In 2010, Paquita Reddish went to Walmart looking for an Easter basket for her daughter. She was about to spend $20 on a basket she knew her daughter wouldn’t like. She decided to take that money, buy her daughters’ favorite candies, hair accessories and toys and create a basket herself. Soon, family members and people at her church started to ask her to create baskets for their children.
After creating baskets as a hobby for four years, in December 2014, she turned it into a full business. Eleven years later, Reddish opened her official store with 16 other vendors at Uptown Janesville Mall.
“We opened the store on September 3rd, 2021,” said Reddish. “We’ve been rocking it for about a month. We’ve got 16 different Black-owned businesses, inside the store. businesses from Beloit, Rockford, Evansville. The Milton Chamber of Commerce has been very supportive of our business and making sure to get our name gets out there. They did our ribbon cutting. So, it’s been awesome.”
Blessed Divine Creations is open now at the Janesville Mall, located at 2500 Milton Ave Unit 119 in Janesville. There are 16 vendors in the store including Beauty by LMH; BHeard Clothing; Blessed Divine Creations LLC; Bling 360; Cuse Clothing; Forever Raww; It’s A Bling Thing; JDesigner Bling; Kai Kouture; K. Rose Designs; Monarch Ambition LLC; Monica’s Body; Rock County Jumpstart; Snacks and Stuff Truck; Suga Baby’s Blingz and Thingz; and The Body Shop.
Reddish says she is happy to be a business owner and working with other Black and Latino-owned businesses, especially in areas in Wisconsin that lack diversity.
“It brings great awareness to their businesses and the mall,” said Reddish. “We just get a nice flow of traffic. People are excited to see a new store. Once we get them in the door and they walk in, we let them know there are 16 different vendors in the store and to take their time to walk through. Our vendors doing everything from clothing to The Body Shop, which is vegan/vegetarian-based body care line and has like fragrance oils and candles. We do custom t-shirt and more personalized clothing for men, women, and children. It’s a one-stop-shop. So, if you’re looking for a gift for somebody, Blessed Divine Creations is the place to go because we have something for everybody.”
Blessed Divine Creations offers unique and creative products. Reddish runs her business with her mom, Paulette Reddish. Together they manage this store and support vendors in selling custom gifts, gift baskets, event décor, event planning and much more.
“I’m excited to see their businesses grow and my business grow, as well,” said Reddish. “The goal is for them to kind of get a feel if they want to be in a commercial setting like that, like a mall, and just kind of test it out. If they’re successful at it, the goal is for them to move out and branch out into their own store. That’s the goal. I want to see everybody here win, period. I want everybody to win.”
Reddish is running businesses with her community. Her best friend, Leshelle Harriel, owner of Beauty By LMH, is one of the vendors at Blessed Divine Creations. Her booth consists of hair bonnets, braiding hair, hair bundles and other hair care products. Harriel is working on opening a hair salon inside the Janesville Mall. Reddish is looking forward to this holiday season and engaging with customers over new products supplied by vendors.
“What am I going to do with 3,400 square feet of space,” said Reddish. “I can keep it to myself, or do I help my other local businesses get on their feet and get their product out there? We’re coming into the holiday season. We have customers coming in the door all the time and they’re like, ‘Oh, I can’t wait to come back here for Christmas.’ I’m like, ‘Yes come back here for Christmas shopping because all of that stuff will be gone and there will be new stuff. Definitely come back.”