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COVER STORY | Moving Forward: Autumn Geist


LISLE–She is a widow, mother, entrepreneur and community volunteer. She is resilient, creative, and compassionate; and believes you can do anything, but you can’t do everything. She values the power of prayer and loves the quote by Jim Henson, “Please watch out for each another, and love and forgive everybody. It’s a good life. Enjoy it”.

28 year Lisle resident, Autumn Geist opened The Collective in August of 2017.

“We are a lifestyle boutique and Makery,” she says. “In the boutique, we feature artists, artisans and products with a cause. In the Makery, we offer public workshops and private events where guests create in community from painting to knitting.”

All of this changed on March 17, 2020 when The Collective had to shut down due to COVID-19.

“For me, COVID was particularly difficult,” she adds. “It came as I was recovering from being quite ill and my former business partner deciding not to continue with the business; so, I went from being in a partnership where the work was difficult to navigate with two, to one person navigating work, pivoting to a new environment, etc.”

Autumn quickly built up her online presence and worked fast to add as much of what was available in the shop as possible. She offered curbside pickup, local delivery, and shipping. To create as close to an in-store experience as possible, Autumnbegan offering an evening and morning Instagram live series called Thursdays w/The Collective and Coffee Clutch w/The Collective.

“This is where I could feature and describe various products and even feature guest appearances from some of our makers and artisans that we carry,” she says. “Even now that we are open, we also continue to offer personal shopping appointments after hours and by video call.

Autumn credits her supportive customers; her family and dear friends; long work hours; a lot of tears; strong prayer; and meditation for her personal and professional survival this past year. She believes in small businesses and supports local at her favorite restaurants such as NWB (great burgers and bourbon), Meson Sabika for tapas, and Bien Trucha for Mexican.

All in all, Autumn lives and breathes in the belief that we all have the ability and responsibility to leave the world a little better than we found. -Kristen Kucharski, Photos by Mike Catuara





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