And the Fall 2016 ChooseWhat Scholarship Winner Is…

joy-vick-headshotSelf-employment teaches people lessons of independence and accountability that can’t be learned any other way. Combine these lessons with a solid education, and you’ve got everything you need to start a successful small business. At ChooseWhat, we believe in both small businesses and the power of education. That is why we created a scholarship specifically designed for students with self-employment experience and aspirations. We are thrilled to announce the winner of the first biannual ChooseWhat Scholarship for Students with Self-Employment Experience: Ms. Joy Elizabeth Vick.

Taught to sew by her mother and grandmother, Vick started her first business at a young age, hemming, transforming, and creating clothing for classmates and neighbors. In high school, Vick carved out her own niche by making hard-to-find stuffed animals and selling them at local crafts fairs. As an adult, she worked hard to start her own design firm, but life had other plans for her. She had to let go of that dream and start over in California.

Once there, things didn’t fall into place right away. Vick was laid off from her job and decided to return to school to pursue a long-held dream—to study Fashion Design.

I have wanted to study design since high school, but circumstances never worked out for that to happen. An unpleasant event (the layoff) turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Last spring, I took a screen printing course as an elective and fell in love.

Once Vick discovered screen printing, she was off and running, In fact, she has already begun designing, producing, and selling t-shirts, market totes, device wallets, and various other products with her original SmartMouthed designs that “promote healthy food—with an attitude.”

Vick’s long history of self-employment and her experience as an entrepreneur have convinced her that the study of business administration and a basic understanding of how capitalism works are crucial for those who want to start a small business. She even recommends mandatory business education in high school. According to Vick, “Building something from nothing is very empowering and seeing your vision come to life and the thrill of people loving—and paying their hard-earned money for—something you created is an amazing feeling.”

Congratulations to ChooseWhat scholarship winner Joy Elizabeth Vick!   

Ms. Vick currently attends Los Angeles Trade and Technical College where she majors in Fashion Design and Visual Communications. She plans to graduate in 2018.

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