Black-Owned Boutique Fashionista Therapy Opens In the Short North
Rischia Phinisee is excited to be bringing more diversity to the Short North.
The former model and Marion, Ohio native first moved to Columbus to attend The Ohio State University and has lived here since 2005.
Phinisee has models for brands like Rue 21 and Macy’s, not to mention years of working in retail. She thought it was time to step into the industry.
“Getting like that inside scoop from the fashion retail industry made me want to have something of my own,” she said.
Fashionista Therapy launched online in 2018, but it wasn’t until this year that plans for a brick-and-mortar space started to come to fruition.
She got the keys to 16 W Poplar Ave. in January, and began working to get the space the way she wanted. Today, the boutique gives a homey feel, complete with cozy couches and intimate dressing rooms. And it doesn’t hurt that the space has a large skylight.
The boutique held its grand opening Sunday, July 11.
For the merchandise, Phinisee reached out to international brands like Boohoo and Pretty Little Thing to have their clothing in her store, in addition to clothing sourced from the West Coast. Phinisee eventually wants to expand with a warehouse to hold more inventory, as she plans to continue working more with international brands in the future.
She wants to bring out the “inner fashionista” in all types of people with their own sense of style and keeps that in mind when she is selecting items for the shop.
“Like I’m 5’10, so yeah I need to think about tall girls,” she said. “But I also want the curvy girls to feel comfortable in here. I also want all races in here. I don’t want to be just one niche.”
Phinisee knew early on she wanted to be in the Short North because there’s not a lot of Black-owned businesses there. “I think [it] might be three or four at this point now,” she said. (There are at least a dozen with dedicated spaces — Zen Cha Tea Salon, Sole Classics, Two Truths/The Jerk Joint, Chunky Armadillo, Hai Poke, Amongst Peers, Tactical Luxuries, Brow Envy, Haus DaVinci, Lash Nympho, Strand Café and Fashionista Therapy.)
“To be a Black female and to have a store down in the Short North, it was very, very important to me. So I knew I wanted to come here and add some more diversity to the group,” she said. “And that’s something that I even expressed to the Short North Alliance themselves.”
Phinisee said the Short North Alliance has been supportive of her and her business. The organization has featured her in a spotlight, and she will be doing an Instagram takeover soon. And she has been welcomed by neighbors alike.
She can’t stop gushing about finally being open, and what that means for her business and for Columbus.
“I feel confident in myself and in my business and in my community,” she said.
For more information, visit fashionistatherapy.com.
This article has been updated since publishing with the correct number of Black-owned businesses in the Short North.