Syracuse businesswoman defying pandemic odds whereas inspiring younger Black ladies

Posted: Feb 9, 2021 / 10:54 AM ESTUpdated: Feb 9, 2021 / 10:54 AM EST

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — An almost year-long pandemic has been crippling for small businesses, but if you ask the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a study suggests it’s more damaging on women-owned businesses.

One Syracuse woman is defying the odds. She opened a boutique in downtown Syracuse during the pandemic, breaking glass ceilings for race and gender, while finding new ways to ride this rollercoaster.

“It’s been a journey,” said Caeresa Richardson.

While the pandemic put a pause on many businesses, she was busy opening Gypsy Freedom in August.

“It comes from the definition of the two words. Gypsy and freedom. So, a free-spirited woman who lives without hindrance or restraint,” said Richardson.

Taking her own advice, Richardson didn’t let a pandemic hinder her dream. Though it has forced her to be more innovative.

We have to be a little bit more creative about our cash flows and that limits our ability to do some of the growth tactics I planned on doing when I opened.

Caeresa Richardson

Instead, she’s been focusing a lot on engaging and building a community, not so much on selling the products.

Richardson’s biggest challenge has been connecting with clients who aren’t leaving the house and making sure the community knows there’s a new boutique on the block!

The location for the sustainable fashion boutique was very deliberate. The choice was made by a woman breaking barriers beyond the pandemic. Richardson is someone young Black boys and girls could be inspired by.

“Opening in downtown Syracuse for me was very intentional. I wanted little girls like my daughter and other little girls in the inner city to see a little girl that looked like them owning and running a business down here.”

Caeresa Richardson

Richardson is a strong woman and a proud business owner, and she’s setting the tone for the next generation.

I think it’s really important that we continue to do things that are very visible. For many of them (Black youth), they can’t believe what they can achieve unless they see it.

Caeresa Richardson

Her advice? Don’t let anything or anyone stop you from going after your dreams.

“My advice is to do it. We need more of you doing it so that more of you can see that it’s possible,” she said.

Richardson’s shop is open right now. She also offers private shopping and a virtual ‘sip and shop’ the third Thursday every month on Instagram and Facebook.

Some simple ways to support local are to like the business on social media, tell your friends about it, or purchase gift cards.

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