Today’s young entrepreneurs are starting on their own business endeavors before they even make it to college, and 17-year-old Danielle Hawthorne is no different.
As a sophomore of Cardinal Spellman High School, New York native Hawthorne thought of a plan to launch her own line of handmade satin bonnets and durags called Scotch Bonnets By Dani, as a way to turn a profit and provide quality products that local beauty supply stores did not.
“I want to promote people taking care of themselves,” she said about her brand. “Bonnets sometimes have a negative connotation, but my products, the colors I use, bring a different approach. So, hopefully people will look at them in a more positive light.”
According to Hawthorne, her brand is considered a family business, as both her parents play a big role in helping her design her bonnets and durags.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Hawthorne saw much success from her business since its summer 2018 launch. However, her business saw an uptick in sales in the wake of quarantine when beauty supply stores were closed. After launching her special HBCU bonnet collection on Juneteenth, it completely took off.
The themed collection featured HBCU schools such as Morgan State University, Howard University, Hampton University, Florida A&M University, Clark Atlanta University, North Carolina A&T State University, Spelman College, and Delaware State University.
“I created this collection to bring more awareness to HBCUs and allow students from these schools to show their school spirit,” she said. “It made me feel good that people saw what I was doing and they didn’t even know me, but they were rooting for me.”
To date, Hawthorne has sold over 10,000 bonnets reaching a goal of over six-figures in revenue as a high school senior. With a successful business under her belt, she’s set her sights on transitioning from teen entrepreneur to revered businesswoman as she plans to pursue a business degree from a four-year university.
In addition to running her own businesses, Hawthorne also plans to develop an organization geared toward teen and Black entrepreneurship.
“My future goal is to open my own store and become a CEO of a company/organization that creates events to promote teen entrepreneurs and Black businesses,” she said.
Moreover, she has dreams of working with ESSENCE Magazine in some capacity and hopes of becoming an inspiration to teen business owners everywhere.
She encourages all aspiring teen entrepreneurs not to be too hard on themselves starting out as she too had her fair share of obstacles she endured to get where she is today.
“You might have a bunch of expectations of what you want your business to be and they may not not happen,” she said. “You will fail, but at the end of the day you need to use that failure to your advantage and turn it into something good in order to make you and your business successful.”
Right now, Hawthorne, along with her team, is working on her brand’s Christmas launch and expanding her products to include clothing and additional durags for her collection.
For more information about Scotch Bonnets By Dani, click here.