By Taki S. Raton
Our YG&B series has during this past year featured several young talented entrepreneurs who have done exceedingly well in their respective start-up enterprises.
We profiled Jaylen Bledso last December 21, 2013 who then at the age of 15 built a $3.5 million tech business in Hazelwood, Missouri.
The one-bow-at-a-time fashion line of 12-year-old Moziah Bridges was shared in YG&B on January 4, 2014 and 14-year-old designer, author, and philanthropist Maya Penn graced our series banner headline this past August 9, 2014.
And not to be outdone is this week’s 11-year-old Midwest business prodigy who market’s herself as being “Detroit’s Youngest Entrepreneur.”
She is young, gifted and Black. Asia Newson is cofounder and CEO of Super Business Girl (SBG), a company that she created and operates with the aid of her parents, dad Michael Newson and mom, Latasha Thomas.
Her primary product are designer candles which she creates and sells out of her home.
She has further expanded her product line to include “Super Business Girl” t-shirts, mugs, tote bags, cuff bracelets, necklace heart charms, canvas lunch bags, buttons, USA stickers, and cap signatures.
“Detroit is a wonderful place. There’s been a lot of negative things on the news and stuff like that. We even went through bankruptcy,” she says in Jay Schadler’s ABC News posting on December 10, 2014.
“But Detroit is still a great place to start a business. We have wonderful people and they will encourage you,” she adds.
Excitement resounds in her words as Asia reveals that she does pretty well with her candle sales in the once booming Motor City.
Asia’s dad is both her silent partner and mentor who stays close nearby as she makes her sales pitch to potential buyers on sidewalks, in the market place, in city barbershops and in the suburbs.
According to The Griot on February 3, 2014, she tells her customers that she wants to help Detroit rebound by teaching other young people how to be successful in business.
Her mission as noted on the SBG website is, “To recognize the true potential in every child and to develop intrinsic security that makes optimum use of their individual talents.”
Additional to marketing her product line, Asia under her “Super Business Girl” brand sponsors workshops in area schools towards the objective of encouraging an entrepreneurial visions to those students who have never thought of starting their own business or to those who might have their own unique business idea.
Select students have also become her trainees.
Asia says in a Kabbage blog that some of her trainees are, “older than she is” but that “she still teaches them how to make their own money for things that they need.”
The workshop’s purpose noting her website is, “To empower students with the tools to create their own opportunities, manage their finances, and have funds for college while having fun!”
Super Business Girl has even created a curriculum to use in the workshops. Entitled “How to be a YOUTHpreneur,” these classes are described as hand-on sessions designed to teach fourth through twelfth graders about entrepreneurship, merchandising, candle making, and product innovation.
She has appeared on the Ellen Degeneres Show, America’s Got Talent, Disney World’s Cinderella Stage, NPR, and on 20/20 ABC News.
Asia was also featured in photographer’s Bruce Weber’s Detroit exhibit and was a keynote speaker for TEDxDetroit.
Business journalist, cites The Griot, have hailed her as “one of the most successful young people in America.”
“She is just a big ball of inspiration when she walks the hallways, and you know, she inspires other children,” says Maurice Morton, CEO of Asia’s school, the Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences in the 20/20 interview.
Says Schadler in his ABC News writing, Asia’s perfect sales pitch “could sell dust to the desert.”
Asia actually began working on her business when she was 5-years-old according to published accounts. And over these six years of growth, she now list as her “Team” her mother, Thomas, President of Super Business Girl. In this role, she oversees the day to day company operations, the creative aspects of marketing and the brand’s innovation and design concepts. She also has a degree in business management with over 15 years in manufacturing.
Her father is Director of Sales for the business. Newson is responsible for managing sales, overseeing promotional staff and managing marketing activities.
He creates strategies for product development and distribution and cultivates the brand and image of SBG. He has, as noted on the SBG website, “inspired Asia to take responsibility for her future.”
Dave Anderson is co-founder of Bamboo Detroit, a business incubator located in the heart of downtown Detroit. Bamboo provides office space, workshops and business resources to help nurture new and existing small businesses grow and thrive in the city.
Anderson brought a candle from Asia on the sidewalk in 2013 and raved about her sales technique to his partners.
“I was so impressed with her pitch, I just wanted to give her all the money in my pocket,” as quoted in Schadler.
Bamboo Detroit has begun advising Asia and her family and has provided free workspace and Internet support to develop her business and to train other young people in the art of sales.
Asia also has on her team Malesa Owens Mcghee, owner of Eye 2 Eye, Inc. Described as a full service public relations, events, production, booking and management agency, Eye 2 Eye has been instrumental in promoting professionals, women, and youth such as Asia and her SBG initiative.
Rhonesha Byng says in her September 9, 2013 Huffington Post writing that the then 10-year-old, “has achieved whatever she has put her mind to do.”
Running into Quicken Loans founder and NBA owner Dan Gilbert when she was selling candles on the sidewalk, Asia recalls Gilbert asking her to give him her sales pitch. He was so impressed that he invited Asia to his office for a follow-up discussion.
“We had a meeting. We talked about a lot of stuff. And he gave me some advice, and I saw what he did,” she says in Schadler.
Her future vision is to have a store in Gilbert’s building and a store in Detroit’s Compuware Building.
“I want to have Super Business Girl stores, and you know, just different places, like the Walt Disney store.
They can buy my Super Business Girl merchandise, mugs, shoelaces, backpacks, notebooks, candles, everything,” said Asia in ABC News.
She also in her ambition notes Byng seeks to become Mayor of Detroit and ultimately the President of the United States. But for now, her website reveals short range plans just to finish middle and high school so that she can attend Michigan State University.
As noted in this series, being an entrepreneur is a wonderful way to make a living, create opportunities, give back to your community and make a difference in the world.
And along with Maya, Moziah, and Jaylen, Asia too has joined in as an inspiring example that entrepreneurship can happen at any age.
For more information on Asia’s product line, please visit her website at: www.superbusinessgirl.com.