When Zandra Azariah Cunningham was 10 years old, she asked her father to buy her some make-up. Unfortunately for Zandra, Dad said no because he felt that she was using it up too fast. Instead he told her to try making her own, and she did just that. With a $500 dollar business loan from her parents, Zandra soon turned a hobby into a growing business.
Now, at 14 years old, Zandra is the CEO of her own company, Zandra Beauty, a company that offers all-natural beauty, skincare, and body care products.
Zandra tells Black Enterprise that her parents and her school have supported her every step of the way in her company, allowing her to expand her business and even help other girls.
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.
I continued to develop my business by connecting with the Indie Business Network, Lucky Break Consulting and I graduated from the University at Buffalo’s Center of Entrepreneurial Leadership Program.
When I first started my business it was called “Azariah’s Innocence” (my middle name is Azariah) but through training I learned more about the science of the bath and body world. I realized I needed to change my direction a bit. I started out making the lip balm, body butters, bath fizzies, cake soaps, cupcake soaps, candy soap and soap for everyone. My mom and I would attend vending events all over. It was hard work. I would stay up at night to make the products after school and go to sell my products on the weekend.
After graduating from LBU and UB we decided to rebrand the business, to a more focused brand with a mission. While working with my designer Elea Lutz, I realized I wanted Zandra to stand for something great. The rebrand was not easy because I wanted it to be perfect. I had to choose the right colors, beautiful and inspiring quotes so that when a girl read it, she would feel more powerful.
I am very grateful for the cool mentors I’ve had along the way. I give 10% of profits to a girl’s education charity called Girls Education Collaborative. I am passionate about making a difference for girls across the globe. I help them build a community to better educate the girls. I can’t wait to go to Tanzania to teach a soap making or sugar scrub class.
Zandra Beauty also offers and ambassador program to help budding young entrepreneurs, as well as DIY classes and parties.
Learn more at www.ZandraBeauty.com.