Thrifty Shop

Who isn’t looking for a pick-me-up these days? But how to feed that urge without the splurge?

Want to treat yourself to a lot of shopping fun while spending just a little? Let me help.

I’ve been cruising around, looking at stores both large and small that provide plenty of entertaining browsing and a load of satisfying purchases — for under $20.

If you can’t find something to brighten dreary winter days at the stores shown here (for you or those lucky friends on your gift list), then you’re just not looking.


1902 W. Montrose Ave.; 773-769-2227,

This really is one-stop shopping for brightening our frigid sun-free zone. And if you’re looking for a present, owner David Vail makes it easy. In the three-room shop you’ll find small sections devoted to baby, men, plus lots of unique jewelry (vintage and costume), housewares, cards and — even — flowers. Seriously, Hazel has it all. If they served coffee and snacks you’d never have to leave.

Ravenswood locals have been shopping Hazel since it opened 6 1/2 years ago, but I just discovered it. Now, you can’t keep me away.

While I was there a customer walked in the front door and almost shrieked with joy, “This IS the store!”

Within my self-inflicted $20 budget, I found a trunkload of irresistibles, including white ceramic salt-and-pepper shakers shaped like modern art mini-boulders ($10). Also, magnet bud vases made from test tubes ($7), and live and silk flowers to put in them; cuff links shaped like safety pins ($14); a pretty pink starburst rhinestone ring ($9.50) and on and on and … on.

Renegade Handmade

1924 W. Division St.; 773-227-2707,

If you love D.I.Y., handmade,, this is the place to shop for instant gratification (though the store recently opened an online component as well). I didn’t find as many under $20 items as I’d expected, but there still were plenty including “kitsch plates” switch plates and outlet covers made from vintage wallpaper ($12); cross-stitched pins of hearts and little girl heads ($18); and a brightly colored hardbound mini memo pad with pen ($17.50). There’s a large selection of posters, art, T-shirts and onesies for infants. Many of the crafters are Chicagoans.

Ten Thousand Villages

121 N. Marion St., Oak Park; 708-848-4572,

This fair-trade retailer, with several shops in the Chicago area, stocks handmade jewelry, wearables, decorative items, toys and more by artisans from around the globe at prices that make you think they’ve left a digit off the tag.

I confess I broke my $20 limit when I saw three handsome plastic bangles from India in colors I coveted in a pretty drawstring bag ($24). But there was loads of jewelry — and everything else — well within my budget, including other bright bangles from Africa ($6 each); miniature magnetic picture frames made from recycled chip bags (4 for $16); prettily wrapped clove and honey soaps from India (3 for $10); hand-carved onyx pears and apples ($14) and candle holders (starting at $6) from Pakistan.

The volunteers who staff the shop are informative and welcoming and they wrap your gifts with heart.


9500 S. Western Ave.; Evergreen Park; 708-857-7319,

Forget what you think you know about this pink-and-purple emporium that pre-teens love. Once you get past the Jonas Brothers tote bags ($24 reduced to $12) and garish leg warmers ($10), there’s lots more for women of all ages.

Walls here are lined with costume jewelry that is the very definition of timeless, such as a 5-foot-long pearl and gold chain necklace ($9.50) or silvery hoop earrings (buy 2, get one free, $6). There are Claire’s all over Chicagoland, and at the one in Oak Park I yearned for a leopard and black vinyl wallet for $12 and found enough hair accessories to take me and every woman I know or will ever meet into the next millennium.


Capture the Elusive Teenage Demographic

Teenagers are as unpredictable as the weather happy and sunny one hour and then clouding over with the storms the next. Teenagers are about as fickle as they come much to the dismay of parents and teachers everywhere.

Retailers who cater to these consumers are equally baffled and have spent the last several years trying to figure out what teens want, how to communicate with this target audience and what price points are acceptable.

Teenagers are more aware

The teenage category has changed drastically over the last several years. These shoppers have grown up with technology and desire innovative, fresh ideas. They have Smartphones, iPads and iPods and they know (unlike me) how to use all of the buttons and features. Teens know exactly what they are looking for, what it costs and where to find it. They are not going to the mall to browse racks of clothes and try on endless piles of jeans– they have already gone online, shopped around, solicited opinions from their friends and made a decision.

