“If I try to be like him, who will be like me?”
The proverb on Generation Bliss Boutique’s website describes a person not afraid to do things a bit differently. Not only does it apply to the store’s customers, but also to the owner, Ela Czupta.
At 25, Czupta is a blogger and entrepreneur who has turned her lifetime love of fashion into a career. Her Lemont boutique carries unique clothes and accessories that blend classic looks and European street styles.
“When I choose clothes (for the boutique), I’m shopping for what I like,” she says. “It’s important to be aware of trends, but I’m also a big fan of good basics layered with accessories. It can be glitzy and glam one day and street chic the next. It’s always evolving.”
An Oak Lawn native, Czupta became interested in fashion at a young age. She calls her mother, Margaret, her earliest inspiration. “She’s a very well put together woman,” she says.
As a child she donned her mother’s dresses and high heels. Eventually playing dress-up gave way to pouring over fashion magazines and turning what she saw into distinctive looks.
“Anything that sparkled fascinated me,” she says.
The family moved to Lemont about the time Czupta started high school, and after graduating from Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox, she studied broadcast journalism at Chicago’s Columbia College. But when her dream of becoming a news anchor collided with the reality of taking a job far from home, she began to rethink her plans.
“You break into that field by going to a small market, and working your way up. I was a city girl, close to my family and the offers I was getting were from small towns in the South. My heart really wasn’t in it,” she says.
Working for a fashion magazine seemed like an obvious choice, but Czupta needed a way to showcase her writing. Inspiration hit one day as she surfed through fashion blogs.
“These were just regular people posing in outfits they liked and writing about them. I thought, ‘I could do this.”
Czupta launched the Generation Bliss blog in January 2011, and within a few months, readers were clamoring for fashion advice and personal shopping requests. In June 2012, she expanded her blog into an online boutique, and one year ago, opened her shop.
As a business owner, she works constantly. In addition to the store, she still blogs and maintains the store’s social media, website and lookbook, an online style guide for the store’s clothes which features her sister and brothers as models. Czupta’s five-year goals including launching her own Generation Bliss label.
Her customers come in all ages, and while a few are surprised by Czupta’s youth, she feels proud to have accomplished so much in a short time.
“Like any business, I’ve had my challenges,” she says, “but I’ve learned to keep a positive attitude, be patient and persistent.”