While working together in corporate jobs, Wendi Schlarb and Joann Chatfield often found themselves traveling internationally together. Experiences they had shopping in other countries proved to be a springboard for a new career path.

“We were in Germany when it first crystallized for real,” Schlarb said. “We were walking from a meeting back to the hotel when we turned down a street and there were rows of boutiques. Every single one of them was bright and cheery. Nothing was ridiculously expensive.”

For five years the world travelers batted around the idea of opening a boutique stateside, and in September 2022 they opened ishChicks in Plano.

What’s in a name?

When brainstorming business ideas over lunch one day, the duo said they wanted it to be “home decor-ish” and “gift-ish.” They focused on using “ish” in the name, and when they found that the domain ish.com was taken, they named the business ishChicks.

The inspiration

Staying true to their international impetus, they choose merchandise that is colorful, unique and affordable.

“It was really important to us that it not be crazy expensive,” Schlarb said. “We would like you to be able to buy five or six things as opposed to one thing.”

“We hate going into a boutique and picking up an item, and its several hundred dollars. I can’t even buy one thing,” Chatfield said, “More people than not comment that we are really affordable.”

What’s special about it

Providing a creative outlet was also important to the business owners. They pondered ideas such as customizable paper goods, but that idea was soon replaced with printed cork products. They offer placemats, coasters, trivets, acrylic tray inserts and serving accents made of printed cork. They carry a variety of stock designs, and customers can submit designs to create customized items.

“A customer wanted to buy a gift for a friend who had survived breast and colon cancer,” Chatfield said. “She sent me a picture of her tattoo where she had combined the pink ribbon with the blue ribbon and a bird. It was a beautiful tattoo. My designer recreated it and put it on placemats, coasters and trays. It blew her away because that’s not something you can get everywhere.”