It all started after Tamica Banks stumbled upon a Jamaican earring artist in Atlanta. The earrings were bursting with bright colors and beautiful patterns, and Banks felt drawn to the art. Her admiration for the Jamaican jewelry sparked an idea for an Africa-inspired artistic business of her own.
In 2017, Banks founded SoulSistah3.0—making and selling hand-painted earrings, authentic earrings from Ghana and wood-burn earrings. Newer to her brand are natural skin and hair care products and t-shirts. Her business is centered around community, culture and sisterhood, promoting literacy to at-risk youth within the Birmingham community.
“I wanted to start a business to inspire young girls of African descent to see beauty in themselves, their culture and mother country: Africa through sisterhood,” Banks said.
For Banks, giving back to the community where she grew up has always been a top priority. The Woodlawn community holds a special place in her heart because it’s where she worked her first job at McDonald’s on 1st Avenue North and attended Kennedy Middle School and Woodlawn High School.
“You will always see green and gold earrings in my collections,” Banks said. “When I am in the community, I am always at home and love seeing old classmates, which brings back special memories.”
Banks spent 2020 growing her business, creating new products and utilizing digital platforms like Etsy, Facebook, Instagram and her new website to reach her customers.
In January 2021, Banks started working with REV’s Client Relations Manager Robert Emerick to strengthen the foundation for that growth. They’ve worked together to better organize her business finances, from creating an accounting system to hiring a tax accountant; developing a plan for an optimized vending booth; and using her resources to build a website and business accounts. Through one-on-one coaching with REV, Banks has created a solid business plan that will allow her to continue building her brand and growing her business.
SoulSistah3.0 participated as a first-time vendor at the October 2020 Woodlawn Street Market—which, while significantly scaled back because of COVID, was enough to convince Banks that the market is a valuable opportunity for building and growing her business. She’ll be back on 55th Place for the April 2021 Woodlawn Street Market.
“Being able to meet my customers, their friends, and family while vending is my favorite part about being an entrepreneur in Birmingham,” said Banks. “It’s a wonderful feeling knowing who is wearing your product and knowing a piece of you is in someone’s home!”
Feedback gained through her Woodlawn Street Market experience has led her to diversify SoulSistah3.0’s products. Speaking with customers face-to-face, Banks realized her customer base was more diverse than she thought. Now, she is adding bracelets, necklaces, a men’s jewelry line, and hand-painted African art imported from Ghana to both her street market and virtual platforms. Banks has also added t-shirts promoting reading and awareness of the school-to-prison pipeline, as well as natural skin and hair product lines for all skin and hair types.
“Woodlawn Street Market has given me the opportunity to make customers from all ethnic backgrounds and diversify my brand,” Banks said. “Now I’m creating products for all women, which has opened doors to other community markets, increased my sales, and has grown my brand.”
Shop SoulSistah3.0 at Woodlawn Street Market! Stop by Saturday, April 10 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. to shop or check out Woodlawn’s Virtual Marketplace today!