For many, the desire for wealth and laying the foundation for what many hopes to be generational wealth before leaving secondary school is exciting and thrilling and drives imagination. Standing out amongst some of the territory’s most promising young entrepreneurs is 19-year-old, Maliyah Stevens. Stevens launched her sticker business at the young age of 18 as the sole proprietor.
For as long as she could remember, Maliyah centered her hobbies around creativity. She always engaged in activities that required drawing and other artistic elements. During school breaks, while her peers participated in an array of sporting activities, Maliyah would spend her time designing.
Being an artistic and expressive child, Maliyah created the first print of her current logo design. One day, she said, she sat daydreaming and while twirling her pencil, she told her mom she wanted to draw a logo for her first business. However, she knew it had to represent where she came from. She knew it had to represent the Virgin Islands.
Her business – 284BVI – as you might have surmised represents the telephone area code of the British Virgin Islands. The palms trees convey the tropical climate and the territory’s lovely beaches. Finally, the colours blue, green and yellow used in the logo represent the BVI’s national colours.
When asked about her inspiration, she could not pen it down to a singular person. Maliyah admitted, with a smile on her face, it was her mother, her brother and her sister.
“They support and encourage me in anything I do and always tell me to do my best,” she said.
Her mom assisted her with the start-up capital and continues to encourage her to design and save as much as she can.
Her brother, she said, called her Fire because in his mind Maliyah’s spirit was untouchable and she was always ready to do something – but it was not pretty and creative enough for Maliyah, so, she added the Ph instead of the F [Phire] so she is affectionately called Phire Deh Bout.
Maliyah currently pursues her education as a culinary student at the Virgin Islands School of Technical Studies (VISTS). She hopes in approximately three years she can venture into another entrepreneurship venture and fulfil her lifelong dream of owning her restaurant and becoming a top chef. However, Maliyah says this dream does not slow down her motivation or passion to see 284BVI thrive.
It is at VISTS where Maliyah gets most of her customers from. She says other customers were introduced to her products through social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram. She currently operates on-demand and purchases items in bulk from overseas to be able to fulfill her orders on time.
The teenage entrepreneur disclosed that her current products include dry-fit shirts, ski masks and stickers. She also hopes to add t-shirts and bucket hats to her product offerings in the near future. Maliyah’s ultimate goal for 284BVI is an expansion to a point where she has a physical location to display all of her products.
When asked about what advice she would give to young people who have a dream of launching and operating their own business; she says, “keep chasing what you want to do and never give because whatever you want to do, you can do”.
To reach 284BVI for products, persons can call or WhatsApp (284) 345-7265 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can like and follow her on Facebook @Phire Deh Bout and Instagram @284_virgin_islands_made.