Junior gains customers via fashion blog, website


File photo

Junior Joanna Latorre addresses the Future Business Leaders of America recently.

Having been a fashion blogger in the eighth grade, a clothing store owner sophomore year and a recent attender of New York Fashion Week, junior Joanna LaTorre is pursuing entrepreneurial dreams that transpired from an interest in the fashion world.

“I started subscribing to fashion magazines like ‘Teen Vogue’ and ‘Seventeen,’” LaTorre said. “I bought a sewing machine, a headless mannequin for my room, and fell in love with the world of fashion. My room is now a fashion paradise with posters of old couture magazines.”

LaTorre put her interests into action in the form of a blog while attending middle school. Inspired by her love for fashion and desire to share her opinion, she mainly writes about current style trends and ideas.

“I like to help out my readers by informing them on out-of-date and upcoming trends,” LaTorre said. “I try to tell them where they can buy in-style outfits in case they’ve been looking. I hope my writing inspires my readers to be interested in fashion and keep up with trends.”

During her sophomore year at Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High School, LaTorre decided to take her interests further and open her own store as a personal project for the International Baccalaureate Program. Mainly selling women’s attire and accessories, LaTorre purchases clothing from Chinese manufacturing companies and then makes the accessories herself.

“I try to buy things that I think will be or are currently in style,” LaTorre said. “I buy what the majority of my consumer niche would buy, and the accessories don’t take very long. The last few I made required some tools, and I’d say each necklace took about 10 to 15 minutes to put together.”

The store isn’t  entirely centered around financial gain. A percentage of the money made for each item goes toward an organization called To Write Love on Her Arms, a non-profit organization founded by Jamie Tworkowski that seeks to give hope to people struggling with issues such as addiction, depression and self-harm.

“I believe strongly in self-confidence, and I wanted to give to an organization that shared this belief,” LaTorre said. “I’m very aware of the issue of depression and insecurity in today’s society of teenagers. I always try to maintain a positive attitude, but sometimes that’s not enough to help people so I find the organization inspirational and needed.”

LaTorre credits her ability to build her business to the club she started: Future Business Leaders of America. Fellow FBLA club member Jake Bursk, a junior, said LaTorre’s actions have a beneficial effect on the new club.

“It gives a positive overall vibe to the club because she is motivational and organized,” Bursk said. “It shows other members that even a teenager without any assets can make a positive influence on the community.”

LaTorre’s online store can be found at joannalattore.com

By Elizabeth Marrin