Sydney is the coolest. I knew I had to meet her, because I felt like she kept popping up everywhere I turned – Riva Treasure told me to check out her shop, I kept coming across her on Instagram, and then Ashley Kolln told me she sold her jewelry at Sydney's store.
Sydney is the owner and CEO of Hyde Park, a women's clothing, accessories, and gift shop. She's always on the go, always hustling, and always warm and inviting. When I first emailed Sydney about featuring her, she immediately invited me to two events she was hosting. I couldn't wait to meet someone who seemed so cool and so nice.
If you ask me, Sydney is living the dream. The history behind her business is really interesting, but I love the modern spin she put on it since she's taken ownership. I'm excited to see how Hyde Park will continue to evolve.
Check out my Q&A with Sydney to find out more about her and her shop, Hyde Park:
My Midwest Is Showing: Hyde Park has had a really interesting history. Tell me about it, and how you became the owner and CEO of the company.
Sydney Deutsch: My grandpa came over from Germany with his family, including my mom, when she was very little. He was trained and worked as a tailor in Germany, and continued that line of work here in the US. Just a few short years after living and working here, despite barely knowing any English, he bought Hyde Park Tailors and Cleaners with a partner in 1960. He had been running it ever since, up until I took over in 2014. His brother is also a tailor and had worked alongside him since the 1980s. So, when they both started eyeing up retirement, I quit my job and literally started working here the next day. I renovated the front of the shop and formally opened Hyde Park, the women’s clothing, accessories and gift store in November 2014! I am proud to be a third generation worker at Hyde Park, because when my mom was younger she helped out at the tailoring shop. To keep up with tradition, sometimes my niece and nephews come help me work too!
MMWIS: What skills did you learn in college and/or previous positions have proven to be helpful at Hyde Park?
SD: I went to school at Mount Mary University for Apparel Product Development, so that helped me fine-tune my sewing skills, plus I did an internship in tailoring. I also took a fashion show coordination class, which has helped for putting on Hyde Park’s annual fashion show. After Mount Mary, I got a job as an assistant stylist with Bonton (Boston Store), and was promoted to a stylist. From that, I learned all about putting together photoshoots and styling everything from sheet sets and clothing ranging from kids’ to women’s, men’s and plus-sized. That experience taught me so much about the fashion industry as a whole, plus a lot about retail and how large corporations are run.
MMWIS: What's a normal day like for you?
SD: I normally do a large variety of things during a typical day. But every single day is different; I am a buyer, a merchandiser, a tailor, a seamstress, a cleaning lady, a boss, a social media person, a website builder, a stylist, a photographer and so many other things. I do a lot of tailoring each day depending on what we bring in, I do fittings with customers that need items tailored, I take in dry cleaning, I check on merchandise, price and steam new merchandise, update our website, update our customers via social media posts, and my mom and/or I change the window displays weekly. Some days I’m reorganizing older merchandise or marking down sale items. I’m Hyde Park’s sole employee, so outside of a couple of people that help me with different tasks and take over for when I am not there and on a buying trip, everything kind of lands on me. It’s hard to be your own boss!
MMWIS: Favorite part of your job? Least favorite part?
SD: My favorite part is choosing the merchandise and going on fun buying trips with my mom and boyfriend. I love searching for new trends, or beautiful classic pieces, and when you finally find the right piece, it really gives you this amazing feeling. Another part I love is when the pieces actually get shipped – sometimes you’ve completely forgotten about it and get to relive falling in love with it all over again. It feels like you are opening presents on Christmas morning. Another favorite is when a customer falls in love with your store and gets your taste. My least favorite part is being my own boss and constantly having to motivate myself. It is really hard, but I combat that with making a to-do list almost every day.
MMWIS: Greatest business accomplishment so far?
SD: Surviving and then thriving my first couple of years. So many small businesses, I think retail and restaurants especially, don’t even make it out of their first year. So I am very happy to be open and doing something that I have always wanted to do going on our third year in business.
MMWIS: What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own business?
SD: Save your money so you don’t have to take out a loan, do A LOT of research about whatever you want to do, seek out mentors, do an internship with a similar business, and don’t be afraid to try something. Don’t complain about your job and waste your life doing something you don’t love! Think of how many hours of your life you would be wasting by being unhappy at your job!
MMWIS: What are you currently reading? Watching? Listening to?
SD: Currently reading The Girls by Emma Cline, a novel about a girl that was in a cult in the '70s. Pretty juicy. I am loving Fargo season 2, and Big Little Lies, which I also read and it was great! I listen to a million podcasts but would recommend for people that want to start their own business StartUp and Side Hustle – both very good, interesting and motivating. Otherwise, for funny pods I love Two Dope Queens. And as far as music, I love Khalid’s (not the DJ Khaled, but I do love his new song with Bey & Jay), album, Bambi by Jidenna (a WI native), and the new Selena Gomez song.
MMWIS: If someone was visiting Wisconsin for the first time, what would you tell them to do first?
SD: Walk down by the lake, go to the Art Museum, the Public Market, then go for a drink on Brady Street.
MMWIS: Favorite thing about the Midwest?
SD: Cheese curds! I love Wisconsin foods: brats, cheese, fish frys, and beer of course! Midwest is best!
MMWIS: How does your Midwest show through your personality and/or what you do?
SD: I love helping people, and that is why I love to do tailoring and work on sewing projects for other people. I think that in the Midwest, people are known for being very nice and helpful. I also do my best to support my local community, which I think Wauwatosa and Milwaukee do a great job of as a whole.