We had the good fortune of connecting with Krystina E. Daniels and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Krystina E., can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Having my own business has always been a dream of mine. I wanted to have the ability to hire people that looked like me, build a space where people felt appreciated and a part of a team, but most importantly I wanted to be able to build a legacy that I could leave for my family. The thought behind me building my own business did not stop there. I saw a need for there to be some type of bridge between people who have gone through their K through 12 schooling but did not continue for their postsecondary education and wanted to previously or had concluded that they would like to do it now. For most of these individuals there was a lack of knowledge in how to pursue continuing their education and there was a lack of knowledge as to what comes with continuing your learning whether it is in a vocational school or a four-year college. I wanted to build a program that would allow me to have the opportunity to assist and collaborate with individuals who had a plan or a thought for their future they just needed a road map to execute. That is where Visionary Education Services (VES) came to mind. My partner and I had such a wealth of knowledge in higher education, and we worked side by side with individuals that dealt with many obstacles. Some of the individuals that we knew were able to overcome those barriers and some were not as fortunate to have access to the tools we are making sure people have within their reach. The objective was for us to create a space where anyone felt safe in saying I do not know what to do next and receive assistance.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
My form of art is creative writing. I have always loved reading and writing poetry and short pieces of prose and I have found myself in a space where I have decided to start my own publishing company. I got here because I love reading science fiction and have found that there is a limited supply of sci-fi written by African American authors and I really want to open that genre to people that have similar life experiences to mine or others that look like me. Representation in all fields of life is very important to me and I wish to see black and brown women and men prosper in the field of creative writing. Our stories and experience are so unique and many of us find writing as a therapeutic way to manage our daily stressors. There is a book called the Children of Blood and Bone written by Tomi Adeyemi, which was turned into a three-book series. My best friend introduced me to this book and this author, and I said wow if we were able to continue this line of books it could be something like the next Game of Thrones. The science fiction genre is becoming more open to authors of color and I want to be a part of finding, cultivating and promoting that talent. Being able to give someone an opportunity to fulfill their dreams while accomplishing my own is something that would not only be extraordinary but groundbreaking in the area of writing. Not only will this allow me to find and build other talents it will grant me the ability to delve back into my love of creating stories whether they be short poems, short stories, or a novel.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my friend were visiting from out of town and I was to plan a fun-filled weekend for us to see the sights, the 1st place that we would go is to get a cheesesteak. Growing up in the Philadelphia area I did not order cheesesteaks from restaurants until I was almost an adult. My grandparents always made them at home so we would go there to get a delicious Philadelphia cheesesteak. My uncle makes them, and they never disappoint. After we got some food, we would go see the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic site. I have been there multiple times and it is one of the most interesting spots in the Philadelphia area. Most people overlook the rich history of the city and this is one of the unique hidden spots. We would have to go to Spruce Street Harbor Park to have a great time and hear some music. They have those big yard games that you can play, and we would make our way over to Penn’s Landing to just enjoy the sights, walk along the water and people watch. Uncle Bobbies Coffee and Books is a definite stop on our trek around the city. It is a black owned bookstore in the heart of Germantown, and you can just come in, get a nice cup of coffee, buy a great book and just lose yourself in the atmosphere. It is one of those places where you cannot wait to get there and once you get there you do not want to leave. Next on the list would be the Marian Anderson house. Growing up I loved Marion Anderson’s story, the way she was able to triumph and beat the odds but not only that, living in her glory as a musician was amazing. Being the first African American singer to perform at the White House was such an outstanding accomplishment considering the history of our country. Knowing that she was from this area and has left such a legacy makes me want to show everyone who comes to the city the area in which she resided.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I love this shout out series mainly because this just exemplifies the fact that people are not made by themselves. You cannot build yourself up on your own all the time. Having a community around you is ideal if you want to be your best self. This will lead to you being a better version of you for all the people you look to serve. I must give the biggest shout out to my parents, Mia & Jeff. My parents have always believed in me and I thank them for their support while I was growing up and completing my education. My younger sister, Jillian, who consistently encourages me, inspires me and pushes me to be a better version of myself on a regular basis. Without her love and reassurance, I do not know where I would be. I have the best family and group of friends that are so instrumental in allowing me to just be myself and entertain them with my constant ideas and they just let me express myself. My friend and business partner, Quianna, who shares my ideas, collaborates with me and fosters my ideas that I sometimes think are too radical.