Many children have thought of becoming business owners when they grow up, complete with ideas about what fascinating goods and services they plan on offering to the public. One little girl, however, decided to buck that trend and start her business immediately!
Maya Penn is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, fashion designer, animator, blogger, writer and illustrator who runs an environmentally friendly fashion business, Maya’s Ideas, which sells handcrafted accessories, plus a nonprofit for environmental awareness, Maya’s Ideas 4 the Planet, all at the tender age of 13! Just think, most of us just watched television and went to school at that age!
According to Ideads TED, during an appearance at TED Talks, she explained what normally gets her inspired. “I get a lot of ideas from other people. As an artist, animator and filmmaker, I’m inspired by George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Lauren Faust. I’m inspired by a lot of music like U2 and Bono’s music. Nature is also a big inspiration for me.”
Maya’s animated projects are a main focus in her life-plan. “I’m going to be releasing ‘Malicious Dishes’ later this year. It’s an [animated] series about little viruses in the computer. One time I had a virus on my computer and I thought, ‘What if they had their own little world inside the computer? What if they had their own restaurant?’ I thought I could make my own little cartoon out of it,” she said.
“[I’m also working on an] animation called “Pollinators,” about bees and other pollinators in our environment. I made a superhero team out of them. They get all these bad guys who are trying to harm the environment. You learn about the environment, but it’s still a really fun cartoon.”
Maya has some advice for other people who want to start their own company. As she explained, “Always stay true to your company. As your company grows, ask yourself, ‘Is my company still unique? Is this what I first envisioned when I came up with the idea?’ Sometimes I come up with designs based on trends in clothing or fashion and then I think, this isn’t the direction I wanted to go with my company. I always try to make sure I’m staying true to my brand.”
When asked if she had advice for other people her age, she said that, “You always, always, always have to start with a passion because if you don’t have a passion, a love or drive behind what you’re doing, then eventually it’s going to go downhill, and you won’t want to do it anymore. It’s really important to do what you love because you’ll go farther.”
Finally, when asked if there is something that she wished everyone knew, she concluded that, “Everyone can make a change. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, how old you are – every single person can make a change if they have a passion for it. People in general, youths especially, are really oblivious to the problems that are happening all around the world. Even if they are [aware], they might not know what they can do to make a change. So really investigate and get more informed.”