When Zandra Cunningham started her natural beauty care business, it wasn’t a lot of kids out there like her.
“For a while it was just me, I felt like I was the only teenpreneur,” she says, “and it was the adults that were the entrepreneurs.”
But that was six years ago. Today, Zandra is one of the leading teenpreneurs with her company, Zandra Beauty. The personal care product line includes lip balms, artisan soaps and hair and beauty products, all made from non-toxic, natural ingredients. Although the products are catered to teen girls (Fun, Fresh Natural Bath + Body for the Educated + Empowered Girl on the Move!), she says anyone can use them.
“We’re moving into a more natural phase,” says Cummingham. “People want to know what’s in their stuff now and I feel like that’s really good.”
Cunningham rolled out her first products at the age of nine. Every day, before her father went off to work, she would ask him to buy her a lip balm. Until one day, dad got tired and switched the game up a bit on his ambitious daughter.
“One day he told me ‘no I’m not going to keep buying you lip balm; why don’t you just make your own?”
With that push, Cummingham started doing research on what it takes to make her favorite balms. A few months later, she produced her first products and started passing them out at her grandfather’s church. Soon Zandra began to see how her lip-balm making could become more a hobby.
“When I realized the financial opportunity, it triggered the business aspect of it.”
While most teens are spending their sleeping in, hitting the beaches and hanging out, 16-year-old Cunningham is spending her summer traveling, attending networking events such as seminars and speaking engagements. Recently, she was a guest speaker at the first ever Teenpreneur Conference in Jacksonville.
Cunningham is also busy developing more products in her very own studio, in which she calls her “little factory.” During the school year, Cunningham tells RoyalTee Girls she sets aside two days a week to work in the production studio, whether its answering emails and doing interviews or gathering her mixing bowls and salt mounds to make the newest edition to Zandra Beauty care line. Another major project Cunningham is working on right now, is bringing her products to retail giants, Walmart and Target.
And when she’s not working, Cunningham is an excelling student at one of the most demanding and prestigious high schools in Buffalo, where she participates in track and other extracurricular activities. Talk about time management?
The young philanthropist has proven to be savvy and a lot wiser than her tender years. The accomplishments she’s achieved with her business is an inspiration to both teenpreneurs and adult entrepreneurs. And as far as we can see, it’s only the beginning. Within the next three to five years, Cunningham hopes to keep growing her brand; and as long as there are girls out there to inspire, she says she won’t stop. Her advice to aspiring business owners is simple.
“If you have an idea or passion, it doesn’t matter if you’re five years old or 5 years old, it’s never too early or too late to start.”
And what makes Zandra a Royal Girl?
“What makes a Royal Girl and what keeps me going is the need for that awesome girl and inspiration. We need more of that. There’s not a lot of love out there for girls right now and I want to empower girls.”
Cunningham will be entering her junior year of high school this fall but she plans on being home-schooled to give more time to her growing empire. Seems like a worthy trade for an even worthier cause!
You can learn more about Zandra at http://www.zandrabeauty.com/
A working journalist, entrepreneur and founder of RoyalTee Enterprises. Born and raised in Tampa, Fla. The vision of RoyalTee was inspired in 2015 by Alexia’s ambitions to return to her passion for creative writing and publishing and create a platform to showcase the excellence of minority women across the country through professional, personal and social ventures.