How This Senior Scored The Ultimate Summer Job

Tonya Hjort for Smart Girls Group & C+I

When Tonya Hjort got involved with Chloe + Isabel’s GEM program, she was already an entrepreneur. Although she has her own photography business, this Winona State University senior found that becoming a GEM Merchandiser has helped her learn not only to build a client base but to also believe in herself.

Tonya Hjort for Smart Girls Group Chloe + Isabel

What attracted you to the GEM program?

I was a part of Chloe + Isabel for about a month before I heard about the GEM program. Being a senior in college, I thought the GEM program would be perfect to help me with this new business endeavor. I love Chloe + Isabel as a whole, and I feel like GEM gives me more opportunities to succeed. Since the program is a smaller branch of the company, I find it easier to get help from my mentors and the other GEM girls who are dealing with the same struggles I’m facing in college.

Related: Ready to jump start your career with the GEM program?  Apply for the GEM program by April 30th for their May class!  Spots are filling up fast so apply today!


Where is your ideal travel location?

The next country I want to go to is either Brazil or South Africa. I want to immerse myself into other cultures; I want to learn by doing. Wherever the location, it needs to be warm. Even though I’m from Minnesota, I do not handle cold well.

How has your life affected your fashion?

I have always been fascinated with everything about the industry. I would say my style varies from day to day. I have very girly pieces and some pieces with studs and skulls. It really just depends on what is going on. I find my inspiration mostly on Pinterest. And word of advice – You never, never have too many heels! 😉

How does your experience with GEM help you prepare for other facets of life?

GEM has taught me how to operate my own business, build a client base, and find confidence in myself. I am currently going to school for photography and want to shoot weddings full time. Building a client base and operating my own business are two things that are essential for what I want to do in life.

Tonya Hjort for Smart Girls Group & C+I

How do you stay motivated?

My mom is my number one fan, and she is the reason I stay motivated. I know I can turn to her when things aren’t going well or I’m not thinking clearly. She will let me vent to her and then give me the perfect advice on what to do. She is such a hard working woman and an all-around amazing person.

What do you think it means to be a Smart Girl?

Being a Smart Girl means being true to yourself. Being a Smart Girl means facing challenges with a smile. And most importantly, being a Smart Girl means encouraging other women!


Want to secure the ultimate summer job like Tonya? Apply to Chloe + Isabel’s GEM program by April 30th to join the May class! For more information and to apply, click here. To shop Tonya’s boutique, click here. This post is sponsored by Chloe + Isabel. All opinions are 100% our own.


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Anna Wan

Anna Wan attends high school on the East Coast. She is active in science, and her projects have earned recognition regionally and statewide. She enjoys playing the piano and the cello and is a classical music enthusiast. Along with these activities, she takes great pleasure in volunteering at museums and libraries. :-)