This multi-talented youngster already owns an art business, called The Rep. Her business took home 1st Place in the Biz Kidz 2019 Shark Tank & Marketplace Competition, a program that engages young entrepreneurs in real-world business experiences, events and activities. Her name is Zoe Victoria Lashley, and at just 10-years-old, she has already amassed quite a portfolio, along with a resume full of accomplishments.
As the 1st Place winner in the Shark Tank & Marketplace Competition held in Howard County, Zoe won a laptop, trophy, and several business consulting opportunities along with congratulatory letters from several dignitaries including Gov. Larry Hogan. She also raked in her first art sale during Biz Kidz Market Day.
Zoe’s busy life also includes participating in 901 Arts, a community after-school program that acts as a safe haven and outlet for kids in the Waverly community.
“It all started out in my second-grade art class,” recalled Zoe, who attends Hope Academy. “My interest in art started early. I was in the second grade. I also participate in 4-H at Waverly Elementary School, where I used to attend.”
A part of the University of Maryland Extension program, 4-H is a community of seven million young people across America learning leadership, citizenship and life skills. Youngsters participate in fun, hands-on learning activities supported by the latest research of land-grant universities that are focused on three areas: healthy living, citizenship, and science, engineering and technology. Youth also compete with their projects in contests at the local, state, regional or national levels and also attend conferences and events.
In May, Zoe took home top honors for the 4-H Competition held at Baltimore City College for 10 of her original photographs.
“I won $25 for each of my winning entries for a total of $250,” said Zoe with a proud smile.
She has also had a private buyer to purchase her artwork. During an outing at Fogo De Chao, a Brazilian Steakhouse located on Pratt Street in Baltimore, her artwork caught the eye of a manager who worked there. According to her mother, Latease Lashley, the manager contacted the company’s CEO who flew her and Zoe to Texas to purchase a piece of her Repoussé artwork.
Zoe credits a scholarship she received from 901 Arts with affording her with the opportunity to attend a summer art camp operated by MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) and learning the French technique of Repoussé from which the name of her business – The Rep, originated.
Repoussé or repoussage refers to a metalworking technique in which a malleable metal is shaped by hammering from the reverse side to create a design.
Zoe, who attends New Psalmist Baptist Church, and serves as a junior usher, is also a philanthropist. In the past, she had donated monies from her earnings to 901 Arts to help another deserving inner-city child to attend art camp during the summer.
In June, Zoe won “Best Overall Business Presentation” for the Harford County Children’s Business Fair presented by Liberty
Leadership in Bel Air, Maryland. The Harford County Children’s Business fair is designed to give kids the opportunity to be entrepreneurs by boosting their confidence and teaching valuable lessons.
Zoe also crafts jewelry, customized journals and other products.
She often is asked to speak at programs to encourage other youngsters, and according to Lashley, launched her website www.therepbyzoe.com/ on WEAA FM 99.9’s For The Culture hosted by Farajii Muhammad.
“I am Zoe’s momager,” said Lashley with a laugh. “She keeps me busy. It’s a struggle and not easy, but when our children have a passion, we have to get behind them, support them, and let them know you are their number one cheerleader.”
She added, “Our children are the next generation, and as a parent you want to see them become more successful than yourself.”
Lashley said Zoe also has the support of individuals like retired Coppin State University professor Dr. Geraldine Waters.
“Dr. Waters is an avid supporter of Zoe,” said Lashley. “She invests a lot of time and love into Zoe and we are very grateful for all of her support.”
Zoe said she plans to attend MICA and Morgan State University. For more information about Zoe, visit her website https://www.therepbyzoe.com/