Arissa Johnson was raised in the heart of The Bronx, NY. I learned entrepreneurship from my parents and at six years old I was designing, creating and selling earrings. I loved the excitement I felt by earning money from my hobby. My parents and I would vend at different flea markets and events throughout New York City. As a pre-teen I modeled in several fashion and hair shows. This helped fuel my passion, increase my confidence and made me feel beautiful inside and out.
I dreamed of one day owning my own clothing line and being able to style people and give them that same feeling. I moved to Syracuse, NY in 2002, and graduated Nottingham High School in 2003. While attending College in 2006 I became pregnant with my first child and left school in my final semester due to complications. In 2011, I earned my Associates Degree in Humanities/ Liberal Arts from Onondaga Community College. I took many business courses at Southside Innovation Center and completed Entrepreneurship boot-camp at The Syracuse University Whitman School of Management. Although I no longer had the time to make jewelry, the passion and drive to start my small business was great. I wanted to give more to my daughter and be able to leave a legacy.
QueenRi’s Accessories was started in 2013 with a Hundred dollars and a dream. I purchased earrings and began hosting jewelry parties and pop up shops around the city to get my name out here. I began to get excited when I noticed women were loving my products and telling their friends about me. Because of my love for fashion I decided to expand and converted my business into QueenRi’s Boutique in 2016.
I chose African fashion first because I am a Black, West Indian and Puerto Rican. I have always been proud of my heritage and want to showcase that. I want to celebrate us and our culture and help others like me feel proud. I want my customers to turn heads when they walk into a room. As a stylist I handpick one of a kind pieces and deliver them to my customers creating a total experience and this is what makes my Boutique unique. Customers select pieces from the comfort of their home before making their purchase. It also allows for me to get to know them for the future; many of them are return shoppers and word of mouth referrals. I am grateful for the amazing people I have met so far on this journey. In addition, I have attended several vending events like The Syracuse Black Expo where I am a proud board member and vendor coordinator, and The Watertown Juneteenth to name a few. In 2019 I was the backstage assistant for New York Summer Fashion Explosion fashion show in New York City. I assisted with runway operations and model wardrobe changes including Celebrity actress Karina Seabrook of Mob Wives. I co-coordinated fashion shows for the NYS Winter Fair in Syracuse, NY in 2019 and 2020 and was able to showcase my Boutique.
QueenRi’s Boutique is a one stop fashion shop that sells African Clothing, accessories, African Black soap, African raw shea butter, sage smudge sticks, all-natural toothpastes, soaps, incense, oils and more. Back in November I started a GoFundMe Campaign to Help QueenRi’s Boutique Go Mobile. I want to be able to purchase a bus and take my fashion business on the road. I would be able to attend different events throughout the city, as well as travel to different states while meeting new people along the way. It is truly a desire of mine to help uplift my people through expression of beauty and fashion. I love the feeling when I see my customers strutting and feeling fabulous. I have built so many great friendships and partnerships while doing what I love and to me that’s the biggest reward. I am now a mother of two daughters, and I make sure to be a great example of how far love, compassion, empathy, drive, hard work, purpose and dedication can get you in life. I teach them to go hard for what they want in this world.
Where I shine the brightest is in my desire to educate, motivate and empower. I will always make sure to reach my hands back to help comfort, guide, nurture and support with love and light.
To contact Arissa “QueenRi” Johnson