Entrepreneurship Highlight: Caitlin Ann Gooch

One of our three pillars at Pearl School of Modeling is entrepreneurship. We challenge our Pearls to create a business plan, implement it, and begin their business in their semester. We felt it important to add an entrepreneur highlight to the newsletter” to bring awareness to the numerous business owners that could positively influence our readers.
 
Caitlin Gooch is a Wendell, NC native who grew up on an 87 acre farm. Her father built a racetrack where he would allow horse races. She is the founder of Saddle Up and Read (SUAR), a nonprofit organization she began in 2017 when she learned the literacy rates in North Carolina were extremely low. Gooch partnered with her local library to create an incentive for young readers. She proposed that if a person checked out more than three books, she would enter them into a raffle and gift the winner with a free trip to her family’s farm to ride their horses. 
 
Gooch noted that 36% of the fourth graders in the state of North Carolina were reading at proficient or higher according to the 2019 Nation’s Report Card.  Gooch wanted to encourage reading amongst youth and has gone as far as organizing book drives and school-wide reading competitions. To date, she has raised more than $20,000 from donors around the world to help expand her services and open an in-house library and equestrian center.
 
Gooch is the mother of three young girls and wife to a member of the US Navy. She says she has her family’s full support. Although she no longer lives in North Carolina, she travels monthly to her family’s farm to continue her mission. She has been coined, “The Black Cowgirl” To learn more about her organization visit her site at: https://www.saddleupandread.org/
 
You can follow her on Instagram: @theblackcowgirl and @caitlin_gooch
 
Contributing Writer: Lauren Burford, VP of the Pearls

Photo Credit: Photographer-Stanford Moore of www.blackreignsmagazine.com, www.saddleupandread.org

Designer Highlight: Jerry Lorenzo

Jerry Lorenzo
 
     Jerry Lorenzo is the founder of Fear of God, a luxury street wear label that was founded in 2012. He was born in Sacramento, California in 1977. After studying at Florida A&M University, he moved to Los Angeles, California to obtain a Master’s in Business Administration from Loyola Marymount. He worked in retail in the stockroom at Diesel while studying for his MBA. Lorenzo went on to manage corporate sponsorship for the LA Dodgers and then worked in marketing for a sports agency in Chicago. In 2008, he returned to Los Angeles where he was a successful party promoter. There he formed relationships with people in the fashion, sports, and entertainment industry.
 

     Despite having no formal training in fashion, he decided to change career paths after becoming a father by setting up his own clothing line. He used $14,000 of his own money to launch his first collection. His debut collection was a success, and he was summoned to Atlantic City to share some of his pieces with Kanye West. A relationship was formed, and he went on to collaborate with West on several other projects.

     Early influences ranged from 90’s Hip-Hop to Grunge. His style is known as fluid casual; a wardrobe that allows one to move seamlessly through the consistent inconsistent times we live in. For instance, a man might go to the gym, carry a blazer with him, and then from there, go to a meeting.

His celebrity clientele includes former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick to Beyonce. He has also designed clothes for Justin Bieber and Kendrick Lamar’s tours. With no external investors, Fear of God, is completely independent.

Follow him on Instagram: @fearofgod # jerrylorenzocollection # jerrylorenzo

Visit his website at: www.fearofgod.com

Photo credit: Lifestyle.com

Contributing Writer: Gail Preddy, Secretary of the Pearls

Entrepreneurship Highlight: Candace Marie

One of our three pillars at Pearl School of Modeling is entrepreneurship. We challenge our Pearls to create a business plan, implement it, and begin their business in their semester. We felt it important to add an entrepreneur highlight to the newsletter” to bring awareness to the numerous business owners that could positively influence our readers.

Candace Marie is the former social media strategist who spent ten years in the corporate world before creating her own social medial consultancy company for luxury brands. Candace endured systemic racism and found herself working harder than her peers who were not black. To help other black people navigate the corporate world, Candace created Black in Corporate. Black in Corporate is a mentorship program; a virtual space for black professionals to receive mentorship, relief, guidance, and support from professionals of all backgrounds. Candace wanted to provide an avenue for black professionals who many not normally have access to a mentor, to have a resources as their dispose. 

Black in Corporate launched November 1, 2020. If you are interested in applying to the Black in Corporate mentorship program click here: or, visit the site on your own: https://www.blckincorporate.com/virtual-mentorship

You can follow her on Instagram at: @blckincorporate @marie_mag_

Contributing Writer: Lauren Burford, VP of the Pearls

Photo Credit: CFDA, Business Insider

Entrepreneurship Highlight: Benjamin Kapelushnik

One of our three pillars at Pearl School of Modeling is entrepreneurship. We challenge our Pearls to create a business plan, implement it, and begin their business in their semester. We felt it important to add an entrepreneur highlight to the newsletter” to bring awareness to the numerous business owners that could positively influence our readers.
 
