Maya Penn, Budding Entrepreneur

Maya I get a lot of emails.  I really do try and meet with the majority of people who reach out to me.  It is getting more difficult yet the opportunities to talk to so many 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 eleven 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 in the video below.  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. Every item at Mayas shop is made to order.  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.  Loves her Moms 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.   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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Comments (Archived):

  1. Shelly Lipton

    Way to go Maya! What a kid. Looking forward to learning about the path she takes in the future. A budding entrepreneur indeed.

    1. Gotham Gal

      the cutest!

  2. kirklove

    Very cool. Go Maya.

  3. Erin Newkirk

    Go Maya! Sounds like we could all learn a lot from Maya. A clear sense of what she wants, impressive execution {right down to that copyright on her video!}, a her commitment to community/giving back. I’m off to buy something at Etsy….

  4. MadelineVeenstra

    What an amazing girl. Although I did not learn to follow my dreams at such a young age, thankfully I followed them not long after finishing university. I think it’s mainly a matter of instilling enough confidence in girls to branch out on their own. Obviously she is also incredibly intelligent and has lovely supportive parents 🙂

  5. rebeccastees

    Go Maya! (and Co.)For beginning animators, I love's a good learning community.And it’s really easy to get started.I”m wondering if Maya has seen Oliart?Oli makes felt flowers, hats and dolls…

  6. njs

    This is amazing on so many levels. Maya, I am very impressed by you and look forward to hearing about all of your future accomplishments!

  7. Amy Bevilacqua

    “I would like to encourage other young girls that you can follow your dreams at any age.” Maya, you’re already doing this…

  8. rachel

    love maya’s story and love the gotham gal for featuring her! just awesome!

  9. Jill stern

    great post! only 10 years old– totally impressive. maya indeed must be a very special person with a bright future!

  10. Maggie

    Fantastic. Thank You Gotham Gal for this amazing feature. Maya is so inspiring to young ladies. Perhaps she can fit motivational speaking into her busy schedule 🙂

    1. Gotham Gal

      She is beyond articulate. Id be first in line

  11. Dbdj1007

    So fab. thanks Joanne

  12. Cpryor

    Maya is inspirational for everyone! Thanks for bringing her to everyone’s attention.