Shoebox By Ki Boutique will be joining the majority women-owned small businesses in Kenton, according to the Kenton Business Association.
PORTLAND, Oregon — The Kenton neighborhood is known for being a hub for entrepreneurs, and it just welcomed a new storefront over the weekend. Shoebox By Ki Boutique is owned and operated by Keyunna Baker, a Black Portland woman with a love for fashion.
“I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur,” said Baker. “And once I got the business started, I knew that in the long term, this is what I wanted to do.”
Baker had a soft opening on Saturday afternoon, though she told KGW she has had her business since 2018. But it wasn’t until 2023 that she decided it was finally time for her first brick-and-mortar location, off North Denver and Schofield, after years of pop-up events.
“I’m living out my dream,” said Baker. “Like, this was a dream of mine for a long time. So, for me to be able to say I’m actually in it is really good.”
But the road to get here wasn’t easy. Baker said she overcame a lot in 2023 — including health issues, a flood in her garage and a delay in opening her storefront.
“It was very frustrating because I was supposed to be open in August and here I am. What? January? So it’s been a while. But everything happens for a reason.” said Baker. “It was tough. Like I felt discouraged but my friends Jenelle and Lauren poured into me.”
Baker told KGW she’s thankful for joining such a supportive small business community in Kenton.
“Kenton is a majority women-owned small business,” said Mauren Bachmann, president of the Kenton Business Association. “But to have a Black women-owned business in our neighborhood is wonderful.”
Bachmann said Portland businesses have had a rough couple of years since the pandemic — so she, of course, encourages businesses to open rather than to close down.
“I’m super emotional about it,’ said Bachmann. “I mean, it’s big! To be in a neighborhood like this, we should have more and more. And to see it happening, it’s awesome. We’re really trying to foster that here in this community.”
Baker thanked her friends for sticking by her side during the difficult times in her life.
“Her presence inspires,” said Jenelle Yarbrough, Baker’s best friend. “Not just young Black girls but young girls who are aspiring to pursue their dreams who may not have the courage to do that. They can see it and find it in her.”
Baker told KGW she hopes to bring a safe and welcoming environment for all customers. You can follow her on social media where she’s happy to respond to questions and help with styling inquiries. She plans to have a grand opening for her storefront sometime in March.