Thursday, October 4, 2012

Happy Birthday! Cheeky Chicago Celebrates 1,460 Days of Fabulousness

Happy Birthday, Cheeky!

In The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer wrote, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." For Erica Bethe Levin and Jessica Zweig, these four words were the driving force behind a dream. What started as a casual conversation between girlfriends catapulted into one of Chicago's leading, online lifestyle guides - and quickly gathered a cult-like following of A-listers, fashionistas, and ladies who love living la vida loca! 

Erica and Jessica at FGI's Rising Star Awards

From launching their Cheeky Card (a loyalty rewards program which treats cardholders to special perks and deep discounts at area restaurants, spas, boutiques, and more) to being nominated for the Fashion Group International's prestigious Rising Star Award, 2012's truly been a remarkable year for's co-creators

Ultimate A-List: The Cheeky Card 

On the day of their fourth birthday, Luxe File Chicago caught up with the pretty pair to dish on everything from party hostess how-to's and makeup must-have's to the oh-so-bright future of Cheeky. 

Erica Bethe Levin
Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief,
NBC 5 Chicago Contributor

What was your favorite “It” moment this year? London 2012 Olympics

Cheeky Chicago has gained recognition for hosting some of the city’s most stellar events. What’s the key to hosting a memorable party? The key to hosting a memorable party is to give the guests a 360-degree experience. When we host an event, it is never just about the food, the wine or networking. We always feature an experience or production element, whether it's a fashion show, a chef's tasting or honoring some of the city's Cheekiest people.

Setting your own fabulous events aside, what was your favorite fete of 2012? Chicago Gourmet is our favorite culinary event. It's hosted outdoors during a lovely time of year and features amazing food and even better wine.

The Gastronome's Garden of Eden: 
Chicago Gourmet

Brains and beauty, the Cheeky girls are known for their savvy style. Share one of your top fashion secrets. No need to follow the crowd - start, follow, and maintain your trends!

From breakfast meetings to cocktail tweet-ups, you’re always glowing-on-the-go. What must-have item keeps you looking gorgeous? NARS shimmer stick is my MUST-have and works double time as a lip gloss.

Jessica Zweig
Co-Founder and Director of Sales & Marketing,
NBC 5 Chicago Contributor Contributor

Cheeky is setting the benchmark for creative and hip events around town. Did you envision this kind of success when you were conceptualizing the brand? Yes and no. We wanted to create a fun-to-read website as well as to build an online community of like-minded and down-to-earth women who enjoyed having fun. Events were indeed a part of our brand concept, but we never envisioned they would become as huge and successful as they are. So in one way, it was intentional, but in another way, it's been a happy accident.

We love Cheeky Chicago’s annual “Cheekiest Guys of Summer” party and the men you honor. What makes a guy cheeky? A Cheeky guy is genuine, warm, outgoing, and in-the-know of what's going on in Chicago. These guys are everywhere and it's why we celebrate them every year at our "Cheekiest Guys of Summer" event. We do it to call them out of the woodwork and to reinforce that our events (and our brand) are meant for everyone to experience. 

Cheeky Guys of Summer 2012 party

You’re dating a superstar guy. Play Ask E. Jean (of Elle magazine) and answer this question from a Cheeky reader: "I’m a successful, smart and attractive Chicagoan. How do I find my soulmate in the city’s big urban jungle?" It sure is a jungle out there! The key to finding your soulmate is to focus less on "finding it" and more on yourself and your own thing. This is key for two reasons: first, men are attracted to a woman with a passion (ie, for her career, philanthropy, friends, family) and second, when you're that involved in your own life, he's got to work for and earn the chance to get to know you. Whole people attract whole people, so don't look for a guy to complete you. The best relationships come when YOU are in YOUR best place.

Jessica Zweig and beau, Brian Fisher

On October 4, 2012, Cheeky’s celebrating its four-year anniversary at Four Seasons Chicago. Congratulations, you’ve come a long way, baby! What are your proudest accomplishments thus far? Our biggest accomplishment is our readers. We are so grateful for our audience's enthusiasm and loyalty. We still haven't gotten used to hearing the feedback - whether it's in person at an event or a personally-written email - from girls (and guys!) who know and love the site, relate to it, and have fun at our events.

That's why we created Cheeky - to give the women of Chicago something they could feel was their own. Seriously, that kind of feedback and acknowledgement never gets old. We pinch ourselves with gratitude daily. 

