I recently found myself standing in the center of a large white pop-up tent with hanging chandeliers, self-serve buffet with sliders and pulled pork, fully stocked cash bar, seating for 100, and a few booths about how to start your own business in the state of Wisconsin. Out of the four booths, one of them was specifically for women in the work place. One to four, Iâ€™d say that was the ratio at this national event for entrepreneurship when it came to males vs. females…and thatâ€™s generous. I found myself alone in a sea of young and old male entrepreneurs. I canâ€™t be the only 20-year-old aspiring entrepreneur or am I?
Now being one of the only young ladies at an event can have itsâ€™ benefits, I easily get to cut the line wherever a line exists: bathroom, buffet, bar, check-in, etc. The famous â€œladies firstâ€ still holds precedent. Iâ€™ll take what I can get.
In 2009, my first year of college at Loyola University Chicago, I started my first non-profit online business selling wholesale sunglasses designed by me! The company was called JENZ, humble name I know. At the time Tomâ€™s Shoes was really blowing up. Even though I thought the shoes were ugly, I was attracted to the sales approach; for every pair of Tomâ€™s Shoes purchased a pair was donated to people, mainly children, in Ethiopia who didnâ€™t have shoes. Tomâ€™s Shoes was a good business for a good cause and it inspired me. I thought, I could do that!
For every pair of sunglasses I sold, a percentage of the profit was shared with my dear friend Matt Manningâ€™s organization called World Orphanage Relief Corp (WORC) out of Chicago, IL at Depaul University. Matt is a spectacular human-being, he emulates the Ghandi and Nelson Mandela characters that the world lacks. Matt travels back and forth from Africa building orphanages, teaching children, improving the world we live in, and he really inspired me. As my interests in organizations like Mattâ€™s grew, the more young, ambitious, and truly unique individuals I came across. I realized there are so many young people not very different from me waking up everyday juggling school, friends, family, and still doing the most amazing things with their lives.
I decided I wanted to stem away from retail and move towards something with more writing, creativity, and still satisfy my entrepreneurial needs. I wanted to create a company that had good morals and ethics. Finally, I put two and two together. Why not harness my writing skills and creativity, while still learning about all the amazingly ambitious individuals out there and turn it into a business? Thus the birth of my current endeavor, NOSSA Magazine www.nossa.biz. Nossa Magazine is a magazine dedicated to featuring and promoting the ideas and talents of young, inspiring individuals.
The word Nossa means â€œoursâ€ in Portuguese. I chose nossa because it represents a community between the young generation Nossa Magazine features. We have all these magazines that idolize people that are hardly personable and/or realistic, I wanted to change that. Nossa Magazine is fueled by people that arenâ€™t very different from me or you, the more people that are involved the better it will do. Success isnâ€™t measured by dollar amount but by how many people it will inspire to do something great with their lives.
NOSSA Magazine interview with Jennifer Yih:
What do you hope for in the future?Â
“I really want to inspire people by people. I would like Nossa to be recognized and eventually receive support from people that share our vision. I hope to make it a real tangible magazine someday.”
Member of the Cool Girls Team