Seven years ago, Palatine resident Nancy Gust decided to open a fashion boutique in downtown Palatine called Fancy Nancy’s. She happened to be leasing the space next to Patti Curtis, a fellow Palatine resident and owner of Patti’s Pretties, a longstanding gift and flower shop.
“We instantly became friends,” said Curtis. “It is kind of like a mother-daughter relationship, but we are great friends.”
After a few years in business, Gust decided to close her shop, but she kept in touch with Curtis.
Last year, Gust, an interior designer, was shopping for outdoor cushions when she realized that there wasn’t much to choose from. “The selection was abysmal at best,” she quipped.
“We were having such a mild winter, so I was looking for cushions around Christmas, and I couldn’t find anything.”
Gust realized that she could design her own pillows and cushions. “Being a designer, you have access to certain fabrics that others do not,” she said. “I wanted to be able to offer custom pillows to everyone.”
Around the same time, a new retail space became available near Curtis’s shop. Patti’s Pretties offers custom and silk flower arrangements as well as gifts like chocolates, jewelry and unique women’s tops.
Curtis originally began her business because a small, affordable space became available and she decided to pursue her love of flowers. “I started doing flowers for friends,” she said. “I love beauty, I’m inspired by it. It’s also so rewarding when you create something that satisfies customers.”
When the new retail space became available, Curtis decided to pursue it. “The overhead and window space [at her former location] was too much; I had to constantly decorate. I wanted to instead concentrate on what’s good for the customers.”
Gust was also looking for an office to spearhead her new business, Fancy Nancy’s Outdoor Pillows & Accessories. The new space was a perfect opportunity for both businesswomen.
Since April, Gust and Curtis have been sharing the space where Patti’s Pretties is now located, at 117 W. Slade Street in downtown Palatine. The space has a partition that allows both a retail space for Curtis and an office space for Gust.
“It’s a really nice setup,” said Curtis. “Nancy’s clients sometimes need gifts and flowers, so she can refer them to me. I can also tell customers about her pillows.”
Gust sells pillows on her website, but she also works with clients to create custom items. Curtis also creates custom floral arrangements by request, but Patti's Pretties is open to the public Wednesday-Saturday.