Hayet Rida launched a jewelry studio in Bucktown this year that defied the typical rules of brick-and-mortar retail.
She poured her savings into a store design that evokes an art gallery, opened on weekends and zeroed in on a small-batch, hand-designed, limited-edition collection she designs herself on her iPad.
Then, the layoff notice came. The same month she opened KHOI, she lost her job as a creative strategist with the social media giant Meta.
For a moment, things looked grim.
A regular Instagram user, Rida documented it all, sharing the highs and lows of entrepreneurship to an Instagram following of nearly 130,000.
Then, her prospects improved. She was invited by the Black in Fashion Council to be one of 10 Black designers to exhibit work in a discovery showroom at New York Fashion Week, which starts Sept. 7.
In the span of a year, Rida, 34, has gone from e-commerce designer to boutique owner to featured name at New York Fashion Week.
The decision to open a physical location for her business in Chicago was her biggest leap. She had to hire contractors, secure permits and figure out zoning.
Despite a tight budget, Rida found peace of mind in her strategic planning skills to keep pushing the business forward.
She said she also learned that sometimes money isn’t the sole challenge in opening a business.
“I thought having enough money and resources and planning would be the challenge, but really it’s about having trust in the process,” Rida said. “One day, everything could be going according to plan, and, the next day, a contractor can call and say something happened, and now we’re 10 weeks off schedule. A lot of things that happen when opening a business are unforeseen no matter how