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When discussing entrepreneurship, artists and creatives are not typically a part of the conversation. But as more creatives begin to take their careers into their own hands, it becomes clear that character traits typically associated with entrepreneurs can be found in artists as well.
Life as an artist and entrepreneur can be synonymous, just meet Khrystal. From founding Khorage Magazine and acting as the editor-in-chief, to managing herself as an independent artist, rapper, actress, and mother Khrystal “with a KH” embodies exactly what it means to be an entrepreneur in the creative space. Her ability to apply skills she obtained while running a tangible business to managing herself as a recording artist demonstrates that what it means to be an entrepreneur expands well beyond brick and mortar businesses.
Khrystal, who hails from Kansas City, Kansas (Wyandotte to be exact) first stepped into the business world when she launched Khorage Magazine. Reflecting on a 2012 training trip during her years as a teacher, Khrystal remembers the inspiration to start the magazine came from a conversation she and her friends had on a bus.
She states, “I think we were talking about shaving or something, and we were just like ‘yeah, they don’t tell you that Black girls have a different hair type.’” This then led to Khrystal and her friends discussing bad tips they received due to Euro-centric magazines and expressing how much a magazine that centered around Black beauty and experiences would have been helpful growing up.
True to entrepreneur form, Khorage Magazine came to be when Khrystal decided to fulfill a need that had yet to be met. She remembers being younger and having subscriptions to publications such as Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl and Seventeen, but hardly ever seeing Black women aside from the occasional Black pop star. “It’s specifically for little Black girls” she says, explaining the purpose behind Khorage Magazine, “to see ourselves in publications.”
Khrystal explains that as a child, she did not realize that a magazine catering to Euro-centric beauty standards could be dangerous to young Black women and their self-esteem, but as an adult she does. “So that was the idea,” she begins, “to create this publication that little Black girls could get and see a bunch of other Black girls with tips specifically tailored to them.”
Though the purpose and creative side is what appealed more to Khrystal concerning the magazine, her time as editor-in-chief taught her exactly what it meant to be an entrepreneur. She states that often times, creatives think about the art first and money later, but running the magazine taught her how to balance the two.
“I was creatively the editor-in-chief,” she starts, “so my heart was in assigning cool stuff to talk about,” but learning the business side took a bit more time. Khrystal recalls disliking the process of printing physical copies of the magazine and ensuring she even had the money available to print physical copies bi-monthly. But she acknowledges that this taught her to have a certain kind of “grit” as she calls it.
This article was contributed to D’orandae by Bianca Gantt