Like many Denver Five Points neighborhood teenagers, Deejay Jackson came to YouthBiz looking for work. She quickly found herself the job she was seeking, but little did the 15-year-old know she would become her own boss, make her own decisions, and earn money on her own as the founder of Emaune Design, makers of custom-made clutches.
Deejay knew very little about entrepreneurship before starting in the YouthBiz’s foundational program, Aspiring Entrepreneurs, but she’s quickly fallen in love with this very innovative look into the business world. “It’s been a great thing because it’s afforded me some great opportunities that I would have never had,” she said. In four short months of the program, Deejay showed herself as a shining star, both as a salesperson and a professional. Over the course of just two weekend marketplaces in December, Deejay sold 15 clutches and earned $285 in revenue. With each clutch taking approximately an hour to manufacture, her hourly wage at that rate calculates to $19 per hour. Try pulling in that much at a fast food restaurant like most teens her age!
For Deejay, the money is certainly a motivating factor in her drive to make Emaune Design successful, but it’s the sense of autonomy that’s the largest driving force. “I’m making my own rules. I’m making my own products and making my own prices. No one can tell me how much money I can or cannot make. It doesn’t occur to most high school students that they can own their business and that they can work for themselves.”
When people think of Deejay, she wants them to think ambition, philanthropy and success. While now she’s happy making designer hand bags, she knows it’s a means to a greater end. Her ultimate goal: earn a Doctorate of Psychology and open her own practice. With her new affinity for entrepreneurship, her definition of success has taken on an even greater meaning: “Success to me is being able to do well enough for myself financially that I can afford to give back, and not just with money, but with my time too.”