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An Interview with Mary Chatman CEO/Editor-in-Chief at Black Bride Magazine

Events DC

By Taroue Brooks

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?

I was bit by the entrepreneur bug while I was still in corporate. I tested the waters by launching a new business and providing a service to a couple of real estate friends who were getting married. The couple absolutely loved their fully decorated honeymoon suite, complete with fresh rose petals, champagne, and more. I knew then I was on to something. I love excitement and adventure, brainstorming new ideas and the chance of succeeding in a target market. Working for myself is also a big deal to me at this point. Whether the projects we execute are big or small complete with success stories or complete failures, well there are no failures – it’s the act of believing in an idea, and watching it develop that makes me continue to aspire to become an even more successful entrepreneur.

Tell us about Black Bride Magazine. 

Our mission is to celebrate, inspire and uplift women of color and their journey to love, marriage and even motherhood. This platform was designed to showcase positive imagery and embody the love that we seek to share, as we invite our readers to partake in the most precious and intimate moments of a woman’s life, marriage, and motherhood. We honor all women of color, while celebrating cultural diversity, beauty, style, grace and regalness. Black Bride above all things is a celebration of love, and the many facets that love can be expressed. We are committed to being a resource to women of color as they embark on one of the most important days of their lives, and beyond. We are here for couples before and after the aisle.

The Brand Covers Four Imprints

Black Bride Digital Magazine pages provide a platform of engagement and wedding inspiration for imagination, vision, and one’s true voice. In our world, we celebrate women of color and the adventurous, creative risk takers that bring a bride’s vision to life. We seek to serve brides by presenting them creative options to assist them with planning one of the most important days of their lives.

BlackBride.com features daily content that provides inspiration for love, weddings, engagements, lifestyle, fashion for before and after the aisle, breaking industry news, beauty, travel, news, relationship tips, entertainment, and interviews with industry leaders

Black Bride Events showcase a collective group of fine wedding vendors who come together to create a chic sophisticated, bridal showcase in the heart of cities across the US. Brides mix and mingle with leading wedding vendors and professionals and receive valuable knowledge from industry experts, to help them plan their dream wedding, all in one location. Brides in attendance can enjoy a bridal fashion show with top wedding gown designers, and bridal salons in their perspective city and beyond.

Black Bride After the Aisle is for couples long after they say “I Do.” We provide a place where brides and grooms can come back to for love + life support and inspiration after they marry for years to come. Couples will find tips on finance, romance, health & fitness, home interior design ideas, and more!

How have you experienced racism within the publishing industry?

First let me say that inclusion is not mainstream just like most mainstream media outlets are not. Inclusion requires first valuing diversity. We press our way and work twice as hard to be acknowledge and taken seriously. We must make sure we are not the “token” one when invited to the table, hence why we created our own table. Sure, we have experienced racism in the wedding publishing industry. Honestly, we don’t give it an energy – we prefer to focus on showcasing stunning women of color, black women in all their glory including their natural hair, elegance and style personified!

How have you had to shift during Covid-19?

One way we decided to shift during Covid-19 was to create a Covid-19 guide instead of a 2020 spring/summer issue chocked full of wedding inspiration. We ask top industry wedding pros from around the country to join us in providing advice to help couples navigate postponing and rescheduling their weddings. It has truly been a rough time for couples that had their wedding on the calendar for this year. It’s also a tough time for the event planning industry which has taken a huge hit financially.

We have made pricing adjustments in our advertising cost for our small business advertisers. We are also looking at our overall business model and how we will shift accordingly in 2021.

What makes Black Bride Magazine so unique?

In the wedding you very rarely see women of color featured online, in print, on the bridal fashion runways, or on television. We fill this void and give our readers what they’ve come to expect from us since 1998. We cover every aspect of wedding planning for an unforgettable wedding, and prepare couples for the exciting road ahead of them:

married life. We support couples long after the I do’s with our After the Aisle content which is tips and tricks for everything from romance to finance.   

What about the GROOM?

We are here for the groom too! We have dedicated groom post on blackbride.com, and I’m excited to share that we just hired a male writer who will be writing about all things for the groom from fashion to groom traditions and more.

Where can the publication be purchased?

At this time, the magazine is digital and can be found on issuu.com/blackbridemagazine

What advice do you have for a woman who seeks to become an entrepreneur?

Right off the bat, remember that starting, operating, and maintaining a business isn’t always easy and not everyone is going to like you. If you can, find a mentor that will be honest with you. Create relationships with like-minded women building a business and find an accountability partner. Know and seek to understand your audience and tap in with them often. Write out your goals and how you are going to achieve them. Be sure to register your busines with your state government and trademark your company name. There is so much more but I will say finally, stay focused and never give up!

Where would you like to see your business in the next five years?

I would like to see Black Bride become a household name in the next five years or sooner. In markets around the globe, known for uplifting and supporting brides of color along their wedding planning journey and as they journey into marriage.

www.blackbride.com
“The premiere resource for brides of color since 1998!”

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