Growing up in South Carolina, Criseida Rico had an amazing role model: her mother. “She’s always been the person who uplifted not only me but other women in the community,” she says. As a child, Criseida remembers joining her mother to help other local Latin American families who didn’t have necessary resources or someone to translate for them. She knew empowering others was important, but she didn’t know that someday it would be her career.
Realizing the dream…
When it was time for Criseida to head to college — the first in her family to do so — she picked marketing as her major. Coupling her degree with her love of fashion, she decided that after graduation from the Art Institute in Charlotte, NC, she would pack up and move to Manhattan.
But, she hesitated to make that leap. Criseida stayed in Charlotte for two years, working for a high-end fashion label and learning the ropes of retail. After two years she was tired of retail and wanted to pursue her true dream of working in fashion design. “New York was something that I wanted to achieve and I decided, OK, if I’m going to make it to New York, obviously I need a job lined up,” she says. “I started applying like crazy.”
Her intensive search paid off: She scored a position at an ecommerce startup and really took to the industry. “I started to learn about the power of ecommerce,” she says. She realized retail has a technological side she knew nothing about — but loved. “I just wanted more of it. I started reading about entrepreneurs that were starting publishing platforms or selling items online and how they achieved success.”
After almost three years in New York, Criseida was still searching for a feeling of creative fulfillment — and she wasn’t saving any money on her costly Manhattan rent. “I felt like I was just contributing to a very small percentage of something great, and I decided to go back home,” she says. With no job, no car, and a depleted savings account, she took a chance to reclaim her sense of purpose and started over with a clean slate in Charlotte.