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  • Writer's pictureNadia Villafane-Martinez

Sistahs in Business Spotlight: Meet Khadijah Muhammad of Designs by Dij

Updated: Oct 10, 2023



Through the medium of digital art, Khadijah Muhammad from Designs by Dij’s mission is to continue creating justice awareness around the beauty of melanin and natural hair. Khadijah created Designs by Dij to give people of color permission to love themselves. It is no secret that society tries tirelessly to condition Black women into not loving who they are and stepping into their true, divine self. Women of color have been denied love and respect for centuries, and Designs by Dij’s mission is to uplift Black women in hopes that they are able to take their power back and love on themselves, and one another. Khadijah wants her audience to feel empowered and celebrated when bringing her products into their sacred space. Giving us all the needed vibes for the culture, Designs by Dij gives you affirmation, representation, and celebration.



Today, Designs by Dij is a full service gift and greeting card shop that places emphasis on celebrating the diversity of natural hair and the beauty of melanated skin. Unfortunately, we live in a time where hair discrimination still exists. Khadijah hopes that sharing her products can combat this controversy as they are made intentionally and purposefully.


Khadijah says, “Art has a powerful way of moving society forward.”


After completing her academic studies in college, Khadijah was inspired to start her business. At the time, she was performing with her recording group, putting in lots of hours in the studio and on multiple projects. After facing vocal health issues due to overworking, Khadijah decided to explore a different art medium during her break from music. She first began making one of a kind 3-dimensional greeting cards for the culture.


As an HBCU alumni, Khadijah’s inspiration for her Alpha Man cards were the fraternity brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha. She says if it wasn't for her experiencing their brotherhood firsthand on campus, the cards would have never been created and now, her best selling item. They tell a story, and the story tells a story. After seeing how hot of an item her greeting cards were, Khadijah had to pivot and adjust her business strategy in order to keep growing.



After falling in love with art all over again, and uncovering Allah’s (God's) purpose for her, Khadijah shot her shot and expanded her product line, developing more items concentrating on the importance of representation. Now offering a full service gift shop of home decor and accessories, Designs by Dij continues specializing in original signature art to empower, uplift, and celebrate the beauty, strength, and magic of melanated individuals. “The rest is HERstory,” (Khadijah).


One of the greatest challenges Khadijah has faced as an entrepreneurial woman of color is a multitude of experiences and instances that should have never occurred in the first place, but unfortunately still happen to so many people of color 'til this day.


Living in Mississippi, Khadijah says attending events in certain areas with a mixed population has been a struggle. She’s had to endure getting the side eye from people too ignorant to be comfortable around products celebrating natural hair and the beauty of melanated skin.


Khadijah says because of this, it can be challenging to keep her ‘why’ at the forefront at all times. However, she knows it’s necessary. It’s necessary for the little girl who falls in love with Designs by Dij’s Black Girls Do Rock backpacks seeing a reflection of herself. It’s necessary for little boys to be excited to see someone who looks like them when shopping for school supplies and coming across Designs by Dij’s Super Dad & Son backpacks.


Reminding herself about the lives she touches through her art is how she overcomes her greatest challenges.


Growing up in a Muslim family, Khadijah was taught the importance of independence from a very young age. She quickly learned to put action behind her skills and be her own boss. As an adolescent, she was encouraged to follow her dreams, and knew she would always have the unwavering support from her community. Khadijah feels lucky to have the support system she has had as they have continued to support her throughout her journey as an entrepreneur.


When asked “Who are some of your favorite mentors, and how have they influenced your journey as an entrepreneur?” Khadijah responded,

“I lean heavily on my Faith, as I am who I am today because of my strong background and foundation in Islam and being taught by my leader and teacher, the Son of Man. This has molded and shaped me into a level-headed and decent human being with a good head on my shoulders and has heavily influenced my journey as an entrepreneur.”

Also influencing her throughout her endeavors as an entrepreneur has been the Content Cash Machine with Danielle Gagnon podcast. Khadijah actually studied under Gagnon in 2021 and won the academy program she was enrolled in. Khadijah says this really helped catapult her brand to the next level and till this day she learns tips from Gagnon that she continues to implement within her lifestyle.


Khadijah says it can be challenging having to balance the demands of running a successful business. However, she has learned how to manage her time with a strategy of time blocking. As many of us may have a hard time staying focused sometimes, Khadijah suggests scheduling out your weeks/days into time slots in order to help stay on track.


“All it takes is faith as tiny as a mustard seed,” says Khadijah. Advising that the hardest part of the journey is getting started, Khadijah motivates other entrepreneurial women of color to not be afraid to fail as the crippling fear of failure will win every time if you allow it to. She encourages other fellow entrepreneurs to commit to their goals, take the leap of faith, and execute their dreams.


One of Muhammad’s favorite quotes/poems is:

“There is freedom waiting for you, on the breezes of the sky. And you ask, “What if I fail?” Oh but my darling, what if you fly?” by Erin Hanson.

Khadijah is most proud of her experience of being awarded and named one of the top 50 Women in Business in Mississippi back in 2020. Building her brand from the ground up, Khadijah takes pride in how far she has come.


Khadijah says she defines success in her business as feeling completely fulfilled in the field she has chosen and creating the proper buzz in order to make her brand a household name. Her long term goal is for her brand to scale into mass retail and be carried in Fortune 500 stores such as Target and Walmart. She would also love the opportunity to pitch her brand to HSN and/or QVC.


We all know staying up to date with the hottest trends can be hard sometimes when there's a multitude of new “viral” memes and videos posted daily. Khadijah makes sure she stays informed and up to date with all of social media’s trending topics. She also does keyword searches in her field, discovering detailed data on how many people may be searching for a particular item. This helps her strategize her next move.


As there are several exciting projects on the horizon from Designs by Dij, the mission to celebrate the beauty of natural hair and melanated skin remains the same. After getting non stop requests, Designs by Dij just dropped customized umbrellas where you can get your portrait or image of choice pictured on your very own umbrella. It seems our May flowers are still getting showered so check out Designs by Dij and get your very own personalized umbrella ASAP!


In a few months, Khadijah will be hosting the Curls N’ Convo Summit on Clubhouse, a social network app based on voice. Last year she hosted the first Natural Hair Summit on Clubhouse, where 950 attendees came together to listen, network, and share gems throughout the community. Putting together a panel of “Naturalistas,” Khadijah hosted a panel discussion where the speakers were able to share their personal experiences of their natural hair journey in America.


You can shop Design by Dij's home decor and accessories below, stay tuned for what's to come! ❤




2 Comments


Khadijah Muhammad
Khadijah Muhammad
Jun 21, 2023

Thank you for this beautiful feature. I'm truly honored!

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servancequalea
Jun 21, 2023

Excellent post Nadia ! This was not only insightful but beautifully written. Thank you for sharing this 😊 Can’t wait to see your next piece !

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