Kids Health

Meet 3 badass kid CEOs — & the moms behind them

With all the start-ups and college-dropout CEOs out there (plus projections that 10 years from now, 50 percent of Americans will be freelancers), some forward-thinking moms have added entrepreneur training to the list of skills they’re teaching their kids.

SheKnows spoke to three of those moms about how they helped kindle the entrepreneurial spark in their young daughters — all of whom are leading today’s generation of kid biz whizzes.

Shaiann, age 13, created Shai’s World at age 10

Like many young kids, 10-year-old Shaiann Hogan loved playing with her mom’s makeup. And one afternoon in 2014, she recorded her first makeup tutorial — and ignited a business in the process. Shaiann says that although her mother Toushonta Hogan was “highly upset” initially, she eventually noticed her daughter’s “passion for beauty.” 

“Her video was really good,” Toushonta recounts. “I thought, ‘Maybe I need to show her how to create her own business based on what she loves — beauty.’” 

So Toushonta, a veteran business owner, taught Shaiann how to make nail polish — and the rest is history. Several months later, Shaiann launched her own line of five-free nail polish (polishes free from five top carcinogens: formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde resin and camphor), Shai’s World.

Three years later, Shaiann’s business is still thriving — and she’s still choosing all the polish colors, packaging and logos as well as dealing with customers and any issues that arise. During summer breaks, she attends business workshops and conferences (aimed at adults as well as kids) and teaches other kids how to become CEOs.

Image: Tamara Zantell

Zandra, age 17, founded Zandra Beauty at age 9

Zandra Zantell also converted her self-proclaimed obsession with makeup into a six-figure business — with the help of her mom, Tamara. When she was 9 years old, Zandra’s parents wouldn’t allow her to wear makeup — or buy her lip balm. “I used to ask for it every single day,” Zandra says. “One day… my father suggested that I learn how to make my own, so I did just that.”

Although it would’ve been easy for Tamara to shrug off Zandra’s interest as trivial, she did the opposite: “I listened and leaned into what my daughter said. I watched her movement,” Tamara explains. And she enrolled Zandra in business courses at their local community college.

Today, Zandra Beauty sells more than 40 products.

Tamara maintains that “failure, bumps and bruises are all a part of [the] success plan” and explains that she’s introduced Zandra to successful entrepreneurs so she can learn about their “failures, struggles and success stories.” Tamara, who was as new to entrepreneurship as Zandra was, even sought mentors for herself — after she “wasted a ton of time trying to figure things out on [her] own,” she explains.

Dissatisfied with the lack of support for young entrepreneurs and their parents, eventually Tamara created Raising a Mogul, a community that hopes to provide parents with the “time, energy and resources” needed to help their children become empowered entrepreneurs.

Image: Jenn Bare

Bali, age 9, created the Octopurse at age 5

One afternoon in 2013 after a trip to the grocery store, 5-year-old Bali Bare noticed that her dad’s hands were turning purple from carrying so many bags. “Dad, you need eight hands, like an octopus,” she said. When they got home, Bali drew the Octopurse, an eight-hook handle for carrying grocery bags. And with her parents’ help, Bali patented it three years later.

This year, Bali is launching a second business — Namaste Republic, a clothing line for kids and adults.

Bali’s mom, Jenn Bare, supports Bali in her business endeavors and works to ensure she’s comfortable handling her own finances. “When Bali gets a check, even though we could deposit it online, we actually go to the bank,” Jenn explains. “I let her fill out the deposit form, sign the check and make the deposit. I think it’s important to talk about money and get her comfortable with it, so I helped her create a simple budget and sales goals for her business.”

Jenn also makes sure Bali is the one running her own business. “When Bali comes to me for advice,” she explains, “I put effort into asking her questions to help guide her instead of just telling her what to do. She makes the decision that she feels is right for the business.”

As these kids build their business empires, they (and their moms) hope that their stories of success and failure inspire other families to courageously embark on their own entrepreneurial journeys.

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