Karen's story is part of a larger project (by Feet in 2 Worlds) about immigrant business owners and the American Dream. This story was published in April 2014.
"At the time I didn't think much of it, but I realize now that [my mother] just sort of expected me to be great."—Karen Tappin
Karen Tappin started producing her line of natural hair-care and skin products in her kitchen while working as a high-school history teacher; today, her products, Karen's Body Beautiful are sold nationwide at Target.
Tappin's parents are from Guyana. She got a head start on her entrepreneurial career when her mother asked her, at age 15, to help with the home health-aide agency that she was starting. Karen did all of the research, footwork and paperwork while her mom was at work. The experience gave her the confidence to start her own business in college (preparing care packages) and later Karen's Body Beautiful.