A group of black teenage business owners gathered for a block party Saturday, selling everything from custom hijab headwear and vegan skincare products to buffalo chicken dip, to empower each other and fellow Philadelphia-area youth too inspire to follow their dreams.
“I want it to show people that not all teenagers are walking our streets doing things they shouldn’t be doing,” said Qawyyah Powers, 17, who organized the event as part of her senior project at the Science Leadership Academy at Beeber. “We’re trying to make a name for ourselves.”
Her hope through the “Stop the Violence Teen Pop Up Shop,” she said, is to show her peers that there is a community that supports her ambitions.
“The road isn’t the only way to get out,” she said. “I want to support my people and I want my people to support my people.”
The teens set up block party-style tables in partnership with in the Mantua neighborhood of the city Dimplez 4 Dayza youth empowerment nonprofit founded by Akayla Brown, a current college student who founded the organization in 2016 to give back to her community through positive attitudes.
Here you will find information about the individual young entrepreneurs and how you can support them:
After losing a close friend to gun violence in early 2020, Saniya Moore, 18, began painting to help cope with the pain. Moore, a senior at George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science, began selling her paintings before transitioning to crocheting. Now she sells made-to-order clothing items – from hats and ski masks to full outfits.
“Doing this feels like a triumph of my trauma,” she said.
Product: Crochet clothes
Price: $25 and up
How to buy: Instagram @ShopNavinchi
Kalea Dickerson, 17, started selling custom-made hijabs last August to better connect with her Muslim culture and make new friends, she said. Dickerson, a senior at Simon Gratz High School, uses rhinestones and iron-on patches to add glamor to the headpieces and designs each piece by hand at her North Philly home. She accepts custom orders and has some pre-made ones.
“I want to focus on making people feel pretty,” she said.
Product: Custom made hijab headwear and scarves
Price: $12 and up
Tramain Garvin, 14, just opened his catering business about a month ago and is excited to show Philadelphia his cooking skills. Garvin, an eighth grader at Belmont Charter School, says his specialty is steak, but he’ll cook anything you request. That means everything from quesadillas to chicken alfredo.
He was inspired to start the company after attending the Dimplez 4 Dayz youth force development courses and has mainly managed the events so far.
Product: Whatever your heart desires
How to order: Instagram @Mainn_Catering_LLC
Sierra Jones17, turned her nickname CeCe into a business.
Jones, a senior at George Washington Carver, makes tie-dyed sweatshirts and other garments by hand in her West Philly home, adding inspirational messages. She stocks items and accepts custom orders.
“I’m trying to show people that life doesn’t have to be so miserable when you see things more clearly,” she said. “You don’t have to get into this cycle of putting each other down.”
Product: tie-dye clothing
Price: Varies, but sweatshirts are $40
How to order: Instagram @ceeverythingklar
founder Qawyyah powers, 17, from Olney, started selling her homemade banana pudding about two years ago after receiving such high praise from friends and family. She added buffalo chicken dip to the menu, which she says is the best in town. People can order different sizes for pickup and delivery.
Product: Homemade Banana Pudding and Buffalo Chicken Dip
Price: $7 to $14
How to order: Instagram @_.kastreats
After exploring her own spiritual journey, Kiersten Williams, 18, chose the power of crystals. The First Philadelphia Preparatory Charter School senior has been making crystal jewelry for the past seven months.
Product: crystal bracelets and necklaces
Price: $8 to $25
How to buy: Instagram @healingwithKW
for Elijah Barker, 17, started his natural skincare business by getting bored and watching YouTube videos during the pandemic. The Science Leadership Academy senior taught himself to make vegan soaps and body scrubs — with scents like lavender honey and white tea and ginger — in the kitchen of his North Philly home.
Product: soaps and body scrubs
Price: $6 to $10
Angelo Walker, 19, and Michael Cleaves, 20, offered free haircuts during the pop-up event. They plan to go to Dimplez 4 Dayz, 3509 Haverford Ave. every two weeks. to give free haircuts to everyone in the 19104 zip code to help the area’s youth feel comfortable and confident and look professional, they said.
You can find her at Faheem’s Hands of Precision in South Philly during the week.