Kierra Perkins’ mom said since her daughter was 7 years old, she was creative and way into crafting.
Last summer at 13, Perkins won the gold medal prize as winner of the Kids Idea Tank competition.
Since then, her new business, Kandles by Kierra, has taken off, and she’s using her wisdom to inspire other young entrepreneurs to start their own businesses.
Entrepreneurial lightning can strike at any age, and for Hermitage native Perkins, it struck when she was young.
“She’s always been amazing at crafting and thinking of new ideas,” said her mom, Michelle Perkins. “At about 7 years old, she wanted to color Easter eggs and used her Pop-Pop’s ties, cut them up and wrapped them around the eggs before she dyed them in vinegar and food coloring.”
The young crafter then morphed into tie dying, begged for a sewing machine and dug deep to exploring the YouTube world of crafting videos.
“I begged my mom to go to Hobby Lobby,” said Kierra Perkins.
She is the youngest of four siblings, and she sure was the baby, said her mom. Her siblings are 28, 26 and 23.
Kierra Perkins attended Tulip Grove Elementary School and then Strive Collegiate Academy. After a recent move, she currently is a freshman at Wilson Central High School in Mt. Juliet.
Her interest in crafting and starting her own business started feverishly at 11.
“I have always loved to make things,” she said. “I would watch all kinds of videos, and they motivated me, and then I’d tell my mom about them.”
Kandles by Kierra is her newbie start after she made a candle for her dad for Father’s Day at 11.
“He really loved chocolate chip cookies,” said Kierra Perkins. “So, I made him a chocolate chip cookie and milk candle.”
Her dad loved it. Her grandfather also got a unique Kandle by Kierra, as well.
“I told my mom I wanted to start a business, and she said yes, and we researched so much,” said Kierra Perkins.
They made the candles in her mom’s kitchen.
“For two to three years, we had rooms in my house in Hermitage filled with homemade candles,” said Michelle Perkins. “My dining room table was filled with candles.”
For several Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations, they “sat at the corner of the table.”
Kierra Perkins started with only the highest-quality, 100%-natural soy wax and infused the candles with fragrances that linger in the home.
In mom’s kitchen, they came up with signature fragrances like citrus mango smoothie, pineapple explosion, green apple margarita and luxurious lavender.
Three years later, 14-year-old Kierra Perkins currently owns a successful venture. She’s the CEO of Kandles by Kierra. All the while, she is an honor roll student. She juggles school and extracurricular activities such as volleyball, cheerleading and track.
And, she drives a race car.
“I like to encourage kids my age and tell them a young creative mind can start a business, and you don’t have to wait until you’re an adult to reach your goals,” said Kierra Perkins.
She spoke to more than 120 third-graders at Glencliff Elementary School about entrepreneurship. She also enjoys networking with different businesses, relaying motivational speeches and spending time with her family.
At such a young age, Kierra Perkins was given the “Who’s Who in Nashville” award from Dr. Bobby Jones on his television show, “Bobby Jones Presents.” She also received the 2019 entrepreneur on the rise award. And, Women Who Rock Nashville nominated her for the distinguished daughter award.
Kierra Perkins lauds her mom for her help.
“Mom is my helper,” she said. “She’s just so amazing. She helped me be the person I am now. She’s so proud of me for being successful. And she is, too.”
For the Kids Idea competition, she said it was during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I sent in a video of my business at first,” she said. “They selected the top 15 entrepreneurs. I got a call and was able to pitch my idea. We were judged and asked questions.”
She was a hit and won the competition.
As she grows her business as a freshman, Kierra Perkins said she wants to go to college and get degrees in both business and finance. Meanwhile, she’s a published author of “A Special Gift for Dad,” a story of love and creativity.
“It’s how I started a business as a kid,” she said. “I got out of my shell, and I want to reach out to shy kids and boost their confidence.”
She said she was so shocked about her latest award. Now the TV show “Shark Tank” is on her mind. Why not?
“I have applied to get an application,” said Kierra Perkins. “I’m not ready yet. Maybe I will wait for a kids’ idea Shark Tank.”
To this day, her father hasn’t lit the wick to preserve the special present candle Kierra gave him that became the impetus for her business.
“He doesn’t want to ruin the original candle,” said Kierra Perkins.
Visit kandlesbykierra.com to order her candles.