Chekema Littlejohn is a self described fighter. Her childhood was anything but easy and she lived through enormous amounts of trauma and hardship that she had to endure day in and day out. Thankfully, she found people in her life that believed in her and stuck with them. They helped turn things around for her.
“My name is Chekema Littlejohn and I am an overcomer. I am a middle child of six. I grew up in poverty, foster care, and in a trauma inflicted community in Chicago. Growing up, I was told that I would never be anything. I was raised by my grandmother who instilled in me that as long as you ignore the negativity and push for your dreams, you can become anything. I found an escape from all the bad that was going on around me and I would collect old magazines and newspapers from adults in my elementary school and community,” Chekema recounts.
From her time reading these old magazines, Chekema discovered her true passion: the fashion industry. Though she couldn’t afford the clothes that she saw in those magazines, it inspired her to start something bigger and pursue her dream as her grandmother had said all of those years. Though the loss of her grandma at age 15 almost uprooted her desires, Chekema kept on pushing for what she wanted.
“In 2021, I opened an online boutique named Choyse. The name come from so many aspects of my life but the main reason is because I made a Choyse to not let my environment influence me to the point where I could not make good decisions. I also have the name because I made the Choyse to be a role model to so many that come from the same place as I. With that being said, Choyse is not just a dress or jacket, Choyse is an opportunity waiting for the right individuals. I sell limited items that can inspire those who don’t feel confident. I also sell my items at a very reasonable price because I remember the days as a child and adult not being able to purchase nice things because of the cost,” Chekema remarks.
Even with the business open and running though, Chekema’s journey as an entrepreneur has not been without challenges. Her biggest one has been staying motivated when there are constantly distractions around her. Whether it is her family or the pandemic or any number of other things, maintaining her course was an issue throughout her climb to success.
“The biggest obstacle in my career has been staying motivated when there have been so many opportunities to quit. Motivation has been the key to staying consistent. Another challenge was that my family caught Covid. We were afraid and didn’t know the outcome or the lasting effects it would have on our life but we continue to push everyday,” Chekema explains.
However, what has helped her continue on and pursue her passion, in addition to her family motivation, is that Chekema sees what she does as more than just a sale. In each customer, she sees herself and imagines what it was like to love clothing but not be able to afford it and the confidence you can achieve by wearing great clothes.
“I differentiated myself from competition because I am not looking to just make a sale. I am looking to support my dream and support individuals that cannot afford to purchase clothing at a more expensive cost. Choyse clothing supports individuality and helps build confidence,” Chekema states.
In the new year, Chekema will be starting a children’s line that will always be set at a reasonable price for her customers. To find out more about Chekema, follow her on Instagram here and check out her website here.