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STANDARDS

CCSS: 6.NS.A.1, MP1, MP6, MP8

TEKS: 6.3A, 6.3E

Maya’s Sustainable Fashion

THE KIDPRENEUR FILES

Meet some amazing kids who started their own businesses!

Courtesy of Maya Penn

NAME: Maya Penn
AGE: 20
BUSINESS: Maya’s Ideas, based in Atlanta, Georgia

Starting Her Business

Maya Penn has always loved to create. As a kid, one of the ways she channeled her creativity was by repurposing old items into something totally new. “When I was 8, I started taking old clothes and fabric and turning them into new designs,” Maya says. “People wanted to know where to buy them, and I got the idea to make my own business.”

So she created Maya’s Ideas, a sustainable fashion company. The fashion industry produces 1.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year. The main producer is “fast fashion,” which is cheaply-made clothing that isn’t made to last. “I wanted to create a sustainable alternative to fast fashion using art and design to raise awareness about the importance of sustainability in the fashion industry,” she says.

She began by selling her items online. “I had to be super hands-on in all aspects of my company,” she explains. She designed a logo, sewed the clothing, photographed the garments, and more. “I even taught myself HTML at 10 years old and to code my first website!” Maya adds.

Maya Penn has always been creative. As a kid, she liked to make old items into something totally new. “When I was 8, I started taking old clothes and fabric and turning them into new designs,” says Maya. “People wanted to know where to buy them, and I got the idea to make my own business.”

So she created a company called Maya’s Ideas. It produces sustainable fashion—clothes that aren’t harmful to the environment. The fashion industry produces 1.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year. Most of it comes from “fast fashion,” which is cheaply-made clothing that isn’t made to last. “I wanted to create a sustainable alternative to fast fashion using art and design to raise awareness about the importance of sustainability in the fashion industry,” says Maya.

Maya began by selling her items online. She sewed the clothing and photographed all the garments herself . “I had to be super hands-on,” she says. “I even taught myself HTML at 10 years old and to code my first website!”

Coolest Moment

Courtesy of Maya Penn

In 2016, Maya was chosen by Oprah Winfrey as her youngest SuperSoul 100 entrepreneur. The SuperSoul 100 are a group of 100 leaders that are using their voices and talent to help humanity. Maya got to meet Oprah and have lunch with her. “I still can’t believe that that happened!“

In 2016, Maya was chosen by Oprah Winfrey as her youngest SuperSoul 100 entrepreneur. The SuperSoul 100 are a group of 100 leaders that are using their voices and talent to help humanity. Maya got to meet Oprah and have lunch with her. “I still can’t believe that that happened!“

On The Job

For Maya, a typical day on the job is nonstop. She checks sales that come in overnight, conducts weekly meetings with her team, evaluates how much inventory she has, and considers anything that needs to be implemented in the design process for each collection. Maya also manages marketing strategies and collaborations—especially social media! “Through the day I also do some design work as well as make some aesthetic or technical updates on the website,” explains Maya. “Sometimes I’m also doing photoshoots for some of the items or testing new methods of sustainable design!”

For Maya, a typical day on the job is nonstop. First she checks sales that come in overnight. She also conducts weekly meetings with her team and figures out how much clothing she has in stock. She thinks about what needs to happen next in the design process for each collection. She also manages marketing and social media. “I also do some design work as well as update the website,” explains Maya. “Sometimes I’m also doing photoshoots for some of the items or testing new methods of sustainable design!”

What I've Learned

Maya’s biggest takeaway from her 12 years of running a business is that age is nothing but a number. “I’ve learned that you’re never too young or too old to make an impact, and that it’s always important to believe in yourself and what you’re passionate about,” Maya explains. “There are so many people who will be excited to support your unique voice if you take that leap to start.”

Maya has now run her business for 12 years. Her biggest lesson? Age is nothing but a number. “I’ve learned that you’re never too young or too old to make an impact,” she says. “It’s always important to believe in yourself and what you’re passionate about. There are so many people who will be excited to support your unique voice if you take that leap to start.”

MATH BEHIND THE BUSINESS

KEY MATH IDEA: Dividing Fractions

When Maya repurposes fabric in her designs, she sometimes has to divide fractions to find precise measurements for each garment. Calculate the amount of materials Maya needs—measured from edge to edge—for some of her designs.

KEY MATH IDEA: Dividing Fractions

When Maya repurposes fabric in her designs, she sometimes has to divide fractions to find precise measurements for each garment. Calculate the amount of materials Maya needs—measured from edge to edge—for some of her designs.

Here's how Maya does it. Record your work and answers on our answer sheet.

Here's how Maya does it. Record your work and answers on our answer sheet.

Maya wants to create a beaded scarf from a 36-inch-long piece of antique fabric she found. She wants to space her lines of beads 1 1/2 inches apart. How many lines of beads will she need?

Maya wants to create a beaded scarf from a 36-inch-long piece of antique fabric she found. She wants to space her lines of beads 1 1/2 inches apart. How many lines of beads will she need?

For a denim project, Maya needs 89 rivets. She buys a 16 oz. bag of rivets at the thrift store. Each rivet weighs 4/31 oz. How many rivets are in the bag? Will she have enough?

For a denim project, Maya needs 89 rivets. She buys a 16 oz. bag of rivets at the thrift store. Each rivet weighs 4/31 oz. How many rivets are in the bag? Will she have enough?

Maya wants to stitch a striped pattern onto a 42-inch-long piece of faux leather. Each stripe is 3/8 inch wide and there is a 2 1/4 space between stripes. How many stripes will fit on the piece of leather?

Maya wants to stitch a striped pattern onto a 42-inch-long piece of faux leather. Each stripe is 3/8 inch wide and there is a 2 1/4 space between stripes. How many stripes will fit on the piece of leather?

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