By Christianna Alexander, Founder and CEO, Sweet Christi’s
I am 13-years-old and the founder and CEO of Sweet Christi’s, but I consider myself mostly a kidpreneur. My company makes bath soaps that look and smell like delectable sweet treats! I live, work and go to school in Jacksonville, Fla. At a very young age, I was diagnosed with a learning disability. I refused to allow this diagnoses to slow me down! I was determined to open my own business.
At seven-years-old I learned I was dyslexic and I was pretty devastated because I didn’t know what it meant. I had failed the second grade and it was one of the hardest times of my life. I remember my parents meeting with my school administrators and fighting to get me the help I needed. It was a struggle for me that year, as many of my close friends moved up to the next grade level. I had to start all over and try to look happy every day even though I still wasn’t learning the way that helped me the most. But I never gave up and tried hard to do my best on every assignment. When I left the second grade, my parents learned about a new school that had just recently opened up in our city. This school was geared towards helping kids just like me by providing a unique learning style.
Almost immediately, my parents got me on the waiting list and we hoped for the opportunity to arrive and that I would be able to get enrolled. After a few weeks that summer, I learned I was able to enroll and from there I knew everything was going to be okay. I’ve been at my current school now for four years and I can absolutely say it has changed my life. I have great friends, the best teachers and I am making A’s and B’s on my report cards. I’m not afraid to participate in class and I’ve even joined the drama club.
The self-confidence I gained pushed me to want to pursue my dream of owning my own business. I really wanted a baking company because I love to bake. My parents urged me to look into healthier alternatives because of the high sugar amounts in most treats. I remember writing down some ideas and realized I could possibly make sweet treats in a way that was fun and safe for everyone to enjoy. That day I came up with the idea to make bath soaps that look and smell like real cupcakes, donuts, chocolate bars and other sweet treats!
I took my idea and ran with it. I began to draw out my designs and what I wanted my soaps to look and smell like. I even entered a few business competitions and actually placed second in my very first one. That boosted my confidence even more and I kept going. I ended up meeting some amazing young entrepreneurs who shared the same passion I had, and we decided to collaborate and share our stories in a book. Could you imagine a kid like me who was told she wouldn’t do much or couldn’t even read nor write, becoming an author at just 12? I never imagined it would happen, but it did. I made my commitment that I would push myself and others to do their best and never give up.
The setbacks that I had, from being let back in school and not getting the best grades, really made me stronger and gave me the will to succeed. I am now a business owner at the age of 13 and I am on a mission to inspire other children and even adults who share this unique learning style. I want everyone to know that, no matter what type of disability you may have, you can achieve anything you put your mind to. I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams and, I can really say, I am living my dreams!
Christianna Alexander was born in Jacksonville, Fla. on October 3, 2005. She is the oldest of three and the daughter of Christopher and Hilda Alexander; both her parents are Navy Veterans. When Christianna started elementary school, her parents noticed she struggled to keep up with her schoolwork. Christianna’s learning struggles continued into the second grade. She was held back which left her devastated. Christianna refused to give up, and was able to enroll into a school that focused on helping children with learning disabilities like her own. Christianna quickly adapted, her confidence grew and she made the honor roll for the first time ever! Christianna took her new found confidence and honed in on her skills for making tasty treats. However, she found that the baking process came with challenges. One was the amount of sugar found in many of these treats. Christianna knew she needed to make a change, and wanted to provide healthier products, but still have fun creating them. With much brainstorming, and lots of trial and error, Christianna created Sweet Christi’s, a company focused on making all natural, handmade soaps that resemble delectable treats like donuts and cupcakes. Christianna’s views her disability as a blessing, and her mission in life is to be an ambassador for children everywhere who have learning disabilities.