Each month, we showcase kids who are accomplishing amazing things. We hope that by telling their special stories, we will inspire other kids to accomplish their own amazing achievements.
If you, or someone that you know, has a special skill, talent or ability, be sure to let Amazing Kids! know about it! Simply complete our Amazing Kids! of the Month online nomination form!
Amazing Young Entrepreneur, Leanna Archer, age 13, CEO, Leanna’s Inc.; Central Islip, New York
Quotes of the Month:
- “Let your voices be heard. Never stop when you are going for something positive.
- “When you want something done, you have to do it yourself.” – Leanna Archer, Age 13, CEO, Leanna’s Inc., Central Islip, New York
Our May 2009 Amazing Kids! of the Month:
13-year-old Leanna Archer of Long Island, New York, is one of the youngest successful entrepreneurs in the United States and is the CEO of Leanna’s Inc. (www.leannashair.com), a hair and body care product line. A determined “go-getter,” she has achieved success in spite of several hindrances (including ‘naysayers” saying she was too young to start her own business!) Read her story below and get inspired to strive for your own dreams and turn them into a reality, no matter what people may tell you that “the odds” are!
Leanna’s Inc. – How it All Began
Have you ever thought of doing something but were worried that you might not be successful? Or has everyone around you told you that you were too young to do it?
Well, that happened to Leanna Archer too…but she went ahead and did it anyway! Ever since she was two years old, Leanna’s mother applied a pomade on her hair which was a recipe created by her great grandmother. As she got older, Leanna received numerous compliments for her hair and by the age of 8, she realized that selling the hair pomade could be a great business opportunity. “The more I thought about it, the more it became obvious that making this recipe available could benefit both me and the potential customers. But I had to find a way to convince my parents not only to listen to my idea but to also help me accomplish it,” she says.
When Leanna presented the idea to her parents, they weren’t sure. “My husband and I had no idea on anything about a business. We didn’t want to discourage her but we didn’t know how to go about it,” says Leanna’s mom.
But Leanna was determined to do something about it and so, when an aunt of one of her friends was trying to regrow her hair after chemotherapy, Leanna gave her a sample of her product in a Gerber jar. The aunt called back in about 6 months and thanked Leanna for her product. “That was it” says Leanna’s mom “she was determined.” Leanna also distributed some pomade to her friends at school and the other people she knew. Soon, she started receiving checks for more product. “My parents had no idea what was going on.” But soon they got on board and thus, Leanna’s Inc. was formed.
Today, Leanna’s Inc. grosses over $180,000 per year by mainly selling its products online, at some health food stores and beauty salons.
Leanna attends 8th grade in Long Island, New York. Her dad has quit his job and works in her company full time. “School is still my first priority,” she says. As soon as she gets back from school, she prints labels for the day’s shipments, then finishes her homework and heads to the basement where her company’s products are prepared, assembled and shipped. Since starting the business with grandmother’s pomade, Leanna has developed 11 other hair and body care products to add to her line.
Leanna is also a motivational speaker and has conducted workshops across the country. “My success is the reason that I reached out to kids all over America. I travel the country giving speeches to motivate kids and young adults because I believe that I am the living proof that anything is possible,” she explains.
Leanna recently received a special citation from the town of Islip, New York, her hometown. She also received the 2008 Mary McLeod Bethune Youth Excellence Award from the National Council of Negro Women. She has also been featured on numerous television shows, in newspapers and magazines including NBC’s The Today Show, Fox News, MSNBC, on Nick News by Linda Ellerbee, ABC’s Above and Beyond, New York’s Newsday, Time Kids, Weekly Reader and Discovery Girls magazines. Most recently, she was featured as a “Young Lion” on BlackVoices.com, as part of Black History Month 2009.
Leanna’s products have been endorsed by Hype Hair magazine. She is also the youngest person to be featured in Inc’s “30 under 30: America’s Coolest Young Entrepreneurs” feature: www.inc.com/30under30/2008/profile/12-archer.html
Last year, Leanna started the Leanna Archer Foundation (www.leannaarcherfoundation.org), dedicated to helping provide schooling, food and other support to Haiti’s underprivileged children. Leanna’s family heritage is Haitian, and she wanted to do something to help children from her family’s native country, especially since Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the Western hemisphere. Because of her dedication to helping Haitian children, amazing Leanna was invited by the president of Haiti, Rene Preval, to meet with him in Haiti, so she could tell him about her project! President Preval has invited her back for a second visit as well.
Leanna was also the youngest person ever to ring the opening bell at the NASDAQ stock exchange. “It was an amazing experience…a great honor,” she says recalling the event.
LEANNA IN USA TODAY!
Amazing Leanna was recently featured in USA Today in two separate articles!
Read the articles here:
CHASE’S CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Among Leanna’s other amazing accomplishments, Leanna requested through Chase’s Calendar of Events that May become TEENCEO month and it was granted!
It will be published in October this year for the 2010 edition. The calendar of events book is distributed to libraries, broadcast and print media, senior center and activity directors, event planners, public relations professionals, speakers and to consumers in bookstores.
Leanna also recently started the TEENCEO blog on www.TEENCEO.tv. Leanna describes her purpose for the TeenCEO movement and blog:
“When I decided to start the TeenCEO movement, I wanted to get as many tweens and teens involved in finding a way, through positive ideas, to follow their dreams of success for the future.
Each one of us have goals and dreams, and by now we know that when we accomplish something positive we automatically become role models, either for our siblings, friends, family, school and to every one that our lives that we touch.
We are the future, and being a TeenCEO, I can tell you that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, through perseverance, tenacity, and support from family. Once you begin your personal journey towards your goals, the rest will follow, such as support from your community and your town. I believe that we as young people can accomplish great things.
Moving forward, starting May 2009, May will be known throughout the country as TeenCEO month.
Here at TeenCEO you can connect, communicate, and network with teens and tweens who are or wish to become a CEO just like you! You can exchange ideas and information such as: marketing strategies, overcoming challenges like getting people to take you and your ideas seriously and getting started. You may want some advice on how to improve your product. Feel free to message me with any questions, ideas, and suggestions!”
Leanna’s Dreams for her Amazing Future
Leanna’s company has a Kid’s Rep Program which makes it easy for kids to sell her products with their parent’s help anywhere in the US and the information is available on her website.
After achieving success at such a young age Leanna hopes that she’ll be able to continue her business and grow it further. She admires Oprah Winfrey and considers her as one of her role models. “I would say that I am tenacious. I do not take no for an answer,” she says talking about her future plans.
Leanna plans to go to law school in future and become a business lawyer. She also hopes to open a store of her own called…what else? Leanna’s.
- To learn more about Leanna Archer and the Kid’s rep program, visit: www.leannashair.com.
- Leanna Archer Foundation: www.leannaarcherfoundation.org
- Learn more about Amazing Kids!’ Launch My Dream! initiative and help us help kids like Leanna launch their dreams! www.amazing-kids.org/launchmydream.html
Here’s an idea you might want to try:
WHY NOT HELP OTHERS SEE THEIR OWN POTENTIAL?
If you know someone who needs a little encouragement, why not tell them what you think is special about them? Maybe you can be the one to help them uncover their own special talent.
Amazing Kids! is looking for teens to be Amazing Teen Volunteers and Ambassadors. If you’d like to join Amazing Kids! in helping to spread the word, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
HELP US SPREAD THE WORD:
It’s cool to be an Amazing Kid!