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Conquering The Business World At Age 11

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Sixth grader Gabrielle Jordan Williams started her own jewelry-making company in 2009.
Rebecca Sheir
Sixth grader Gabrielle Jordan Williams started her own jewelry-making company in 2009.

Everyone remembers their first job, whether it was a paper route, a babysitting shift, or a lawn-mowing gig around the neighborhood. For 11-year-old Gabrielle Jordan Williams, her first job came a little sooner than most.


Gabby, as she's called, lives in Upper Marlboro, Md., and is the founder and CEO of Jewelz of Jordan. She's also the author of the new book, The Making of a Young Entrepreneur.

The book's subtitle, “A Kid’s Guide To Developing The Mind-Set For Success,” pretty much summarizes what Gabby’s done with her handmade jewelry business.

Gabby started selling the jewelry at events in Baltimore two years ago. Last year, she got her business license for Jewelz of Jordan. This year, she launched her website, where you can buy three lines of accessories: Ladies, Young Ladies, and a matching mother-daughter series called 'Mommy & Me.'

At home in her jewelry room, she picks through meticulously organized bins of beads, stones, and chains to string them on. "Right now I’m working on the 'daughter' half of the 'mother-daughter necklace,' which is this triple-strand pearl necklace with a small flower," she says.

These days, Gabby has a dedicated team helping her create and sell her bright, shiny things. Her father, Ron Williams, is a filmmaker who handles graphics, images and videos for her website. Her mother, Marcella Williams, is more on the promotional side. "I am her supporter, fan club president … marketing director," she says, with a laugh.

And the public relations and editing for her book? That job is handled by 13-year-old brother Daniel. But Gabby's business isn’t all work and no play, because, as her mother is quick to remind everyone, Gabby is still a child. 

"We constantly ask her, 'How are you feeling today? Is this too much? Is Mommy putting too much pressure on you?' Sometimes yes, sometimes no," Marcella says. "So and then I know, okay, I need to back off a bit. So communication is the key to it all."

And so is laughter, Gabby adds.

"I am still a child while being an entrepreneur, because someone is always cracking a joke in the middle of when I’m just about to fall," Gabby says. "Someone just seems to crack a joke or be funny, period." With that support system, it wasn't hard to get started on Jewelz of Jordan; not to mention, entrepreneurship runs in the family.

"My ancestors were all entrepreneurs. And so it built a foundation of becoming an entrepreneur," Gabby says. Now, she’s hoping her book will inspire other young people to do the same: "Follow your dreams, to watch out for dream killers," she says. 

What’s a 'dream killer'? As Gabby explains it, "Someone that hates on you … because maybe they're jealous, or saying you're a phony."

Gabby’s book also includes a message for parents: “Always encourage and support your children’s business and dreams," she says, reading aloud from her book.  My parents support and encourage me … they see the bigger picture for me, and that helps me believe that I can do anything I set my mind to."


[Music: "Pennies from Heaven" by Stephane Grappelli from Verve Jazz Masters 11 - Stephane Grappelli]

Photos: MC: Youth Entepreneur


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