By George Kevin Jordan, AFRO Staff Writer
Its early evening on a Friday, and while many tweens may be relishing some social media time, or a chance to call friends, or even watch a movie, Maria Raquel Thomas is talking to a reporter about her business venture.
Thomas, 12, not only faces the daunting task of rigorous homework, socializing, after school programs, volunteering, making time for friends, family and herself, she is also living up to all the responsibilities of being “Ria The Science Princess.”
“Its my alter ego,” Thomas told the AFRO. Indeed Ria has found a niche market that helps people her age cope with stress and deal with anxiety.
Yep, you read it right. Thomas was just as pleasantly surprised at her own discovery as well.
“I became super obsessed with slime,” Thomas said. “I would make it and then my friends wanted to play with my slime. So I told my mom I wanted to start my own slime business.”
Thomas opened Ria’s Slime Shop in January of this year.
The site is full of admittedly soothing photos of colorful slimes. The products come in a variety of packages from Rias’ Kaptain Krunch Cereal, to Ria’s Bubblegum Land to Ria’s Candy Crush. One of the most beautiful is Ria’s Royal 2 a slime in a soothing purple that feels relaxing just looking at the photo. It’s no wonder that particular one is already sold out.
In fact, according to Thomas, Ria’s Slime Shop has sold more than 300 slimes. She’s also garnered a huge following on Instagram, and over 60,000 views from her YouTube channel.
So why has slime been such a hit with kids? Thomas weighed in on the subject.
“Me and my generation- we are now into phones and sometimes we need to get off of Tech and calm down,” Thomas said. “Slime calms us down. It gives us a relaxing scent.”
To concoct a batch of slime Thomas mixes a combination of glue, lotion and her secret activator. Parents need not worry. Her slime is borax-free and perfectly safe. When she is in a groove, Thomas can churn out a batch of slime in about ten to fifteen minutes.
Thomas’ foray into science was sparked by educators at her school.
“I think last year I was in sixth grade I had a new science teacher and she would tell us so much about science,” Thomas said. There are so many things to learn in the world.”
“Did you know people don’t know how to predict earthquakes. I’d to do that.”
Even though Thomas is a burgeoning entrepreneur with a pretty big influence on social media, her role model are very local.
“I look up to my mom and dad,” Thomas said. “they help me with my businesses, but they make sure they tell me this is mine.”
Indeed as an entrepreneur and a family member just complain about a problem is not allowed.
“When I have a problem I have to come up with three solutions to solve my problem,” Thomas said. These ideas were infused in the 12-year-old from her parents who instilled in her that real leaders come with a problem in one hand possible solutions in the other.
Thomas is definitely bit by the science bug. She hopes to attend Harvard Medical School someday. But she already has an idea of how to manage and prepare for her goals and dreams.
“I plan on getting scholarships,” Thomas said.
Right now with the Holiday season right around the comer, her Christmas list is even business focused.
“First I want to give,” Thomas said. “Then maybe get some more slime supplies and my own laptop so I can do editing.”
For more information go to Thomas’s site at https://www.mariaraquelthomas.com.