ML - Michigan Avenue

2014 - Issue 7 - November

Michigan Avenue - Niche Media - Michigan Avenue magazine is a luxury lifestyle magazine centered around Chicago’s finest people, events, fashion, health & beauty, fine dining & more!

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also partners with local bars and restaurants to host events at mobile "pop-up" locations. "We love the holidays," Bigley says. "What do you do if you're a group of friends and want to have a gift exchange? Everyone is always looking for something different." Since the original store opened in Lakeview, the chain has expanded to the South Loop and into the suburbs of Glen Ellyn, La Grange, Evanston, and cit- ies like Portland. By the end of 2015, Bigley plans on doubling the current franchise locations to 30, with seven additional storefronts in the Chicago suburbs and other locations in Colorado, Texas, Florida, and California. "We are very female-dominated, and I like that," notes Bigley. "That was a big reason I was attracted to this business." Another reason is that, compared to Bigley's previ- ous 12-year stint overseeing 170 franchise locations of California-based American Leak Detection, Bottle & Bottega is, simply put, more fun. "I hated it when people would ask, 'Where do you work?' I would think, 'Oh God, I'm going to have to talk plumbing now,'" she says. Still, Bigley credits that experience with teaching her how to build a network like Bottle & Bottega's rapidly expanding franchise. After brief ly working as a regional manager for The Dwyer Group, where she led franchise training, Bigley then spent five years as senior director of operations at Dunkin' Brands, overseeing a team that included 920 franchise locations and $257 million in sales. Along the way, Bigley says she's felt "pressure to excel" as she paved the way for other women. "You can get really wrapped up in the whole men-women inequality," she says. "I'm not saying it's not there; I just think we have opportunities, and it's about figuring out how to make the most of it." That's something Bigley is doing now by helping other women, and a few men, start their own franchises. "Earlier in my career I was a little too intense," she admits. "When you get older you realize your way isn't always the right way." It was Bigley's experience with franchising that helped her partner with co-owner Stephanie King-Myers, who came up with the business idea after she and her husband lost their jobs on the same day. The duo, who co-owns the Lakeview and South Loop locations, partnered in February 2011, and nine months later they launched their first franchise. "Looking back, it was a little crazy," Bigley admits. "I don't know what I was thinking, but we did it." When she's not working, Bigley enjoys mountain biking, and hanging out with her friends, eating sushi and drinking Champagne. "I'm a creature of habit," says Bigley, who splits her time between Chicago and Palm Springs, California, where her husband lives. "So I tell my friends to find a cool place that I've never been to." That's exactly the kind of word-of-mouth approach Bigley hopes will help grow Bottle & Bottega across the US in the coming year. "We are party planners to the next level," she says. "We have the tools to make it easy." 2900 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-313-9133. 1241 S. Michigan Ave., 773-269-6570; Contact individ- ual stores to inquire about events. MA Guests at Bottle & Bottega's private parties are provided an instructor and materials to explore their inner artist, painting on ornaments or canvas (top left and right)—and often warmed up by a glass of wine. BIGLEY'S BESTS Bottle & Bottega CEO Nancy Bigley shares some of her personal inspirations, in Chicago and beyond. HAPPY HOLIDAYS "I still get excited when the snow falls. I also enjoy the amazing lights downtown—it's so beautiful that you truly feel you are in a winter wonderland. And since we host so many holiday parties at our studios, it's fun to see all the smiling faces celebrat- ing together." GIRLS' NIGHT OUT "Pops for Champagne is our little treat and one of my favorites." ART EFFECT "I love the Renaissance and Medieval periods, so I tend to run to all of those exhibits at the Art Institute of Chicago and get lost for hours." EAGER READER "I just fnished the entire Divergent series, and before that The House at Tyneford and The Unexpected Guest. Most of them are about strong women who have overcome obstacles and done amazing things… go fgure." 74 PEOPLE View from the Top

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