Margot Chapman-In Memorium

 

It’s one year today Margot Chapmanthat my best friend, Margot Chapman, committed suicide.  It’s still hard to believe that she’s gone.

Margot was one of the kindest, most giving human beings I’ve ever known.  I met her through work, and as a marketer, was impressed with her uncanny ability to take trends from one world and see how they applied to another product category.  

Margot was a serial entrepreneur.  She started “Warm Fuzzies” the first scheerling slipper company, “The Chapman Sisters Calorie Counter” the first portion controlled great tasting fast food place for working women in downtown Chicago, “Swirlz” one of the first cupcake stores, and she was my first friend or associate to recognize the potential of social media.  When everyone was saying “I don’t get it,”  Margot dived in.

What got to her was a series of illnesses, including misdiagnosed gluten intolerance, that drained her financially and emotionally.  Then the economy hit the skids and she could no longer find much work as a new product consultant.  She just couldn’t take it any more.  To this day it still bothers me that I missed the signs and didn’t rush back to Chicago to check on her.

Margot, I miss you every day.

 

 

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About Karen Pelletier

Karen Pelletier is an independent Marketing Consultant. She has over 30 years of experience in consumer packaged goods, new product development, technology marketing, and Internet Marketing. She can be reached at kjpelletier@marketing-consultant-k-pelletier.com.
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15 Responses to Margot Chapman-In Memorium

  1. Karen, thanks for the great tribute to Margot. I would also add that she was a selfless person. I was often at a loss to describe our relationship. I would sum it up simply as “She’s my mother, my sister and mentor”. When I was a lowly Marketing Assistant at Quaker (aka “Slug”) she took me under her wing. Through her I learned to be comfortable with ideas that others might not immediately grasp but would eventually come to accept. She was a woman that made big things happen. But she never forgot the little things like a birthday or my fascination with pigs (I still have a pink beaded pig that she found at a store and said “I immediately thought of you”.) The good news in her death is that I know her spirit lives on. In me. I realized long ago that I could never repay her for all that she gave me. But I could live a life accepting of my uniqueness and “pay it forward” by encouraging others to be all they were put on this earth to be.

  2. Karen, Thank you for posting this. I know it must have been hard to write. I am an entrepreneur myself, and I only recently found a snip-it of her marketing wisdom. It led me on a quest to find out more from her, and this is the only time my search actually stopped prematurely. I just want you to know she is still helping others. I will forever remember her #11 tip on how to get into a magazine: “Cupcakes Make People Happy”

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  5. eJaxNedpyhnh says:

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  6. Ava Sussan says:

    I miss Margot still everyday, and think of her loving, giving spirit and great talents. I was never able to connect with her sister Leslie, to hear and understand what and why she choose to leave us.
    I have not been able to have closure with her death. I do recall our last telephone conversation,
    and my last Birthday card, she NEVER forgot a birthday or special occasion. One of the most
    talented ,creative, giving, loving, remarkable people I have ever loved. I first met Margot when I
    worked for the “love of her life” Derick J. Daniels, at that time President/CEO of Playboy, former
    Knight Rider News Executive, Editor of Detroit Free Press. Margot became my dear friend, mentor,
    & “Older” sister I always wanted. I can not begin to express the positive impact Margot had in my
    life. She gave unconditionally. She loved unconditionally. She lived with a zest and love of life.
    Yes, today I look at all the calorie counting in restaurants, & packing that she began with her “Chapman Sisters Calorie Counting” restaurant on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Extended to
    other Chicago Suburban locations. “Warm Fuzzies” the slipper Company she 1st started & have
    be copied world wide — still my favorite slippers ever. Yes, anyone who truly knew Margot knew she
    was a visionary, always ahead of her time. She put cupcakes on the map in Chicago long before
    anyone EVER thought of beyond children’s parties instead of cake. I learned of her death via
    computer on her Birthday In November of 2010 when I had been unable to connect with her. Leslie
    Chapman, Buddy Gains, Roddy or Tracy Gains, or. anyone who really knew Margot please contact
    me to remember Margot, because I still do not have closure around her death. She was/is such a
    large part of my heart, and I dearly miss her. The world truly is a better place because Margot was
    here. Lauren I do recall meeting you with Margot at I think a Japanese restaurant in Chicago in the
    80’s. Please do contact me ava_67 @ hotmail.com. Thank you. Ava Sussan

    • I agree with every thing you said about Margot, and I miss her too, every day. It’s hard to have closure; I still find it hard to believe. I do know that during the last few years of her life as her financial pressures got worse and worse, her beloved father died, her psychiatrist (who she really liked and trusted) either retired or passed away, and she just couldn’t face selling her lovely place and starting over. I offered to let her live with us, but she wouldn’t impose. If I had had any inkling that she was so despondent as to plan her suicide I would have jumped on a plane and dragged her back to my home.

