Though downtown Riverside is picturesque enough, one business in town is hoping its fresh location and elegantly curated window displays will communicate the unique opportunities for women inside.
Partners for the last three years at the former V'da Studio on East Avenue, Lupita Castaneda, Vee Rubio and Skai Vingilys have moved their respective creative forces in clothing design, makeup artistry and photography to a new location, Kreative Studio, located at 7 Longcommon Road, not too far from their former location.
"I think this space is more visible," said Castaneda, the business' clothing designer. "A lot of people come in and say, 'What is this?' and I tell them that actually, we were across the street. But, no one really saw us."
Castaneda, a self-taught designer who concentrates on maternity wear and clothing for girls and women, first met Rubio, a makeup artist, five years ago through local work collaborations.
Then, Castaneda met maternity and children photographer Vingilys and, soon after, the three decided to combine their individual niche market talents and work out of one location.
"Me as a designer, Vee as a makeup artist, and Skai as a photographer -- I think it works," Castaneda said.
After researching potential business locations in the city and suburbs, the women settled on Riverside for its accessibility and aesthetics.
"We love the community, and it's so homey here," Rubio said. "Just the town itself is very suitable to what we do. So, we can do photos in-studio or just go across the street and look for spots, and we always find something beautiful."
Despite wanting a more visible location, Castaneda said leaving Riverside was something the group didn't want to do.
"When [clients] come, we have the views of a city, the forests and, of course, space and parking is perfect," she said.
For most of their work, Castaneda will design or stylize costumes for clients, Rubio will apply makeup and Vingilys will work her magic with photography, shooting both in-studio and out in the community.
Recently, the team began work with clients on a cultural maternity series, photographing women from various backgrounds with outfits and makeup styles native to their ethnicities to showcase both historical pride and excitement for growing families.
Countries highlighted have included Mexico, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Pakistan, India, Poland and Lithuania.
"These are real women that are pregnant and we've come across and gotten that lucky," Rubio said. "It's just a very creative project."
But, aside from maternity and children, Kreative Studio also wants people to know that they also do design, makeup and photography for events like birthdays, dances and other special events.
One local, non-maternity-related project the team recently worked on revolved around a group of Riverside women who have been friends for more than 20 years and wanted to do a friendship photo shoot, now that one of the women is moving.
And, while the three women work under one roof, their jobs consist not just of shared assignments, but independent projects as well.
"We share the space, but each of us has our individual businesses," Castaneda said.
Additionally, though clients come from across the Chicago area, Castaneda said the bigger, new location has led to more business inquiries from Riversiders, something the group is thrilled about.
"When we moved so that we were more visible, our neighbors were very excited that we have window displays and [also] work outside," she said. "Some don't understand what [our business] is, but I'm here every day, so if I see someone walking by and looking, I tell them to come in and I'll explain what it is."
Castaneda added that the women plan to continue with their goal of being more visible in the community by participating in and sponsoring various village events as well as once again holding an open house during Riverside's annual Holiday Stroll.
Overall, Castaneda said Kreative Studio's goal is simple.
"We are three women in business and we love to empower women and collaborate with women to make them beautiful," she said.
Kreative Studio's services are available by appointment.
For more information, visit their Facebook page, facebook.com/KreativeStudio7, and Instagram, @kreativestudio7.