Meet the Team: Julianna Conenna, Marketing and Communications Manager

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Julianna is pictured here in the Hudson ‘Barbara’ High-Rise Skinny Jean in Coated Black.

We sat down with Julianna, our magnificent Marketing and Communications Manager, to learn a little bit about her background, her day-to-day life at ZipFit, and her ideal Sunday.

How long have you worked at ZipFit Denim?

A little over 2 years.

What is your perfect fit?

I love the J Brand High-Rise Natasha!

Where did you go to school?

I attended DePaul University in Chicago, majoring in Public Relations and Advertising and minoring in Italian!

Describe your perfect Sunday!

My perfect Sunday is getting out of the city and heading home to the suburbs to see my crazy Italian family. We’ll cook together, relax, and just hang out all day. Sunday family dinner has always been a tradition that I love.

Who are your style icons?

Gosh, I have so many!  My love for fashion started with my Nonna and my mom. They were my first fashion inspirations!  I have always loved the classic looks of Coco Chanel but mixed with the edginess of someone like Madonna.  Recently, I’ve become a huge fan of many style influencers, especially Olivia Culpo. My style is always evolving! It really depends on my mood and what I am dressing for!  

What is your favorite denim trend right now?

I am loving the super high-waisted yet unstructured denim trend happening right now. I am also really into the vintage vibe, especially for the warmer months.

What is your Instagram handle?

My Instagram is @juju.bee.like and I primarily post my favorite styles and outfits!

Do you have any hidden talents? What are they?

I’m secretly really good at figure skating!

What is the most embarrassing trend you’ve ever participated in?

Probably Ed Hardy everything from the sneakers to the perfume and Juicy Couture velour handbags with lots of bling!

Cubs or Sox? Or someone else altogether?

Cubbies!

What do you do in an average day at ZipFit?

Loaded question!  On an average day, I am in and out of fittings, either here in our showroom or in cities like NYC and LA.  I am always checking my email so that I can tend to clients’ customer service needs with the best customer service possible. I also spend lots of time prospecting new business through both personal and corporate client acquisition and client gifting. Lastly, I help with our social media and marketing– I am constantly trying to find new and innovative ways to share the ZipFit story and promote our brand!

How did you end up at ZipFit?

I left the crazy public relations agency life to find my way back the world of fashion. After about 6 months of personal styling, Liz found me! We met for coffee and I immediately fell in love with the company culture and our amazing team!

What’s your favorite ZipFit memory?

I have SO many!  One would have to be having the opportunity to fit Deion Sanders at our showroom in Chicago– he’s one of our favorite clients!  Another awesome milestone for us occurred when we all packed up our old showroom and moved into our new, beautiful space. It was a bittersweet time but also super exciting that we outgrew our old space and were ready for something new. 🙂

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Meet the Team: Courtney Kresach, Sales Manager

zipfit_fitexperts_courtney_02We sat down with Courtney, our stellar Sales Manager, to learn a little bit about her background, her favorite Chicago sports team, and her ideal Sunday.

How long have you worked for ZipFit?

Two and a half years

How did you end up at ZipFit Denim?

At my old job, someone in passing had just mentioned that they had been fitted for jeans by ZipFit. He had said they “do denim, but include the alterations.” I decided to check them out, and have been working here ever since.

Where are you from?

I’m from Homewood, a suburb south of Chicago.

Where did you go to school?

I studied social services at Eastern Illinois University.

What is your perfect fit?

My perfect fit is a skinny high-rise cut, like the Paige Hoxton jeans (pictured above)!

What is your favorite denim trend right now?

My favorite trend right now is the high-rise flare, like the J Brand Maria!

Describe your perfect Sunday

My perfect Sunday starts with brunch surrounded by friends and ends with a Blackhawks victory.

What is the most embarrassing trend you’ve ever participated in?

JNCO jeans and Palazzo pants — yikes!

Cubs or Sox?

Blackhawks

What do you do in an average day at ZipFit?

Every day is different, but finding our clients’ perfect fit in 15 minutes is always at the core of whatever it is we’re doing.

What’s your favorite ZipFit memory?

Once, I was scared absolutely sh*tless by Cate and Hayley (two of our Fit Experts) as they returned to the showroom from a trip to New York City and caught me completely off-guard.

Why Freezing Your Jeans is the Coolest Way to Clean Them

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Shown here: Fidelity Gwen High-Rise in ‘Onyx’

Here at ZipFit Denim, we take our jean cleaning very seriously.  Proper care prolongs the life of our denim, which allows us to stock up on other styles rather than replacing the same pair over and over.  Who doesn’t want that?

The first rule of denim laundering is that you should never, ever, ever put your jeans in the dryer.  Francine Rabinovich, founder of Denim Therapy, told Yahoo! News that “the heat of the machine damages the cotton and weakens the fabric.”  We agree.  It also diminishes stretchiness, shrinks the denim, and jeopardizes the consistency of the dye used.

