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Jim Wetzel and Lance Lawson from Jake, www.shopjake.com.

Posted by TSUE on August 4, 2008


  For any trend reports or style guides you might be working on, I wanted to offer you two amazing sources:  style experts and Jake co-owners Jim Wetzel (39; left in attached photo) and Lance Lawson (37; right), who have built a fashion empire in Chicago and on www.shopjake.com, and have risen to the forefront in the fashion world by showcasing emerging and establishing designers such as 3.1 Phillip Lim, Behnaz Sarafpour, Doo.Ri, Giuseppe Zanotti, Lutz & Patmos, Rupert Sanderson, M Missoni, Thread Social and Vanessa Bruno.


Since opening their first location on Southport Avenue in Spring of 2004, Wetzel and Lawson have risen to be a major fashion player, with two additional locations (in the Gold Coast and Winnetka) and plans to open the first East Coast Jake location in New York City in the near future. The duo also runs a significant on-line business with their web site shopjake.com.  They have become the go-to style experts in Chicago and have been featured as trend-forecasters in numerous national publications, style.com and FOX news.  Jake is the largest Chicago-based independent designer retailer with nearly 25 full time employees.


Hailed “The Kings of Cool” by the Chicago Tribune, Wetzel and Lawson travel the globe to find the “next big thing” to bring back to Chicago.  The duo goes on as many as 14 buying trips annually where they hand-select Jake’s product assortment.  In addition to partnering with new talent, Jake was also recently selected as the Chicago-area distribution partner for the re-launch of the Calvin Klein Collection.  Additionally, many of the designers Wetzel and Lawson championed when they first opened are now major fixtures in the national department stores.


Jake creates a modern sales environment with a heavy focus on exceptional customer service.  Committed to showcasing unique and wearable items for men and women, Wetzel and Lawson pay close attention to fashion, fit and timeless style. Jake also features a carefully edited selection of the world’s best premium denim lines. 


As domestic partners as well as business partners, Wetzel and Lawson started their company because they believed the Chicago consumer wanted more.  Four years later, their avid train of repeat clients has proven this to be true. Also, Jake’s dollar per square foot sales numbers more than double the industry average.  In addition to a devoted client base, Jake also attracts celebrities including Jessica Simpson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kanye West, Jeremy Piven, Rod Stewart and John Stamos.


Below is a list of some of the awards that Wetzel and Lawson have received since opening their first location.


·        FGI Super Star Award 2008

·        FGI Rising Star 2005

·        Selected as one of Entrepreneur Magazine’s “Best and Brightest” young businessmen for 2007

·        Voted one of the “Top 100 stores in America” by GQ in 2006.

·        Ranked 23 out of “50 Most Influential Retailers” by DNR Magazine in 2006.

·        Ranked in the “Top 55 Shopping Websites” by Lucky Magazine in 2007

·        Hailed as a “website to watch” by The Wall Street Journal

·        Women’s Wear Daily looks to Jake as one of several retailers (including Barney’s, Neiman Marcus, et al) for their views on Fashion Week Collections (see 2006 & 2007 coverage).

·        Selected as “Chicago’s Style Leader” in a June 2008 style.com feature on America’s Cities.




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