Happy Birthday to Me: Jessica and Erica 
at Cheeky's 3-year celebration

What’s in store for Cheeky fans in 2013? We've got BIG plans: we are upgrading our Cheeky Card program from the credit card into a mobile app, expanding nationally into Austin and Los Angeles, and hiring a slew of new team members. We have more exciting announcements so stay tuned!

Four glorious years later, fans weigh in on what inspires them most about Cheeky Chicago. #girlpower

Kevin Aeh, Time Out Chicago
I've gotten to know Jessica and Erica pretty well over the years, and their passion for both Cheeky and Chicago is contagious and inspiring. When these ladies are involved in a project, you know good things are going to happen – I'm so glad guys aren't excluded from the Cheeky lifestyle!

Rodelio Aglibot, The Food Buddha
I love that Cheeky provides women with both a voice and an outlet.

Ryan Beshel, 900 North Michigan Shops
Cheeky embodies Chicago's young, fun, social woman who is in-the-know, appreciative of style and health, and who just happens to be at all the hot parties. I'm just lucky that the Cheeky girl always invites her Cheeky guy, because Jessica and Erica can sure throw a party!

Ashley Bond, BullsTV
It's a fun, feel good, one-stop site for everything from fashion to food!

Leah Chavie, Leah Chavie Skincare Boutique
Cheeky is a true class act! They nominated me Cheeky Beauty Expert of the year and have helped me provide a platform to brand my business. The cheekiest way to get to know the best of Chicago is through Cheeky Chicago.

Ryan Chiaverini, ABC7’s Windy City LIVE!
Cheeky Chicago is tapped in to the pulse of the city and truly encompasses all of the great experiences Chicago has to offer.

Erica and Jessica with Team Cheeky: 
Joran Thompson (left) and Angela Lee

D.C. Crenshaw, Fete Select TV
I love the way that Cheeky has evolved over a short period of time. Their sense of fashion, food and fun are blowing up all around the city. So proud of my girls!

Joe Cutaia, Wagstaff PR
Cheeky Chicago has become synonymous with the young-professional "power girl" scene here in Chicago. Jessica and Erica took their idea and made it into a reality - something that often takes a special group of people to accomplish. Besides talented, they're two of the nicest people I've had the pleasure of meeting during my tenure in the city - both personally and professionally.

Julie Darling, The Darling Company
Cheeky Chicago is quite simply "a breath of fresh air". The girls put their hearts into every event, every tweet, every interaction which, to me, is truly the foundation of what makes Chicago.

Billy Dec, Rockit Ranch Productions
I love that a girl who worked at my gym stopped me during a workout to tell me she and one of my waitresses had a dream to create this social site. She asked me what I thought and I told her to go for it - and damn they went BIG! I'm very proud to see what they have accomplished - not only as business owners but as fellow cheerleaders of Chicago!

Jenn Dieas and Amie Miller, Golden Girl Chicago
We love Erica and Jessica for being such supportive girlfriends in business and in life. Tres cheeky!

Jason Erkes, Chicago Sport & Social Club
If you're at an event and it has a Cheeky stamp on it - you know you're in the right place. They bring together the best crowd at the best places and have their finger on the pulse of all cool things Chicago.

Rosemary Fanti, Two Advertising & Communications
I just LOVE that Cheeky Chicago knows exactly what women need to know — urban chic and oh-so sophisticated.

Brian Fisher, Chicago Stock Exchange
Whether you’re seeking a relaxing spa, a notable nook for after-work drinks, or the newest, see-and-be-seen restaurant, consult Cheeky Chicago - the city’s most influential, where-to-be guide for women and (Cheeky) men.

Jena Gambaccini, ChiCityFashion
I'm all for upping Chicago's style cred and Cheeky does it quite well!

Julianne Glatz, JG Hats
I love Cheeky Chicago for their vitality and upbeat energy - Cheeky ROCKS!

James Goeke, ESAM
The inspiring entrepreneurial spirit that Jessica and Erica possess and exude makes it seem like you can accomplish anything if you passionately work hard toward your goals. Congrats, Jessica and Erica!

Remember When: Erica and Jessica 
at Cheeky's Launch Party

Bonni Gross, Coldwell Banker
Cheeky Chicago is so great! So informative! So much fun! So chi-chi!