      • Ava Sussan says:

        Hi Karen,
        I just now saw your reply to my writing about Margot. She called me the evening before her beloved father’s service, asking me to attend with her. I could not. Something I deeply regret to this day. I had met her mother and father several times, being from the Southern
        Chicago Suburbs, at recall times at their house. I would love an opportunity to speak
        with you personally via telephone about Margot’s last days. I wondered about her psychiatrist and his awareness of what she was experiencing. I myself am a Licensed
        Clinical Social Worker, and have a great deal of guilt that I did not take action when I
        sensed something sounded uncharacteristically NOT MARGOT when she had called me
        the last 2 times. I was so unaware of what she had been going through. I know she would
        forgive me & tell me not to blame myself. I know clinically when someone REALLY wants to take their life, there is little anyone can do. But I still have conversations in my head of
        what I could have said to impede her thinking. As you must know Margot was full of
        LIFE, ENERGY, & taught me to use CREATIVE THINKING TO OVERCOME CHALLENGES OR OBSTACLES…..GOD I SOOOO WISH I COULD HAVE HELPED HER
        to re-frame what was overwhelming. Yes her beautiful, peaceful, lake view condo that she created was a safe haven, &” home that healed”, for her returns from world travels that she loved.
        Thank you so VERY MUCH for responding to my thoughts and feelings about missing
        Margot. Please do call me if/when you are able…I’m listed Ava Sussan, Homewood, Illinois 60430. Again my deepest thanks to you for remembering & loving our Margot.

  7. I miss her she gave me Swagger when I needed it the most. I was a kid..she took care of me when my mother was not able too.I only felt privileged at that time. It was GREAT! Margot was a blast, fun cozy knowledgeable fashionable. I felt like a princess. She is the most beautiful, stylish..she had it all But she gave so much that she made people. I want to believe she knew I felt this way.She will forever be a part of the best of me in my heArt.

  8. Ava Sussan says:

    I think I recall her telling me about you and your mother, and when she took care of you. I recall
    her saying you were “very special”, and she cared that you would be ok and wanted to help anyway she could.

    • I don’t think this was me… Margot never took care of me and only met my mother at my wedding.

    • Ava Sussan says:

      Hi Karen,
      Just saw this so sorry didn’t reply sooner, I know it wasn’t your mother, but
      can’t recall the names of the mother and daughter that she cared for, know now
      it was Alexandrea.
      Thank you for creating this website, and giving us who loved her and opportunity
      to express our feelings, memories, and love…to/for Margot.

  9. Todd Saalman says:

    Karen. My heart is broken reading about Margot. We were such dear friends many years ago in Chicago. I loved her dearly, such a brilliant and vivid woman, so energetic, cultured and independent. I was describing her to a friend just tonight of her entrepreneurship, our summer adventures with Gregory and Ethnee, lunch at Marshall Fields, hours at the Art Institute, her elegant grace serving me tea at the Park Forest house. She was so happy with buddy the next year on Oak Street; I envied her happiness. I moved to California and yet no matter how much time had passed, it was like no time had passed. And now to learn this tonight after so much time has passed. Where was I when I might have helped? A part of me is missing that I’d always counted as one of my best parts.

    • I know exactly what you mean. I always wonder what more I could have done. I had offered to have her move in with my husband and me, but she wouldn’t even consider it. I’m sure she didn’t want to impose on her friends; and she just couldn’t handle the thought of starting over again. She said that she just didn’t have the energy. So sad. I still miss her every day.

    • Ava Sussan says:

      I feel the same way,,,,”how could I not have known”, as a Clinical Social Worker how did I recognize and then ignore, when she uncharacteristically was speaking about finding people and the world
      as “very negative”, I recall I thought immediately, as ‘Not sounding like Margot ??!”, as with other
      things she said, and I DID NOT PAY ATTENTION TO, SAID BY Margot, who I loved dearly, and
      heard, but let myself let go of and maybe I could have helped. Karen, the Margot I knew and
      know – would never have been ok in ANY moving in with ANYONE, let alone a friend, or married couple. She once told me she wouldn’t have given up her apartment, even if she would have moved in with Derrick who she referred to as the “Love Of Her Life”. Yes, she would likely have said
      ‘Buddy was the young love of her life”, but she loved Lori & Buddy together as a married
      as a married couple. Tracy and Roddy Gaines could answer best.
      As Todd eloquently, and exactingly wrote describing Margot “…such a brilliant and vivid woman, so energetic, cultured and independent.”
      I believe we all did the best we could at the time, and for reasons we may not now understand,
      we didn’t / or couldn’t prevent her suicide. All that I believe is important is to forgive ourselves
      continue to move forward knowing Margot knows how dearly we all love her, and that in the
      ‘Here & Now’ is enough. Todd, since you just received the news, you may still be “shock”,
      1st stage of the Grieving Process. If you haven’t been through it before, you may want to
      google it and know some of the feelings you may have in the next few days. It has helped me
      to be able to communicate and share our Margot memories with Karen, and someone else,
      (Sorry, whose name I can’t recall), and now you too Todd. Everyone please take good care of
      themselves, and at times we DO Need to be very GENTLE WITH OURSELVES.Ava Sussan

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