CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charity Washington has been captivating the fashion industry for 20 years.
She even has a business to prove it.
“Captivate actually means to captivate you, to get your attention, and to keep it," Washington said.
Washington is the only Black woman who owns a storefront at Charlotte's SouthPark Mall. Her store, Captivate, is next to big brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Michael Kors. Her store sells shoes and clothes meant to captivate women of all shapes and sizes.
Before moving to Charlotte, she styled athletes and entertainers while owning another women's clothing store called Elle Mari in Atlanta, Georgia.
“I went to college here in Charlotte, and I used to run this mall with my little cute outfits with my friends, so to actually have a store in here was a dream," Washington said.
Washington said it's representation other Black women and girls need to see.
“So a young girl that’s in high school or in college can say, 'Hey, I can be in a high-end mall, and I can actually have a storefront," Washington said.
In 2019, opening Captivate in Carolina Place was initially how Washington made her mark in the Queen City.
However, last May, she had to close down the Pineville location due to the pandemic.
“It was hard carrying two stores being closed down," Washington said.
But survival was key for her business.
“It’s about moving smarter, not harder, so I just felt like I had to make the decision to downsize to one location, and that God was going to help me figure out the rest," Washington said.
For her, it was faith over fear.
It’s advice she encourages others to stand by as their figuring out how to bounce back or start a business of their own.
“I prioritized beforehand," Washington said. "I saw it coming, so we were able to keep this location and keep it going, and now things are opening back up, so the girls will be coming to get dressed."