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Hidden Gems: Local Businesses & Creatives You Should Know

Every day we have a choice. We can support an up and coming podcaster, try a new family-run restaurant, join a boutique gym started by a local fitness champ or we could keep giving away our money to the handful of giants who already control so much of our commerce. Our daily decisions impact the kind world we live in; if we want a world where small businesses are growing and artists and creatives are thriving then we should support them with our time, money and attention. We’re proud to highlight inspiring creatives and entrepreneurs each week in Hidden Gems series. Check out some of our latest local gem features below.

Lydia Thomas

I never set out to be a photographer or a model. I always wanted to be a pilot. My brother became a photographer and videographer and he was always vlogging my sisters and I. I got used to being around cameras, in front and behind. Next thing I knew someone was asking me to take their senior photos, then a wedding, then a concert. Now, here I am and it’s only the beginning. Photography isn’t my only goal either. I want to be a journalist. I want to travel and take photos for magazines and write too. I am putting myself through school in pursuit of this goal. I will have my Associate’s in December. I am the only one out of all my four siblings to pursue a degree. We are all artists and creatives and we are all successful in our own ways. My siblings are my biggest supporters and inspiration. They remind me that there are infinite ways to live life in a fulfilling way. Read more>>

Caitlyn Martin

When I was 19 years old I joined the United States Air Force. Scared out of my mind to leave home and be on my own, but I wanted to make something of myself. I ended up being stationed in Cheyenne, Wyoming of all places once my training was complete. That’s where I made some amazing life long friends, met my husband, grew up, and gained confidence in myself. Joining the military helped shape me into the person I am today. I will be forever grateful for my courage to leave home and serve. I served in the military for six years before deciding to go back into the civilian world when my contract was up. My husband, who served in the Air Force as well, had already separated from the military, so we had to decide where we wanted to go from there. We wanted a fresh start elsewhere. Read more>>

Kevin Contardo

I started out in my career while a student at Miami University in Oxford Ohio. I did an internship for the ice arena that was located on campus and as they say… The rest is history! That internship captivated my interest for the live events, venue management business and I ended up making a career out of it. With many stops along the way, I am now Back in the venue management business with Spectra Partnerships, a division of Spectra Venue Management. Read more>>

Spencer Hill

My journey started as a child growing up in Brazil, where my family lived as missionaries with my father, who is also a chiropractor. I not only got to live in an awesome place like the Amazon Rainforest, but I also began to see the power of chiropractic. Growing up, my family tended to be healthier than others, even though we never took medications or really felt sick. This was very eye-opening when the only difference between my family and most was chiropractic. Once I got to chiropractic school, my family encountered a very unfamiliar situation: My wife was experiencing major issues like dizziness, panic attacks, difficulty breathing and, honestly, functioning. She was a stay at home mom of 2 who lived in fear most days thinking she was dying. It was after 3 trips to the emergency room with no answers that we had to figure something out. Read more>>

Hita Revilla

My full name is Hildamar Antonietta Revilla Galindez, but everyone knows me as “Hita,” which is why I decided to use it as part of my personal brand. I am 33 years old, and I am originally from Barquisimeto, Venezuela; about 3 years ago, I arrived in Tennessee. I am a Certified Public Accountant and Administrator, but nowadays, I work with events production, and I also help people achieve their projects and entrepreneurship. This began 9 years ago when I started creating spaces for entrepreneurs, organizing Bazaars, building a successful brand called “Tu Bazarcito.” Read more>>

Derek Lersch

Music and performing have always been a passion of mine from a very young age. At just 3 years old, I loved performing Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” and knew all of Steven Tyler’s stage moves and that just brought me to where I am today. I learned how to play piano and guitar in high school and quickly started playing shows at local bars. After high school, I continued my music passion by attending Full Sail University for Music Business. There, I learned so much about the business side of the music industry and also continued playing while in school. After graduation, I moved to Nashville and got a job at iHeart Radio working in sales.  Read more>>

