It’s no surprise that there is a lack of diversity in women-owned boutiques in town. With a passion for clothes, sales and people, second-year business administration student Chaniyah Thompson is determined to use her strong skill-set for good change and career advancement.
At the young age of 20, Thompson works as a part-time manager at Sparkle Tallahassee, a local women-owned clothing boutique. She has served in various leadership roles so far during her two years with the business.
The Tallahassee native was a participant in her high school’s business entrepreneurship program during her junior and senior years. This program allowed students to take general business courses for college credit and leave school early to work in their prospective fields.
After initially working at a daycare and in fast food, Thompson found a home at Sparkle. During her senior year, she served as a lead sales associate and has since climbed the ladder. This previous experience made it easy for Thompson to choose a career path and school following high school graduation.
“I chose Florida A&M University’s School of Business and Industry because I’ve always known I wanted to go to an HBCU and had a strong interest in learning more about the world of business,” Thompson said.
While working and a full-time student, Thompson enjoys the flexibility her job allows her. She works both in-store and online while fully committing herself to SBI’s rigorous curriculum.
“I can do a little bit of everything. Right now, my focus is working on marketing,” Thompson said. “It’s my responsibility to make sure app notifications go out about new clothes and to promote upcoming Facebook lives and events. I utilize Canva to make graphics to post on our social media platforms, as well as daily store content.”
Her work has also afforded her unique opportunities to travel and gain hands-on experience in different aspects of running a small business.
“Sparkle has allowed me to build many new relationships and meet new people. I’ve also been able to see selling not only business to customer, but business to business as well,” Thompson said. “I’ve been able to be a buyer for the business through online wholesale platforms and at Atlanta Market, there I got to see how other boutique owners shop for their stores in person.”
Thompson is armed with an admirable work ethic and is well-respected by supervisors and colleagues. Andrea Jessup, former Sparkle Tallahassee human resources manager, was eager to share her appreciation for Thompson and acknowledge her versatility in the work she does.
“Chaniyah has learned every position at Sparkle Tallahassee and mastered them. She could operate Sparkle with her eyes closed on her worst day,” Jessup said. “Chaniyah’s work ethic is superior. She’s a born leader; She’s smart and capable of managing a business as if it were her own.”
Thompson’s mother, S. Powell, also shared her excitement and confidence in her daughter’s abilities to go out and change the world of business.
“She works hard and genuinely gives everything her all. She’s not only loyal and trustworthy, but she’s dedicated and uses her intelligence to strategize ways to improve and make things better for everyone, employees and customers,” Powell said. “I’m most excited for her having the opportunity to explore and spread her wings. I’m more than confident that she will do great at all of it.”
Through SBI, Thompson has landed a summer 2023 internship with Vanguard in Pennsylvania. She hopes to continue her growth and get a better idea of a long-term career goal.
“This summer I’ll be a sales intern at Vanguard. I’m not too sure what exactly I want to do long term, but I do know I want to continue my work in sales. I’m excited about this internship to give me a different avenue than retail and am excited to take my knowledge to expand upon,” Thompson said.
Through her journey, wherever she goes Thompson is confident in the skills she honed at Sparkle Tallahassee will allow her to conquer her wildest dreams.