11-Year-Old Designs Big Entrepreneurial Dreams

February 7, 2012  |  

Like many girls her age, 11-year-old Maya Penn loves arts and crafts. But unlike most girls her age, she’s taken her passion to new heights and transformed it into a lucrative and innovate online business.

The home-schooled seventh grader is the CEO and owner of Maya’s Ideas, where her handmade eco-friendly accessories designs are displayed and sold all over the world. Maya set up the business when she was eight-year-old and joined Etsy, the online crafts store in 2007. She spent a year coming up with ideas for the shop.

“I always loved to find fabrics around the house and say well, this might make a good headband or a good hat or something and then I thought one day I thought I could probably make a shop,” The Canton-Georgia native tells Fox 5 Atlanta.

Maya’s online business is doing so well that she was even featured on Forbes’ list of Grade School Entrepreneurs. She tells Forbes that her top-seller is her black lace headbands. But Maya also designs bags, hats, tank tops and hair accessories using ribbons, butterfly appliques and jewels, all featured on her website.

In addition to designing jewelry, the creative pre-teen also regularly blogs about her experiences and is learning Javascript so that she can design her own website. She also loves animation, and wants to be a digital animator when she grows up, in addition to her current online passion.

“I’ve learned a lot of life lessons, like perseverance, from this, she tells Forbes.

Maya has also learned to be generous and mindful of social issues in her community and around the world. She gives at least ten percent of her earnings to charities in Atlanta as well as global relief organizations.

“I like making people happy through my items,” she tells Fox 5 Atlanta. “But some people may not have the money to purchase my items, so I try to help other people and make them happy through donating.”

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