Paris McKenzie, 16, became the youngest black owner of a beauty supply store. She recently opened the beauty supply store in Brooklyn, New York, during the COVID-19 pandemic. McKenzie, who is a senior at the High School for Human Services and Health Professions, said in an interview on “Making Money with Charles Payne” at Fox Business News that her mother was her greatest inspiration in following her entrepreneurial vision and opening Paris Beauty Supplyz in Flatbush in September of 2020.
While the teen was somewhat apprehensive about launching her own business at her age, she said that she knew she had the knowledge required to do so and that she had the funds to do it. Ultimately, she decided to go ahead in order to be an inspiration to others. The support she received via social medial was “amazing,” and encouraged her to take her business to the next level.
McKenzie is a first-generation Jamaican American who grew up seeing her mother, Senica Thompson, operating her own salon business in Brooklyn. McKenzie said she was raised to be very independent by her entrepreneurial mothers, who open her salon business just a few months after Paris was born. In an interview with the BEAUTY IRL newsletter, McKenzie said she grew up watching her mother handle business and financial issues, so she had a good understanding of what she was getting into by starting her own business. The fact that her mother worked seven days a week and only took one day off each year made McKenzie “grow up a little bit faster” and contributed to her ability to run a business at a young age, she added.
McKenzie’s beauty supply shop is a safe space for Black people to find the products they need and to support Black entrepreneurs. When creating her business, she envisioned having a place that was “very accessible, affordable, and comfortable” for customers of all races. As she told the interviewer, “I just want us to feel comfortable in a space where we spend the most money, and not like we’re being followed, watched, or accused of stealing.” She added that because she is Black, she especially wanted to focus on providing more Black products and making Black people feel comfortable.
One of McKenzie’s future life goals is to become an Orthopaedic Surgeon.