Meet DSM: Basi Affia
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I'm known as Basi Affia, I was born and raised in Des Moines. In my 26 years of life, the most important things that there are to me is God, my family and my business.
What is Sensiil Studios?
Sensiil Studios is Iowa and Nebraska's first black comic book publisher. I founded it last year to bring authentic representation to scifi, comic books and animation. Currently, I'm working on a graphic novel with NASCAR driver Colin Garrett and his 11/11 veteran project that helps vets find resources. My next big goal is to win a pitch competition at Hyvee's opportUNITY business summit and to secure an animation deal with Lion Forge Animation.
Talk a bit about your journey as an entrepreneur.
My business journey was really a faith journey. Believing in what God has promised me gave me the motivation to pursue my goals and I've learned along the way. My advice to anyone starting a business is make sure you have a strong enough Why that will keep you going through the difficult times because being an entrepreneur is not for the lighthearted.
What do you do in the Iowa National Guard and what led you to your role?
I joined the National Guard in 2020 to serve as a light in dark places. God called me to the Army as a Religious Affairs Specialist to encourage and uplift soldiers. My role consists of ensuring the spiritual fitness of the soldiers by working with the chaplains and other military resources to prevent suicides, provide resources and more. In a deployed scenario I would be responsible for the safety of the Chaplain as well since they don't carry weapons, per the Geneva Accords.
Why have you chosen to build your life in Greater Des Moines?
I've lived in Des Moines my entire life. I've been to other places but the calmness and business opportunities in Des Moines make it ideal to start a company as well as a family. Des Moines is a growing city which gives it a balance of opportunity and quiet calm environment in contrast to larger cities. Its creative scenes give a wide array of communities for artists of various mediums. People from every path of life imaginable live here- Black, white, Asian, Latino, Christian, Muslim, etc. and those diverse perspectives make a unique and beautiful place to live and start a business.
How have you found a community or connections in DSM?
I've found community and connection in various creative groups like GenieMixedIt in the music scene and Pyramid Theatre Group on the acting side. Getting out and being a part of the community has led me to various people from different walks of life.
What is one of your DSM favorites?
For people who are considering making a move to DSM I would say check out B&B Market for some of the best burgers in the country!
What would you tell people who are considering making a move to DSM?
I really love seeing the flow of cultural scenes as they take shape and grow. The music scene here has tons of talent from musicians like Entre Luche to Engineers like GenieMixedIt. There's a solid beauty industry too with new permanent makeup companies like MainBrows on Keo Way (I have bushy brows that need to be tamed every now and then). Up down is a solid place to go over the weekend. There are also two fantastic comic cons here annually, Des Moines Con and Animate! Des Moines.
Des Moines may seem like just a random slab of concrete in the middle of cornfields but when you really get immersed there's a lot more to it. The skyline has a unique ensemble of lights when you drive towards downtown on Indianola when it's dark out too which I love. I'm excited to see where Sensiil Studios and other new companies are in the next five to ten years because big industries so often overlook Iowa that its really giving us the space to define those industries for ourselves. And Des Moines is the central point for all of the best stuff going on in Iowa.
Greater Des Moines (DSM) is a vibrant region in the heart of Iowa. DSM spans a vibrant city core, amenity-packed suburbs, cozy small towns and impressive rural expanses. DSM is where you can do something greater and build the life you want and be who you were meant to be, all in a neighborly community and at an affordable cost. Learn more and find your something greater in DSM. Connect with DSM.