Hannah Bostdorff

Hi, I’m Hannah and I just moved to Nashville, TN in August. I am a food blogger and my mission is to share SIMPLE gluten-free recipes, as well as ways that I ‘harvest my health’, spiritually, physically, and mentally! I started my Instagram, @hannahharvestinghealth, at the end of my freshman year of college, as I was just about to begin a summer job. It really began from wanting accountability to help me eat in a way that was going to make me feel my best and nourish my body. I would post my lunch to my Instagram during my lunch break and catch up with other food posts on Instagram/browse food posts on Pinterest, which was the best way for me to stay inspired! Read more>>

Linda Kinsman

I started my blog, My WAHM Plan, 11 years ago after hearing about the fun blogging community from a Facebook post. I had no idea what blogging really entailed, but I wanted to be part of a welcoming community of other work-at-home Moms, so I dove right in. My plan was to share how I was able to keep the focus on family and home while working part-time at home, so I named my blog My WAHM Plan. I quickly fell in love with the creative aspect of blogging and creating content. Early on, I was invited to join a small group of Mom bloggers and I’m happy to say, I still talk with some of those moms today. Read more>>

Shaheer Henderson

I am originally from Jersey City, NJ. I moved in this area in 2009 when my daughter was born. In 2010 my wife and I welcomed my son ShaheerJr, and my journey towards building a better life for us began. 2010 I decided to go to college, and pursue my Bachelor’s degree in psychology. Once I graduated in 2014 we had welcomed our third child, and things really needed to change. Fast forward to 2017. Things really were going according to plan, but now having five children we were ready to build a house and start a better future for our family. In comes the idea for a story. I’ve been writing poetry since I was 19, and I’ve always had a vivid imagination. Read more>>

Amy Bollman

I’ve been obsessed with dogs for as long as I can remember. I was so obsessed, in fact, that when I was younger, I remember skimming through the classified ads checking out all the puppies for sale. I paid close attention to what breeds were being offered then would look them up and study their characteristics. It was fascinating to me. Over the years, my family and I have had several different breeds including several rescues. One day (a long time ago), I found myself near a pet store and wandered in with only the intention of checking out the puppies and possibly loving on a couple. Read more>>

Dr. Shree Walker

Society often thinks people are products of their environment. As a young woman growing up in a poverty-stricken single parent home, Dr. Shree Walker refused to be victim of circumstance. Being the eldest of six children and the backbone of her family, she has been faced with many obstacles. Without any heroes to look to, she had to become her own. Dr. Walker was determined not to live as a victim or a statistic. Dr. Walker is an author, educator and motivational speaker who provides excellent professional development for life learners. She can relate to others through the pain, the courage, the conquering and the reality that there is a life after pain. Dr. Walker came to this planet to change the world. Read more>>

Cole Sitzlar

I’ve always loved to sing as kid. I got bit by the music bug around 16 and bought my first guitar. I quit playing sports and started playing music. I was playing local shows by my senior year. Read more>>

Matthew Marson

It’s hard to pinpoint where the very first seed was planted in my mind that woodworking could be something I should try or that I might enjoy. I remember my dad having a workbench in the garage with a vise on it and I remember him using a circular saw maybe a couple of times, so there was a thought that once one grows up, they should have a place to work on things and be able to cut something. So that was always there in the back of my mind and then flash forward 20ish years I am living in my first house and in my garage I had a small little workbench and a few tools. Read more>>

Jay Ammo

M name is Jay Ammo, I was born and raised in a country in South America called Guyana. I migrated to the U.S back in 2016, where I lived in New Jersey. In April of 2017 I upped and Joined the U.S Army where I was stationed at Fort Drum NY, then after my first Afghanistan deployment, my new Duty station because forth Campbell. As far as music goes I’ve been playing since I was 14 years of age in my Old country did a fair number of shows so I came here to continue my dream of becoming a great musician/artist. Read more>>

