On this episode of the See It To Be It podcast, we talk to Shayla Varnado, who is a fashion stylist turned entrepreneur and wine connoisseur. She is passionate about inspiring women to live the life of their dreams and is the founder of Black Girl’s Wine, which is an international organization for black women who share a passion and love for wine, while being committed to celebrating Black Girl Magic.
Shayla’s background consists of her growing up wanting to be a fashion stylist. She says she has always had a passion for fashion and she even studied fashion in college at Old Dominion University. She later in life started a fashion business, that specialized in helping the everyday women show up better in their lives, by piecing together a wardrobe that was suited for a woman going to work, having a date night, a girls night out, or even just attending a soccer game. She would make sure that her customers would have an outfit ready for wherever life may take them. She said that she would have key pieces in their closet to always make them feel fabulous.
Now Shayla runs an international organization called Black Girl’s Wine. She says that it is for black women who love wine. Running this organization, along with the sisterhood full of amazing women she has created, brings her immense amounts of joy. As for what inspired Shayla, she said she looked around the wine industry and noticed a huge lack of diversity and inclusion. She noticed that there was never a black person on a wine advertisement in the media or even in stores. She then realized there was a whole market being ignored, a market that loves wine, having a good time and hanging out and trying new things. Shayla knew that she had to step in. That is mainly where her inspiration came from for her society. The wine industry is very white-male dominated and it's amazing that black women are becoming a part of this industry with the help of Shayla. Shayla talks about how she runs a partner program to include other black and women owned wine companies in her society. This partner program refers her members to black winemakers and women winemakers. They host events together and offer discounts to their members in exchange. She says to drive memberships, they just started a live partner show which is a live event in their private Facebook group that introduces wine makers to over a thousand wine lovers. This offers exposure to women winemakers and winemakers of color. She also says that the partner program is not just about exposure, but gives a chance for the winemakers themselves to build a relationship with their audience. Shalya loves helping out other black and women owned winemakers, while also sharing her love for wine with her society.
Shayla also recently co-authored the book, 44 Prayers for the Christian Entrepreneur, which was inspired by her faith. Shayla said she is just the copilot and her captain is God. She co-wrote the book with her God sister who is an entrepreneur as well. She wanted to share some of the prayers that have got her through all of life’s challenges. These prayers have helped navigate and guide her through the entrepreneurship lifestyle and hardships that come along the way.
Want to become a member of Black Girl’s Wine? Memberships open quarterly and you can go to https://www.blackgirlswine.com to find all the information needed to take the first steps to join the sisterhood!