If you must use a washing machine, it’s essential to turn your jeans inside-out and wash them in cold water, preferably on the gentlest setting that bad boy has to offer.  When the wash is over, either lay the denim flat or hang it up to dry.  This reinforces the shape of the pants, preventing unwanted creasing or wrinkles.  Dark wash jeans prone to dye transfer should be washed alone, and light wash jeans should only be washed with other light articles of clothing.

That said, our team’s favorite way to refresh stinky jeans is by sandwiching them right in between next week’s pork chops and the frozen berries you bought when you promised to finally start using the Magic Bullet Blender Mom and Dad bought for your birthday four years ago.

To properly freeze your jeans, we recommend the following steps, courtesy of Intermix.

  1. Spot clean your jeans and let dry completely (we recommend a sponge or toothbrush for spot cleaning!)
  2. Fold jeans lengthwise and smooth out wrinkles.
  3. Place jeans in a zip-lock bag and seal completely, without air.
  4. Place jeans in your freezer for at least 24 hours.
  5. Remove jeans from your freezer, shake out and enjoy!

Sound high-maintenance?  It isn’t.  We recommend freeze-drying your denim when it starts to smell, which for most of us happens after about 1-2 months of regular wear.

So why is your freezer the coolest spot to clean jeans?  Aside from the obvious, there are benefits aplenty.

First and foremost, freezing your jeans extends their lifespan by sparing them the unthinkable abuse inflicted by your washer-dryer while neutralizing any unsavory aromas just as effectively.

There’s also an environmental benefit.  According to The Soluna Collective, 71 percent of the energy consumed in the process of washing one load of laundry powers the dryer alone.  16 percent of the energy consumed heats the water required to wash a load of laundry on a setting other than “cold.”  When you freeze your jeans, you not only avoid the monetary and environmental costs of running separate loads of laundry to preserve denim dye, you also save at least 14 gallons of water.  What’s good for your jeans is great for the planet!

Lastly, with those hot summer months fast approaching, frozen jeans guarantee a subtle-yet-effective temporary solution to beat the heat on your morning commute.  The chilly fabric will cool you down and help wake you up, and nobody on the Blue Line will know your secret.  Sounds like a denim win-win!  Alas, if you prefer room temperature legs, or it’s winter and this benefit simply does not apply, just pop your pants into the freezer first thing Sunday morning– we both know you’ll be in sweatpants all day.

We love freezing our jeans, and hopefully you feel the same way after you give it a try.  It’d be a lot cooler if you did!

Want to learn more about the proper care and keeping of jeans?  Head over to our Frequently Asked Questions or send us an email!

How to Nix the Guesswork When You Dress for Work

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Experts may never agree on the merits of working from home versus in the office.  Working in the office is critical to effective collaboration, according to some, but working from home might provide for happier employees by eliminating many of the discomforts associated with the workday.  One such discomfort is the restrictiveness of traditional business casual.  You know the type– that twill pencil skirt featuring “33% more stretch than ever!” really means 33% more thigh chafing than ever by the end of the day.  Or the stiff pleated khaki slacks that are more wrinkled than a newborn shar-pei by lunchtime.

To combat this, companies like Instagram and Facebook now boast casual dress codes, often going so far as to list it as a top benefit of employment.

Offices permitting more casual dress aren’t just looking to placate their workers.  It makes them better at their jobs, too.

Denim is a staple in offices across the country, often paired with button-downs, blouses, and sweaters, providing for professional yet preferable daily outfits.  The idea of denim in the workplace makes some traditionalists shudder, inciting fears of inappropriate style choices that compromise the office’s desired professionalism.  It’s true– the jeans I’d wear if I gardened on the weekends are not the same jeans that I’d wear to present a final deliverable to my marketing team.

But how can employers make this distinction clear to their workers?

One option is to send out a company-wide email identifying styles that make sense in the workplace, perhaps also detailing styles that aren’t quite as welcome.  From there, employees eager to adopt a more relaxed policy but don’t yet own appropriate denim might fall down the department store rabbit hole. In my experience, this means one hour of rifling through poorly-organized racks in search of pants that hopefully fit and one hour of cardio trying on said pants in the world’s worst lighting only to find out that none of them fit quads calves and waist.  Maybe in post-dressing room delirium you settle on the least bad option and promise yourself to take them to the tailor, but that’s yet another step in this already-exhausting process of forcing one pair of pants to fit your body.  If this sounds awful, that’s because it is. And that’s before the inevitable added stress of perfume kiosk evasion.

Enter ZipFit’s team of Fit Experts, who specialize in outfitting entire offices with high-quality denim for both work and play.  In around fifteen minutes, our team takes measurements and helps clients select denim that not only suits their needs but also fits perfectly.  By working with ZipFit, companies also cut down on the uncertainty associated with implementing a denim-friendly dress code by entrusting our Fit Experts to identify work-appropriate denim with a fit that feels good for a full day in the office, all at the same price their employees would be paying in department stores.  This is a valuable benefit for employers to offer, saving their workers time and money while personalizing workwear in a meaningful way.

