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About Us

The Visionaries

The Original Material Girl

Peggy Swartchild

Co-Owner of Material Possessions

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Peggy Swartchild flourishes in her four-decade long love affair with Material Possessions, the home decor store that she has proudly led since 1977. Enamored with design from a young age, Peggy spent her younger years as a Spartan at Michigan State University, honing her decorating skills as an Interior Design and Art History major. Always inspired, her sorority house bedroom was reinvented and redesigned with passion and flare on a monthly basis, drawing curiosity and praise from all that lived there.  After college, she joined the well-known Chicago design firm, Roz Mallin. Having received ample praise for her turn at accessorizing other people’s homes, Peggy realized there was market for her on-point skills. In 1977 she channeled her vision for innovative and functional design into her first store, Material Possessions in Winnetka, Illinois.
 
In 1983, Peggy partnered with fellow entrepreneur, Carol Levy, to open a second location in Chicago within the high-end department store, Stanley Korshak. From Korshaks to Chestnut Street and on to Wabash Avenue, Material Possessions became a destination favorite of Chicagoans and travelers alike.  Peggy's well-defined point of view and creative eye have resulted in stores brimming with sophisticated, timeless pieces that look gorgeous and serve a function.
 
With a growing internet business and two store locations it became apparent that Material Possessions could best serve its customers from a centralized site. In 2017 the entire Material Possessions operation merged into the Winnetka store location on Chicago’s beautiful North Shore.
 
In addition to being the Owner of one of Chicagoland's premier home design stores, Peggy is an active philanthropist. The 30th anniversary party of Material Possessions doubled as a celebration and fundraiser, where proceeds went to the Cancer Wellness Center and Chicago's Children's Museum. She is active with Scholarship and Guidance Youth Family Service, a member of the Business Community Development Commission, co-chair of the Chicago Botanic Garden Antiques and Garden Fair, and served as president of the Winnetka Chamber of Commerce.  Peggy finds inspiration and joy in the challenge of creative problem solving.
 

Prized Possessions

Carol

Co-Owner of Material Possessions

 
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Carol Levy is a woman with a clear vision and confident style. In a world with mega stores, Carol has taken the necessary risks to thrive in the competitive retail space. Making a series of opportunistic moves in step with market trends, she has created thirty years of smashing success for Material Possessions. The secret behind the home decor store's stream of loyal shoppers can be attributed to Carol's steady leadership, affinity for function, as well as form, and her customer-centered approach.
 
Carol attended Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts until she transferred to and ultimately graduated from Northwestern University. After a successful career in commercials real estate, Carol decided to put her innate business instincts, sharpened by a wealth of experiences, to a creative use. In 1983, she became Co-Owner of Material Possessions with Peggy Swartchild.
 
Carol's achievements are also abundant outside the walls of Material Possessions. in 2004, she and her husband, Larry founded the Levy Institute for Entrepreneurial Practice at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management. They took the venture a step further in 2007 and established the Carol and Larry Levy Social Entrepreneurial Lab. Her contributions to the community continue her role as a Lifetime Trustee for the Francis W. Parker School. She sites one of the evidence of her success as the invitation to speak to art students at the Marwen foundation and at the apparel mart speaking to budding artists.


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