Have you ever heard of the term “sneaker head”? “Sneaker heads are individuals who collect sneakers as a hobby. This young man turned this passion into a business. Meet Benjamin Kapelushnik, better known as Benjamin Kickz, the Sneaker Don. Benjamin Kicks is a self-described rare sneaker dealer.  Ben’s parents immigrated to the United States; his father worked in real estate and his mother was a stay-at-home mom.  Benjamin was raised in a small area close to Miami which made it easier to make a name for himself. At just 19 years-old, the Florida native has a celebrity client list and inventory bringing in over $1 million annually. He resales some of the most coveted sneakers. Ben expanded his reach by using every opportunity he had to network. Whether it was going on a date or going to a party, he took a chance to connect with someone. He buys sneakers in bulk and resales them. It’s that simple! He has built his customer base to over one million consumers! In 2014, DJ Khaled wanted a specific pair of sneakers and he was introduced to Benjamin.  The producer has helped catapult the teens career!  What’s next for him? A jewelry line of course!
 
Visit his site: https://www.sneakerdon.com/ or
 
Follow him on Instagram: @benjaminkickz
 
Contributing Writer: Lauren Burford, VP of the Pearls
 

Photo Credit: Yonah.org

 
 
 
 

Entrepreneurship Highlight: Myriam Taylor of Muxima

One of our three pillars at Pearl School of Modeling is entrepreneurship. We challenge our Pearls to create a business plan, implement it, and begin their business in their semester. We felt it important to add an entrepreneur highlight to the newsletter” to bring awareness to the numerous business owners that could positively influence our readers.
 
Myriam Taylor, of Portugal, is the daughter of Angolan war refugees who sought asylum in Europe. Taylor found it to hard to fit in Europe especially as a black child with textured hair. Only in recent years has it become trendy for women of color to wear their hair naturally. Taylor had a vision for women of color to wear their hair with confidence while embracing it and without compromising it.
 
When Taylor became pregnant, she decided to refrain from using chemicals in her hair.  She found it challenging to find good products for her hair type. In 2016, Taylor decided to create a luxury hair-care business, Muxima and a biotechnology company, Muxima Bio. Her product line includes caviar-based shampoos, conditioners, and oils made from bio ingredients to nourish the hair. Each product was made with love and from her heart; Muxima in the Angolian language of Kimbundu, means “heart”.
 
Her products have been featured in Essence and Forbes magazines. Myriam is not just an enterpriser,  she is an advocate for social humanitarian causes! She believes in being a voice for inequality especially for victims of domestic violence and war orphans in Angolia! She continues the fight for social justice by giving her time to these causes in various European cities.
 
View/purchase her products at https://www.muxima.net/
 
Follow her on Instagram: @muximaofficial
 
Contributing Writer: Lauren Burford, VP of the Pearls
Photo Credit: Kazanuba, Instagram: @musximaofficial
 
 

Entrepreneurship Highlight: Beau Shell

One of our three pillars at Pearl School of Modeling is entrepreneurship. We challenge our Pearls to create a business plan, implement it, and begin their business in their semester. We felt it important to add an entrepreneur highlight to the newsletter” to bring awareness to the numerous business owners that could positively influence our readers.
 
Meet Victor “Beau” Shell; a 15 year-old entrepreneur who has been running his own business since the age of eight. At age eight, Beau received an ice cream cart for his birthday. Beau is the owner of Cool World Ice Cream Shop in Athens, Georgia. Beau, affectionately known as “Lil Ice Cream Dude” is more than just a business owner; he’s a fighter. Diagnosed with pneumonia and emphysema, Beau was confined to his home for weeks but was determined to make his ice cream business a success. Beau received his medical treatment at the Scottish Rite Hospital and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. There he was introduced to UGA Miracle and Dance Marathon which he now supports with some of his proceeds. He has sold his ice cream in more than 400 events and to more than 10,000 customers. Beau desires to inspire all. 
 
Visit his website: https://lilicecreamdude.com/ and/or follow him on Instagram: @lilicecreamdude
 

Contributing Writer: Lauren Burford, VP of the Pearls

Photo Credit: Travel Noire, UGA Miracle, Marjoni-Janee

 
 
 

Entrepreneurship Highlight: Mikaila Ulmer

One of our three pillars at Pearl School of Modeling is entrepreneurship. We challenge our Pearls to create a business plan, implement it, and begin their business in their semester. We felt it important to add an entrepreneur highlight to the newsletter” to bring awareness to the numerous business owners that could positively influence our readers.
 
Meet Mikaila Ulmer! At the tender age of four, this spirited young lady launched her business at the Children’s Business Fair in Austin, Texas. When Mikaila was young, she was stung by two bees. Her parents encouraged her to turn her negative experience into a positive one! They challenged Mikaila to channel her fear into a research project about bees. She discovered how important bees are to the food system and before long, the Ulmer family launched a beverage business using flax seed honey and added it to a family recipe for lemonade. 
 
