Before the advent of social media and online shopping, Christy Vegosen opened a brickand- mortar women’s fashion boutique called Tickled Pink at Plaza del Lago in Wilmette. She’d dreamt of working in fashion—and even interned at luxury retailer Neiman Marcus— but the retail climate shifted quickly and she realized a change of pace was necessary.
“I loved every second of it but never felt like it was really working,” explains Vegosen. “It’s a tough industry and, at the time, there was only one way to bring customers into the store. Add in a crazy market, and I felt like I needed an alternate plan.” She ended up heading back to school to pursue a Master of Science degree in Education, working as a kindergarten teacher until eventually becoming a stay-at-home mother to daughters June and Violet. Years later, she noticed a gap in her wardrobe for easy, wearable dresses that could transition from carpool and coffee to lunch meetings and post-work.
It was then that Vegosen chose—or rather, was called—to return to the world of entrepreneurship, launching her debut fashion label The Jewelbox Dress Co. of versatile dresses, skirts, t-shirts, cardigans, and more, all meant to inspire confidence in women as they move throughout their day.
“I started thinking about this next phase of life and wanted to find fulfillment outside of being a wife and mom,” says Vegosen. “I kept coming back to fashion. When I started the process of building Jewelbox Dress Co., I thought it’d be so easy because I once worked on the other side of the industry. But that was 15 years ago. Design did not come naturally. It has taken me years to get to this point, simply just putting one foot in front of the other.”
For Vegosen, that translated to education. Think everything from fabric sourcing and manufacturing to fit and social media marketing. The result? A comprehensive and thoughtful collection of figure-flattering, sustainable, and machine washable knits for women of all body shapes and sizes.
Whether you are 6’ tall or 5’3,” like Vegosen, all of the dresses hit at a flattering length. If you want to belt the garments at a high or a low waist, you can—the dresses are belted without loops to leave the wearer with styling options. And each Jewelbox Dress Co. piece is made in the United States with ethical manufacturing processes.
“Fast fashion is a major problem,” says Vegosen. “I want my pieces to stand the test of time and to be worn over and over again. I hold myself and my partners to high-quality standards.”
At a recent trunk show in Winnetka, Vegosen and her team sold out of the brand’s Eleni skirt, which features three tiers of swishy, soft jersey fabric with an elastic waistband, and the June dress, a similar tiered style in shimmering lurex fabric. Vegosen says she’ll be wearing the Eleni this winter with chunky boots and sweaters.
“It’s a great alternative to jeans, which I’m not ready to put on again,” notes Vegosen. “That said, at this point, I’m sick of loungewear and want to look nice.”
She finds herself most often reaching for the Peggy dress—a mid-length jersey dress with flutter sleeves— and the Violet dress with puff sleeves, jeweled buttons, and a ruffled neckline.
“The Peggy is the piece I began my line for,” she says. “No matter what I have going on that day, it works. I’ve worn it over a swimsuit, out to dinner, with a cardigan—it is truly versatile. All of the pieces are named after real people in my life, like my family and friends, who supported me in this endeavor. For example, the Deedee tank and the Poppy tee are named in tribute to my parents.”
In the fall, Jewelbox expanded its core assortment to include darker hues, heavier-weight knits, and new styles, like a ruffle neck sweatshirt in hot pink, black, and gray. Vegosen recommends pairing the design with black pants, fun shoes, and jewelry for holiday entertaining.
Speaking of, the brand will also debut a holiday capsule collection in signature silhouettes with elevated and cozy fabrics, like stretch velvet in black and ocean blue colorways and super-soft French terry.
The capsule will also include shrunken styles for young girls that match the adult iterations, like the Violet dress, to encourage mommy-and-me matching. Keep an eye out for more girls’ styles in the future.
“The holidays will look a lot different in 2020, and the collection is perfect for hanging around the house this season,” says Vegosen. “It’s a little more elevated than everyday wear but is still supremely comfortable. That was very important to me. You might as well wear your nice things because they aren’t doing any good in your closet.”
Vegosen will continue to add new fabrics, colors, and styles seasonally and hopes to host additional trunk shows so shoppers can touch and feel the product in real life. Until then, the Jewelbox Dress Co. e-commerce shop just launched and is now accepting holiday orders (hint, hint).
“I am taking it one collection at a time because each one is so important to me,” she says. “I’m already looking forward to spring 2021, though. It will be really colorful and fun.”
We can’t wait.
For more information, visit thejewelboxdressco.com.