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8 Questions for Allyson Holleb, master accessorizer, boy band-lover and corned beef-eater

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Allyson's got a brand new bag

Traveling to New York or Paris to snag what will become the handbag of a Chicagoan’s dreams is one of Allyson Holleb’s favorite things to do. Her obsession with nabbing that perfect find helped her transition from shopper to shop owner. Today, Holleb stocks her own store, Bess & Loie, with hip bags and accessories for men and women.

So, whether you’re a girl with a purse obsession, a guy looking for a new tie or a fellow fan of Manny’s, Allyson Holleb is a Jew you should know!

1. What did you want to be when you grew up?
I used to play grocery store in my parent’s basement and pretend I was a sales clerk, so perhaps retail was always in my blood.

2. What do you love about what you do today?
I love the people aspect. I get to talk to new and different people everyday. I have wonderful customers who have become amazing friends!

3. What are you reading?
I can’t believe I am actually reading something, but I am reading Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessi.

4. What is your favorite place to eat in Chicago?
Without a doubt, Avec.

5. If money and logistical reality played no part, what would you invent? 
A better public transportation system for Chicago, which would, in turn, help the environment. I was lucky enough to get to live in Paris and in New York where the train system covers a lot more ground.

6. Would you rather have the ability to fly or to be invisible? 
I would rather be able to fly; if you are hovering above everyone else you are almost invisible. Also, being able to fly would take care of my whole public transportation problem.

7. If I scrolled through your iPod, what guilty pleasure song would I find? 
I have a weakness for Boy Bands, especially the Backstreet Boys.

8. What is your favorite Jewish thing to do in Chicago—in other words how do you Jew? 
I love going to Manny’s Deli with my Grandpa for corned beef sandwiches!

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