P.O.S.H. features an eclectic selection of European and American tabletop accents and gifts — Photo courtesy of Megy Karydes
P.O.S.H. is squarely located in the historic Tree House Studios in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. The location sets the scene of this gift shop’s offerings well, considering it’s filled with vintage and vintage-inspired home and table accents from Europe and America.
The shop will be celebrating 17 years this fall, and Owner Karl Sorenson admits he still loves the thrill of finding products that tell a story. A former art director, he uses his keen eye to help merchandise his best-selling category of hotel silver from a bygone era throughout a shop that also carries a vibrant mix of European and American brands of tabletop, stationery and baby items.
Karl Sorenson sources his vintage items from hotels, European markets and auctions — Photo courtesy of Megy Karydes
“There is something about pieces that have provenance and a story behind them,” says Sorenson of his vintage silver.
Even non-vintage items in the shop are chosen because they mean something, whether it’s the Danish Matchbox Mice by Maileg, which reminds people of toys of their youth, or tabletop that is more than utilitarian.
Sorenson travels throughout Europe - scouring European markets and international auctions - and attends estate sales to find treasures that include vintage silver bowls with rich history, silverware and barware. Many of the pieces are one-of-a-kind items. He goes through the trouble of learning the story behind the pieces, which he loves to share with customers.
If you happen to see him in the shop (where he often is, rearranging displays or reviewing newly arrived merchandise with his team), you’ll notice he’ll slowly make his way to a customer who is looking at an item and gradually begin conversation. He starts by telling her about the history of the bowl or tea set, how he acquired it and how it was used back in its heyday.
Sorenson has an easy-going and welcoming demeanor. He genuinely gets excited to tell you what he knows of the piece. It’s not necessarily meant as a history lesson as much as a reminder of a romantic, bygone era.
Gifts and cookbooks can be found at P.O.S.H. — Photo courtesy of Megy Karydes
In addition to an impressive array of vintage silver offerings, P.O.S.H. includes an eclectic mix of tea towels, old cookbooks, stationery and even some estate jewelry.
Out-of-town visitors compose a big part of Sorenson’s clientele and usually make repeat visits when they stop in the city. If they can’t make it in to P.O.S.H., a robust website keeps them coming back for more. Locals often stop by when they need to find a wedding gift or housewarming gift or to spruce up their table when entertaining guests.