This is bad news for traditional retail favorites like the GAP and Abercrombie & Fitch. Over the course of the last decade, it’s become more complicated to be a teen and dress a teen. If you remember dressing in head-to-toe Esprit and Aerospostale when you were in high school, you may be disappointed to hear that today’s teenagers are much more discerning. It’s no longer about the same brand for everything, now it’s all about mixing and matching to create an individual style.

Mainstays take a hit

Stores that used to be mainstays Abercrombie & Fitch, Aerospostale and American Eagle, to name a few, are fending off some serious competition as new trends emerge.  “Fast fashion” stores like H&M, Forever 21 and Uniqlo, which specialize in taking pieces from the runway, reproducing them quickly and inexpensively and making them available to consumers, have gained a foothold. Traditional retailers haven’t been able to keep up with these changes, causing some industry observers to note than if they can’t adapt more quickly, they are going to lose their customer base permanently to those who can.

Further complicating the landscape is a shake-up at the top, where a lot of companies are seeing a change in leadership, switching out C-level executives for others and mixing things up the store level. Styles and fits that were flying off the shelves last year are no longer cutting it, so new products are being tested and stores themselves are being refreshed. As eCommerce gains momentum, teen retailers are also paying more attention to their websites and how items are marketed.

So how do we know what teens want?

Today’s teens are tech-savvy with disposable income more than 29 percent live in homes where the average income is $100,000 are more. They are fascinated by gossip, photos and blogs and what celebrities wear helps dictate what teens want to buy. They may not be able to afford the designer gown Selena Gomez was wearing in a magazine, but a similar dress that’s available at H&M for a fraction of the price may fly off the shelves.

Tracking Teens’ Buying Habits Helps

One of the most effective ways for you to see if your marketing or product line is resonating with any target group is a traffic counting system or loyalty program. A loyalty program that is tied into the POS system will reward a shopper for their purchase and brand loyalty but also give you a goldmine of data you can use to evaluate your store’s performance. The data can tell you what your customers are buying, how often they are shopping and at what price point.

Sometimes it seems like teenage behavior is a mystery to almost everyone except teens themselves. Smart retailers should implement technology that will help them decipher teenagers’ buying habits, or they may possibly find themselves awash in stock they cannot sell and marketing campaigns that aren’t resonating.

Wholesale Polo in Atlanta and Get The Discount Price

When the thought of buying clothes came in your mind the must bring some excitement as it is time to give yourself a fresh look. Although there are endless options in clothing for men and women both but most of the modern generation love buying cool, comfortable and trendy clothes. In casual clothing, there are several options such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, polos, fleece, shorts, pants, knits and layering, tank tops, and much more. When it comes to order or purchase such casual clothes then you can prefer to online shopping as it is one of the convenient option will definitely give you the great experience.

Buying things online is being the popular idea especially when you need to buy clothes then buying them online can make a difference. When your buy clothes online then will be able to browse through a wide variety of styles to choose from. If you want to buy wholesale polo in Atlanta, wholesale woven shirts, wholesale fleece or anything else then 3v Tees is the best online store. It has huge selection available for men, women and kids in woven shirts, sweatshirts, polos, fleece, tank tops, t shirts, pants, shorts and much more.

Having reference of right clothing store is really essential to give you the best shopping experience online. A right clothing store like 3v Tees will definitely provide you all the items at lowest price possible. Another benefit of buying t shirts from 3v Tees is you can customize them as per your own preferences. Yes, you can add any picture, text, design or pattern on the t shirts, sweatshirts or other apparels. By customizing you can convey your message across the people and it is also popular among businesses for promotion purpose. 3v Tees is a custom t shirt store in Atlanta offers a range of printing techniques including:

  • Screen printing
  • Flock – Suede printing
  • Reflective printing
  • Heat transfers
  • Foil printing
  • Vinyl transfers
  • Rhinestones
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All the above mentioned printing techniques are impressive will give your design a unique and personal touch. The modern generation love customized clothes as they can put anything which describes their personality, attitude or behavior. You can buy wholesale sweatshirts in Atlanta, wholesale t shirts in Atlanta, wholesale tank tops or anything else to customize them in the way you love. All these apparels are available at 3v Tees and you can select from the plenty of colors and styles available in each category. You will receive competitive pricing for all the items and printing techniques provided. So, if you want custom clothing or want to buy t shirts or other casual clothes in bulk then don’t hesitate to contact 3v Tees.