MESA — Through the doors of Nizhoni Soaps, the store owner’s pride in her Navajo roots sprout forward at every turn. That owner, Kamia Begay Bogor, believe it or not, is only 13 years old.
She owns not one but three locations — two in New Mexico and one in Mesa. It's a far cry from when she first began the endeavor.
“This one here is actually my very first bar I made, this one is the Navajo tea with wild berry,” said Bogor, taking us through a tour of her products.
Since she was 10 she’s been creating her unique soaps, sugar scrubs, and wax melts, infusing them with Native herbs found in the sprawling Navajo Nation or frequently used during ceremonial traditions. She took up the hobby after her father passed away suddenly in a car accident.
"I was really doing it as a coping mechanism," said Bogor.
Back then, she was gifting the homemade soaps to family and friends. But after rave reviews and encouragement, she decided to try selling them, first at local events and then online.
“I started out with Navajo tea, then I started branching out to sweet grass, sage, cedar, blue corn pollen, and then after that I started branching out to different scents and products,” said Bogor.
As her products grew, so did her fanfare. She’d soon have her own billboard. Her story has been featured in countless publications. But what she takes the most pride in is employing her native people working in her storefronts.
“It’s very empowering and I love the idea that I’m giving job opportunities to other individuals,” said Bogor.
With every decision and every product, she honors where she came from. As for where she’s going, this little girl has big dreams ahead.
“I always say I want to be the next Bath & Body Works, but with a Native American flair to it,” said Bogor.