Kidpreneurs never cease to amaze and make us wonder what we were doing with our lives at such a young age. Eleven-year-old Lexi P. is no exception. This budding young entrepreneur discovered a void in the market for coloring books that celebrate the beauty of her and her friends. Rather than merely complain, she did something about it by publishing a coloring book titled Curly Girls Love Your Curls that encourages high self-esteem and positive self-images for black girls. Not one to rest on her laurels, Lexi enlisted her mom, Monica, to help her form her own publishing company—called Books for Cool Kids—and has plans to publish other young authors under her imprint.
What inspired you to write your book?
My younger cousin who told me she hated her hair. I wanted to help young girls avoid the stress I went through [with my own hair], and learn to love their beauty just as God made them. When I was younger, I didn’t like my hair and I got teased about how big my hair was. I did a lot of damage to my hair trying to fit in. After my mom begged me to be myself and go back to my natural hair, I found that I actually loved it. I notice that my friends struggled with the same thing. My friends were always flat ironing their hair, which can be damaging, so I wanted to help girls like me love their natural hair by starting a movement.
How did you come up with the concept for your book?
My own personal struggles helped me come up with the idea. I looked around and didn’t see many books that touched on learning to love your natural curls. Especially from a child’s experience. Since I personally had this challenge, I felt very strongly about creating the book.
Why did you opt to make it a coloring book as opposed to a book with text?
I told my mom I wanted the book to be a coloring book so girls can color the pictures in their own image or as they imagine the pictures should be colored. I also like to color and I wanted to be different by having my book be a coloring book so I could stand out and reach people of all ages.
How do you balance your business with school, activities, and other responsibilities?
I plan my week every Sunday and check off my tasks daily. My mom gave me the idea to plan ahead, as I have watched her do this. I have a board in my room and I write what I have coming up that week. I also make sure I set aside time to study and have fun with my family and friends. Having balance is very critical. Also I have a great mom and dad who help me, too.
How has your family influenced your business savvy?
My mom and brother have heavily influenced me. Both are writers and very hard working. I saw how my brother studied hard, worked several jobs and started a business, all while graduating from Howard University with high honors. He talks to me often about hard work and following my dreams. My mom always tells me to focus, and reminds me that planning and networking is the key to building a successful business. The things I have picked up from my mom and brother, I believe will make me very successful.
How do your parent’s help with your business?
My parents are a huge help. My dad helps with my website updates. My mom is my editor and manager. They also help me with getting book signing events and promoting my business.
What’s next for you?
I’m actually working on my next two books. The second book is also about hair and self-esteem; it will be out this fall. The one after that will be released this winter. I’m also currently on a book signing tour and in the process of gearing up to publish other young authors through my company.
What advice do you have for fellow kidpreneurs?
Set goals and write your ideas down. Share them with your parents but also show them that you are serious. In order to get support you have to not only talk about your idea but show them that you are serious and willing to do the work. Also, know that having a business means you may have to miss play dates and birthday parties with your friends; but if you want to be successful, you have to make your business your priority. Do what you have to do now so you can do what you want to do later.
Gwen Jimmere is the first African American woman to hold a patent on a natural haircare product. She is the CEO & founder of Naturalicious and the creator of globally recognized, OooLaLocks Hair Box. A healthy haircare expert, Jimmere is also a frequent keynote speaker and panelist on small business and entrepreneurship topics. Her natural haircare line is sold in Whole Foods, as well as other fine retailers across the U.S. and internationally. She can be found at GwenJimmere.com.