Designing for Change
When Jasmine Childress started her studio Eight Thirty Seven in 2020, she wanted her passion for art and design to also make a difference in her community. She put this goal front and center, describing the business as “A creative + collaborative studio for change-makers disrupting their industry”.
“The people I really enjoy working with are change makers,” she explained. “I ask them ‘how are you disrupting the space that you're in and what does that look like?’”
Her business focuses on brand strategy and identity design, creating a strong foundation before focusing on visuals like logos, graphics, and typography. Locally she works with artists and activists like Janai Lashon, non-profits like the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, and businesses like the Powder Room. Eight Thirty Seven has clients on the west coast and a growing national clientele.
In early 2021, just a year after starting Eight Thirty Seven, she connected with a network of small business supports and learned about small business grants from the City of Kalamazoo’s Business Development Fund. She applied in early 2021 and received a $5,000 technical assistance grant shortly after. The investment helped Jasmine pay for software, website work, and tax and legal needs for her business.
“It was kind of like a weight lifted and I felt more established, and that people could take me seriously. I’m not just a person doing this for fun- I’m doing it for fun but I'm actually making a business out of it.”
Jasmine moved to Kalamazoo with her family in Middle School. She graduated from Kalamazoo Public Schools and then Kalamazoo Valley Community College where she studied Graphic Design at the Center for New Media. Even before starting Eight Thirty Seven, she sought out opportunities to network with designers and people in the industry and gain experience while working in customer service and retail.
Looking ahead, Jasmine wants to keep working with clients and maintain long-term relationships, but she also wants to be more of a resource to other creatives in the area.
“One thing I want to focus on this year is finding ways to share resources with creatives in the community. I feel like there’s a lot of creative people but they’re not necessarily utilizing their talents, or they don’t know where to get started.”
She'll also be looking for opportunities to help inspire young people to pursue creative careers.
“I would love to see more black and brown artists and creatives and I think that starts at a younger age to encourage them more.“
You can find more information about Eight Thirty Seven at www.eightthirtyseven.co. If you are looking to start or grow a business, contact the City of Kalamazoo to see how our Community Investment Team can help. A variety of grant opportunities are available from the Business Development Fund, with support from the Foundation for Excellence.
Learn more about the Business Development Fund