Margie Siggelkow returned to her hometown after living around the country and abroad with a mission to bring an ethically sourced store to Janesville.
When Margie Siggelkow returned to her hometown of Janesville in 2019 after having lived and traveled abroad, she knew she wanted to bring a piece of that experience back with her to share with her friends and neighbors. She opened Adorn Janesville, a boutique in the city’s downtown featuring an array of local and global ethically sourced products.
Siggelkow offers a variety of clothing, jewelry, and even an entire wall of leather purses. Most of her collection is geared toward a feminine audience, but she maintains a corner of the store with traditionally male products as well, including a selection of boxer-briefs she attempted to sell this reporter.
Siggelkow has curated her collection to ensure it is produced in a way that does not unfairly leverage labor rights disparities in other countries.
She’s quick to note that while her products have proved popular, even during the depths of the pandemic, Adorn is likely buoyed by Janesville’s downtown renaissance as more young people move to the community.
“I wasn’t honestly necessarily excited about coming back to Janesville,” she said. “But when I got back and was walking around downtown I am like, ‘Oh, my gosh, there is so much going on down here.'”
“If anything, it’s made my attitude toward people so much more positive,” she said of the experience. “There’s so many cool people here, and I would never have met them if I didn’t have this shop.”
Siggelkow has woven her past and passions into the store she now runs. Her years spent traveling and living in Thailand are present in the selection of foreign fair-trade brands available. She traveled back to the country to visit the workshops that produce her leather bags. She has given them prime placement directly across from the front entrance.
Her background as a women’s rights activist has also informed her business. In school, she took up women’s studies before working in women’s shelters and with girls at a middle school.
She brought in many women-owned brands, including one developed by a childhood friend. “This year we’re up to about 90% of our products [being] from women-owned companies,” she said.
A focus going forward will be to increase her selection of products produced by women of color.
Another will be on missions beyond fair-trade practices. She touts that many of the companies she uses as suppliers donate a portion of their profits to philanthropic causes.
This focus on giving back is a theme she notices in the other women-owned businesses in downtown Janesville. Siggelkow feels they provide much to the community through charitable efforts and in patronage to other local shops.
Owning a business is not something that Siggelkow could have seen herself doing even just a few years ago.
“To be totally candid, I used to be—when I was younger—anti-capitalism and stuff like that,” she said with a chuckle. “And then I’m like, you know, ‘How can I have a store and be selling goods?'”
She eventually reconciled her politics with her desire to see this kind of option available in her city as a part of a greater good.
“That’s actually a huge way that people impact their community,” Siggelkow said. “Just being a conscious consumer, is—especially being an American—that’s our biggest impact on the world, and we don’t even know it.”