Camille Weatherspoon may be a bit bashful, but that hasn’t stopped the high school student from getting her products into the hands of grateful customers.
Although just a sophomore at Rich Township High School, Weatherspoon already is a thriving entrepreneur. The 15-year-old founded Exclusive Radiance, selling handmade, high-quality, natural-based beauty products that are not only reliable, but also are fun, she said.
Recently, the South Suburban Small Business Association recognized Weatherspoon with a Summit Award for starting a business that benefits the community. The SSSBA’s annual Summit Awards honor leading business people and organizations that have contributed to the economic and cultural growth of the region.
“It is really an honor to be noticed by the South Suburban Small Business Association,” Weatherspoon said. “Even with the plan I had, I didn’t think I would come this far and actually be recognized as a young entrepreneur at 15 years old.”
In prior years SSSBA has recognized upper-level students, but Weatherspoon broke that trend, impressing Don Grimwood, the head of SSSBA’s Summit Awards committee, as well as members of its executive board who chose Weatherspoon despite her being a sophomore.
“I interviewed Camille and the thing that really stood out was her attitude about helping people,” Grimwood said. “She wasn’t in this just to make money and do this for herself. She had some skin irritation and things like that and couldn’t find anything in the market so she created her own thing and realized there were other young girls that have the same sensitive skin and she could help them.”
Like many people of all ages, Weatherspoon has struggled due to her sensitive skin. While her skin care concerns she grew she sought a solution, which others can now find as well at www.exclusiveradiance.com.
“My business started as a result of my sensitive skin issues,” she said. “I was trying to make my skin better so I started making products and testing it out.”
Weatherspoon founded her business in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, finding inspiration from her father’s business ventures as well as those of an aunt to create and sell whipped body butters for nourishing and hydrating the skin and sugar body scrubs for exfoliating skin.
“My family inspired me because I saw them starting their own businesses,” she said. “I had their full support to start my own.”
For someone who strives to help others and has a business to promote, Weatherspoon acknowledged that she is a bit reserved.
“My biggest challenge has been promoting myself since I am not really social,” she said. “It does get difficult to balance all of it, especially when I was in sports, but I just always take at least a couple of hours out of the week to put into both of my businesses. I do nails as well.”
News updates from the south suburbs delivered every Monday and Wednesday
She hopes to someday focus on helping people find the right balance and beauty inside themselves as a psychologist.
“My reason to become a psychologist is because I really believe that if people are willing to get help they should actually get the help they need,” she said. “They should be able to get the help they need rather than just being given a drug and instead of going to find random drugs elsewhere.”
Her selfless attitude was one reason Weatherspoon won over the SSSBA.
“When we talked a bit more, she talked about how a lot of people turn to drugs to solve their problems and how she wants to work in psychology and get her doctorate and provide another solution,” Grimwood said. “She really wants to help people. It’s not just plans for herself, but to help other people.”
And while her business can help others, her journey can inspire other kids like her to follow a similar path.
“We want these kids to be involved in school activities, after school activities, community activities and neighborhood activities,” Grimwood said. “We know that by helping them they can become an example for the other kids and encourage them and pass it forward.”
CR Walker is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.