Asya Gonzales is the young founder of Stinky Feet Gurlz, a company that designs, markets and sells 1940s-inspired t-shirts and apparel. The 16-year-old girl came up with this idea when her mother showed her one of her childhood doodles of a girl with big red lips and pin curls. Asya recounts that when her mother, alongside her sister and cousin, were children, “they played hard and when they’d come in to watch TV, they’d take off their shoes and their grandma would come in and shoo them out because their feet were stinky so they were the original Stinky Feet Gurlz.”
Inspired by her mother’s doodle, Asya started drawing similar 1940-looking girls. She subsequently got the idea that her drawings would look good on t-shirts, and, with the support of her parents, she started Stinky Feet Gurlz. Ever since she was little, Asya had wanted to be a fashion designer and create unique ad stylish clothes. Her company gave her the perfect opportunity to explore and express her design creativity.
When starting Stinky Feet Gurlz, Asya received the moral and financial support of her parents, who are also entrepreneurs. Her first batch of t-shirts cost around $700, while the website cost $150, because Asya’s mother designed it herself. Other costs included buying the name, printing stickers and business cards, but the young entrepreneur confesses that her biggest expense “next to the t-shirts was trade marking the company’s name,” which her parents helped her do. At the moment, the young entrepreneur is mainly promoting her work via Facebook and Twitter, by “doing t-shirt or sticker giveaways for participating on our Facebook fan page” and by participating “in other company fan pages by donating a prize in their contests.”
The young girl has also created a charity foundation, called She is Worth it!, to bring awareness and action to the atrocious child sex trafficking industry, by donating a part of every sale to raise money for backlogged rape kits, which cost around $1000 each and for which local authorities claim they do not have the funds.
Asya decided to start She Is Worth It! after she and her mother watched a video, in which her mother saw a picture of “a friend that they think somehow was taken when she was younger,” and after she saw the movie Taken, which gave her “a bigger picture view of how things are.” In fact, Asya considers her greatest achievement to date to be raising awareness about child sex trafficking. Apart from obtaining a donation from U.S. Bank to support her cause, Asya is proud to have been able to speak at the Independent Youth Symposium to around 500 children about this important subject. Asya’s main motivation in creating both her company and her charity is “really being able to make a difference and changing someone else’s life and showing them that they can be successful no matter where they came from. Also, it’s being able to have my own business and not having to work behind a desk and being able to support myself and not relying on someone else to support me later on.”
Asya has so far been declared one of the top 8 kid entrepreneurs on CNN Money, been featured in The Parent’s Guide to Raising CEO Kids and been interviewed on CNN and Time Magazine For Kids. When advising other children and youth to start their own business, Asya stressed: “If you can dream it you can do it! Always have motivation, and instead of changing to be who someone thinks you should be, be you. Be who you are.” Nevertheless, the young entrepreneur also emphasized: “even though you might have your own business, you’re still a kid, enjoy it. Never think you don’t have enough time to have fun, there’s always time. […] Just have fun and be willing to learn!”
You can access Asya’s website here: www.stinkyfeetgurlz.com , see She Is Worth It! here: and follow her here: www.facebook.com/stinkyfeetgurlz; www.twitter.com/stinkyfeetgurlz; www.youtube.com/stinkyfeetgurlz
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