Cindy Hamilton, Nike
Nike has been thrilled to work with Cheeky to get these “girls-in-the-know” to be “girls-in-the-swoosh”!

Erica Hyde Strama, The Shops at North Bridge
Founders Erica and Jessica are super sweet and chic. My Cheeky Card gets me amazing perks (I recently used it for a complimentary sushi roll at Sunda) and their events are always swanky and fun.

Candace Jordan,
From the first moment I met them, I loved their combined passion for all things Chicago. I particularly loved the fact that they’re such good friends on top of their business partnership. They’re so darn loveable, kind and smart (the whole package!), and I couldn’t be happier for their much-deserved success with Cheeky Chicago!

Jill Katz, JKLS PR
Cheeky Chicago is on the pulse of everything and brings amazing energy to all they touch!

Chris LaMorte, Urbandaddy Chicago
Cheeky has proven to be absolutely fearless in its plans to conquer the world -- and as far as I know, the universe -- using nothing but its wits and a heretofore unknown shade of pink.

Debi Lilly, A Perfect Event
I love the Cheeky Girl personality stamp Jessica and Erica inject on everything they feature, host, and celebrate. It's Chicago girls having fun and loving life, all the time.

R.J. Melman, Lettuce Entertain You
My favorite thing about Cheeky Chicago is Jessica and Erica.

Mel Muoio, UrbanDaddy Chicago
I love Cheeky Chicago because it progresses the women's spirit of helping one another.

Carrie Nahabedian, NAHA
I love the spirit and energy that Cheeky Chicago brings to the city!

Benjamin Newby, Menin Hotels
They bring women together and celebrate, without competition, what it is to be a strong, independent, and cheeky woman.

Jess Piet,
The love. From swanky parties to articles that reveal the good, the bad, and the ugly, Cheeky supports and celebrates women of all kinds for their strengths. Cheeky kicks cattiness to the curb, leaving room for us all to dance in the streets together.

Jenny Polachek, Modern Luxury
What I love most about Cheeky Chicago are the two amazingly talented, incredibly brave and, most importantly, immensely creative women behind the brand: Erica and Jessica. I've admired their drive, passion, and fabulous parties for years. I feel honored to call them friends and wish them nothing but continued success.

Amanda Puck, XAPR
I love Erica and Jessica - they are fun, flashy, and do FABULOUS things in Chicago!

Marcus Riley, NBC Universal
All too often, successful start-ups are male-dominated but Jessica and Erica have built a successful business model from the ground up that should serve as a template and inspiration not only for other young women but all aspiring entrepreneurs.

Monika Rydz, Connect. Inspire. Grow
We loved hearing Jessica's inspiring story at our Connect. Inspire. Grow. event one year ago!

Raj Sai, JPMorgan Chase
I meet new and amazing people at every Cheeky Chicago event I go to; Jessica, Erica, Joran and team have the wonderful ability to attract Chicago's best and brightest.

Samantha Saifer Berngard, Sun-Times
Aside from the two absolutely fabulous co-founders, I love that Cheeky provides a unique online community for women to explore the best of Chicago - they also throw pretty fantastic events as well!

Chef Art Smith, Art Smith Company
Cheeky Chicago invented social networking.

Jessica with Art Smith

Megan Taylor, Fig Media Inc.
I love that Cheeky is inclusive of all women and they teach us ladies to support and empower each other!

Joran Thompson, Cheeky Chicago
I love Cheeky because it's a dynamic outlet 24/7 for the ladies of Chicago. Whether you want to get dolled up and hit up a fun and exclusive event, read something meaningful and relatable on your lunch break, or experience the city with perks (and free champagne galore!) via the Cheeky Card, the brand's energy truly embodies and empowers the everyday Chicago girl to have a ball, connect with her city, and meet incredible people along the way!

Kelli Zink,
The Cheeky chicks are willing to try anything and everything to make the women of Chicago look and feel sexier - and that is truly Cheeky.

Photo Credit: 
Photo of Erica Bethe Levin courtesy of Portraiture by Tru
Photo of Jessica Zweig courtesy of Maria Ponce

Written by Kerry & Sally Shorr

1 comment:

  1. Love this article and love the fact that's it's celebrating such beloved Chicagoans! Great job all! Kerry, Sally, Jessica and Erica Bethe all make Chicago GREAT!!!