Majamas Grows Out of The Arts District

Many of you have stopped by the counter in the morning to ask or mention that our neighbors, Majamas, has gone out of business. The wonderful news is no, they have not gone out of business, the sad news is that they just don’t have enough space here in the Oak Park Arts District. That’s right Wednesday Journal, the Oak Park Arts District is not only not dying, the district has businesses that are doing so well that they have to expand to a larger space! I know, that comment was so last article, but I still feel the need to stick my tongue out like a five year old boy sometimes. If you’re a regular you know this part of my personality already and have gotten over it, if you’re not, I’m sorry not sorry. I think that’s what the kids are saying today, maybe I should just go ask my staff.

Mini tangent aside, Majamas has ended its eleven year relationship with the Oak Park Arts District and as our neighbors, which is bittersweet but necessary. Before we delve into what’s next for our children’s clothing store I’d like to share some of Germaine and Russell’s history in the Arts District, “We were first drawn to the Arts District over 11 years ago because our friends, Laura and Andrew Maychruck bought the building next to the Buzz. At the time, we were located on Garfield by Home Avenue and seeking a bigger space. Andrew and Laura approached us asking if we’d be interested in renting space from them.” Soon Majamas opened up next to the Buzz and began thriving, “The Oak Park Arts District is a wonderful area filled with talented, creative people.  Majamas designs all our own clothing and we felt inspired surrounded by artists working in so many other mediums around us.  We enjoyed participating in the summer Art Camps, the What’s Blooming Festivals and the Art on Harrison Festivals.  At one time, we hosted a fashion show on the street during the Art on Harrison Festivals and that was always a big success.” I’m sad I never got to see the fashion show because I was probably waiting tables at the time. I curse you car for having too many payments!

I know you’re thinking, “This is a Majamas article about a Majamas expansion with new Majamas clothing lines; why is Matt writing about his car?” Well the answer is that it makes Julia chuckle when I write about random things, and the day at work is always better when Julia chuckles. Back to Majamas, “We started out as wholesale only selling into stores like Nordstrom. We decided to re-focus our energy and talent on wholesaling our 3 labels into retailers all over the world. We are introducing our new baby line, Shirley & Victor, expanding our Majamas Essentials collection (that sells into Whole Foods and fashion retail stores) and building on the success of our Majamas for Mamas collection.” It’s really awesome to think that styles and clothing created here in the Oak Park Arts District are being worn by children all over the world, and apparently by a good deal of them! “Russell and I are planning on taking our Majamas collections to a higher level. We are hoping to get into as many retail stores as possible so people can experience and appreciate the importance of American Made clothing. We are working on new marketing, new sources of advertising, and new ways to increase our business.” It’s too bad they don’t have a clothing line for aging balding gay men or I’d be all over it.

So all of this expansion is great, but why can’t they stay here in the district and expand? “The store front was a great experience but it took a lot of energy to keep it stocked and staffed. The reality was 909 S. Lombard was getting too small for us and we were working on top of each other so we truly had no choice but to move.” Which leaves me saying, what’s the new space have that we don’t have? Apparently a lot more space, “Our new space allows us to have seminars and open houses for our retail customers, a showroom for our wholesale clients and the flexibility to do both at any time we feel necessary.” Ok, we get it, but Russell and Germaine will miss us, “This move was probably the hardest experience we’ve had in the 16 years we’ve been doing business.  Now that we’re in our new space, it feels worth it.  We will miss the Arts District and we’re grateful for all the support and dedication our customers have shown us these past 11 years.” Just because the relationship has ended doesn’t mean we can’t still visit, “Our new space is in the Kinzie Corridor on Fulton and Leavitt.  Exact address is 2140 W. Fulton, Unit E and we welcome our clients to visit our new showroom space.” All of the same staff will be there so it’ll be like they never left in the first place, “We are so lucky to have an amazing staff of employees. Yes, they are all coming with us and Russ and I are excited to tap into their strengths. We spread them thin and the store added yet another job to their lists of duties. I think we’re all excited to see how much we can do now that our main focus is wholesale.” Glad to see that the gang is staying together.

For more information or to start shopping at Majamas, you can visit them online at www.majamas.com, visit there new location at 2140 W Fulton Unit E, or call 1-888-MAJAMAS or 1-708-524-9668. While it is always sad to see a business leave the Oak Park Arts District, we can’t help but be happy that Majamas is thriving. Remember Russell and Germaine, once an Oak Park Arts District business, always an Oak Park Arts District business!

y, Matthew Johnston

mattwebbie