The St.Louis based jewelry designer and metal smith is qualifying herself for the positions ahead. Sculpting minimal, but classic timeless pieces of metal, Shayba is in full work work mode. Read what Muhammad is up to.
What do you do and why?
I’m a jewelry designer and metalsmith. I actually went to school for fashion design, but switched to jewelry. It still fulfilled my need to create within the world of fashion, but it’s quicker to make and easier to carry!
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
Thats actually a tough question! If i were to die and come back, I think I’d maybe like to come back as a woman again. After having a baby, I just feel so humbled yet honored by the fact that life continues through us. That’s really powerful. I don’t think we’ve really internalized as a society how sacred that is. Hope for the future comes through a woman, prayers are answered through a woman.
Which living person do you most admire?
the Hon. Min. Louis Farrakhan. He really is one the last of our living heroes, one of the last of our true champions. At 84, a normal person would be retired, they’d be watching their days pass them by. Seeing his drive and dedication to remain hard at work, impacting lives- that’s love. I’m honored to be alive during his time.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I say ‘absolutely’ way too often. Also, everyone around me absolutely hates that I shorten words unnecessarily. It’s very likely that I might say something like ‘chicken and waffs’ or ‘put that in the tabe’ (instead of table). I have no clue why I do it or how it even began.
What is your motto?
There are a few phrases I tell myself in my head, the main one being ‘qualify yourself for positions awaiting’. It something I heard growing up in the Nation of Islam, it just stuck with me.
What is your favorite occupation?
My favorite occupation I think is that of the farmer. They are responsible for sustaining all of us, yet it’s all too often a thankless job. The way business has evolved has put many farmers in debt, with most of them also being up in age. I so admire them and their sacrifices, because it is not an easy job. At some point though I’d love to introduce youth to farming as a career option and explore opportunities with linking it and entrepreneurship.
What is your most treasured possession?
This may be typical and very millennial of me, but my most treasured pozesh (aka possession) is probably my phone. I’m really grateful to be living in the 21st century where I can communicate with business contacts, take/edit photos, do marketing & marketing research, take notes and find answers to any of the many questions I have in my mind with one device that conveniently fits in my pocket.
How did you start Mahmal?
I’ve always been kind of on the crafty side growing up. I started though as an accessory specialist and saw so pieces I knew I could make myself. In those days I was always into some odd project. But that’s how I started, people liked what I made so I started saying hey let’s trade for some cash and it’s yours!
How did you get the name? What’s the story behind it?
When it came to the point of me putting some thought into a name, I happened upon this really stylish Youtuber named Manal. Something about the name instantly attracted me and after researching the meaning behind it (which was ‘attainment’, ‘achievement’, and ‘success’) it made so much sense for the identity of the brand. It embodied what I wanted my customers have. It was a bonus that the name was Arabic.
Do you think you’ll ever stop? Why?
I don’t think I will ever stop! I plan on working well into old age for one, but as long as the inspiration is there I’ll keep on designing. Fashion is special, it keeps you in tune with the zeitgeist, with the spirit of the times
What are you currently working on?
Right now I’m working on developing a nonprofit called The Makers Program. It’s a project aimed at equipping Black & Latino teens and young adults with skills to scale as small business owners and creatives. Under that umbrella is The Makers Mart, which is an annual celebration providing a platform to entrepreneurs and creatives to showcase their work, earn revenue and test their market. The inaugural event will actually be in September.
How do you process/Handel defeat?
I don’t accept defeat, I believe in lessons learned- which is still a win. I would describe myself as a resilient person. My husband once described me as a Weeble Wobble.
Are you happy?
I am happy, I feel extremely blessed & highly favored. Not to say that life is perfect but I think that generally, we choose our disposition. So whatever we can do to protect and empower our happiness, I believe we can & should strive to do that.