By Yadira Sanchez Olson
It’s time for Cherrish Riggins to shine bright like a diamond.
The Mundelein resident celebrated the ribbon-cutting of her new business in downtown Waukegan Saturday.
The doors to CHE Couture Boutique at 23 N. Genesee St. officially opened Wednesday.
“I’m so happy and proud of myself,” Riggins said.
Inside, colors in pink, black and gold welcome women looking to find dresses, sportswear, sexy clubwear, shoes and accessories.
Her clothing vendors hail from places like Miami and California, she said.
In another area of the space is a salon that offers a variety of services and items, such as virgin wigs, virgin hair extensions, eyelash strips and braids.
“I started my business a couple of years ago online, but I really wanted to be in a brick-and-mortar,” Riggins said. “I’ve always loved fashion and I’ve been doing hair since I was little.”
At 11 years old, the now mom of 12-year-old twin boys Mikarion and Mirakios White, was braiding friends’ hair, she said. It got to the point where she started making money from the work.
After graduating from North Chicago Community High School, where she grew up, Riggins attended beauty school to learn the one thing she said she hadn’t yet mastered — coloring techniques.
After graduating beauty school, she worked at a few salons.
She’s paid her dues, she said.
And while the pandemic was a hardship for many people who own their own business, for Riggins, the pandemic was a turning point that allowed her to make the jump from her online business to having the stability of a mainstay store.
“I made so much money selling my clothes online during the shutdown,” Riggins said. “People couldn’t shop at stores and were only shopping online.”
She felt confident that the clientele for the clothes she sold and for the salon-style services she provides would be happy to have a store to go to once the pandemic’s restrictions allowed for businesses to open.
CHE Couture Boutique opened July 28.
Her sons are happy for her, she said. That’s important because as a single mom, she wants to be a good role model.
“They’ve seen me stressed and crying out of frustration sometimes,” Riggins said. “But I didn’t give up.”
Riggins considers the space a great location, as Waukegan is being revitalized, with more and more businesses moving into the downtown area.
She’s had her eye on it for two years but things happen for a reason and Riggins believes this was the right time.
But moving into a building that has been vacant for so long meant she needed to make it her own, and that took time and money.
Eight months later, the new flooring, paint job and new furniture have paved her vision and now that she’s open, the sky's the limit.
Fashion isn’t her only passion.
Riggins is also a budding singer who goes by the name Che Che on stage.
She’s put out and R&B single titled “Bang Bang.”
“I think she’s one to watch because she’s motivated and talented,” said Edward Ervin Jr. of Round Lake Beach.
Ervin is Riggins’s uncle and one of the people who has supported her dreams throughout her life.
“I’m always in her corner,” Ervin said.
His niece has always been under his wing since she was born, he said.
And for this venture into the business world, it’s no different.
“She’s the only girl in the family, so we protect her and guide her where we can and feel we should,” Ervin said.
At the ribbon-cutting celebration for Che Couture Boutique, the turnout got to hear a DJ and toast to the new member of the Waukegan business world.
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