GLEN ELLYN – Michael Perich wanted The Gnome Colony to be a store where women could walk in the door and escape the outside world for a little while.
"They get to come in and have a moment to themselves, for themselves," the Naperville resident said. "I get to share my world and what I love with somebody. I want a woman to enjoy herself while she's in here."
The Gnome Colony, which sells clothing, jewelry, accessories, makeup, skincare and home decor, recently opened at 485 N. Main St. in downtown Glen Ellyn. The Gnome Colony carries the tagline "a store full of love, whimsy and wishes."
He has filled the store with items he thought women would appreciate.
"I have classic, fashionable styles that can be played up or down," Perich said. "Put the green cardigan on with dark denim, a white T-shirt and some pearls, and it's a classic version. It's stylish and modern, but it still has classic elements and trend elements in it."
Perich, who has his own skincare and makeup line, previously had owned Camp Cosmetics in downtown Glen Ellyn. He has worked with such celebrities as the late comedian Joan Rivers and Chicago media personality Candace Jordan.
He already has plans to expand The Gnome Colony.
"There are three more rooms in the back, so there's going to be imported furniture, high-end home decor and accessories, and a little fairy tale nook where women [can go] to chill out and just escape for a moment," Perich said.
The Perich skincare and makeup line is sold exclusively at the store. All his skincare products are botanical based.
One of the first things people see when they walk in the store is brightly colored suncatchers Perich has crafted with his own hands.
"I have literally been obsessed with suncatchers since I was about 2 or 3 years old," he said. "I saw them hanging in my grandmother's window. I hand-make them all. No two are alike. I don't duplicate color combinations."
Although The Gnome Colony is surrounded by boutique stores, Perich sees the store as being more than just a boutique.
"This is not a boutique, this is an experience," he said.
He tries to offer customers an experience they won't get at a big-box store. And he views those who walk in his store as more than just customers.
"It's a relationship," Perich said. "It's not just a transaction. I just want to be authentic, and hopefully that's what I bring to people. I don't pitch. I don't like being sold to, and I refuse to do it to a person."
If you go
WHAT: The Gnome Colony
WHERE: 485 N. Main St., Glen Ellyn
HOURS: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Friday