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Twelve years ago I went looking for a job in the world of fashion and couldn't find one -- no one would hire a 14-year old! But I wouldn't give up. Reading a dozen fashion magazines each month and redesigning dresses I saw on Oscars night, I enrolled in summer classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology here in New York. To get to class, I walked through Manhattan's wholesale jewelry district. One day I got up the nerve to purchase a small collection of jewelry reflecting the season's top trends. I chose the best examples of what was 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, getting offered a spot at a Harvard Business School program sponsored by Inc. Magazine. With the encouragement of my mentors, I entered business competitions, won titles, and was awarded a scholarship to college (where there…

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  • Joined October 30, 2009

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About

Twelve years ago I went looking for a job in the world of fashion and couldn't find one -- no one would hire a 14-year old! But I wouldn't give up. Reading a dozen fashion magazines each month and redesigning dresses I saw on Oscars night, I enrolled in summer classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology here in New York. To get to class, I walked through Manhattan's wholesale jewelry district. One day I got up the nerve to purchase a small collection of jewelry reflecting the season's top trends. I chose the best examples of what was 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, getting offered a spot at a Harvard Business School program sponsored by Inc. Magazine. With the encouragement of my mentors, I entered business competitions, won titles, and was awarded a scholarship to college (where there weren't many student business owners!)

On a midwinter break I got it in my head to work on one of the fashion magazines I loved so much. I spent a year and a half as a college intern in the accessories department of teenVOGUE, then followed my boss for another year when he went to work at Marie Claire. I developed my knowledge of the fashion business from the inside and today, at 25, run my own jewelry company called Wink and Flip (winkandflip.com). That's me in the photo at the top of one of our shops at the holidays.

With first hand experience and knowledge of the industry I started looking at broken pieces of jewelry in a new way. I'd throw out the broken part and save the components that were fine. Eventually I had a box of features, jump rings, chains and clasps and I started designing my own pieces. When teenVOGUE editors heard I made headbands for fun, they'd ask 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 changing nearly every piece of jewelry that came into my studio; I made many statement necklaces a little less loud by paring them down. I swapped out pieces from one necklace and used them in another. I found charms at flea markets, on etsy, and in vintage jewelry stores. Once I got started I couldn't stop. I love trends, but also try to personalize them with some Wink and Flip flair.

I sell my designs at shows like the famous BUST Craftacular, the Union Square Holiday Market, and right here in our etsy shop! To bring things full circle, one of our largest customers for handmade designs has been 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 NYC retailers to view their fantastic presentations, and track Pantone for the season's top colors. Wink and Flip pieces are available at the famous Union Square Holiday Market in late November and December and on winkandflip.com. Wink and Flip Handmade is always available right here in our etsy shop.

Follow winkandflip on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter! Enjoy our shop and thanks for stopping by!

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