … I feel like the neighborhood cop… [Laughs]
Photography by Kirsten Miccoli