By Jessica Easthope
Among the narrow aisles of stylish wigs and colorful products, Paris McKenzie shines. Everything on the shelves needs to be perfect. She has big dreams as the new owner of Paris Beauty Supplyz.
“It’s my baby, it’s my prized possession,” Paris said of her new store.
There’s no doubt the store is impressive, but it’s nothing compared to its owner. The twist is Paris is 16, and she’s never been afraid to roll up her sleeves.
“My mom owns two businesses, she’s owned a hair salon for 16 years. Since a few months after I was born, I’ve seen her run these businesses and manage her finances and I also helped assist her run these businesses,” said Paris. “You learn how to market hair products and sell things off the shelf.”
Paris’ mom Senica Thompson owns two business that sit on either side of Paris’ store on Church Avenue in Flatbush. Senica says she’s care-free because she knows her daughter can handle this responsibility.
“She said, ‘Ma, I got this.’ That’s her keyword,” Senica explained. “So when she wanted to open this I asked her, ‘Are you sure?’ and she said, ‘Ma, I got this.'”
In this store it’s easy to forget Paris is a teenager, but if you watch closely, you’ll see the signs.
She opened in August as businesses around her were drowning due to the coronavirus pandemic. For the average teenager, the store might be a major distraction from school work, but not for Paris. She’s a straight-A-student, takes classes at Hunter College and just skipped a grade.
“It actually helped me focus more on school, I didn’t want to go away from my true passion of medicine, so I said this is going to be something to focus on but take away what I’ve worked toward my whole life, it’s always been my passion to be a doctor and help others,” Paris said.
When asked how she juggles it all? Her answer is simple.
“It’s always been all Him, I really can’t do anything without God. I learned how to put my faith in God and I couldn’t do all of this without him,” said Paris.
Faith was a foundation of Paris’ upbringing.
“God is why we’re able to open a business like this when business is going down, because we trust God and I brought the kids up to trust God,” Senica said.
Paris’ trust in God will forever be a big part of her growth and success. Though she’s young, Paris knows there are some things you can’t put a price on.