Reporting Harry Porterfield
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Two years ago, Zoe Damacela was an honor student at Whitney Young High School while was generating an income as a dress designer.
Things have gotten more interesting for her, CBS 2’s Harry Porterfield reports.
The business plan for her apparel company won second place in national competition and earned her a visit to the White House where she met President Obama.
“I’m just a girl who loves business, who loves fashion,” she says.
After high school, her fortunes began to escalate. Zoe is now 19 and an honor student at Northwestern University in Evanston, studying history, costume design and Italian.
Quite recently, Zoe was featured on the cover of “Seventeen.” The magazine noted the fact that she once lived in a homeless shelter.
“My family went through some really tough times,” Zoe says. “I think that was one of the key reasons I wanted to start the business is because I didn’t like having that feeling that I was helpless.”
She’s never far from her sewing machine. It’s under her desk. Even with classwork, she continues to create designs for her company, Zoe Damacela Apparel.
She’s the CEO. Her clothing is purchased not only in the U.S., but in Italy, France and even Sri Lanka.
“Everybody who works for me at my company is older than me, even the interns are older than me,” she says.
Zoe also travels extensively to keep up with speaking engagements on the subject of being a young entrepreneur.