April 21, 2020
Cypress Lakes High School junior Nia Phillips, center, received a $25,000 check from McDonald’s business owners Marla and Marissa Thrower on Feb. 26 on the Tamron Hall Show. The Throwers and the show had been tracking Phillips’ business after it went viral for six months before inviting her to be a guest on the show. Pictured, from left, are Marissa Thrower, Marla Thrower, Nia Phillips, Dedra Phillips and Tamron Hall.
April 21, 2020—Cypress Lakes High School junior Nia Phillips received a $25,000 check from McDonald’s business owners Marla and Marissa Thrower for her beauty business, Ni'Abri Beauty, on the Tamron Hall Show on Feb. 26.
Nia's passion for beauty started when she was young. After taking business classes at Cypress Lakes, Nia told her mother, Dedra Phillips, that she wanted to start a lip gloss business. Dedra turned her daughter’s dream into a reality by creating Ni’Abri Beauty and giving it to Nia as her sweet 16 present.
“It was already a legal business when I gave it to her on her birthday,” Dedra said. “My thought was, ‘Yes, I could get her a car,’ but I’m all about teaching my kids how to lead and she can build on this business.”
With her new business, Nia created a website for Ni’Abri Beauty and started to promote it through social media. Different magazines, like Black Enterprise and Ebony, picked up Nia’s story and her business went viral.
The attention Ni’Abri Beauty received through magazine features and social media caught the attention of the Tamron Hall Show.
“When I told my mom that the Tamron Hall Show was calling me, she freaked out,” Nia said. “They wanted to fly us out to New York City to be on the show because of all the attention that Ni’Abri Beauty was receiving. They had been tracking the business on social media for about six months before calling us.”
When Nia and her mother were guests on the show, they were met by McDonald’s business owners Marla and Marissa Thrower, who are striving to promote the next generation of African American women entrepreneurs. The Throwers gifted Nia with a $25,000 check to help take her business to the next level.
After appearing on the Tamron Hall Show, Phillips sold out of all products on her site. Phillips has her products made in the United States and ships worldwide from her house.
“Everybody on the set knew about the money except us,” Nia said. “As soon as they came out with this check I was so confused. It was shocking.”
Since the show, Nia is using the money to buy new products and market her business, but she’s also giving away three $1,000 gifts to individuals 17 years or younger who want to start their own business.
“I just want to pay it forward,” Nia said. “I want to help people.”
With a year left of high school and being the CEO of her own business, Nia finds it hard sometimes to balance it all.
“It’s two different completely different worlds,” Nia said. “At school, nobody really knows what’s going on, but when I attend beauty conferences, people know the business. It’s crazy.”
Dedra added: “She’s having to balance a lot. I think it’s important for Nia to know that this business is a marathon. You grow slow and you learn a lot of skills along the way. Being a teenager still in school and running a business, you must find a balance between that. It’s a learning experience.”
Through this business, Nia said she has learned numerous skills, like leadership, ownership, financial literacy and professionalism.
After graduating from Cypress Lakes, Nia wants to primarily focus on her business but is thinking about attending community college. Nia's ultimate goal is to have her products in Ulta and Sephora.