A Dream Come True - Carolina Country

A Dream Come True

‘Kidpreneur’ Maya matches jewelry for children and dolls

By Tara Verna | Photos by Rachel Kemble

A Dream Come True

With her often sparkly, colorful and animal-themed attire, 10-year-old Maya seems like a typical pre-teen girl at first glance. But strike up a conversation and there’s not much typical about this serious, smart, creative “kidpreneur” who took over her mom’s Etsy shop “Sweet Tea and Sugar” to sell handmade jewelry for dolls and children.

Resin Curing

Resin curing

The Wake Electric member lives in Wake Forest with her “Mommom” (mother Rachel Kemble), stepfather Greg Strain and two foster brothers, with her dad and family living nearby. But the inspiration for her current business venture came from Colorado, where her family lived before moving to North Carolina.

“I have a large rock collection that began when I was about two years old,” Maya explains. “My mom says I picked up all the rocks — and pinecones too — and carried them home. As long as they fit in my pockets or bags, and not hers, I could keep them.”

Last year, Maya was gifted a rock tumbler and began using her polished rocks to create matching necklaces for herself and her American Girl dolls.

“I love all things American Girl,” she says happily. “While waiting for the 4-to-6-week rock tumbling process to be done, my Mommom and I researched other fun jewelry ideas which led to experimenting with resin. I love all things colorful and sparkly and both have been fun to work with in resin.”

Maya’s mom lends a hand with the resin.

“Resin can get super-hot if you do it wrong, and Maya only has about 40 minutes to work with the resin after I pour it for her,” Rachel says. “But she’s getting better at laying out different ideas ahead of time. And then it’s a race to finish before it starts to harden.”

In addition to rocks and resin, Maya experiments with watercolors and glass bezels. Between the Etsy shop and a couple of local venues, Maya has sold dozens of sets.

When asked about advice she would offer children her age who are inspired by her story, Maya says, “If you try your hardest and have some help, you can make it through.”

In her spare time, Maya takes part in Girl Scouts, hip hop and musical theater class. But her favorite thing in the world? Cuddling up with her cat Breck and her dog Mars. Maybe she’s a bit more typical after all.

Arboretum of New Hanover County

Where to find Maya’s jewelry

Jewelry pieces range in price from $12 to $25, and she also takes custom orders.

Maya's Etsy shop

Mercantile on Mason

Sweets & Stems

North Raleigh Market
Dec. 11 | 10 a.m.–3 p.m.

About the Author

Tara Verna is the creative director for Carolina Country.

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest.

Like this?

Share it with others