Mikaila secured over $60,000 from Shark Tank and $810,000 from NFL players. Mikaila’s products are sold in nearly 380 stores worldwide including Whole Foods. Mikaila’s company donates a portion of its proceeds to local and international organizations working to save the honey bees meanwhile, Mikaila launched her own organization, Healthy Hive Foundation.
 
A word of advice from the now 13 year-old Mikaila, “If you’re going to start a business, do something you love. Or you probably won’t be very good at it”.
 
Visit her website: https://www.meandthebees.com/ Purchase her book Bee Fearless at: https://www.amazon.com/Bee-Fearless-Dream-Like-Kid/dp/1984815083
 
Contributing Writer: Lauren Burford, VP of the Pearls
Photo Credit: Children’s Business Fair, New Hope Network, Typewriter Labs
 

Designer Highlight: Iyishia Jones

Our designer of the week goes to Iyishia Jones. As a little girl, Iyishia Jones’ mom owned a boutique in downtown Detroit Michigan where she grew up. She remembers her parents getting dressed up and going downtown to shop. The seed was planted at an early age. Iyishia started her career in corporate American but it was fashion that fueled her. It was her husband Greg (an entrepreneur himself) that encouraged her to take her passion and turn it into a career.

Her first boutique opened in 2015 in Florida’s Rosemary Beach. She noticed a lot of clients were in Alabama, so in 2015 she opened a second store in Homewood, Alabama. She has a location in Montgomery, Alabama and a fourth location in Mountain Brook, Alabama. This store carries custom designed apparel. The pieces there can be customized or tailored in-store.

The shopping experience is unique. Instead of hiring salespeople, Iyishia employs stylists. You are greeted by a stylist who will dress you based on your eye color, body shape, and personality. So many clients have come in talking about what they can’t wear and leave with something totally unexpected.

When you think of ISHI, think elegant, casual, and everything you dare to be. Her clothes are FUN, FLY, and Fabulous!!!

Follow her on Instagram: @ishiboutiques

Photo credit: ISHI? Boutiques

Contributing Writer: Gail Preddy, Secretary of the Pearls

Entrepreneurship Highlight: Stephen “Seven” Hudson

One of our three pillars at Pearl School of Modeling is entrepreneurship. We challenge our Pearls to create a business plan, implement it, and begin their business in their semester. We felt it important to add an entrepreneur highlight to the newsletter” to bring awareness to the numerous business owners that could positively influence our readers.

Stephen “Seven” Hudson began producing fashion shows and dance shows as a senior in high school. His creativity and eye for detail continued on as he honed his skills in the salon. For the past 11 years he worked in the salon but also in editorial fashion, the film and television industry, commercial advertisement, at personal events, and weddings. He is continuously building his brand Beauty by Stephen. He most recently appeared in Essence Magazine promoting his CTRL Edge edge control and tamer.

Hudson is talented, ambitious, and ready to conquer the world. He is the senior stylist at Suite Life Salon and Spa in Freeport, Long Island, NY.  He is a platform educator, his skills are top-notch, and soon, he will be the most sought after creative in the industry!

Follow him on Instagram:@sevenknows

Shop his beauty products at: https://www.beautyxstephen.com/

Contributing Writer: Lauren Burford, VP of the Pearls

Photo Credit: Essence Magazine, Beauty by Stephen

Model Highlight: Liya Kebede

Liya Kebede was born and raised in Addis, Ababa, Ethiopia! Kebede was discovered by a film director while attending school at Lycee Guebre-Mariam and was introduced to a French modeling agent. Once Kebede finished her studies, she relocated to France to pursue her modeling career through a Parisian agency. Her career in the fashion industry skyrocketed when Tom Ford presented Kebede with the opportunity to have an exclusive contract for his Gucci Fall/Winter 2000 fashion show. In May 2002, she graced the cover of Paris Vogue in which the whole  issue was dedicated to her. From there, she has been on the covers of Japanese, French, American, Italian, and Spanish Vogue, V, and many more! Kebede has also been in campaign ads with Gap, Yves Saint-Laurent, Victoria’s Secret, Revlon and more! In 2003, she became the face of Estee Lauder Cosmetics and was the only Ethiopian to do so!

Kebede is not only a model, actress, and entrepreneur, she is also an activist. Her activism is dedicated to reducing the maternal, newborn, and child mortality in Ethiopia. She founded her non-profit organization called Liya Kebede Foundation: https://www.lemlem.com/pages/lkf

Kebede is a true inspiration who does it all!

Contributing Writer: Jeysika Henry, Fashion Show Production Manager/Social Media Manager

Photo Credit: Annie Leibovitz