On July 11, longtime model and style expert Rischia Phinisee added “business owner” to her resume with the opening of the latest fashion retail boutique in the Short North Arts District, called Fashionista Therapy. We spoke with Phinisee about her inspiration for the store, the styles it carries, and what it brings to the District.

You have a long history in the Columbus fashion scene as a model (including for HighBall Halloween!); what inspired you to open your own boutique?
Actually, modeling is what really got me interested in becoming a boutique owner. After modeling for over 15 years and having some work experience in retail, I’ve had the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the fashion and retail industry. I modeled for a large e-commerce retail brand for five years, and that’s when I realized I wanted to own or have some mark of the retail business for myself. I started to do research, wrote out my business plan, and here I am now, at the opening of my very own boutique, in one of the most popular areas of the city.

How would you describe the concept of Fashionista Therapy and what it brings to the Short North Arts District fashion retail scene?
It is definitely a different concept; I’ve not seen it in the Short North Arts District until now. Researching the Short North and other retail businesses in the area, I knew this would be a great addition to the District. The whole concept behind Fashionista Therapy is to bring popular brands to the city that are usually only available online, on the west coast, or overseas. The fashions and brands all have a strong background and brand recognition that most fashion-following people would know and have shopped.

What type of styles and fashions can visitors expect to find at Fashionista Therapy?
Visitors will see the latest and most fashion-forward styles from popular UK brands, like BooHoo, Nakd, PrettyLittleThing, and many more inexpensive but cute fashions based on the latest trends. This is the concept of the in-store boutique; online, we offer a similar concept but also have items on the more expensive siden. Over time, visitors will see a rotation of different brands both on the inexpensive side and on the more high-end side in the boutique.

What type of experience do you want visitors to have at Fashionista Therapy?
It’s important to make visitors feel welcome and comfortable. The “therapy” in our company name is there to let people know that we’re here to listen to them and to hear their points on fashion and how fashion makes them feel or not feel. It’s a place for fashion therapy, retail therapy, or if you need to just talk to girls and have a glass of wine in the fashion lounge. It’s therapeutic!

What are you most looking forward to for the future of Fashionista Therapy?
I’m looking forward to seeing the store grow, and to building relationships with the community and the people in it. I am super excited to be a part of the Short North Arts District, and working with my team, and seeing how far we can build.

Fashionista Therapy is located at 16 W. Poplar Ave.