Justeen Diffenderfer, the owner of Inspired by Justeen, intends to fill a niche of selling both women’s clothing and children’s toys in Edgewater.
Officially open as of Nov. 13, on the corner of West Glenlake Avenue and North Broadway Street, Inspired by Justeen has quickly garnered both community support and excitement. Local residents said they felt a lack of stores to buy new clothes.
“A lot of the places that I shopped would be kind of in like the Lakeview area,” Madeline Laborde, an Edgewater resident and store employee, said. “Mostly near Armitage and Sheffield because they have a few boutiques down there but now I’ve been getting all my stuff here.”
Diffenderfer said her boutique is unique to the area because, in her experience, there hasn’t been a similar business in all the years she has lived in Edgewater.
“A lot of people have been stopping in even just to say hello and wander through,” Diffenderfer said.
Tonara Guillen, an employee at Inspired by Justeen, said the store’s a “perfect little boutique.”
Diffenderfer started with an Etsy business selling glassware for birthdays, baby announcements and weddings before having her first daughter. After which, she temporarily sold clothing for another brand.
This past summer, Diffenderfer began building her new business primarily selling women’s clothing. To appeal to a wider demographic, she also started selling small children’s toys.
Going from an online business to a physical store can be risky for a business, however Diffenderfer said she knew she made the right choice after a successful opening day.
“In the grand opening, I got rid of all 50 gift bags I prepped with gift cards,” Diffenderfer said. “They were all gone by the end of the day, so that shows me that there were quite a few people who are interested and that the community is extremely excited.”
While Inspired by Justeen began with products that personally interested the owner, Diffenderfer said she’s expanding to other products to better suit the needs of her new customer base.
“I’m not opposed to things I don’t carry currently, whether that be men’s apparel or younger women’s clothing,” Diffenderfer said.
She has also been running a Facebook page for quite a while in order to get feedback and ideas for future products.
“My customers are my family basically,” Diffenderfer said. “I think it’s important to have that relationship with customers.”