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When my daughter Ava was 6, she started creating her own fashion designs for a fictional company she named SmartieSkirts. Wanting to encourage this entrepreneurial instinct, I helped her set up a web site to market her ideas to friends and family. Even though her products and sales were only imaginary, the lessons from SmartieSkirts must’ve stuck with her when she became a teenager and founded a real profit-generating fashion business.

After admiring a beautiful yet overpriced 70s-inspired denim jacket in the Gigi Hadid x Tommy Hillfiger collection, Ava came up with the idea of painting her friend’s jacket. She thought she could produce something just as special, but she didn’t anticipate the power of one Instagram post. After sharing a photo of the jacket she had painted, custom requests poured in within minutes. Soon her artwork appeared throughout her high school’s hallways, proudly worn by her peers as they walked to class. Denim By Ava was born and has been expanding ever since. 

Ad for Ava by local boutique 10-19 mark fasciano

Through the online marketplace Etsy, Ava has connected with customers across the country and used her painting skills to fulfill their unique requests and bring smiles to their faces. Additionally, she has collaborated with various retailers, including Lord and Taylor and Bobbi Brown. Through Denim by Ava, she not only developed a deeper passion for painting; she acquired important business skills in marketing, customer relations, and finance. She has also benefited our community by donating part of her profits to a charity that provides low-income children with summer camp. Needless to say, I’m so delighted to share with her both a passion for art and a love of running businesses.