When 14-year-old Zandra Azariah Cunningham couldn’t convince her dad to buy her more make-up—she literally took matters into her own hands. “Since I wasn’t allowed to wear lipstick, I fell in love with lip balm. My dad used to buy it for me weekly. He would make jokes, asking if I was eating my makeup because I went through it so quickly. Then one day I asked him to bring me some makeup home and he said, ” No make your own.” So I spent the next few months researching how to do just that,” says Cunningham.
Four years later, she’s running Zandra Beauty, a line of “Natural Bath & Body” products for the “Educated + Empowered Girl on the Move,” managing school and speaking engagements, and juggling a host of other projects to teach kids entrepreneurship.
On the heels of Cunningham’s recent event, speaking at Tedx Youth, Black Enterprise caught up with the fearless young trailblazer to learn more about her journey.
"Tell us a bit about your journey as a Teenpreneur."
"I have always been in love with wearing make up and painting my nails for as long as I can remember. Since I wasn’t allowed to wear lipstick, I fell in love with lip balm. Once my mom realized I was serious she ordered more supplies and started helping me make it. Soon my friends and church family were asking if they could buy it.
Once I learned how to make the perfect lip balm, my parent enrolled me
into a local kids business program. That program taught me the basics of setting up and starting a real business. We would sell at the farmers markets. My first real sale was a trade for strawberries. I left the park that day with $82 and I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur."