Thirteen-year-old Skyla Jade Bennett combines her twin passions for fashion and whale conservation in her new clothing and accessory company, Jade Whale.
Skyla started the company in May with the help of her mother, Diana.
Born in Elizabeth City, Skyla has always lived near the coast. Her father serves in the U.S. Coast Guard and her mother previously did. It was while the Bennetts lived in Alaska that Skyla first began observing whales.
“I noticed how beautiful they are,” she said. “They are gentle giants.”
After being stationed at other Coast Guard stations in the U.S., the Bennetts moved back to Elizabeth City in April.
Skyla, who is in the eighth grade and is homeschooled, decided to start a clothing business that would benefit whales. She said 15 percent of Jade Whale’s proceeds go toward helping whales and to conservation efforts. The funds are donated to groups like the Pacific Whale Foundation, she says.
“It makes me very happy, because I wanted to give back,” Skyla said of her business.
Skyla enjoys painting, particularly whales and the blue waves of the ocean. She and her mother came up with the logo for Jade Whale, which includes a whale. The name for the company comes from combining her middle name, “Jade,” and the marine mammals she loves so much.
Skyla and her mother sketch and use computer apps to create Jade Whale’s designs, many of which, not surprisingly, incorporate a whale. The company sells a variety of items, including T-shirts, hoodies, masks, hats and pony tail hats.
The colors range from neon to a selection of blues. Tie-dyed T-shirts and hoodies are popular with Jade Whale’s customers.
Skyla sells her clothing and accessories at the online site Etsy at https://www.etsy.com/shop/JadeWhale, and she says Jade Whale already has a large customer base on both the West and East coasts. Jade Whale clothing and accessories are also available locally at Cozy Carolina Boutique in Elizabeth City, Small Town Trendz in Elizabeth City and Hertford, Julius Star Tattoo Gallery in Elizabeth City, The Corner Gals OBX in Manteo and Fresh Designs in Kill Devil Hills.
Skyla said she’s enjoyed learning about how to start a business. She also enjoys communicating with the public and other business owners. She plans on using Jade Whale’s profits to pay for college.
When she is not working with her new business, Skyla likes to surf and cook pasta. She also likes spending time with her parents, three siblings and the family dog, Tofu, a chihuahua poodle mix.
She said her dream jobs when she grows up are influencer and food critic.
For more information about Jade Whale, visit Instagram and Facebook @jadewhaleco.