BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Condoleezza Semien, 13, is on a journey that most teenagers her age are not.
“These are my pillows and they all have a special scent to them; one is alert, one is comfort, and one is deep sleep,” said Semien.
The pillows are filled with different scents Semien combined herself. She says her goal was to create a type of aromatherapy that helps soothe symptoms for people with mental and physical health issues.
"My mom and my best friend, they’re going through stuff that keeps them from sleeping. It was more so to help people, it wasn’t all about me,” said Semien.
Semien says she learned about aromatherapy and how to combine scents online. She then handcrafted pillows so people could use the scents while relaxing. Semien says she had a little help sparking her inner businesswoman. In 2018, her parents enrolled her in the Young Entrepreneur’s Academy Baton Rouge. The program gives high school students the skills to start a business.
"In this program, it’s hard because you’re doing something people don’t do until they’re in their 30s and 40s; they don’t even think about it,” said Semien.
The teenager says she’s glad she did the program. She won $2,500 from local investors after pitching her idea to a shark tank-like investment panel. She also won an all-expenses paid trip to New York, where she’ll pitch her business idea in a national competition. Semien says she’s ready to take on her new role as a professional, including the hard work that comes with it.
“With that comes the responsibility. You have to write speech cards, you have to know what you’re going to bring, how you’re going to pitch it, the way you’re going to pitch it, because it’s really about execution. It’s amazing, but I know it’s going to be work," Semien said.
Semien will head to New York for the national competition on May 2.