I am so glad to have been able to catch a few minutes with this young lady for the ongoing Las Vegas Teen Spotlight series. It’s part of the Teen Career Tips series on Vegas Kids Zone. Entrepreneurship can help kids prepare for the future, gain confidence and skills.
Kumei is a local tween who started her own business, Tofu Tees on five words she had jotted down when she was 8, “Why Are Peeple So Sensitiv?.” Her phrases pack a punch while the designs are minimalist and beautiful. Now 12, she runs the successful business with her family, creating T-shirts, totes and masks emblazoned with “Racism Is Trash,” “I Love Unicorns, Slime & Equality,” and other simple statements of truth. Her BLM Bracelets are always free and her Wish Bracelets are only $1.
Kumei credits her parents, Tiarre and Devon, with inspiring her to keep going when things get rough, such as losing the bulk of her original designs, and to continue to stretch as an artist and young entrepreneur.
Why did you decide to start Tofu Tees?
Tofu Tees started with the design slogan “Why Are Peepl So Sensitiv?.” I found it written in one of my old notebooks when I was 8, I thought it would be funny to put it on a shirt, so that’s what I did! After business took off, I decided to focus on issues important to me like, racism, feminism, politics, etc. And that is when Tofu Tees really started getting noticed.
What is the goal of your business?
To spread awareness about issues surrounding our community, nation and world while making people laugh and to let people know that kids have valuable opinions too.
What advice can you give other kids who may want to start a business?
I would say that if you’re really passionate about starting your business, then you should go for it… If you start the business and you feel like no one is interested in it, you should keep going and not be discouraged. Also be aware that a business takes hard work, and new responsibilities. It also helps to have very supportive parents.
What has been a favorite part of running Tofu Tees?
Being able to interact with people and being a part of Fergusons Downtown and making my own money!
How have you overcome obstacles, if any, when starting Tofu Tees?
I recently lost all of the original designs I created because our computer broke. Tofu Tees are made using vinyl and don’t last as long as I would like them to, so these problems combined, made me decide to switch to screen printing. I want to continue to actually make the items I sell, so I saved up money and fundraised a little to purchase a screen-printer. I’ll be learning how to use it soon!
What are your future goals?
I’d like to open up a shop in Fergusons Downtown and become really good at screen printing so I can help other business owners make tees and customized items.