35+ Women-Owned Businesses Chicago Families Will Love
March is all about girl power. Not only is it Women’s History Month, but International Women’s Day falls on March 8. This makes it the perfect time to support hardworking women, some of them moms, in our community. From circuses in the parks to delightful sugar-filled bakeries, dive into our list of women-owned businesses in Chicago.
Rachel Harangody's Metta Baby is Chicago's premier infant wellness studio with offerings including water stimulation, infant massage, baby yoga, parent/baby classes, music classes and more. The team is dedicated to promoting early developmental activities starting at two weeks that support motor, sensory, and cognitive skills while nurturing secure attachment between infants and their parents.
1921 N. Damen St.
Kido is a south loop kid's shop with a focus on positivity that sells books, clothes, puzzles and toys owned by husband and wife duo, Doug and Keewa. Along with the responsibilities of the store, Doug is a visual artist specializing in graffiti and murals and Keewa is a performing artist who sings jazz and plays characters. And, their kids are ridiculously adorable.
1137 S. Delano Ct.
Oasis Face Bar
Leila Golding's newly opened Lincoln Park Oasis Face Bar takes the facial out of the spa, making it more budget-friendly and less time-consuming than a traditional spa experience. Her space is bright and beautiful and the estheticians are knowledgeable and friendly, so you still feel pampered. Book you or your partner a facial or schedule a family spa date. It's never too early to teach kids, boys or girls, the importance of a good skincare routine.
2136 N. Halsted
Katherine Anne Confections
When this local confectioner isn’t busy making mouthwatering truffles and caramels, it's drawing people with delicious hot chocolate in flavors like bittersweet, semisweet or salted caramel topped with homemade ‘mallows. The secret? Steamed whole milk and a cream-top cream that has 45% butterfat.
2475 W. Armitage Ave.
Owned by local mom, Briana Beazley, Nadia Girl makes tween clothing that not only feels and fits great but also helps girls feel more confident. All of the line’s designer duds are made of sustainable materials, with a portion of sales dedicated to organizations that empower girls through education.
Give Me Some Sugah
A potato chip cookie? Uh, yes, please. Lenore Lindsey is a South Side native who believes the secret to success is to do what you love, which led her to open Give Me Some Sugah in 2008. She's famous for her potato chip cookie, but also loves anything lime and keeps things interesting (and savory) with an ever-changing line-up of homemade soups. Due to health issues, Give Me Some Sugah will be closed Feb. 2-Mar. 31. But, let's show her some love and support when she returns to her beloved kitchen.
2234 E. 71st St.
Purple Monkey Playroom
Jessica Roubitchek opened Purple Monkey Playroom when her daughter was just shy of turning 2. She wanted to give families a bright, nurturing destination for young children, parents and caregivers to have drop-in playdates, parties and more. They managed to sneak in a small design-on-a-dime renovation during COVID shutdowns, so they're excited to showcase their upgrades.
2040 N. Western Ave.
The Stork Bag
Chicago mom, Ericka Perry, created the Stork Bag after searching online for a care package to send her pregnant best friend who lived in Florida. When she didn't find anything that fit the bill, she created her own and a business was born. The Stork Bag care packages target specific needs based on where a mom is in her pregnancy or post-pregnancy, and they even offer rainbow care packages for moms who have lost a baby.
Goldfish Swim School
Kathy Ryan and her husband Bob co-own Goldfish Swim Schools in Roscoe Village and Wicker Park. They offer year-round swim instruction to ages 4 months to 12 years in a unique setting with highly trained instructors, small class sizes, shiver-free 90-degree pools and a state-of-the-art water purification system. Families with children of different ages and skill levels can conveniently have all of their swimmers in the pool during the same half-hour time slot.
2630 W. Bradley Rd.
1930 W. Hubbard St.
Mimi's Tot's Closet
Mimi's Tot's Closet sells seriously cool threads and some of the sweetest outfits for infants and toddlers you'll ever see. They are located inside Mimi's Vanity Room, which hosts sassy spa, paint and slime birthday parties—they also have a mobile spa service for at-home parties!
8442 S. Ashland Ave.
Tired of the same old tight, short, and sparkly clothing options for their three girls, Kristen Flather and her husband Fred started Makoshey, a clothing company that focuses on comfy, stylish and durable duds made to keep up with girls who want to climb, explore, invent, dream, run, play and create. Makoshey’s t-shirts are proudly printed in Chicago and feature an ideal blended fabric pairing a super soft feel with reliable durability.
Marisa Díaz-Arc is CEO of Lolita Productions LLC, which curates events that highlight Chicago Latinx entrepreneurs such as Lolita's Bodega's monthly pop-ups at Humboldt Park. They also produce the annual Puerto Rican Festival that celebrates the beauty of Puerto Rican culture. She is also the founder of Dándole Tech, a non-profit organization that provides technology & education for Latinx students.
