Like any entrepreneur, Da’Shika A. Street started with a big idea. She asked what would happen if she created a magazine that would offer advice and inspiration to Black women entrepreneurs. At first, it “sounded crazy,” she says, because she didn’t know how to format or design a magazine or what it took to get one started.
Despite this, she set out to create BABE Magazine, which stands for Black and Brilliant Entrepreneurs. BABE has been helping what Da’Shika calls the “fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the United States” for three years.
“I started BABE Magazine with a premise of providing a safety net for Black women in business. Providing information, business tools and resources and inspiration because these women are often alone. You sort of have tunnel vision, and coming up for air and looking around to see who can support you doesn’t occur as often as it should.”
Da’Shika is no stranger to those challenges. In May 2017, she started her own company, VineWorks Marketing, which helps business owners grow their companies through consulting, brand management, social media and graphics. She understands what the struggles entrepreneurs face during “the five-year mark of death,” which is when most businesses fail.
BABE offers Black women in business expert opinions and tips and tricks to get through the challenges. Da’Shika says it’s easy juggling both VineWorks and BABE because “one feeds the other.”
Additionally, the magazine is 100% digital, making it easy for subscribers to carry it with them everywhere they go.
“The magazine has been an added asset to my clients. When I get startups in very infantile states, those are clients I don’t tend to work with right away. However, I do some mentorship, some coaching, some educating, and I’m able to offer BABE Magazine as a resource for them.”
A graduate of The University of Akron with a concentration in marketing and communications, Da’Shika believes in helping people work within their true passions. Aside from the magazine, she cohosts The Make Life Rich Podcast with Tara Jefferson. This year, Da’Shika is excited about growing BABE Magazine by creating more YouTube videos and interviews with community experts.
The biggest challenge so far, she says, was the “vulnerability.” She describes putting the first issue out as “scary.”
“Just pressing that send button on that email was terrifying. I was confident that the magazine was great and I knew I liked it, I knew we liked it and the team liked it, but what is the community going to think? Are they going to think they got their money’s worth? Are they going to find it helpful? You have all these questions.”
As an entrepreneur, managing time is also a difficulty. That’s where Da’Shika’s husband, Andre Street, helps. An artist at heart, Andre is the Creative Director of BABE Magazine and helps Da’Shika make decisions about the magazine’s design and aesthetic.
“It’s hard to avoid [working all the time], especially when you get really passionate about something, you kind of have to figure out how to reign that back in,” says Andre. “Because we’re so passionate about it, thinking about what we can do for the next issue, what we can do over the next year, what items might be needed to impact the next entrepreneur, it’s ongoing.”
To help, the couple segments their time to make sure they’re making time to unwind and have fun. They also carry a journal where they write down ideas for the magazine.
When asked about advice for entrepreneurs, Da’Shika says to stop getting hung up “over the things you don’t have and instead operate in the lane of, ‘what can I do with what I have?’”
“Just getting out there, allowing yourself to fail if you’re going to fail, or to bump your head and make a couple mistakes, but then refine it along the way — I think it’s okay to do that as an entrepreneur.”
To subscribe to BABE Magazine, visit officialbabemag.com. Check out VineWorks Marketing at vineworksmarketing.com.
Meet Da’Shika at BABE Magazine’s Headshot Social, an event for women who are looking to upgrade their personal and professional headshots. The event will have personal stylists, a hair and nail salon and mini-makeovers along with the individual photo shoots. The event takes place as Uncorked Wine Bar on Sunday, February 24 at 4pm. More information at headshotsocial.eventbrite.com
Andre’s artwork will be featured at Uncorked Wine Bar from Feb. 1 until March 1.
Noor Hindi is The Devil Strip’s Senior Reporter. Contact: Noor@thedevilstrip.com. Headshots of Da’Shika and Andre by Zaina Salem. Used with permission. Magazine cover and Headshot Social event flyer provided by Da’Shika Street.
Editor’s note: This story initially identified Da’Shika by an incorrect last name. The error has been corrected.
This story is part of The Devil Strip’s Akropreneurs series, which is made possible by the Burton D. Morgan Foundation and the Fund for Our Economic Future.