How Did She Go From Bullied to Brand Executive?
|Photo Courtesy of Amiya Steed--Steed's sneakers exhibit positive affirmations to help girls feel good about themselves. The shoes are the result of Steed being creative while standing up to bullies.|
By Maniko Barthelemy
Who are you wearing? The question is directly asked and often associated with celebrities being interviewed at red carpet events. The answer is important, since clothing and shoes signify peculiar assertions about the designer and the customer.
That same pressure and pressure exists when it comes to children. It’s a sad but serious reality and begins as early as elementary. As students head back to school, the question about their clothes or sometimes more importantly, their shoes, is not asked as a compliment. Couple that with bullies preying on students, and you have a situation that stresses a child and frustrates a parent. “Two boys kept throwing pencils, saying rude things to me,” said 11-year-old Amiya Steed.
|Photo Courtesy of Amiya Steed--Amiya Steed is an 11-year-old entrepreneur and emerging actress. In 2016, she launched AMAK by Amiya footwear.|
That experience in the second grade for Amiya helped her hit back in a professional way and tap into her creativity and the pre-teen retail market as a CEO of her own brand of sneakers. “Why don’t I make shoes for kids just because of how they look and how they act with words that say you’re beautiful, pretty smart?”
As a third-grader, Amiya officially launched AMAK by Amiya footwear, her line of sneakers in 2016. Instead of a logo, she uses language that states exactly the opposite of what bullies spew. Self-expressive positive words like faith, wonderful, astounding, assertive, boss, etc. cover her black or white lace-up, low-top sneakers.
Amiya tailors every pair to her exclusive female client’s request. “My customers tell me the design,” she said. “I share that with the manufacturer overseas.” The lace-up shoes are comfortable walkers made with breathable cotton and have a soft rubber sole accented by a solid stripe circling the base of the shoe.
|Photo Courtesy of Amiya Steed-The low-top walkers with rubber soles are covered with complimentary words, some of which, clients request, when ordering the shoes Amiya designs.|
The tween’s company independently markets and sells the sneakers but is plans to expand its brand by sharing space one day with heavyweights like Nike, Reebok and Adidas. Just as those multi-billion dollar industry giants deliver on the expectations of shoe and fashion fanatics, Amiya knows her target audience well. She markets specifically to girls between 9 and 13 years old who are vying to stand-up to bullies and solidify their identity through affordable fashion with a principle.
She does not have to go far to find out what they want, since Amiya actually sees potential customers daily. “I love shoes,” she said. She proudly wears her shoes to school and some of her most loyal clients are her friends.
To find out more about AMAK by Amiya, visit www.AmiyaSteed.com . You can also follow her on Instagram @AmiyaTheCelebKid.
Amiya’s story is one of several weekly stories you’ll see here throughout the summer, as part of “How Did She…?” The series will focus on women who are defying the odds in various industries.
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