1440 N. Humboldt Park Blvd.
Art Makers Outpost
In 2019, Valerie Kahan decided she was done being torn between work and spending time with her kids. She set out to build a business of her own, Art Makers Outpost, an environmentally conscious art makers-space for young artists and adults. They work with local businesses to identify excess materials, recyclables and scraps that can be repurposed into art supplies for the studio.
609 South Blvd.
Essie Marie's Dressings & Marinades
Itiona Scott grew up on the South Side of Chicago, the second youngest of 14 children. Her happiest memories were made in the kitchen watching her mom cook from scratch with zero need to measure. Losing her mom unexpectedly from heart disease at the age of 15 inspired a life-long devotion to healthy eating. Leapfrogging on the unwavering support she received from her mom as a child, Itiona started Essie Marie's Dressings & Marinades, which put a heart-healthy spin on her mom's best recipes.
Indian As Apple Pie
Cookbook author and journalist Anupy Singla wears many hats. She’s the author of three books, including Indian For Everyone a regular commentator on NPR, a culinary instructor and the founder of a fast-growing food and housewares company, Indian As Apple Pie. She’s also the mom of two girls. Pay a visit to her website where you can purchase her cookbooks, spices and other products, as well as find approachable recipes.
Previously named Mindy's HotChocolate, Chef Mindy Segal of Mindy's Bakery switched things up and is now specializing in handcrafted sourdough bagels and bialys, babka, za'atar challah and seasonal pastries. Lucky for us, Mindy still has a sweet spot for the roasty-toasty drink she serves with a house-made marshmallow on top.
1747 N. Damen Ave.
Brown Sugar Bakery
Stephanie Hart notes that opening her own business, Brown Sugar Bakery, in 2004, gave her more time to focus on being a mom. As she transformed from tech consultant to mompreneur, baking up her "dangerously delicious" cheesecakes, cupcakes, cobblers, cookies and pies, she relished the extra time spent with her daughter. The bakery is best known for its specialty sweets, including sweet potato pie, peach cobbler and bread pudding as well as nearly 20 cake flavors, including German chocolate, red velvet, carrot and turtle.
328 E. 75th St.
Greater Grand Crossing
Le Chocolat du Bouchard
Get ready for sugar bliss. This french bistro owned by Cathy Bouchard serves a wide variety of decadent hot chocolates, along with cases of baked and chocolate goodies. We highly recommend their carrot cake, it's one of the best around.
127-129 S. Washington St.
Monica + Andy
Monica Royer started her oh-so-adorable kids’ and baby shop for the sole purpose of making things better for moms and their babies, focusing on everything from better fabrics to better ways to shop. From this simple concept grew a space where moms come together to not only shop, but bond at one of the many events that encompass singing, dancing, bubbles, music, yoga, laughter and learning.
2052 N. Halsted
515 Oakbrook Center
250 E. Superior St.
Toys et Cetera
Learning and play intertwine at Nancy's toy shop, which is located in the historic neighborhood of Hyde Park. It's big on safe, eco-friendly fun that's also educational, developmentally and culturally sensitive. They've been going strong since 1976, so they have their finger on the pulse of what kids like. They seek out good craftsmanship and clever toy inventors.
1502 E. 55th St.
Sisters Amy and Clodagh Lawless opened The Dearborn in 2016 after 40-plus years of hospitality experience to provide guests a way to enjoy a working lunch, pre-theater drinks or family dinners any night of the week.
145 N. Dearborn St.
Chicago Boudoir Photography
When Liz Hansen founded her studio, she aimed to offer a Victoria's-Secret-style photoshoot experience for the everyday woman. She believes every woman, in every stage of life and in every size and shape, should feel empowered and celebrated. Her business focuses on a personalized experience for each client, so she limits the number of photoshoots each month to allow time for pampering.
896 Green Bay Rd. Ste. 12
2 Moms Media LLC
Sara Fisher and Caitlin Giles founded 2 Moms Media LLC in 2011 after the dynamic mom duo realized a need to improve how brands reach moms. They work with clients to create and execute integrated marketing campaigns that deliver real results in line with strategy and budget. Their services include media outreach, influencer management, grassroots marketing tactics, events, social media management, marketing analysis, brand positioning and more.
Cat & Mouse Game Store
Owned by LInda Schmidt and Adre LeMoine, this West Loop shop has grown-ups hooked with its focus on games, puzzles and brainteasers. Everyone that works at Cat & Mouse is seriously addicted to games and puzzles and the huge selection in the store reflects that. Staff members are always willing to demo a game and introduce your family to something new.
1112 W. Madison
Annie from Vicinity Candles Etsy shop sells candles inspired by local Chicago neighborhoods, with scents like Lakeview, West Loop, Old Town, Lincoln Park, Andersonville, Gold Coast, Pilsen, Wicker Park and Hyde Park. Each includes an insert that provides a glimpse into the neighborhood history which led to the inspiration for the scent.