The result?  Employees who don’t shy away from time in the office because they’re dreading the confines of uncomfortable workwear.  And employees who feel as confident as possible when delivering their quarterly reports because they’re in their perfect fit.  So what are you waiting for? Schedule an in-office fitting today.

 

ZipFit Denim x Chicago Opera Theater

ZipFit Denim is thrilled to announce our partnership with the Chicago Opera Theater!  We are grateful for the very cool opportunity to help the C.O.T. usher in a new era of opera that doesn’t demand a ball gown in addition to the price of admission.

In a recent push to make performance art more attractive to more casual target audiences, the Chicago Opera Theater reached out to pick our brains about integrating denim into the operagoer uniform.  After some initial talks, we agreed that there’s no better way to demonstrate theater-ready jeans than to have C.O.T.’s own actors model some of our favorite styles.

Be on the lookout for the photos from our shoot with the fabulous cast of the Chicago Opera Theater– for now, here’s a sneak peek of actor Vince Wallace (Bass-Baritone) on the set!

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Perks with Purpose

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The way companies position themselves to hire talent has shifted dramatically in the last decade. Gone are the days of listing only a job description and 401k package in order to market to prospective new hires. The majority of us spend more time at the office with our coworkers than at home with our families, so businesses have more motivation than ever to keep their teams happy. Just as job candidates have to sell themselves to potential employers, employers have to sell themselves to candidates and continue doing so once they’ve made the hire.

Today, businesses are focused on marketing their culture and workspace as two of their most attractive assets. One way they accomplish this is through the provision of company-wide perks packaged as anything from family planning benefits to onsite massages. What else is going to keep top performers from taking their talents to South Beach or somewhere like Groupon, who boasts a paid new parent leave program and a “Sense of Joy” as benefits of employment?

Perks are integral to a happy, productive workplace.

But what separates gimmicky and ineffective from actually worth a damn? Though experts disagree here and there, they do agree that there is indeed something to be said for investing sustainably in employee happiness.

Perks are a powerful way to not only demonstrate appreciation for hard-working employees, but also to make a meaningful impact on work quality.

LinkedIn, to name one, is setting a fantastic example of what it means to have “Perks with a Purpose,” with offerings like onsite dentists and dry cleaning to spare employees the stress and effort associated with scheduling and attending each during the workweek. As the power of perks becomes increasingly clear, companies will continue to enhance the employee experience both in and out of the office to retain talent and optimize output.

After all, science tells us that it’s in the best interest of an employer to make the workplace comfortable in order to increase productivity.

Productivity increases with comfort, so what effect does apparel have on a worker’s output?

Let’s use ZipFit Denim as a case study. True to our motto, “fit first,” our team shows up each day in jeans tailored specifically to each individual– it’s the foremost perk we offer. It’s core to our business that we fit each unique body type with denim that transforms daily outfit decisions from a pain in the ass to a confident, well-fitted ass. Clothing that fits makes people feel good, the benefits of which translate tangibly to the workplace.

It’s a heck of a lot easier to focus on the task at hand if you aren’t preoccupied with any of the potential mishaps that might occur while wearing a pencil skirt hand-picked from your mother’s underappreciated treasure trove of early 2000s-era J. Crew workwear. It was a simpler time for textiles. There was a lot less Lycra back then. Enter clothing that fits, and gone are the days of endless fixation on chafing thighs (help is out there) and creeping hemlines at the expense of your work quality.

Clothing that fits means a happier and more comfortable day in the office spent focusing not on the harsh reality that my thighs are going to just stick to each other from now on, but instead focusing on disrupting the way we define “fit” with the rest of the team.

So how do perks fit into this equation?

Firms are always looking for new and innovative ways to take care of their workers to keep high-quality talent both happy and productive. Nothing screams “we actually care about employee well-being” like emergency child care, paid philanthropic sabbaticals, and financial knowledge classes. These are, perhaps, longer-term incentives that offer employees a critical sense of security as they pledge their valuable time and skills to a company.

Fun, feel-good activities also keep employees jazzed about coming to work each day, excited by the prospect of catered lunches, holiday celebrations, and more. Companies like Chicago-based Buoy help firms pamper their teams with wellness and productivity services (and much more!) to celebrate major achievements, revitalize after a big product push, or even just to remind employees that upper management cares.

Similarly, ZipFit empowers our clients to find their fit, sizing and tailoring denim for teams and people of any and every size as a fun yet productive perk. The results speak for themselves– ZipFit fans feel good in their jeans. And feeling good is so much more than a fluffy luxury.

It’s something businesses must prioritize in order to make the most of their workforce.

Hopefully, showing up to work each day is already something to look forward to. And perks are a great way to keep that enthusiasm alive throughout the year– especially during Chicago’s notorious winters. So next time you’re thinking of ways to perk up the workplace, remember the benefits of fit that feels good for your whole team and give us a call!