Don’t think that Gessica Chevry is exaggerating when she tells you that she grew up surrounded by fashion. Her grandmother Anne-Marie Michel was a top seamstress and she—along with Chevry’s great-aunts—were downright fashionable types. Granny Michel bequeathed her sense of style to her daughter—Chevry’s mom. And on the paternal side, the fashion scale was pretty much in balance, with Chevry’s paternal aunt always killing the fashion game, and giving her lots of indirect pointers about the role of jewelry in making an outfit spark.
Chevry nurtured all her fashion-related memories to create her own online boutique Shop Risqué. A Shop Risqué shopper can expect to find flashy spiked necklaces to attention-snatching tops. For the fashionista who wants to go all out, Chevry has flashy wrist chains, and oh, thigh chains, and shiny knuckle rings. What fashionistas like about shopping on Shop Risqué is that they can do more than virtual window shopping. They can actually log on, and get an entire outfit for less than $75, and still come up with an envy-inspiring get-up for work, for the clubbing scene, or for a romantic night out.
But okay, glamniacs, let’s talk to Ms. Chevry and her ecommerce creation Shop Risqué.
Glamniac: Who taught you how to dress?
It’s kind of a combination of influences. I have to give credit to my mom for teaching me about colors! She’s the master of basic, classic tones and would spice up her wardrobe with only a few pops of color. My grandma really taught me the freedom of expression through clothing. I would find pictures in her fashion magazines or dressmaker, sewing catalogs she had for clients and modify my picks to exactly what I wanted. In a matter of days my dress, pajamas or anything i could think of creating would come to life. That was just amazing to me! My sister Carlisha was the person to tie it all together. We’re about 3 years apart, so growing up, we were always together and almost always dressed the same. Being the oldest, she hated it of course, but all of my happiness lied in dressing alike and having identical toys! Fast forward a few years, and the roles were reversed; she would dress me up in her outfits and take me to parties with her. Though I didn’t show it so i could look cool, I was super excited to be amongst the teenagers. [Laughter] I don’t think I’ll ever have a better shopping partner!
Glamniac: How did the idea for Shop Risqué take shape?
I’ve known I wanted to be a business owner for as long as I can remember. I might
have not known in what field exactly but I always knew I would be. My father, Gregory Chevry has owned multiple businesses and is always in the mix somehow when opportunities come along. He’s very driven and the hardest working man I know. In that sense, I’ve always wanted to be just like him.
The Risqué idea came along and was always in the back of my head since I started college in 2007. The thought of it got refined with a project I did for my entrepreneurship class at the Fashion Institute in LA. I really got to work on the small details for an online store so I guess that kind of showed me that despite all of the unexpected things that go into it, it was possible to start up sooner than later.
I chose the name Risqué because I wanted to have something that was not only short and simple, but meaningful to me. The store motto is “Be Risqué”—which many might associate with sexual ways, but my use for it is more of an individualism kind of thing. It’s very important to me to promote self-love and blazing your own trail despite what society has to say about it. That’s just me, what I stand for and what I’d hope to see in other young people today!
Glamniac: What sort of pieces can shoppers find there?
You can find various trendy and classic pieces of clothing and accessories for women right now.
I will be expanding very soon with a Risqué Beauty section that will include everything beauty from nail polish and nail wraps to nipple pasties to false eyelashes, as well as a “Risqué Thrift” section which will include a curated hand picked vintage and thrift selection of clothing and accessories. I am also planning for Risqué customs which will be all one of a kind pieces and Risqué Men!
Glamniac: How grand and exciting. What are some of the things that go into running Shop Risqué, from minute to minute and day to day?
There is so much that goes into running the store. The main thing I do on a daily basis is marketing. I make sure to keep up with all of the social media outlets because my customers have to be in the know of what’s new, what’s hot and what’s coming soon.
