Becoming Hannah Niara
By the time I reached kindergarten, I’d taught myself to sew by hand, and I began to make clothes for my dolls and hair bows for my friends and myself. In second grade, several of my art pieces were chosen for feature in a local art show, and the following year, I sold my first painting!
Although I believed I was a really talented artist, there was a part of me that didn’t quite believe being good at creating things was, “good enough.” As the only girl, right in the middle of two very left-brained brothers, I often compared myself to them, concluding they were smart and I was not. They liked books and science; I liked glitter and shiny shoes.
By the time I reached fourth grade, my mom noticed my interest in school was beginning to decline. Although my grades were well above average, it took me longer to get things done, and I stressed over schoolwork and homework. In fifth grade, after a series of assessments and evaluations, we discovered I had a learning difference. My mom, an elementary teacher, and my dad, a clinical psychologist, were very experienced in working with children with various differences, and they joined my teachers to help me develop the tools necessary for greater success in school, and greater confidence in my talents and intellect. My daddy convinced me that DIFFERENT DOES NOT MEAN DEFICIENT, and I will always carry those words close to my heart.
I’d attended academically accelerated private schools for most of my life, and by the time I reached junior high, my parents noticed I was nearing burn out. One day, after a long day of school, and a long evening of homework, my mom asked me my thoughts about the possibility of “unschooling” for the remainder of middle school. I had no idea what that meant, but I knew the prefix –un meant not, and putting it in front of the word school had to be a GOOD THING! My mom went on to explain it was a type of homeschooling in which nothing looked or felt like school because students learned through exploration, and with that, I was sold!
During my experience as an unschooler, I was given the freedom to create everyday. Math consisted of measurement and sewing, Science was cooking, and my first Writing assignment from my dad was to write a business plan for $300 I requested to buy beads for jewelry making. According to him, all financiers want a business plan.
After reviewing my business plan, my daddy became my first investor to help me launch EsiNiara, a handmade accessory company. I was 14-years-old, and we agreed to a 10-month, zero finance payback plan. However, after my first show, I earned enough money to pay him back IN FULL! Dad later moved all his belongings out of his home office and gave it to me as my official business work space, and the rest is history!
Since then, I’ve been featured in various articles, online blogs, magazines, podcasts, and other shows. I’ve won three business pitch competitions, gained two business investors, graduated high school, and entered college. I am currently studying Business at Hampton University in the 5-year MBA Program and serving as a violinist in the Hampton University Orchestra. While my days are filled with managing school, my evenings are spent managing a business and preparing for my future. All of the creations you see on this site are designed and created by yours truly, in my home-based work space!