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Family mentors help local young entrepreneur break into fashion

You get Daneka Sharpe and Morning Star Couture.

“I’m too young to get a job but I really love working in retail,” she said. “My mom took me to her store in Moncton once and I helped sell things there. I really enjoyed it but I was too young. So I created my own business.”

At age 13, but as articulate and self-assured as a woman in her 520s, Daneka started her company in January and launched her clothing in June.

She is assisted by her mother, Anne Sharpe, a sales rep for a beauty supplies company, who helps with the business, and her grandmother, Beverly Boulter, who brainstorms ideas with Daneka then hand writes every saying.

“I sat down with my grandmother one day and we talked about designs,” she explained. “We bounced ideas off each other and we always thought ‘Do all things with love’ is one we should do. ‘Last clean T-shirt’ came from my uncle because he works in the barn and he’s always losing T-shirts. ‘Bonfire hoodie’ is straight to the point.”

She also carries ‘Aloha Beaches’ and ‘Beach hair, don’t care’.

photo: evening dresses

The company name was inspired by the Slavic meaning of Daneka, and the star logo was a logical choice.

Daneka admitted she kept her plan to start a clothing company a secret from her friends for the first month she was working on it.

“I was kind of embarrassed to be doing this. I was putting my ideas out there, my sayings,” she said. “I’m really okay with it now. It’s fun and I meet so many great people through this. It’s a great learning experience.”

Sipping a pink lemonade in the cafe at Dayle’s Department Store, Daneka sat a few feet from a table displaying her clothing line.

Dayle’s was the first retailer to offer her T-shirts, tanks and hoodies on a permanent basis, but now her clothing is available at seven shops in the Maritimes.

A dollar from every piece of clothing sold goes to the IWK.

“I knew when I started doing this that I wanted to give back to the community,” Daneka explained.

While she’d considered supporting a local organization, she felt that if she was selling on P.E.I., where her parents are from, or in New Brunswick, no one would know the place and there wouldn’t be that extra incentive to purchase a shirt.

“Everyone knows the IWK and everyone knows someone who has been there.”

Heading into Grade 8 at E.B. Chandler Junior High in September, Daneka already is looking ahead to the fall and winter months, already thinking up new items for Morning Star Couture.

“I think for back to school we’re doing a zip-up hoodie. We’re going to do an embroidering of my logo, the star, in the middle,” she said.

Morning Star Couture launches a new design every month. The latest T-shirt, “Chic Happens,” is now available.

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