To celebrate Women’s History Month, Prospect Business Association is shining the spotlight on some of the businesses in our community, owned by black women. This week we chose Jewelry Designer, Clarissa Knighten and her company, Rissa’s Artistic Design (R.A.D).
Before Clarissa’s designing career began in 2007, doctors wanted her to try different work involving her hands, than the corporate job she had been working for 19 years. It was then she started art therapy as a relaxing hobby, where she would spend countless days sketching. Wanting to find other ways to interpret her art, Clarissa began making her own jewelry. Ms. Knighten was so amazed of her creations; she began wearing her hand made jewelry in public. Clarissa told PBA, “when people wanted to purchase my jewelry designs off my neck, I realized I could gain a true income.” Clarissa took the first step into her future by becoming a part-time jeweler and creating Rissa’s Artistic Design.
Selling her handcrafted treasures for ten years, Clarissa went into business for herself full time in 2017, due to her original job cutting her position. She said, “once my primary job was outsourced, it was like God telling me to commit fully to this business venture.” When Covid-19 hit the United States in 2020, it caused a lot of businesses to struggle, including R.A.D. Nearly 90% of Clarissa’s business profits came from vendor shows and client one-on-ones. This period proved to be problematic drastically affecting business operations. Within the month of July, Clarissa made the difficult decision to cancel the remainder of her in-person shows.
Looking to keep R.A.D afloat, she began doing monthly shows from her home studio online, where she began to see revenue slowly increase. Online shows also opened new opportunities for Clarissa. By creating a time and place on the internet for anyone to see her inventory, her clientele list grew outside the boarders of Kansas City, to places like Florida, Portland and Chicago. According to her, “if you want to own your own company, you’ve got to be willing to fight for it, during the high and low moments.” Clarissa knows she is not the only woman in the world that wanted to capitalize on a dream. She asks women who have a business idea, “why are you waiting, you’ll never have a perfect time, just jump in and do it, also get a mentor to help you.”
To see Clarissa’s amazing wares and to know when she will be hosting her next online show, visit www.RissasArtisticDesign.com.