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Special to The Clarion-Ledger

EDISON — College can be difficult enough for the average student, but Lea Chen, a rising junior studying marketing, communications, and retail at University of Pennsylvania, manages to run her own company in her spare time -– and is anything but average.

Being a 19-year-old entrepreneur hasn’t been easy, but it has taught Chen lessons she would have never learned in the classroom.

As the sole founder of LoveLea clothing, an eCommerce apparel website, Chen is part of the entire process. Whether it’s designing, creating the physical product, running the website, or making sales, Chen is on top of it. 

Chen’s passion for fashion manifested at an early age, and she attributes her initial interest in it to her mother. “My mom worked in cosmetics,” she said. “I would always look at magazines like Vogue or Elle. I loved the pretty colors when I was younger. I definitely get my passion from my mom.”

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In addition to her interest in fashion, Chen also has a vested interest in start-up companies. “I started LoveLea in January of freshman year over a year ago,” she said. “I had always wanted to start something on my own. I wanted to start something from the ground up.”

Chen felt that winter break would give her enough time to get her business off the ground. She started with five and then ultimately seven designs, including her Adidas Burritos design, which was her top seller.  After realizing how successful her clothes had become, Chen was further encouraged to pursue LoveLea.

A lot of Chen’s designs are influenced by…