Former Blackhawk Brent Sopel may be a Stanley Cup champion, but this offseason, his wife Kelly said he only has “intern” status at her new downtown Hinsdale home-decor shop.
After all, the shop is on the second floor.
“He schleps it all up and schleps it all down,” Kelly Sopel said. “Whatever needs to be done, he does.”
Simple Privileges, 19 W. 1st St., opened Monday. The store sells high-end, custom-made pillows and throws, including some made with fabric from designers Oscar de la Renta, Ralph Lauren, Trina Turk, and others.
The store also carries a line of couture pillows Kelly had made from her own Louis Vuitton, Cartier, and Hermes silk scarves.
“It makes your house a home,” Kelly, a Syracuse, N.Y. native, said of her merchandise. “It’s the finishing touch to any room.”
The Sopels, who make their offseason home in Hinsdale with their four children, are partners in the business. Brent was in the store Monday and said he’s OK with the intern label.
“It’s kind of always been her dream to have her own little spot and she’s great at it,” Brent, 34, said of Kelly, 33. “I’m just here to help out where I can and support her where I can.”
Brent hails from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in Canada and has played for five NHL teams in his 11 seasons. He played for the Blackhawks from 2007 to 2010 and he’s currently with the Montreal Canadiens. The traveling, Kelly said, has led to her living in 11 different homes.
“After myself decorating many homes, there’s no place that you can go in and get custom-quality pillows that day,” Kelly said. “So we run a business with quick turnaround and very high-end designs.”
Kelly said she has been putting together scarf-pillows like the ones in Simple Privileges with the help of a contracted seamstress for five or six years and shipping them to other NHL wives around the country. She thinks Hinsdale has the “niche market” she’s looking for.
“I don’t think a store like this would fit in a lot of communities,” Kelly said. “We do have a lot of housewives here who want to make their home beautiful.”
Those who are interested should look out for the Simple Privileges grand opening, which Kelly said will take place some time in June at the store.
Simple Privileges will also launch a website in the next two weeks. Ideally for Kelly, online orders will become a major part of the business. Her store is intentionally located above street level—in what she calls her “clubhouse”—so that she can be flexible in opening and closing and not have the day-to-day public expectations of a first-floor retailer. She'll employ only three other people at the store, two of which will have part-time positions.
The scarf-pillows are the most expensive items in the store, Kelly said. The one she showed ran for $700. But the rest of the shop's pillows and throws run between $90 and $400. She also sells candles for $40 to $50.
As the items go out the door, Brent will likely be schlepping new ones back in all summer.
“Obviously I don’t know anywhere near what she knows,” Brent said, “but if you’re around long enough, you catch the lingo and I’m starting to understand some of the names and what they are and sizes and those kind of things. I’m a long ways from knowing exactly what I’m talking about, but I’ll pretend.”