Flint, MI — Amari Green, an 18-year-old entrepreneur and graduating senior at Southwestern Classical Academy, was announced as the recipient of the 2020 Katharine Roat Stevens Scholarship.
The fund honors the memory of Roat, Genesee County woman and well-known business owner who helped women in business to meet their entrepreneurial goals.
Green, who owns her own business already, has been an entrepreneur since she was a kid.
“I used to sell snacks to my neighbors when I was nine years old. When I was in high school, when I first started, I was selling brownies and cookies to my classmates,” she said.
From there, she moved on to making and selling wigs, then shoes and clothes, until finally, in October of 2019, she launched her own clothing brand, Saniyah.
“I just always found a way to make money. My parents have a lot of kids and (there) wasn’t always extra money to pay for things that I wanted,” she said.
James Avery is the Director of Education and Training at the Flint and Genesee Chamber of Commerce, and also served as the Committee Chair for the KRS scholarship committee said she fit the scholarship’s purpose by seeking entrepreneurship as a career.
“Her aspiration of being a successful designer from our community could inspire more young ladies in becoming entrepreneurs,” he said.
The committee is made up of three members, all individuals from the women business community, as well as Chamber Foundation members.
Avery also commended her extensive community service track record and her academic achievements.
Green, who hopes to continue her educational journey as a fashion design student at Clark Atlanta University in Georgia, achieved a 3.9 GPA while also juggling a myriad of leadership roles. She was the captain of her school’s volleyball and basketball teams, president of the National Honors Society, and treasurer of the Delta Gems Sorority. To top it all off, she was a member of Quiz Bowl and a TeenQuest graduate.
“It was definitely really hard for me to balance all of those things, and yeah, sometimes it did get overwhelming, but with my support system, I did manage to get through it, ” said Green.
“It was hard balancing school and sports and leadership roles and things outside of school, but I pushed through, and I’m proud of what I did,” she said.
A self-starter and problem-solver, Green touched on how she started making clothes, specifically for her brand, Saniya.
“I started designing clothes because I’m really small for my age and I can never really find clothes that fit me that match my age group. I always have to shop in the kids’ clothing section and it really messed with my confidence. I decided to have my own brand, started designing my own clothes that would fit for every shape and size. If you’re extra small or extra, extra large, I wanted to make something like that, where everybody is confident and comfortable with it.”
As for future goals, she says she is working toward owning multiple storefronts across the country wherever she can have warehouses, in addition to having manufacturers that work for her.
“It was really hard finding manufacturers (at first). I found a couple, I ordered things from them that I didn’t like so I did take a few losses in the beginning.”
She explained that she ended up networking with fashion designers from around the country and asking tips on how to find manufacturers. Now when she creates her designs in her sketchbook, she is able to see them come to life.
“It was really exciting, for this particular scholar, because she really has very clearly defined ambitions … She was a very good fit,” said Izzi Joseph, Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce’s communications specialist.
With the help of this fund, Green hopes to learn how to properly run her business with the guidance of those who are more experienced.
“I want to learn how to run my business and learn to better design products and how to stay up-to-date with new trends. Not only that, I want to network with new people in the same industry as me and all over the country.”