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Pop-up boutique in Crown Center focuses on empowering young, female entrepreneurs

'Beloved' boutique opens it's doors to the public
Posted at 6:31 PM, Jun 09, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Beloved, a pop-up boutique in Crown Center, opened its doors Sunday. The shop is run by the Nia Project and sells goods made by Black, female entrepreneurs from the Kansas City area.

Rather than focusing solely on turning a profit, the boutique's main goal is to uplift young women.

Ma'Lia Roland sold cupcakes at the grand opening. She's a member of the Nia Project and will be working in the shop this summer.

"When I was in middle school, I first started giving out sweets — because I really liked baking as a hobby — until, suddenly, someone told me, 'You should really sell these. I think these would do really good,'" Roland said.

The Nia Project is a nonprofit that works to invest in the young, Black women in Kansas City, helping them build confidence, work with their peers and learn along the way.

Ma'Lia Roland, member of the Nia Project

Beloved is the newest strategy from the nonprofit.

Interns, like Roland, will run the shop to gain hands-on experience during its limited time of operation. Profits go back to the Nia Project.

Roland said she sees the summer as an opportunity to network.

"I get to get out there, especially because I’m really shy and I'm not used to stuff like that," Roland said.

Terri Barnes is the founder and president of the Nia Project. She worked in corporate America, but once she retired, she wanted to give back to the young women who were going into business.

"Young people are already doing entrepreneurship, but they’re doing it without the right tools and the right resources," Barnes said. "When we looked around Kansas City, we really didn’t see anyone delivering on those perspectives, from an entrepreneurial perspective, so we said, 'Let’s do it.'"

Terri Barnes, founder of the Nia Project

Taking in the shop and seeing other women who have made it reminds the young entrepreneurs to believe in themselves.

"The fact that it is going somewhere, at least we know it’s like helping people out," Roland said. "And also just the experience as well, and the people and the relationships I get to build."