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.

“It’s the perfect name because that’s how I want women to feel when they wear my one-of-a-kind designs,” says Shayba.

While she continues to grow her jewelry business — and just moved into her first studio space this year — 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 — a gap that is often left untended in the art world — even more so for Black and Latino artists.

During the program, they’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 there’s one exciting difference.

“Since the program is all about scaling their creative businesses and getting more exposure to their work,” says Shayba. “I’m working with local retailers, buyers, and boutiques to get the cohorts the connections and introductions during the event.”

Mentioned in this Article

As Innovation Advisor with Atomic Revenue, Christy serves as a fractional executive to help clients improve their sales and profitability. Christy has taught entrepreneurship at UMSL and Washington University in St. Louis and co-hosts the Entrepreneurially Thinking podcast where listeners are invited to meet amazing individuals and be inspired to be entrepreneurial wherever they are. She is Treasurer of the Forward Through Ferguson Board of Directors and an advisor to MEDLaunch and We Stories. Christy is particularly focused on helping women and entrepreneurs of color – those visionaries who are typically underrepresented and under estimated – build wildly successful businesses. Her portfolio with Purpose First Advisors, where she is President and CEO, includes privately held companies, startups, entrepreneur support organizations and regional initiatives. She specializes in business model validation, financial operations modeling, strategic growth plan development and core messaging.