by Holly Wilensky
Queens Ledger
Nov 22, 2010

This past Saturday was the first annual BQE Design Expo, featuring the talents of local designers! BQE Media, Windows of Opportunity (WOO, the outstanding not-for-profit organization for kids and teens) and yours truly hosted the event at Holliswoods Community Church in Queens Village. The purpose was to bring a network of local designers and creative small businesses together to support local creative talent as well as raise money for the WOO “Shortstack” modeling program.

A full range of designers from all over the boroughs came, set up shop and sold their goods and services. The vendor lineup was diverse enough to appeal to a wide range of customers. Everything was offered, from handmade formal children’s dresses to screen printed tees and organic baby clothing. The businesses were completely unique and original, especially the crowd pleaser Drop by Drop, a custom perfumer that allows you to create your own personalized one-of-a-kind perfume that is made and mixed for each customer.

As the shoppers perused the wide variety of merchandise, the vendors and designers created a new network of business contacts and working relationships. These hardworking artisans deserve some credit because not only do they have to come up with their own ideas and hunt for supplies, but they have to put themselves in front of the right audience to build a following and customer base. For most of them, creating a product is one thing, but marketing it is a whole other job. Few of these designers can solely make a living off of their creative businesses. In interviewing some of the vendors, it was interesting to find that most designers use their businesses as a secondary source of income – they turn their passion into a creative outlet while making some extra money.

100 percent of the vendor entry fees were donated to WOO and the Shortstack modeling program. You might remember the Shortstack girls covered in the Queens Ledger this summer during the annual fashion show. These young ladies are back, better and stronger than ever, raising more money for their program in coordination with the BQE Design Expo.

The Shortstack Modeling program is a teen-inspired fashion and modeling agency that was created to provide support, training, education, professional contacts and exposure to young girls aspiring to become models. As the rigid standards for the modeling industry are not designed for most teenage girls, the Shortstack program has found a way to embrace the girls’ beauty and body images through runway modeling and various forms of professional print work. Auditions are held each year with the help of the Shortstack ‘graduates’ from the program. Industry professionals including runway coaches and fashion photographers work with them throughout the year to enhance their skills while developing their own portfolios.

WOO is a teen’s “golden ticket” for support and confidence in helping them reach their dreams and career goals. With the loving support and donations of families of the kids in WOO’s various programs, they develop a sense of worth, self-esteem and confidence. The dedicated parents and volunteers provide positive energy and stand as superior role models.

Adults involved in each program not only encourage the youths to go for their dreams, but give them tools and direction on how to accomplish their goals. The programs at WOO include the Shortstack modeling program, Rock UR Heart Out, WOO Films and so many more.

With Executive Director Hal Eisenberg at the helm, his years of training and expertise working with youth has paved the way for the kids and teens in his community to empower themselves to ‘be what you want to be!’ His strategic program development is now being considered for use in the public school systems in various states.

We are so proud to have worked with WOO and the Shortstack girls at this year’s BQE Design Expo to help them raise money so they can continue to tear up the runway!

To learn more about Windows of Opportunity, how you can volunteer, get your child involved or make a contribution to the future of today’s kids and teens, please visit WOO-HOO!

For more style education, fashion inspiration and W.O.O. information, please visit

Read more: Queens Ledger – WOO ed into your heart for youth