I’m also constantly emailing for promotion purposes. I do a lot of scouting and note taking for new lines I am aiming to bring into the store, and also have to do things like inventory of stock, new product photos and of course answer emails from clients in a timely manner. It’s a lot to take on, especially when I have a full time job. This is what I wanted and signed up for though so I’m always enthusiastic when getting things done.
Glamniac: As a fashionista and beauty entrepreneur, what would you recommend that frugal dressers buy for their wardrobe?
I think having staple pieces in your closet is very necessary for everyone, especially frugal dressers. Having the essentials keeps you from having to constantly buy new things to keep up with the ever changing fast-fashion world. For women, the essential wardrobe items I would recommend are a perfectly fitted blazer and denim jacket, a little black dress, a black and a white tee or tank, a pair of nude and a pair of black heels and flats as well as a pair of dark wash jeans. For men, I would recommend a pair of fresh sneakers and a pair of clean dress shoes, a pair of dark jeans and slacks, a white or black tee and a fitted button up shirt along with a dark suit. You really can’t go wrong if these few things are in your closet. At least one combination of these basics will fit the situation you are going into whether it is a party, job interview/meeting or a casual date
Glamniac: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned thus far?
The biggest lesson I’ve learnt in my 23 years on Earth is to never give up. I know it sounds cliché but life is really a relentless thing and we have no choice but to keep pushing through any adversities all while making the best of our time here.
Glamniac: And keeping that in mind, what would you say to someone who’s wanting to follow you in this very same career path?
I would tell them to always treat themselves and others with respect and repeat the biggest lesson I’ve learned to them, “never give up” no matter the circumstance. It’s so easy to give up on yourself because of failure, setbacks you cannot control or people’s thoughts and comments but the universe has its way of complying with your demands and will serve you exactly what it is you ask for through your thoughts and actions. The power of the mind is incredible, so take advantage of it and use it to your benefit.
It is also very important to know what you’re doing and to have a goal. I’ve been working and interning in various branches of the fashion industry since I was about 15 years old—and I’ve noticed time and time again—that knowing your craft and taking the time and initiative to learn the ropes takes you a long way! Volunteer, intern, work events for free, do your own research—Google is my best friend—listen close to all comments and suggestions. Basically do any and everything you can to gain knowledge because it is power. After all, you have to be serious if you want to taken seriously. Be professional, be yourself and be risqué! Follow your gut, take chances and shine bright in your own way because that’s the one thing no one can do better than you.
My last and most important piece of advice is to do what you love and makes you happy. I’ve come across a ridiculous amount of people who are in the fashion industry for all the wrong reasons—and of course some of them are successful—but I don’t think that will ever be worth more than the true happiness and satisfaction found in figuring out and doing what you love.
Shop Risqué owner Gessica Chevry knows the importance of “looking the part”. Here she is showing off one of the outfits she’s put together.
Glamniac: Fear goes hand in hand with entrepreneurship. How do you deal with fears and uncertainties?
I have a great support system so a lot of credit for dealing with my fears and doubts go to my amazing family, close friends and boyfriend who constantly motivate me to do better and keep pushing. I know that I have those who love me around but i constantly remind myself that i’m the soldier in the battle and focus on staying positive and keeping nothing but positive energy around me. I know that fear is a mechanism that us humans were taught and its technically not even real so I try to find the positive in every situation and problem solve rather than complain or be afraid. That is probably the thing that helps the most. I definitely had to work towards that though, and still am every day.
Glamniac: What should we expect from you and your fashion empire next?
I am looking forward to doing sooo much with the GSC Empire. Not just in fashion, but in many other aspects. My focus right now is growing the Risqué online boutique, but I am also working on a company that will offer business to business and personal consulting in various areas of fashion. I’m very excited to introduce some products made in Haiti too, a place in which I am definitely planning on doing a lot of business. From housing projects to manufacturing to educational programs, the possibilities are endless and I’m willing to take it all on. I feel like it’s a part of my duty to go back and put the things I’ve learned to use back home. I could’ve easily still been there with limited opportunity and no access to so many things that I have now like a lot of my fellow Haitians are.