Wolfbait & B-girls is a clothing, accessory and homewares boutique highlighting local designers started by Shirley Kienitz and Jenny Stadler in 2006. The shop, which also functions as a studio space, sells everything from deodorant called “Death By Lavender” to locally made leather crop tops. The name “Wolfbait & B-girls” celebrates and pays homage to the bad girls of Chicago throughout history; women who came to the big city looking for trouble, found it and thrived. According to the store’s website, “The 1950’s guidebook Chicago Confidential defines ‘wolfbait’ as girls who moved to the city looking for success, and ‘b-girls’ as what they sometimes turn into. Think B-movie, B-side, bad girl…”
We chose Chicago because there is a large pool of local talent and a lack of venues highlighting them. Chicagoans are supportive of our “shop small” attitude, with both customers and designers showing their commitment to the environmental and economic benefits of supporting independent business and local artisans. We’re all about solidarity. The atmosphere and attitude of our store can’t be duplicated so we don’t feel that other businesses are competition. As a woman-owned store, we want to highlight how far women have come and what we’re capable of.
If you could go back in time before you became involved in running the business and share one piece of advice with yourself, what would you tell yourself?
I don’t think you can learn from advice; experience is valuable. In order to learn, you have to do. I wouldn’t tell myself anything. You’re always going to change your mind and grow into a different person.
What are your next steps?
We hope to continue to support local designers and provide a platform to connect local artists to consumers. Everything else is top-secret.
We want to be in the know! Name one person, place or thing that you think is one of Chicago’s best-kept secrets—a secret until now, of course.
From the beautiful boulevards to the thriving local businesses, we recommend our excellent neighborhood of Logan Square and have a list of our favorite Logan spots on our website. The neighborhood has changed a lot. It’s an entirely different experience from a decade ago when we first opened. But we’re so proud of the independent businesses because the owners participate in their businesses and are not just trying to make money. If you go to Bang Bang Pie, nine out of 10 times Michael is there. At Cole’s Bar, Cole is still behind the bar.
Q&As are edited for clarity and length.