In our recent interview, written by the lovely Tara, we spoke to the amazing teenage entrepreneur, Naomi. We spoke to her about her passion for increasing gender equality and who she looks to for motivation and reassurance.
Question one: It’s a delight to have you, Naomi! As a teenage entrepreneur and public speaker who has started two businesses, could you introduce the focus of your work?
The future is not what it used to be. Work has changed, and no matter what career young girls ultimately pursue, they're going to have to constantly adapt and innovate in order to succeed- just like entrepreneurs do. So why not educate them that way? Entrepreneurs are people who create new businesses, products, services or find ways to improve what currently exists. Entrepreneurs have courage to try something different and solve problems in new ways. They look in their community for ways to make positive and lasting changes. And it starts with YOU. I began my entrepreneurial journey when I was 11 years old. As a young entrepreneur, I noticed there was a need for an eco-friendly and portable spice kit. So, I created a product that could fill this need. Spice It Up, is a company that sells travel spice kits that are portable and affordable. The kit is reusable, waterproof and lightweight- perfect for all scouting adventures. At age 13, I launched my second business: Bright Futures Tutoring & Academic Coaching. I noticed that many sixth graders were struggling with the increased homework and study skills demands of middle school, and I realized I could help. I created a business to support families and students by equipping them with study skills, organizational strategies and academic assistance. As my business rapidly expanded, I realized I needed help. I now hire and manage a team of employees who have serve over 15 students.
Question two: Why are you passionate about gender equality and entrepreneurship? When did you first notice the issues tied to these subjects?
I am passionate about entrepreneurship and equipping my generation with the skills they need to be successful. So I decided to turn my passion into a reality. The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a girl can earn gave me the opportunity to do just that. My Girl Scout Gold Award partnered with five organizations to provide free entrepreneurial education. With extensive mentorship, a hands-on curriculum, and real-life experiences, each student launched their own business and had an opportunity to receive start-up funding.
Beyond entrepreneurship, I am a gender equality activist because it is so important for women to continually inspire and empower each other and have the same opportunities as men have. More specifically, in entrepreneurship there is a lack of women. At the age of 11, I was in a business pitch competition where I was surrounded by all boys. It was the first time in my life where I looked around and there were very few people who looked like me. Thus, beginning my entrepreneurial activism journey to bridge that gap.
Question three: Who are your personal icons? Who do you look to for inspiration, motivation and reassurance?
As every successful woman likely says- their mother is their hugest icon and role model. I am no different. Whenever I need someone to bounce ideas off of, a word of encouragement, or anything else- my mother is my go to person. Beyond my mother, people I look up to are Michelle Obama, AOC, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg because they have accomplished so much yet remain humble and true to their character.
Question four: Speak to us about your experience in the Girl Scouts. You’d mentioned that you are a gold award scout and intern for the USA franchise. Would you recommend others to join?
I would absolutely anyone to join because one of the biggest impacts in my life has been Girl Scouts. As most successful women in business would say, selling Girl Scout cookies was their first business- I am no different. I am a proud Gold Award Girl Scout, but beyond that I have had the honor of being a two year national intern for Girl Scouts of the USA. Through which I’ve developed a national TV show, run focus groups on mental health, wrote research reports, and provided relevant content for scouts during COVID. Just recently, our team of interns presented our mental health research to the National Board because we recognize the importance of mental health.
Question five: What are the best pieces of advice that you have received about public speaking? Have you always enjoyed it?
The best piece of advice I’ve received about public speaking is not a typical one. We’ve all heard to dress to impress, speak slowly, and to annunciate. But, have never heard to bring water when public speaking. If you forget what you need to say, run out of breath, don’t know the answer to a question or anything else- just take a sip of water. It will seem natural and effortless. I always have enjoyed public speaking even at a young age. My journey started out in elementary school when I ran for president and has continued every since. I have had the honor of speaking at events sponsored by the World Foundation, Google, Girl Scouts of USA, and Rotary International.
Question six: How can readers support the missions of your businesses?
Continue to look for ways to serve your community. That is how you will stay true to the mission of my businesses. For Spice It Up, our company’s mission is to continue to find ways to be environmentally friendly all at an affordable rate. For Bright Futures, we want to continue to foster relationships and make positive changes in our community, at affordable rates as well.
If my story has taught you anything is that if you can dream it- you can DO IT. As women we are taught to doubt ourselves and compare ourselves to others. But in reality- we are FAR more similar to one another than we are different. We all strive to make our world a better place. And It starts with uplifting each other. It starts with showing up. Thus, it starts with becoming an entrepreneur.
Question seven: What are your goals for the future of your businesses?
For both businesses, I want to continue to give back in unexpected ways. Both of my businesses strive to be as environmentally conscious, consumer friendly, and affordable as possible. Beyond that, I want to continue to donate to local fundraisers and volunteer my time through my businesses.
Question eight: Is there anything else you’d like to share? If not, I’d love to thank you for engaging with our organization!
If you remember nothing from my story, remember this- entrepreneurs look for a need in their community. They ask themselves how they can make a difference. And I encourage you to do the same things. Find your passion. Show up. Because if there’s anything 2020 has taught us- is that we should support and UPLIFT each other ALWAYS. Stay safe, remain positive, and know you’re so valued.