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Move Over, Gwynnie: Boutique Owners Are Launching Their Own Lifestyle Brands

 Photo: Twintable bird cage and Fornasetti candle at Citizen Stone
Photo: Twintable bird cage and Fornasetti candle at Citizen Stone

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Goop isn't going anywhere. And neither is the whole virtual-lifestyle phenomenon, so cuddle up some quinoa-stuffed kabocha and get used to it. Cameron Diaz recently published a tome filled with tips for "the well-being of you body," and Reese Witherspoon is about to launch her own lifestyle project.

But it's not only movie stars that are enhancing their brands by doling out tips for the good life. Some retailers are evolving from store owners into overall lifestyle experts—and they have blogs to prove it.

Take Chicago's Citizen Stone. When it opened in November, the loft-style showroom stocked everything from shoes to techie toys and home furnishings. Now, owner Alexis Cozzini says that she's shifting her focus to zero in on home decor and lifestyle products, and she bills her shop as a "luxury lifestyle destination."

Photo: Carrement Belle perfumes at Citizen Stone

Cozzini is the former owner of Sarca, a high-end shop in River North that sold women's shoes and apparel. "When I opened Citizen Stone, I had the opportunity to branch out into other areas of retail that have always been interests of mine—decor and home accessories, natural beauty products, and tabletop and cooking essentials," Cozzini said. "Our product mix is now completely different. We've evolved into another market that is quickly gaining on the fashion industry's momentum—this, [home decor and lifestyle products], is where our passion lies."

Photo: via Citizen Stone

Cozzini's new blog, Olive & Arrow, recently went live on Citizen Stone's revamped website. Featuring everything from a dumpling-soup recipe to travel content and interior-design inspiration (dalmatian-spotted wallpaper, anyone?), the site serves as more than a showcase for Citizen Stone's products. Its tagline is "your whole life, online."

Also in Chicago, boutique Von Z has an affiliated blog called Von Z is the New Black. Store owner Jenna Zielbauer uses the site to post photos of new merchandise, sure. But she editorializes each piece context by carefully styling it—and not with items exclusively from her store—explaining the trend, and shooting the whole look against the backdrop of a Chicago street. The blog also features interviews and travel snaps.
· Citizen Stone [Official Site]
· All Citizen Stone coverage [Racked Chicago]
· Von Z is the New Black [Official Site]
· All Von Z coverage [Racked Chicago]


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