Business of the Week

BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: MEET THE CEO AND FOUNDER OF HEY BLU

What did you want to be when you were growing up– a teacher or an athlete maybe? Or maybe you dreamt of being a doctor or lawyer? The answers are endless, I’m sure, but did you ever aspire to be CEO of your own company, before you hit puberty no less?

Meet Blu. She is the founder and CEO of hey BLU— an online store for children. The idea spawned from her own imagination and a desire to create a brand that all children could enjoy. Like many business owners, Blu is very passionate about her business and very much involved with all aspects. Likewise, she has a busy schedule that includes competitive swimming, horseback riding, homework and playing with her friends–yes playing with her friends. In addition to owning her own business, Blu is eight and in the third grade.

In today’s economy, owning one’s own business is steadily gaining pace as the thing to do. For many it is a dream come true. For others it is an ends to a means– be it after an unexpected job loss or something initially started as a “side hustle” that has bloomed into a successful business. Whatever the reason, more and more are catching small business fever, hoping to turn their ventures into their livelihood, a brand and maybe even a legacy. With all the entrepreneurial buzz, it’s no surprise that even our kids are wanting their piece of the self-made pie. Although much of our youth still dreams of going to college and finding the jobs of their dreams, there a growing number of children who want to build their own adolescent empires–and they aren’t kidding around!

Blu decided she wanted to start her own business at just six years old. Like many business ideas, hers came about as an answer to a problem. An observant child, she realize that there were very few characters that she could identify with. She shared her revelation with her parents and soon hey BLU was born. “I started drawing things to put on tee shirts to give to my friends,” shares Blu. While the brand currently includes just tee shirts, nail polish and pillows, plans are in the works to include natural hair care products, movies and books.

Of course, because of her age Blu is limited in how much she does. “My mom helps me with my business,” she admits. However, that does not mean she is not very active in the business. As mom, Tanya shares, “I’m pretty much just backing her up; we make sure that everything that goes out is approved by her.” In fact, it was Blu who drafted the initial concept for the business’ logo and worked with the graphic designer to ensure it met her specifications and final vision. Having a father who happens to also be a business owner, you might say that she comes by her entrepreneurial spark honestly. Moreover, unlike generations before her, Blu is fortunate to have parents who recognize the significance of owning your own business.

Even so, Blu is still very much a little girl–who dreams of one day being a dolphin trainer–and her parents don’t have any plans on rushing her out of childhood. “One thing I need her to do is to continue to be a kid,” stresses her mom. Even if we go places, I remind people that she is eight and I’m going to let her be eight.

When it comes to Minding Your Black Business it really does boil down to believing in self. Regardless of how fun or innovative the idea, if you don’t think you can do it, who else will? The key to success can best be summed up in a quote from Blu:  “At times it’s the smallest people that make the biggest difference. Never give up on your dream. You’re never too young or old too chase your dream. One day you will catch it and then it will be yours forever!”

To learn more about Blu and hey BLU visit the website.

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Louiseza Sanderson

Louiseza Sanderson

Louiseza Sanderson is a business consultant, writer and the founder of www.MindYourBlackBusiness.com. She is also a veteran of the United States Air Force. It was during her time in the military that she learned the value of hard work, community and serving the needs of others. Following her military service she earned a bachelor's degree in business and an MBA in business communications.

She began consulting with the explicit goal of providing affordable business consultation and guidance to those who might not otherwise have access. "I started consulting by 'inherent accident'. I've spent my whole life gathering information, in hopes that it would benefit someone," says Sanderson. When it comes to working with her clients, she believes that the key is to find the human factor. By doing so, she helps her clients to find the best solution for their business, by first figuring out what is best for the person. Her hope is to help such entrepreneurs, small businesses and non-profits who share her vision of giving back-- be it through job creation, innovation or a cause.

As a consultant and business owner herself, Sanderson came to realize that while there are many resources for small business owners, there were very few that provided a platform for micro and small Black owned businesses, as well as the information germane to them. These are the mom and pops, solo-preneurs and other businesses and organizations that are really the heart and soul of the local (Black) community. She shares, "The vision of Mind Your Black Business is the culmination of what I am most passionate about and what I do best--helping others to achieve their dreams and helping small businesses grow."

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