Maya Penn, Budding Entrepreneur

I get a lot of emails and I really do try to meet with the majority of people who reach out to me. Though this is difficult, the opportunity to talk to interesting people is something hard to pass up. This past week I got an email from a young woman that was absolutely impossible to pass up. Here is how the email began:

My name is Maya Penn. I am 10 years old (soon to be 11 on February 10!) I am an animator and designer and I own my own business. I know that I am only 10, but I would love to be featured in the Women Entrepreneur Mondays on your blog.

This confirms the beauty of the Internet. Not only is Maya (and her mother) reading my blog in Atlanta, I got to speak to Maya on Skype later in the week.

Maya will be 11 years old later this week. Maya, who has no siblings, is home schooled by her Mom and Dad. She finds her social world with kids in the neighborhood and through tennis. She has two cats, a dog and a pet snail. Maya told me she dreams sometimes of going to school but not quite yet.

Since she was 8 years old, she had the idea of creating a shop where she could sell her wares. Her education has taken Maya's creative hungry drive and allowed her the ability to build a shop on Etsy that links back to her blog. Talking to her is pretty amazing. She is obviously precocious and by learning at home she has been able to transform all that energy and desire to learn into something that couples all parts of her education into a shop. Real life learning. She makes the products and she sells them. She is using social media to promote her shop. A total back to the basics using a myriad of skills.

Everything is made to order. She gives 10% of her proceeds to the Atlanta Community Food Bank where she also donates her time and clothes. She is taking the other income and saving for college. Pretty quick turn around.

Her other passion is animation. When she thinks of the future she sees herself as an Entrepreneur who couples her artistic talents which includes being an animator. She would love to meet Brad Bird who is the wrote and directed some of Disneys top animation movies such as Ratatouille and The Incredibles. Maya thinks he is amazing. She likes U2 and Taylor Swift. Her favorite subjects are reading and spelling. She loves her mom's eggsalad sandwiches.

Maya wrote a children's book this year and is hoping that it will get published -- hoping that she will be able to donate that book to kids who need books. She also started an organic garden last year and told me that she really liked my post on Amber Waves Farm last summer.

I asked Maya if she ever gets up to NYC. She told me she hopes to come again in March. Last time she was in NYC she had gone to a few art museums and we began to discuss cubism. Ok, this is not your average 10 year old.

This is what she wrote at the end of her note to me:

I would like to encourage other young girls that you can follow your dreams at any age. Do what you love, always.

Maya is one special kid and absolutely an entrepreneur. I hope to stay in touch with Maya and see her when she comes to NYC. It will be fun to check in with Maya over the next couple of years and see what next venture she has up her sleeve.

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