We had the good fortune of connecting with Shayla Bryant and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shayla, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
My initial thought process was to help expecting families to experience a beautiful homebirth as I did. Before the actual Signature Birth Kit box came into existence, I also thought to just have a birthing supply business based on the treatment I received during my postpartum.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Malawi’s House is a birthing supply business based in Atlanta, GA. It was established in 2016, but officially launched to the world in 2020. We provide birthing supplies for homebirths packaged in our signature birth kit boxes, and postpartum care essentials. I am proud of the growth in our business and the progress we have made. We’ve gained partnerships with midwifery services and business collaborations with other professionals and birthworkers. The support system I had around me gave me even more confidence to start a birthing supply business from scratch. Starting a business from scratch with no knowledge of the industry, no large amount of funding to start, and no inventory can have its challenges. However, when you know this is the work you are supposed to be doing, then your mindset shifts. I started thinking of other ways to make this happen and get our family owned business off the ground. I started doing some research in the birthwork field, used my main resources—my midwife to help with what I needed to get started, and I began connecting with other birthworkers—midwives, doulas, and breastfeeding specialists. I also connected with mothers that had given birth in a hospital or at home. The lesson I have learned along the way is to never be afraid to do what you are passionate about. I’ll probably quote it wrong, but the saying says to “do it afraid” and that goes for whatever you’re passionate about but not sure how or what others will think, or how it’ll look; do it and do it afraid. At this point, I am clearly aware that the work I am doing with Malawi’s House is not about me. I had to remove myself from it and focus on the bigger picture. For us, the bigger picture is educating the community about homebirths and how to safely enter that space, proper postpartum care, and empowering families to take their power back when it comes to birthing and bringing life into this world. In addition, the most important part of that picture is to save lives, as we have been hearing the statistics of Black women dying at 3 to 5 times more likely than White women from pregnancy and childbirth related causes. Black infants are dying at a higher rate than White infants as well. So, if we can advocate, educate, and empower, our families then we can all work together to combat the medical disparities against Black families across the globe.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, I eat vegan/alkaline foods, so I cook most of the time. If my best friend was in town, I would suggest to go to some popular spots like Slutty Vegan, Juicy Crab, Pappadeaux’s, and The Original House of Pancakes. Then, we would site see Martin Luther King Jr.‘s home, the Trap Museum, Lenox Mall, Six Flags, and Stone Mountain. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my husband, Isaiah for his continued love, believing in me, and support with all my crazy ideas, my family for their support, and my midwife for her wisdom.