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Ten years ago I went looking for a job in the world of fashion and couldn't find one because no one wanted to hire a 14-year old. But I would not give up. I was reading a dozen fashion magazines each month and redesigning dresses I saw on Oscars night. So I enrolled in summer classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology here in New York where I live. To get to class, I had to walk through Manhattan's wholesale jewelry district. One day I got the up the nerve to enter one of those stores and buy a small collection of jewelry that reflected the season's top trends. I chose the best examples of what I saw in that month's magazines. I sold those pieces and went back to buy more. Before I knew it, I was a 16-year old CEO taking classes at the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. With the encouragement of my mentors, I entered business competitions, won titles, and was awarded a full scholarship to college (they didn't have many students…

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  • Female
  • Joined October 30, 2009

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About

Ten years ago I went looking for a job in the world of fashion and couldn't find one because no one wanted to hire a 14-year old. But I would not give up. I was reading a dozen fashion magazines each month and redesigning dresses I saw on Oscars night. So I enrolled in summer classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology here in New York where I live. To get to class, I had to walk through Manhattan's wholesale jewelry district. One day I got the up the nerve to enter one of those stores and buy a small collection of jewelry that reflected the season's top trends. I chose the best examples of what I saw in that month's magazines. I sold those pieces and went back to buy more. Before I knew it, I was a 16-year old CEO taking classes at the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. With the encouragement of my mentors, I entered business competitions, won titles, and was awarded a full scholarship to college (they didn't have many students who owned their own business)!

It was great to read about trends in top fashion publications, but it would be more fun to work on one of those magazines. I spent a year and a half as a college intern in the accessories department of teenVOGUE magazine and then followed my boss when he went to Marie Claire. I developed my knowledge of fashion businesses and today, at 22, I run my own jewelry company called Wink&Flip (winkandflip.com). That's me in the tiny photo on the left hand side of our shop.

With so many years of experience, I started designing my own pieces. When teenVOGUE editors heard I made headbands, they asked me to put designs together overnight for photo shoots scheduled the next day. A neon yellow headband with a rhinestone leaf? No problem! Next I started chopping up necklaces I didn't like and redesigning them. I found charms at flea markets, on etsy, and in vintage jewelry stores, and once I got started I could not stop. Trends are great, but I try to personalize them with some Wink and Flip flair.

I sell my designs at shows like the famous BUST Craftacular, and right here in our etsy shop! To bring things full circle, one of our largest customers for handmade designs is the Style Shop at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where alums can present their pieces to student buyers. (That's a pic of the Style Shop in our etsy banner!)

I still read more than a dozen fashion magazines every month, visit stores to see what they are presenting, and track Pantone to find the top colors for each season. Wink and Flip pieces are available at the Hester Street Fair from April to October, then at holiday fairs throughout New York City. (Follow us on Twitter to learn about our trunk shows throughout the year.) Wink and Flip handmade is always available here on etsy. The web site for the curated line is winkandflip.com

Follow me on Twitter, check out my Facebook page, and come see me live! Enjoy my handmade shop and thanks for stopping by!

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