Omi

You own one of the most popular upscale women’s boutiques in Chicago. What influenced you to get started in this business?

I started working in retail when I was in high school, my mom’s friend had a store. I didn’t play sports or anything, I just wanted to have a job. I worked like three days after school and really liked it. She gave me a lot of freedom to kind of do what I wanted in the store. I was allowed to sell to customers, do things in the stock room and process orders. It was fun for me. I think the fact that she let me do so much when I was 15 years old planted the seed because I think if I was just doing random things I wouldn’t have cared as much.

Where does the store’s name come from?

I wanted to have a name that was a little bit different. I didn’t want to name the store after myself or something cliché. My dad actually came up with the name. He’s from Italy and it’s the name of the river in the town where my family is from.

Favorite places to shop?

Besides here, I actually love to shop at Luxury Garage Sale. I find a lot of really cool stuff from there. I got this necklace from them. I love to shop when I travel so any cool boutique I can find when I’m abroad buying or when I’m in New York. Anywhere you can find things you can’t find anywhere else. I feel like it’s those special things you find are the ones that people talk about and are the most important to you.

Does SARCA have any celebrity clients?

Grace Potter actually came in during Lollapalooza last year. We’ve also done work with celebrities who haven’t actually come into the store. That is cool but I wish that they were here! We’ve done work with LeAnn Rimes and Fergie. LeAnn really likes SARCA, she had her stylist come in and pick stuff out for her.

Where do you think you can find the best fashion scene in the city?

There’s some really good people watching and wintertime fashion at RL. There’s a lot of fur and a lot of Birkin bags going on in there. I don’t know, I feel like everywhere here is pretty eclectic. You have people who really get dressed up and do it up for dinner and then you have people who don’t necessarily. It’s different. I’m from Chicago, I grew up here but I lived in New York for awhile and when you went to dinner you were dressed to the nines so when I moved back here people were like, “You are so overdressed!” Now I’ve toned it down.

Are you single?

I am dating someone. We met randomly at Paris Club. Not at Studio Paris, but Paris Club! I was with a group of my girlfriends eating dinner. He’s not from Chicago, he’s from New York originally and he had just moved here a couple of months back and walked in with a mutual friend of ours and that was it. We just started talking. I was single for four and a half years before that so it was very unexpected.

Is your boyfriend into fashion?

He is actually! It’s kind of a requirement. No Ed Hardy or Affliction! He’s good, he’s obsessed with John Varvatos so I think if you are obsessed with a certain designer you can’t go wrong.

Where is your favorite place to go on a Friday or Saturday night?

We go to the Pump Room a lot, I love it there. I feel like their drinks are really good and I’m actually not that big of a drinker so when I like a place that has great cocktails then they must be really good. I’m obsessed with their fried chicken. I personally wouldn’t think that they have awesome fried chicken but I’m in love with anything spicy and they put this really really spicy habanero butter sauce on it. It’s amazing, you can put it on anything!

Where do you hope to see the SARCA brand in the future?

I want to have more than one location for sure. I don’t think I ever want to get as big as having like 30 stores or anything like that, I think that would be hard. I still want to keep everything a little bit on the smaller side but I would love to have another location out of state somewhere. I’d love to expand on the SARCA brand and have different types of stores. We have a lot of people who ask for men’s clothing all of the time so it would be cool to open a men’s store.

If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be?

I think it would be really cool to have a drink with Anna Wintour. She’s definitely cut-throat but I find her to be really funny. I’m a sucker for anyone that has a sense of humor or is a little bit comical. I’ve never met her but I’d love to.

Photography by Natalie Probst

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Omi