We recently kicked off a series of posts featuring the awesome talents in our design-centric corner of Chicago. It’s been great to hear from our neighbors about why they love this area and adore what they do.
Next up: Betsy Karp, the impeccable eye behind Ashley & Sloane. We recently caught up with this globe-trotter on the phone, while she walked the drippy streets of Paris, France and shared some insights into her importing business.
Unison: Tell us about Ashley & Sloane
Karp: As an importer, I make frequent trips to France and bring back shipments of antiques and French classic design furniture. Everything from armoires—which are as great for décor as they are practical for storing your linens—to tables, bistro chairs, outdoor furniture, you name it.
I also bring in modern French pieces, keeping up-to-date with the contemporary pieces that can work with a mixture and a blend of antiques. I’m really a minimalist in my own way. It’s about how all of it can work together.
Unison: What are your thoughts on Chicago’s design community?
Karp: The design community in Chicago is centered in the warehouse areas. In West Town, where our building is located, we have a variety of people manufacturing, doing restoration, etc. Obviously, modern design is very important.
Unison: And what kind of an impact has your location had on your business?
Karp: The beauty of this area is that the designers who are in the city can come see what I’m unloading and sorting. I meet people by appointment there—especially city designers. And it’s wonderful to have the loading doc down there, to be able to unload the whole shipment and have it all there for anyone who wants to see it.
I also love the building itself. The location is easy to get to. I come from the north suburbs of Chicago—as do many designers who come to see my pieces—and we can get to this spot with great ease.
But best of all, it’s been an incubator building, because many businesses have started and grown from there. It’s a place that gives you wings—that nurtures you in starting a business. That’s the beauty of it. It’s a place where people can come and see new, growing, developing businesses—from artists to woodworkers to established businesses like Ashley & Sloane or Unison.
The environment is great, too. I have the luxury of space and of setting up a show room there. The natural light that comes in is wonderful for my pieces. And the white floors and walls—wonderful for what I’m doing.
If you can’t make it to their Chicago showroom at 2010 W Fulton St you can also shop a selection of Ashley & Sloane at Anna’s in Highwood. For their main warehouse and showroom please visit:
Ashley & Sloane