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16-Year-Old Opens Beauty Supply Business In Brooklyn Amid Pandemic

A 16-year-old high school senior has made national news after starting the Pairs Beauty Supplyz on Church Avenue in Flatbush, New York according to Fox Business. Paris McKenzie says her mother inspired her to open the store.

“My mom really inspired me to open up the store,” McKenzie said. “She’s my biggest inspiration.”

McKenzie says she was a little nervous about starting a business. “But, I knew I had the knowledge and I had the funds to do it so I said if this can inspire others, then it is something I should do,” she said. McKenzie says the response on social media has been “amazing.”

“Business has been really well ever since I posted a store on social media. People have been very supportive,” she said. “It is amazing to see how much people I have inspired and how much people have learned or have gained coverage to start their own business just from my post.”

McKenzie a first-generation Jamaican American, grew up watching her mother, Senica Thompson runs her own salon in Brooklyn.

“I grew up very independent, you can say. My mother, she’s an entrepreneur as well. She opened her first business a few months after I was born. I grew up watching her handle businesses and finances, so I pretty much knew what I was getting myself into,” she said told BEAUTY IRL.

“And since she was at work so often — seven days a week, took one day off a year — I pretty much had to grow up a little bit faster and it made me able to run a business at this age,” McKenzie continued. “Some people might say, “Oh, she’s so young. She’s not fully developed.” But growing up the way I have, I’ve been mature enough to do this from probably 14, 15.”

McKenzie says her beauty supply store is a safe space for Black people to shop.

“My vision was to have a place that was very accessible, affordable, and comfortable for anyone who walks in,” said McKenzie. “If you’re Black, you’re white, you’re Asian, whoever walks in, I wanted them to feel comfortable no matter what. And especially because I’m Black, I wanted to push more on the Black products and making Black people feel comfortable in an area that we very much frequent, so that’s something I really wanted to do,” she explained.