A 16-year-old honors student from a Chicago South Side high school has won a contest to become a baby toy entrepreneur. Daijah Pierce, who also suffers from a debilitating auto-immune disease, won with her “Optical Illusion” design for the brand, Baby Paper.
The contest was created to bring a new perspective to the toy industry and to offer a unique opportunity to a young, budding entrepreneur who may not otherwise be exposed to such opportunities. It was sponsored by Sari Wiaz, creator of the Baby Paper brand and Katrina Marshall, President and Owner of Artistic Toys & Promotions.
Wiaz, who wanted to focus this first contest around Chicago’s South Side, used the resources from Goldman Sach’s 10,000 Small Business community in Chicago and found a partner in Jody LaVoie, Chief Executive Officer of Female Strong/ YEA! Chicago, to publicize the contest.
Pierce was awarded a design fee and will earn royalties on sales of the product. She will be involved with every aspect of the process from manufacturing through distribution and marketing. Wiaz and Marshall will act as mentors as Pierce learns hands-on business operations.
Diana Conley, the People Connector for Female Strong/YEA Chicago, notes, “Daijah is a talented young woman and wise beyond her years”. Conley believes this opportunity will enhance Daijah's life experience and educate her on many levels.
Baby Paper is sold through Wiaz’s company, Wize Choice Creations, with primary distribution in brick & mortar locations throughout the United States and Canada. Wiaz has always been a champion and advocate for neighborhood retailers and values her membership in ASTRA (American Specialty Toy Retailer Association) and BRIXY, a network of independently owned and operated baby stores. For more information visit www.babypaper.com.
Artistic Toys & Promotions is a woman and minority owned business specializing in custom plush and accessories. Katrina Marshall began at Artistic Toys as a part-time receptionist in 2006 and eventually held every position from dressing teddy bears to negotiating key contracts. Marshall acquired the company in December of 2017. Since that time, she has won numerous awards in manufacturing for her hard work and dedication. www.artistictoy.com
Female Strong/YEA! Chicago is a non-profit that is on a mission to change the workplace of the future for women by building confidence in middle and high school girls. Their Young Entrepreneur’s Academy (YEA!), allows girls to build a business and have the opportunity to receive seed funding. In addition to the YEA! program, they have workshops, camps and other experiences focusing on building confidence in girls so that they can become future leaders. Visit Female Strong/ YEA! https://femalestrong.org/
For more information contact Sari Wiaz at email@example.com
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