KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The future of Kansas City's beauty business could be in the hands of two Kansas City teenage girls.
Best friends Chondra Walters, 14, and 15-year old Makaila Traylor launched a beauty company last month called MC Cosmeticare. They got the idea to go into business because both of their mothers are entrepreneurs. The mothers helped their girls understand and complete the process of starting a business, along with offering some motherly advice.
"She informed us on the essentials and how to take care of ourselves when it comes to being business partners and starting our own business," Traylor said.
The young entrepreneurs are walking in the shadow of some heavy-hitters in the beauty business in Kansas City. Longtime Kansas City residents are well acquainted with Blankenship Beauty and Barber supply in the 18th and Vine District.
Lawrence Blankenship Sr. and Fred Meyer started the business in 1944 selling hair care products from one small store – and the trunk of their car as they drove around town.
They eventually had six locations. Blankenship is known as the "Godfather of the distribution of Black hair care products."
One products Blankenship sold was Madam C.J. Walker's remedy to stimulate hair growth. Walker developed a system of hair growth products that were so successful she became one of the first Black millionaires in the country.
There was a Madam C.J. Walker Beauty School in the mid-1900s at 19th Street and The Paseo in Kansas City, Missouri. Her dream for a better life began when her family was living in poverty in St. Louis. Walker eventually set up her production company and beauty school in Indianapolis.
An exhibit at the Indiana Historical Society has a special collection dedicated to Walker.
Those success stories are fueling the excitement for the teenage business partners, Chondra and Malaika. They accept business advice from their moms; but make their own decisions about products. Traylor and Walters develop the recipes, mix the ingredients and package their line of lip, face, and body scrubs which are for sale on Facebook, MC Cosmeticare.
"We like to make everything enjoyable but safe at the same time," Walters said. "So when producing orders, we make sure we wear our gloves, everything is sanitized and everything like that."
Traylor said their products include a honey lip scrub, as well as lavender and orange scents. A Valentine's Day special also is in the works, according to Walters.
"The name of the lip scrub is going to be Cupid's Kiss," Walters said, "and for the body scrub it's going to be Sweet Heart Sugars Body Scrub."
Since January, MC Cosmeticare has sold more than $100 in online orders. The teen entrepreneurs said they're starting small but have big plans.
"I see us, I won't say we see us as multi-millionaires, but I see us really making a huge profit from this and really benefiting to others and impacting other women, other African Americans, other people in general, to create their own business to start something of their own," Traylor said.
They also are embracing their new status as role models.
"We're African American, we're teenage girls and we started our own business and we're actually making a profit from it," Traylor said. "So, I feel like this can really show others that they can do whatever they put their mind to. It just takes time and patience to really achieve."