At age 13, Jamila Thompson is already a published author, speaker, volunteer and CEO.
Jamila got the idea for her company when she was just 7. After attending a friend’s birthday party where guests received manicures and pedicures, she decided she wanted to do something similar — but more extravagant — for her own birthday party. So, her mother decorated an empty storefront like a spa.
“My birthday was a success with 26 girls,” Jamila said. “Some girls were crying, saying that it was the best party they had ever been to.”
Jamila said she wanted to continue doing that for other girls. Thus, Rub A Dub Spa Parties for Kids Inc. was born.
During the school year, the Rosedale, New York, native schedules spa parties on weekends and sometimes has up to four parties in one day. During summer months, spa parties are during the week.
The business-savvy teen said her parents played an important role in her entrepreneurial journey and have always supported her endeavors. Her father taught her how to play chess when she was 7. Jamila said she would beat kids much older than her and bring home giant trophies from summer camp.
She said her mother is her role model and source of inspiration.
“She helped to instill the entrepreneurial values that I have today,” Jamila said. “She always encouraged me to create and do something that could make a difference.”
Lisa Middleton-Thompson said of her daughter, “Jamila is beautiful both out and inside. Her warm smile attracts and draws others to her.”
As a young business owner, Jamila has already had to make some tough decisions. She had to fire one employee who underestimated her because of her young age, and who didn’t respect her as a boss.
“I tell her how you respond to your situations is a choice,” Middleton-Thompson said. “You can get upset, or you can dust yourself off and move forward. Just remember, every minute you stay upset you lose time being happy.”
In 2011, at age 9, Jamila released her book, You Work It Girl: A Tween’s Guide to Beauty, Fashion and Other Cool Stuff. It contains 40 chapters, including tips on being a leader not a follower; money management; being active in the community; and looking and feeling your best.
“My book is about encouraging, empowering and getting girls to embrace their own uniqueness,” Jamila said.
When she speaks at school and church functions, her topics include money management, entrepreneurship and volunteering, another of her passions. She volunteers at The Ronald McDonald House and reads stories to kids at daycare centers.
“I think it’s important to help others and be a role model for others,” Jamila said. “I feel good about myself after I’ve helped someone.”
Middleton-Thompson said her daughter still maintains a normal life, even with a busy schedule that includes school, chess tournaments and Alvin Ailey dance classes.
Although the 13-year-old entrepreneur already has an impressive resume, she is currently working on recipes to include in her future cookbook.
Jamila had some advice to other aspiring young entrepreneurs.
“Don’t be lazy. Get others’ opinions, but do not let them take over.”