Mother, 8-Year-Old Daughter Start Kids Self-Care Business Together

Kitty Paws was formed out of daughter Aliyana’s love for nail polish.

Like many, during the summer of 2020 Kendra and Aliyana McCarthy found themselves with extra time on their hands due to the pandemic. The Maryland mother-daughter duo were used to spending weekends exploring the DC-Maryland-Virginia area and tending to a busy social schedule. When all that came to a halt, McCarthy said she wanted to find a creative way to continue bonding with her daughter and ensure that her extroverted 7-year-old was getting the support she needed through their changing reality.

Kitty Paws
Courtesy of Kitty Paws

After learning about a fellow Girl Scout's business, the idea to start a business of her own was already swirling in Aliyana's head. As an entrepreneur, Kendra was happy to encourage the pursuit. The only question was what to sell. Painting her nails had always been one of Aliyana's favorite hobbies, but during the pandemic, her passion seemed to grow.

"She was getting very creative with her polish styles, even using a Band-Aid to help make the lines more precise when doing a French manicure, a hack that she found on YouTube," Kendra told Southern Living. "After deciding on the business to be built around nail polish, we now needed a name."

Kitty Paws
Courtesy of Kitty Paws

The name Kitty Paws comes from Aliyana's nickname Kitty Cat, as well as her habit of curling her hands like a cat when showing off her painted nails.

Kitty Paws is a kids self-care product line that features nail polish kits, as well as Kitty Crates that come in several varieties for activities like baking and creating an at-home spa day. When starting out, Kendra said she and Aliyana sought to solve common problems they experienced when purchasing nail polish.

Kitty Crates
Courtesy of Kitty Paws

"We wanted to offer a product that was not as toxic as some of the mainstream brands and also package the polishes in collection sets that offered more than one color," Kendra said. "It was very rare, if at all, that Aliyana would paint all 10 of her nails the same color. I didn't want other parents to have the hassle of making multiple purchases to get their creative kids options that were safer and more ideal for creating the perfect manicure."

In addition to giving Kendra and Aliyana something positive to focus on throughout the pandemic, Kitty Paws also seeks to give back to the community through several charitable partnerships. Since day one, Kitty Paws has donated a portion of all sales to support organizations like Comfort Cases which provides backpacks filled with comforting items like pajamas, books, and stuffed animals to children entering the foster care system. In October, Kitty Paws partnered with Aliyana's school to promote anti-bullying and executed an anti-bullying campaign via social media.

Kitty Paws products are available for purchase online at Kendra said in 2022, Aliyana has a goal to break into retail sales.

Way to go, Kendra and Aliyana! We can't wait to see what you come up with next.

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