THE ORIGINAL MATERIAL GIRL Peggy Swartchild
Co-owner of Material Possessions
Peggy Swartchild flourishes in her three-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. After college, she
joined the well-known Chicago design firm, Roz Maillin. Having received
ample praise for her turn at accessorizing other people’s homes,
Peggy realized there was market for her on-point skills. She channeled
her vision for nnovative 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
moves and twentyfour years later, Peggy and Carol have their dream
store steps away from Chicago’s Magnificent Mile in the heart
of the Gold Coast neighborhood. Peggy’s well-defined point of
view and creative eye have resulted in stores brimming with sophisticated,
timeless pieces that not only look gorgeous, but also serve a function.
In addition to being the owner of one of Chicago’s premier home
design stores, Peggy is an active philanthropist. The recent 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 the Scholarship and Guidance
Youth & Family Service, a member of the Business Community Development
Commission, the Chicago Botanic Garden Antiques and Garden Fair Committee,
and the Chamber of Commerce. Peggy was most recently awarded Business
Leader of the Year, 2008 by the Winnetka Chamber of Commerce. She enjoys
traveling and finds design inspiration in the everyday moments and small
wonders of life.
PRIZED POSSESSION Carol Levy
Co-owner of Material Possessions
Carol Levy is a woman with a clear vision and confident style. In a
world overcrowded 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 décor 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
Carol attended Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts until she
transferred to and ultimately graduated from Northwestern University.
After a successful career in commercial real estate, Carol decided to
put her innate business instincts,
sharpened by a wealth of life
experiences, to a creative use. In 1983, she became co-owner of Material
Possessions with Peggy Swartchild. With her clever combination of entrepreneurial
spirit and imaginative thinking, Carol helped expand the store to a downtown
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 Social Entrepreneurial Lab. Her contributions to the community
continue with her work on the Board of Directors for the Marwen Foundation,
the University of Chicago Hospitals, and her role as a Lifetime Trustee
for the Francis W. Parker School. She sites one of the tangible evidences
of her success as the invitation to speak to art students at the Marwen
foundation and at the apparel mart speaking to budding new artists.