Kemery Oparah knows all about starting and running a small business. After all, she came up with a product, developed a name and a logo, and worked with her team to create a website. The major difference between Kemery and most other business owners is that Kemery is eight.
She started the business with a very specific goal in mind: helping fund a family trip to Japan with her language teacher. Since Kemery, who has been studying Japanese since she was 13 months old, is already fluent in the language, it would certainly be a memorable trip. And so, she started Kemery Kreates, which sells leather bracelets engraved in Japanese. Purchasers can choose bracelets that say “love,” “strength,” faith,” “courage,” “hope,” or “peace,” or can have their names custom-engraved. Kemery says she fully intends to keep running the business, even after she achieves her initial goal.
“Sometimes I just stop and think ‘Wow. I run my own business.’” she says. “I just…that’s just a really cool feeling.”
If she doesn’t manage to earn enough for the Japan trip this year, Kemery plans to attend a camp where she’ll learn about investing and playing the stock market. It’s a bit of a switch from last year’s NSBE engineering camp, where she learned how airplanes fly, built snap circuits, and conducted experiments on smell and taste. But Kemery’s interests are broad. She’s performed in Ballethnic’s production of the Urban Nutcracker twice and in Winter Wonderland. She’s also a triathlete and is preparing for her third event now.
“The triathlons are so fun,” she says. “I love to bike and swim and run. Well, running, not so much, but I love biking and swimming. And I’ve made a lot of friends. In my first one, it was so cool, because people were really nice. If someone fell, we’d stop and help them up. We were all doing it together.”
Kemery says her favorite class is Language Arts…but also history and science and art and…everything else. She has won awards for spelling bees, class science fairs, scholastic achievement, and good character. She also loves that that she and First Lady Michelle Obama have something in common: they both skipped second grade
Last year, she earned a spot in the Burch Bears millionaire club for reading over one million words. She says her favorite reads are classics like Pollyanna and Robinson Crusoe, but also modern hits like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the Lemony Snicket books. She just finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and sad that it’s the last in the series. She also loves spending time with her family, and her parents say she’s the best big sister to her one-year-old brother. As for the future, Kemery is keeping her options open.
“I think I want to study law when I grow up,” she says. “And also be a professional horseback rider and volunteer with animals. And possibly design clothes.”
Her advice to other young women reflects her try-everything outlook: “Never stop. The sky is not the limit. You can go farther.”