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Miami Proud: Weston Teen's Business Combines Fashion And Philanthropy

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Combining fashion sense with philanthropy, a Weston teenager has started a business that rings true to her spirit.

Stefania Rivas has always been been interested in fashion, but it took the pandemic lockdown to light the creative spark in this senior at Cypress Bay High School.

"I'll go on Pinterest every day and I'll find something I enjoy and find some inspiration," Rivas said.

"I was looking for a way to find a sense of purpose. I feel like all of us were just mixed up in the emotions and not really knowing what to do. I joined this organization called Amigos International and I was surrounded by young leaders from all across the United States. It was all on Zoom and the basis of the program was to find a community impact that you could do for yourself.," said Rivas.

That is how Rivas learned of the rise in domestic violence.

"I found [out about the] correlation between the pandemic and women in the South Florida community. The more women that were locked up inside, the more were exposed to violence and domestic abuse from their significant others. And that was a problem that I just did not sit right with. I started my business Tame and Treat, which is to tame the violence and treat the suffering the women are enduring," said Rivas.

MIAMI PROUD Stefania Rivas Ring Maker
Stefania Rivas rings. (CBS4)

She designed, created, and sold resin made-to-order rings, and donated roughly a third of the profits to the Women's Fund of Miami-Dade, an organization fighting domestic abuse and human trafficking.

There is also a sustainability component.

"I work with recycled resin and vintage charms."

She first was making them in her bedroom, then moved to a home studio. It is about the size of a powder room, with walls covered in fun colorful graffiti by her friends.

She showed the process of making the rings, combining imagination and some chemistry.

"I just start off by putting Solution B, and then add Solution A (the partner in crime), she said, adding the color and then mixing it up."

From there, she poured the solution in a mold for each ring size and waits for it to set. These colorful, wearable art are sold at a price for her peers ranging from $15-$25. Her start-up launched like many others.

"I started off with just a social media account. Then, I got very interested in promoting them and sending them to influencers, that was probably one of the most exciting parts. I sent my rings off to Mackenzie Ziegler. She is a former reality dancer from Dance Moms and I would watch her when I was a 10-year-old girl," she said.

MIAMI PROUD Stefania Rivas Ring Maker
Stefania Rivas (CBS4)

The exposure worked and has she kept busy. She has made over 450 rings so far.

Part of this is just making her happy to make others smile, to give back, and learn a lot about what kind of an entrepreneur she wants to be.

She does plan to study business in college.

"Today it's rings, maybe tomorrow it will be boots or the next day it will be a pair of earrings! That sense of creativity and innovation inspires me."

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