Bridging the Gap By Connecting Creativity with Business Fundamentals

For Shayba her vision is clear: Create positive change in underserved communities by inspiring others through the arts and entrepreneurship.

In 2013, just after her father passed, Shayba Muhammad started building her brass jewelry making business on a full time basis. Appropriately, she named it Mahnal, which means attainment, achievement, and success in Arabic.

โ€œItโ€™s the perfect name because thatโ€™s how I want women to feel when they wear my one-of-a-kind designs,โ€ says Shayba.

While she continues to grow her jewelry business โ€” and just moved into her first studio space this year โ€”ย Shayba knew there was something more…more impact…more connections to be made…more creative entrepreneurs to inspire.

In fact, what she really wanted to be doing more for her community and other artists. They were sharing their skills and talents, and she wanted to find a way to amplify their art.

The Makers Mart

Last year, she started a pop-up called The Makers Mart to celebrate Black and Latino artists. The event was an opportunity for artists, community, and local businesses alike, to meet, support, and shop products from these budding creative entrepreneurs and more local Black and Latino owned created businesses.

Listen to “ETHINKSTL-101-Shayba Muhammad | The Makers Program” on Spreaker.

She applied for the local Art and Education Counsel pitch contest to bring The Makers Program to life, and she won!

The Markers Program is 12 weeks of workshops for makers and artists to go through proper business fundamentals โ€” a gap that is often left untended in the art world โ€” even more so for Black and Latino artists.

During the program, theyโ€™ll be laying the proper business foundation by learning from local-based business experts in branding, marketing, funding, manufacturing, wholesaling, and more. With the workshops as the backbone of the program, the artists can strategically make decisions for themselves as business owners to reach their desired goals.

After the 12 weeks, The Makers Mart will reemerge to host another pop-up celebration where they showcase the six cohorts who went through The Makers Program, but thereโ€™s one exciting difference.

โ€œSince the program is all about scaling their creative businesses and getting more exposure to their work,โ€ says Shayba. โ€œIโ€™m working with local retailers, buyers, and boutiques to get the cohorts the connections and introductions during the event.โ€