In our Homework series, we explore the lives of ordinary kids with not-so-ordinary hobbies. Between school work and swimming lessons, these youngsters are also running successful businesses—(sometimes) with a bit of grown-up help.
When Kamaria Warren was looking for role models, she found them in her mom and her godmother. But elsewhere, strong black women and girls weren’t readily represented, especially in TV shows and toys aimed at kids like her. When she was just 7, Kamaria decided to do something about it. With the help of her mom, she launched Brown Girls Stationery, a brand of notebooks and accessories illustrated with faces that reflect her own—and many other kids from underrepresented communities.
Kamaria, now 10, leads a team of about 15 people—working from her family’s living room—as they prepare to ship her brand’s biggest order yet. Between jazz, acro, and musical theater, the busy 5th-grader is learning to be a boss, too. In this assignment, Kamaria shares her big dreams and her advice for other kids chasing their own.
Name: Kamaria Warren
My business: Brown Girls Stationery
Where I live: McDonough, Georgia, USA
My typical week:
My schedule is really busy. On Monday, I have acro. Tuesday, I have Beta Club. Wednesday, I have musical theater. Thursday, I have Beta Club, and then ballet, tap, and jazz. Friday, I have entrepreneurship club. Saturday is the day where I do all the fulfillment and package the orders and send them off. Sunday is when I plan my business with my mom and my friends.
What I do for fun:
Other than dance, I really like to play with my friends a lot. We always call each other and play games. When I’m with my friends, sometimes we watch movies. The other day, me and my friend watched Annie. Passport to Paris and Parent Trap are also really good movies.
My favorite subject in school is:
Social studies. My mom is an English teacher, so she thought my favorite subject was English. But it’s actually social studies, because I got a good grade. I like learning about the different things that happened before I was even born.
When I was younger:
I started a lemonade stand when I was only 3 and a half. We like to have yard sales a lot at my grandma’s house, so I wanted to do a lemonade stand for my first business. I actually made more money than what my mom and my grandma expected.
A little bit about my business:
Brown Girls Stationery is a business that me and my mom started to represent all brown girls. On my 7th birthday, I was looking for party supplies with brown girls on it, but we couldn’t find any products. We searched all over the stores. My mom created one of the products that we sell, and the business was my birthday gift. We offer book bags, notebooks, notepads, umbrellas, lunch boxes, T-shirts, and party supplies.
What I do is important because:
There’s not really a lot of products for my age for brown girls. Doc McStuffins is too young for my age. If you get a Barbie, they don’t always have your skin complexion. The African American Barbies, they’re always Barbie’s sidekicks—they never have a main part in the movies. So me and my mom started this business so everybody could be equal. All the skin colors might be different, but we’re equal.
When people started buying my products, I was:
Very excited because I was only 7, and I saw people buying a whole bunch of products that we made. And it was really cool.
The best part of running my business is:
The fact that I have employees. I like that we all get to work together. And every time we have big orders, we actually get to see everybody’s personality, and I get to know my employees more. And then I also get to meet new friends doing this. When we got onto Kids Shark Tank, I actually met some other kidpreneurs.
The hardest part is:
Trying to tell my employees their job. I get stressed and overwhelmed sometimes when a whole bunch of people are asking me these questions. There are about 15 people in this one house in the living room. Our whole house now is like a factory just because we’re doing this big order. You have to get a lot of food. We get stuff like pizza to eat. I got so overwhelmed that I accidentally dropped my mom’s lasagna on the floor.
How mom helps with my business:
My mom helps me price, make the product, and come up with the ideas. She helps me do the live videos, she gets me ready for interviews, and then she also helps me do the blogs. I write stuff, but sometimes I get confused on what to write, so she helps me write the blogs.
What my employees think of having a 10-year-old boss:
At first, the younger ones were like, “Oh, that’s not bad. I can make money from a 10-year-old.” Then the adults were like, “Wow, this is really weird. I’m working for somebody who is younger than me.” But who cares who you’re working with? Who cares what age I am? Aren’t you getting money?
In five years:
We’ll be in a store, like a school-supply store. I can see it being back-to-school season, and the lines are really long, wrapped around the whole parking lot. Brown Girls Stationery’s goal is to open up a store. If you think about it, we can’t have a whole entire store in our house. Our house is not that big.
Something I learned recently was:
Even though people have different personalities, you still have to figure out a way to work with them. I’ve also learned that not everybody’s going to want to do a certain job. I have to learn what people are really good at and what people aren’t good at.
Who inspires me:
My godmother, Tasia, has always been my inspiration because she had her own business when she was blogging. Ever since she passed away, all these blessings have been coming. She was always encouraging me to do my business. I want to keep doing my business even though she died. If I stop my business, I know she wouldn’t be happy about that.
I’m really proud of:
This order we’re working on for local schools because it’s really large. I never thought that they would actually ask for 3,000 notebooks.
When I grow up:
I’m still going to do this business, but I also want to be a pediatrician.
My advice for other kids is:
Go for your wildest dream. Do whatever you want to, even if it’s the craziest thing. Just listen to what your heart says, and make sure you’re having fun. It doesn’t matter what your business is, as long as you’re happy doing it.Illustrations by João Fazenda