Geppetto’s Toy Box
Like Pinocchio, your kiddo will want no strings to hold him down at this Oak Park treasure. Cut them loose to explore art kits, building blocks, puzzles, developmental diversions and lots more. The owners, Brandy and Eric Masoncup, stand behind "slow toys" — back-to-basics playthings that children need time to explore and grow from. To that end, you won't see a lot of beeps, flashes and electronic brouhaha on the shelves.
730 Lake St.
Ashlee creates art prints that empower, educate and celebrate tiny humans.
This hotspot is full of fun and educational finds, and it has a sweet nostalgic twist. Owner Ann Kienzle has worked in the toy biz for eons and stays on top of the latest innovations. She has a passion for the importance of play in a child's life and has created a well-designed space that inspires awe in all who step into one of Play's three shops.
3109 W. Logan
2462 N. Lincoln
5311 N. Clark
Tai Kojro-Badziak is a partner with zpd+a, a Chicago-based architecture firm with projects nationwide. They focus on adaptive reuse, mixed-use/multi-family new construction, hospitality, senior housing and some residential. During Covid, she created a home studio that doubled as a kindergarten classroom. Running an architecture firm from home while simultaneously homeschooling isn’t for the faint of heart. She and her husband got through with deep breaths, giving each other and their daughter space to feel all the feels, hot baths and a decent amount of wine.
67 E. Madison
Dance Academy of Libertyville
Growing up in Chicago’s northern suburbs, Emily Winkler was pretty sure she’d be a teacher or dancer. Turns out, she was right on both accounts. Besides her day job as Director of Dance Academy of Libertyville, she's mom to yin and yang super duo Chloe and Phoebe, quick-witted, wickedly smart and has an unsinkable passion for encouraging and inspiring young people to reach their full potential.
746 E. Park Ave.
A Little Photo Studio
Growing up, Melissa Salvatore thought she’d be one of two things: A photographer or she’d live on a farm, wear overalls every day and marry a guy named Bob. Well, some poor schmuck named Bob missed out, because, lucky us, she chose photography. She provides a full-service experience, from photo session to design and print. Her team is made up of professional kid wranglers, designers and masters of printing and editing.
2868 N. Lincoln Ave.
Co-founder Katy Lynch created Coveverse to give kids an impactful first introduction to real programming. Their interactive coding platform, Codeverse Studio, gives kids all the developer tools they need to build real apps and games, giving life to their creative ideas.
This Lincoln Square mainstay owned by Martha and Harry Burrows is what we think Santa's workshop looks like—toys, toys, everywhere. Also, a big air of whimsy. Timeless Toys has been around since 1993 and is known for championing educational play. Go for games, puzzles, puppets, trikes, dolls, outdoor games, books and just about anything else your little tinkerer's heart desires.
4749 N. Lincoln Ave.
Tia, Hilary and Ana are childhood friends who are focused on maintaining the magic of childhood. Pockimals makes getting dressed ridiculously adorable with tiny stuffed animals equipped with buttons that secure them directly to custom-designed pockets. All items are organic and produced with soft cotton to ensure comfort and no-scratchiness happiness.
Building Blocks Toy Store
Owner Katherine Nguyen fills every nook of her 3 toy stores with play-rich, high-quality toys and books. Building Blocks is known for its deep selection of Thomas, Brio and Chuggington trains, but you'll also discover lesser-known items. You'll find everything from developmental playthings for babies to science kits that grandparents can't keep their hands off of.
2071 N. Clybourn
3306 N. Lincoln
2130 W. Division
Midnight Circus in the Parks
Julie (Greenberg) Jenkins is one-half of the husband and wife team that created Midnight Circus in the Parks, a traveling circus show that performs under a big top in Chicago Parks every fall. They've raised over $900,000 for Chicago Public Parks to build play lots, provide new equipment and subsidize special programs for neighborhood parks.
Frog Temple Pilates
Randi Whitman was a professional dancer in her 20’s when she ruptured a disc in her spine. While trying to mend herself without surgery, she discovered pilates. Today Whitman teaches her clients how to strengthen their bodies as “a whole picture, vs. pieces and parts”, via Pilates, a form of low-impact exercise that aims to strengthen muscles while improving postural alignment and flexibility. Her bright, airy Bucktown studio offers group classes, private and semi-private lessons, as well as massage therapy.
1635 W. Cortland
AHF Body Chemistry
Born and raised in Chicago, Arnett Faulkner began paying close attention to ingredients in skin-care products when her son was born with severe eczema and she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her research led her to conclude that pure essential and plant-based oils and natural ingredients are best for nurturing the skin. After sharing homemade products with friends, she yielded to the calling and created AHF Body Chemistry, a line of natural and organic whole body products.
— Maria Chambers
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