This Saturday, April 27, a local young black female entrepreneur is inviting other entrepreneurs and other interested community members to a launch event at 5:30 at R.N. Harris Elementary School.
R.N. Harris Elementary School is located at 1520 Cooper St. and entry is free.
Zarie Baker grew up in Robeson County in the small town of Rowland. The town had only one high school, one middle school and one elementary school. Although Baker loved Rowland, she knew it wasn’t quite big enough to match her dreams.
As she got older, she went on college tours with her high school and didn’t see anything that she loved.
As the tours continued, they got to go to one school that she fell in love with the moment she stepped foot on campus. North Carolina Central University represented something different to her. She loved the city and the school was everything she wanted in a university.
Baker went through a lot of growth during her time at N.C. Central University. After a few bouts of depression she pushed through, found herself going through a self-love journey and finding her way through life. Baker pushed through and excelled through school.
When graduation rolled around she was surprised to find out that she was one three valedictorians that would be representing the school. She was the only black female valedictorian that semester.
“I had no idea that I was valedictorian. I found out once I went to pick up my tickets for graduation, I was only expecting a Summa cum laude rope so to get valedictorian blew my mind,” said Baker.
Upon graduation, Baker created a business SWRL “N” EFFECT focusing on a t-shirt line that she designed. Its mission is to remind people to cherish themselves flaws and all, no matter your situation or image. The goal is to get you to accept yourself. Her ultimate dream is for this business to be inspiration to others, and to push others to express the creativity that lies within them.
“I would like to give back to my hometown and build up activities for the youth back home because there isn’t anything for them to do. I want to provide somewhere to go.” says Baker.
They recently closed the library in Rowland so there isn’t much for the kids to do, Baker wants to change that.
Saturday’s event is going to be a relaunch of SWRL “N” EFFECT with a free fashion show and expo. Baker has welcomed vendors to come and participate in the event. She wants to welcome any business to come and join and especially wanted to give black entrepreneurs a voice and chance to show their business.
“I wanted to share my platform with other businesses to give them a chance because it’s hard to do it on your own,” Baker said. “I want to get to a place where I can I provide a safe place, jobs for people who need it, especially young adults as they transition to adult life.” says Baker.
Joy Leak-Gray is the owner, founder and product creator of Natural Addictions Beauty and will be participating in the expo.
“Growing up under my grandmother I learned about a lot of different herbs and natural elements,” said Gray. She dealt with eczema issues with her children and wanted to create something that would benefit them. As word got out more people began to request her all-natural products.
Another vendor is Malena Harris, a 22-year-old business owner. Harris brushed her arm as she sat down to prepare to talk.
“I heard about Baker’s event from a friend of mine. She got me in contact with her and we went from there,” said Harris.
Harris owns a business called 26th Marketing and Management.
“Around last January was when I decided I wanted to start my business because I wanted to help out small business, help them grow and give them the affordable option to grow,” said Harris. “I help small businesses grow by managing and marketing their social media as well as all foot traffic.”
Harris goes to events and networks to get her business out there.
Denise Dudley, of Durham, plans to attend the event. She learned of it through word of mouth.
“I am very excited to attend,” said Dudley. “I am very excited to see everything they have to offer and I think it’s a beautiful thing to do for the small business in the community.”