Fearless Friday: Lindzi Shanks

It's always nice when you meet a fellow color lover like Lindzi. She is unapologetically vibrant and girlie to the core. I often think to myself...if you're gonna be a girl...go big! That Lindzi does. With two FT businesses, I don't know how she comes up for air but such is the life of a #girlboss. From sassy tees to a well curated collection of whimsical paper goods and coffee mugs, you can find a gift for just about every lady on your list. Perfect timing for the holidays! 

But Lindzi wasn't given a giant investment to kick things off; she had an idea and a passion and set to work. Years later, you can see local boss babes running around the city in her apparel. How did it become the online mecca it is today? Read on...!

Tell us a little about Trendy Sparrow and the mission of your brand. How did you come up with the idea and how hard was it to get started?

The Trendy Sparrow is a lifestyle and fashion brand geared toward the fashionable boss lady. Our customer loves sipping mimosas, eating macarons, and being a boss. I wanted to create a online shop and coordinating blog that emphasized style, sass, and a deep love for cute decor/office supplies.

1. What was the moment you knew you wanted to be an entrepreneur(s) let alone in the fashion/accessory industry?

I was in graduate school at the University of Chicago gaining my MA in Psychology in 2012. I was MISERABLE! I hated every moment of it. At the time, I was running a side Etsy store called, The Trendy Sparrow, selling wedding stationery items. I didn’t love that either, but it was a way to gain a little extra money while trying to survive as a graduate student. I was writing a long, very boring paper for grad school, and had a bit of an ah-ha moment. I was super miserable, and my only escape was my Etsy shop. I thought, okay…”What if I did this full time? And if so, what would I really want to sell?” I’ve always had a deep love of fashion, so moving away from wedding stationery and towards graphic tees was a no brainer for me.

2. What one Trendy Sparrow moment are you the most proud of and why?

Last year, I won the Block 37 Popup Shop contest that gave me a free retail location in downtown Chicago during the Christmas months. Having the opportunity to receive press and run my own retail store with almost no cost was a dream come true. I’ve been fortunate enough that the connections I’ve made through winning this competition allowed me to do something similar this year. Starting on Black Friday, I will be running a new popup shop concept inside of Block 37 again called the “Boss Babe Popup”. This shop will feature product from several female-owned small businesses, including The Trendy Sparrow.

3. How would you describe a typical day? What's your morning to evening routine?

I honestly don’t have a typical day or a great routine. One of the things I love most about running two companies (second is XO Marshmallow) is that my day is constantly changing. There are only a few typical consistencies. The first is that Wednesdays are “marshmallow days”, and fully dedicated to XO Marshmallow. I often go to my office in Ravenswood everyday until about 5/6pm and come home and work from my computer.

4.  How do you describe your personal aesthetic?

Broke Blair Waldorf? I love the feminine and girly aesthetic of the queen B, but I can’t quite afford Chanel. I like bows, polka dots, and plenty of pink. I like to think I dress the way Blair Waldorf would if Gossip Girl was still on air today.

5. What individuals, tastemakers, celebrities, entrepreneurs, public figures inspire you?

From a design point of few, I’m often inspired by anything Kate Spade; including her new Francis Valentine collection. I’m also inspired by Diane von Furstenburg (for her tenacity and refusal to give up), Lisa Sugar (founder of POPSUGAR for her entrepreneurial spirit and refusal to be mean), Amy Schumer (for her sass and feminist point of view), Mindy Kaling (for her humor and the way she is changing what it means to be a funny girl in media), and Pam & Gela (the sassy babes behind Juicy Couture who are forever coming up with new and amazing business ventures).

6. If you weren't in the fashion/accessory industry...and could be anything else...what would it be?

It’s crazy because I’m also technically in the food industry with XO Marshmallow. But if I wasn’t running any of my current companies, I’d probably would have gone into interior design. Johanna Gaines is pretty much my spirit animal.

7. It's creative time...what's on your Spotify? What inspires you?  

The Boss Babe Playlist! A few months ago I created a Spotify playlist on the blog for my readers called the Boss Babe Playlist (aka a ton of Beyonce plus others) to help them stay motivated and empowered while working -- and it’s usually on when I’m working, too! Unless I become my emo kid self from high school (weird, right?) then it’s the Fall Out Boy station.

8. Favorite restaurant on a Friday night + why?

We are lucky that Chicago has so many to choose from! One of my favorites is DMK Burger Bar. This Texas girl loves a good burger, and their margaritas are absolutely delicious. It’s a small restaurant with low lighting, and they often have 90s movies playing on the TVs in the background.

9. Wine or classic cocktail?

A nice glass of red wine any day.

10. Favorite weekend getaway destination?

Oh gosh, what’s a getaway? With two businesses, I haven’t taken a vacation in forever! But one of my favorite trips to take when I can is to LA, especially as it gets colder in Chicago. There is something about that California sunshine that always seems to recharge my batteries.

11.  5 must-have apps that you need in your life to function?


Any.DO (a to do list organizing app)

The Etsy Seller app

A color story (my favorite photo editing app)

Dulingo (teaches you a new language) - I’m often on the CTA or in Ubers going back and forth to meetings or events. I don’t believe in “wasted time”, so rather than listening to music, I try to learn a new language. Currently: French.

12. Bonus question - What's next for Trendy Sparrow?

In the immediate future, we will be participating in the Boss Babe Popup Shop inside of Block 37 from Nov 25 - Jan 1st. After that, I’m hoping to add new product lines to the store.

Follow Lindzi + The Trend Sparrow on Instagram!