Five Black women-owned businesses with TV and film set designer Tytiana SteeleModel D Explorer Series

Welcome to the #modeldexplorerseries, where you can follow some of Detroit's leaders and icons on Model D's Instagram and see the city through their eyes.
TV and film set designer and director, and founder of Versara Creatives, Tytiana SteeleWhen we invited Tytiana Steele to take over our Instagram account as part of the Model D Explorer Series, she was excited for the opportunity to explore the city herself. As a set director and designer in the TV and film industries, Tytiana’s young career has taken her all over the country. So, she says, she was excited to come back to Detroit and see what’s been going on in her own hometown.

Her enthusiasm for exploring the city was contagious, documenting businesses new and well-established, nooks and crannies that we sometimes take for granted.

And when we asked her what she’d like to spotlight here — maybe her favorite places to film, or places she hoped to one day dress — Tytiana opted to shine a light on some of her favorite Black women-owned businesses she discovered along the way. As a young business owner herself, having founded Versara Creatives in 2020, Tytiana found strength and inspiration in the entrepreneurs she’s met.

“What I liked the most about doing this was discovering the Black women-owned businesses that I didn’t know were out there in the city. I don’t think they get a lot of light, as far as publicity goes,” Tytiana says.

Here are some of Tytiana’s favorites — so far.

Glamorous Fashion Boutique
16626 E. Warren Avenue, Detroit

A women’s fashion boutique in the East English Village neighborhood, owned by Cabral Watkins and LaTacha Banks.

“There’s such high energy when you're walking through their doors. They pay tribute to Black historical figures; you see pictures and artwork and Black women on the wall. And then also the different music that was playing. It wasn’t modern, it was traditional — that old school Black soul music. So that was a great feeling. And great women’s fashion, of course. When I walked through their doors, I felt empowered.”

Girl Boss Fashions
1232 Library Street, Detroit

Owned by Tenisia Evans, Girl Boss Fashions has five locations throughout metro Detroit, including their most recent store downtown.

“The fact that I walked around the same blocks I always have, like Broadway and Woodward, and I haven’t noticed it before — I’m just so glad that I noticed it this time. Because I was looking for places I haven’t been to before. Girl Boss is another boutique that is really happening.”

Detroit Black Coffee
A mobile coffee trailer, various locations, Detroit

Owned by Tytiana’s sister Jasmine Jackson, Detroit Black Coffee is a new coffee, tea, and lemonade mobile trailer making its way around town. Check their website and social media for their next location.

“One thing I love about her and her business is that she loves to talk about what she’s doing, how she did it, and what she loves about the different drinks that she has to offer. She has this lavender lemonade with lavender petals or herbs in it and I’ve never had that before. I had this peach-ginger tea and that’s one of my favorite ones; I touched on it a little bit in the takeover. She analyzes and dives in to what coffee is and what tea is and where the beans and herbs come from.”

Opulence Wine
Found at House of Pure Vin, Detroit

This new wine company was founded by Dr. LaToya Thompson. Tytiana attended the brand’s recent launch party at House of Pure of Vin in downtown Detroit.

“The wine was amazing. There was a Cabernet and Pinot Grigio — and I love white wine. Trying the Pinot was an unexplainable feeling, it was amazing. And I’m not a red wine person but I tried it and I actually liked it. I can’t wait to see the different flavors she comes out with next. She sold out of everything on her first launch. So I know that has to be an amazing feeling for her and I’m super proud of her.”

House of Pure Vin
1433 Woodward Avenue, Detroit

Owned by Regina Gaines, House of Pure Vin has become downtown’s go-to spot for wine since opening in 2015.

“The wine shop was so elegant, and I’m big on elegance. It has a poise to it. And they’re building different stuff within it, too. They’re putting in a bar in the back and they have storage area where you can see the different wines. And they support so many local businesses. When you walk in, it feels like a Hall of Fame for the different businesses that they support.”

Fine Tytiana Steele on Instagram at @its.ty.steele and Versara Creatives at @versara.creatives.
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Read more articles by MJ Galbraith.

MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.