ASIA NEWSON started her business selling candles she bought wholesale from a distributor when she was five years old.
She’s now 13, producing her own candles, and projecting that her company will earn $100,000 in revenue in 2017. (For 2016, she projected $70,000 – and made $69,128.30.)
What makes Asia’s story so special is that she has trained 40 of her peers—young kids in Detroit—to be entrepreneurs.
Known as “Detroit’s youngest entrepreneur,” Asia is the co-founder and CEO of Super Business Girl, a company she runs with her parents.
Asia often approaches complete strangers on the street to sell them homemade candles so she can buy clothes and food for needy children, as well as her own school and business supplies.
“Detroit is a wonderful place. It’s been a lot, a lot of negative things on the news and stuff like that. We even went through bankruptcy,” Asia said. “But Detroit is still a great place to start a business. We have wonderful people. They’ll encourage you. I mean, I sell my candles here, like I make pretty good money.”
Asia’s dad Michael Newson is both her silent partner and not-so-silent mentor and stays nearby as she makes her sales pitch to people on sidewalks, in markets, in city barbershops and in the suburbs.
“My dad was an entrepreneur. He sold candles when he was young, and he taught me a lot about it,” she told Forbes. “I was able to sell candles with him, and it was really fun. I wanted to own my own company so I can have more fun and have way more freedom.”
Just like any other entrepreneur, Newson has faced challenges that required her to creatively rethink her pricing, her business model and her sales strategy. When conditions shifted, she shifted with them, turning challenge into opportunity. Her first challenge: growing up.