We had the good fortune of connecting with Shaylon Scott and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shaylon, what do you attribute your success to?
The most important factor behind the success of Book Mecca is my authenticity. From the beginning I never professed to be a scholar of literature, famous writer or a wordsmith. I was honest and transparent with my followers and shared that I am a mother of two young queens who are avid readers like myself and I simply wanted to share our love of black literature with all. Accessibility of diverse literature and amplifying the voices and stories of black authors was the foundation for our organization and the message was received with an outpouring of support and love. I think being genuine with not only my followers but the authors that I work with allows Book Mecca to grow and reach followers from across the globe. We’ve been able to interview award winning authors, actresses, activists, scholars and connect with readers and self published authors across the US and even in the UK. Our passion for black literature comes through boldly in our content and emphasizes the importance of black literature and supporting black owned businesses.
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?
Book Mecca is an online Black bookstore and literary platform for all things Black lit. Our mission is to amplify the voices and stories of black authors and we do so through (1) our personally curated online bookstore which allows for self published and independent work; (2) our Breakthrough Series that interviews national award winning authors breaking barriers and breaking the mold on a monthly basis; (3) our Brothers, Brown & Books Series that quarterly highlights black men removing the stereotype that black men don’t read while discussing engaging topics on life, love and literature; (4) our virtual and in person author panel events showcasing independent and self published authors; and (5) our book themed events mixing entertainment and literature. I am most proud of the growth that we have made in such a short time and the impact that we have made on communities across the US. We’ve been able to connect with followers from all over who all love Black literature and want to see more people reading diverse books. Meeting like minded individuals that understand your passion and encourage you to keep going is a constant reminder that the work is needed. When I first started sharing about my business I was met with hesitant support. Many wondered why I didn’t expand my bookstore and target to include all persons of color like similar black owned bookstores. My answer was simply because it’s needed and there are more than enough books and authors to supply one for decades but people just don’t know about them. I wanted to remove the gatekeepers of our written word by providing a space that is open to all genres of Black literature no matter the time period, fame or industry clout. I’m trying to change the narrative that exists by my business and creating free little libraries with Black authored books in Black owned businesses. I want the world to know that it is ok to read all types of books from a variety of authors, but start by taking a hard look at what and who you’re currently read now and what’s in your library. Is it diverse, or are you reading what is available and what you’ve been fed?
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love to pretend I’m a tourist in my own city so I’m constantly looking for new events, grand openings and pop ups all over the DFW. I’d take them on an impromptu tour of not only the best known tourist attractions in Dallas like the bridges, Reunion tower, the stockyards, etc. but I’d also show them the least known parts like the eyeball at the Joule hotel, the underground tunnels in downtown Dallas, and the fabrication yard. Of course as a supporter of Black owned businesses we’d have to check out some great finds like Daq’s Luxury Daquiri in Frisco, the Cake Bar in Dallas, the Cookie Society in Frisco and Dallas Black Canvas’ poetry and open mic events to name a few. We couldn’t end a visit without a legendary brunch and there are so many to choose from in Dallas alone from rooftops at the Virgin hotel or Statler to music and more at Soiree Cafe or wandering the Dallas farmers market. There are so many hidden gems in the DFW area we’d run out of days, that’s why I love it here!
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?
A huge shoutout goes to WINGS of Dallas and their phenomenal women’s entrepreneurial enterprise center. They are a nonprofit that supports women in all areas of life from motherhood, finances, to business ventures. They were able to help me map out the feasibility of my ideas, write out a business plan and connect me with a mentor as my business grows and changes.