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Meet Shayba Muhammad

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shayba Muhammad.

Hi Shayba, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
Before starting Mahnal, I had every intention of becoming an artist. I thought that would be in fine art and later fashion design. It wasn’t until I was forced to stop my course of study at art school for fashion design that metalsmithing or jewelry ever became a consideration. I started working full-time as a visual merchandiser in accessories at that time. But it was literally because I was spending all of my money on the accessories there that I thought ‘hmm. I can make some of this stuff!’ From there friends, coworkers, and family would ask me to make things. I eventually learned about Etsy and opened a shop there that did really well. But I really found my flow with in-person events though. I was able to connect personally with my customers, see their reactions, what they thought about the work, and why they connected with what I was creating.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
This was absolutely not a linear path by any means, which I’m grateful for! So pop-ups, art shows, and beyond that was how I generated my revenue and built my business. I actually kept up with that right into 2020 when we were visited by Covid-19. That put a very sudden end to all of those in-person events and eliminated my main stream of revenue practically overnight. I will say this however, the degree of difficulty that we’re able to endure is only a representation of the reward on the other side. So I thought to myself well, I have to figure out how to pivot or move on. I said a prayer asking God to put whatever he desired for me into my heart to accept and also desire for myself. Then another life-touching event occurred and that was the killing of George Floyd.

All of a sudden the focus was on Black business and supporting Black lives economically. Which it really should not have taken that to happen, however, I am grateful for that blessing that came out of it. For myself and all Black entrepreneurs, because economy is a requisite to freedom. So I took advantage of that long overdue highlight on businesses like mine and began building my online presence. I began connecting with women from all walks of life centered on the principles of wellness and balance that I imbue within all of my jewelry. It’s clear to me that all of my life experiences and struggles have prepared me to now stand up and serve and uplift women now in this way.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
All of the work I create comes out of a meditations centered on a particular theme inspired by something I’m learning, struggling with, or some life experience. On occasion, even the stories or ideas of my customers can get woven into the identity of the work. So each piece is imbued with a characteristic, attribute, or contemplative prompt to inspire us as women to see our value and nurture it. Each piece is also made exclusively in solid brass. This material pays homage, in its beautiful yellow tone, to the adornments of antiquity reimagined for the modern times. Brass metal oxidizes and develops a patina with time as it’s worn that takes on an almost ‘living’ finish. The durability of brass further echoes its inherent ability to transcend time.

So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
People interested in collaboration or working together have an open invitation to DM me on Instagram @mahnal or explore Mahnal’s collection at Mahnal.com.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Jewelry production photos are by the photography Courtney Meiner. All other photos are by Shayba Muhammad.

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