When you think Sweet 16, it’s almost natural to think brand new car, big red bow, or turn up! But Dedra Phillips thought to gift her daughter Nia with a beauty business instead. There was no big red bow involved, but, Phillips invested and formed Ni’Abri Beauty—a lip gloss collection and other beauty essentials now available online.
Entrepreneurship and ownership aren’t gifts that many 16-year-olds get for their birthday but those are the two principles that Phillips wanted her daughter to learn and understand.
“I thought to myself, I can always buy her a car. A business, however, could teach her many valuable lessons such as; how to lead, build a vision, time-management, team building, marketing, budgeting, investing, managing finances, customer service, and so much more. To be 16-years-old and learn these types of lessons is invaluable. It will serve her for the rest of her life. That is why I chose a business,” says Phillips.
The now-teenpreneur, Nia, couldn’t agree more. “My initial reaction when mom presented me with the business at my party was “Whaaat?!” I really thought I was going to get a car for my birthday. But, a business is so much better. It gives me something greater for my future than just a car. A business is something that will be with me forever that I get to build from the ground up. I can use my business to buy myself a car!”
Phillips instilled the importance of financial literacy into her children in efforts to build generational wealth. As a result, Nia gained an interest in entrepreneurship and the beauty industry.
“I want Nia to understand that she has options. If entrepreneurship is the road she wants to take. I will be her No. 1 supporter and the first to invest in her vision and future. We don’t see this enough in the black community. Many of us are taught to go to college and get a good job. That’s not a bad thing. Even if you have a job, multiple streams of income are necessary in today’s economy,” says Phillips.
Through the Ni’Abri brand, Nia hopes to help young women build their self-confidence and shine from within. “Every product is named with a ‘character trait.’ I want to inspire people to embrace positive things about themselves. The world is full of negative messages. When someone purchases a lip gloss from my company, it comes with a card that describes the character trait of the product purchased, along with a special inspirational message from me.” And she and her mother hope to inspire girls everywhere to boss up.
“Never be afraid to chase your dreams. As corny as it sounds, the business world is extremely male-dominated, which could be a mental setback for females (especially women of color) who wish to become entrepreneurs. My advice is to work to get past that mental setback and push forward to become the entrepreneur, businesswoman, and fantastic boss you want to be,” says Nia.
Phillips adds, “I want Nia to learn the value of investing in your dreams. I also want to see her inspire others to become young entrepreneurs.”
Every year, Black Enterprise recognizes exceptional teenagers who are running successful businesses. In June, we’ll be announcing the 2019 Teenpreneur of the Year at the inaugural FWD event in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Come celebrate the next generation of innovators, founders, and creatives with us. Grab your tickets today.