Tyrese Hobbs

Born and raised in Nashville, TN–Bordeaux area to be more specific. I am an only child that was raised by my mom in a single parent household. My dad was present in my life, but not enough to teach me how to be a man. I had found myself spending more time with my cousins as our relationships soon shifted to siblings. I found a newfound deep love and respect for family. I can honestly say that they have had my back since the beginning and always believed in me. My mom is the epitome of strength, perseverance, and courage. I am where I am today because she was such a great role model and example of how to navigate through life against everything that is thrown at you. Read more>>

Seth Findley

My love for music began with the drums. I grew up in church and remember staring at the drummer every Sunday, wishing I could do what he did. In 7th grade, I bought my first kit and took lessons for about 6 months before my teacher told me there was nothing left for me to learn from him. I made it a goal to practice every day and eventually was the main drummer at my church by 9th grade. It wasn’t until I joined choir in high school to check a fine arts credit off my required course list that I learned I loved to sing. It was through my involvement in choir that I decided I wanted to try to write my own music. So, I picked up guitar and a little bit of piano, learned about 5 chords, and started writing. At the time I also began splitting my time at church drumming, and now leading the church band from the front with a guitar, singing. Read more>>

Autumn Bell

I began baking and decorating cakes by making my oldest daughter’s cake for her 1st birthday. The cake wasn’t perfect, by far! But it wasn’t too shaby for my first. So I did one every year after. After a while friends started asking me and then friends of friends. I lost my job at a mortgage company due to it being sold. I had worked from home from the time had kids. I found a job working 50 hours a week away from my family. I knew I needed to make a change. My husband at the same time was trying different avenues to launch different businesses but nothing worked out. Read more>>

Sheri Thrower

I started out as an elementary music teacher in North Georgia, directing an after school chorus with over 120 voices enrolled. The kids and I were invited to sing at America’s Got Talent Auditions, The Nation’s Capitol, Radio City Music Hall and more. As this set of children grew older, I began recording their voices in the studios of Chattanooga, TN. This grew into starting a non-profit organization known as SingAkadamie, where we provide once in a lifetime performing opportunities for youth. A few of the kids started getting recognized by talent agents and television shows. This evolved into an individualized talent development program, where I started helping them write original songs and recording in Nashville. Read more>>

Ashlyn Marie

I grew up in a very conservative Christian household. Whether it was a Sunday morning or a Friday night, I was pretty much always in church. Although my views did not always line up with that of my parents, I got exposed early on to all kinds of music. My dad was the drummer, my aunt was the worship leader, my Papa is an Elvis impersonator, my Mimi is a piano teacher, the list goes on. Inevitably, I was leading worship on a number of “praise teams” from the age of 12. As I got older though, I realized my talent and passion for songwriting.  Read more>>

Teresitta Jones

It started with a $10 vendor list and crazy ideas turned into multiple businesses all while being a mom to my chromosome 18q kid I had to self reflect then trust god I lost a good friend last year so her my daughters my life needed the change I just did it now I teach educate and visualize or show other people how to obtain generational wealth you be surprised what knowledge will do Read more>>

Monica Sigle

I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember – my grandparents recall that I sang all the way to the hospital to meet my baby sister when I was only 3 years old! We have countless home videos of little Monica singing everything from Disney songs to Christmas music and even a few songs that I’d come up with myself! I took piano lessons early in life, picked up the violin in 5th grade, and participated in my school choir, but it wasn’t until middle school that I truly feel like I started growing as a musician. My introduction to musical theater in those years expanded my image of what music and performing could be, and by the time I was a senior in high school, I was absolutely sure that making music was what I was made to do. Singing was my real passion, and while I loved theater, what I really wanted was to transition to being a performing artist, so in 2013, I started studying Commercial Voice at Belmont University.  Read more>>

Elizabeth Sanchez

My name is Elizabeth Sanchez and I am the owner and artisan at Sincerely Elizabeth. I am so excited to share my journey with you all in hopes to inspire and encourage. It all started years back when I was blessed with my sweet girl, Annabelle. She inspired me to hand-make a lot of her birthday decorations which led me to discover a passion for papercrafts. With the support of friends and family, I eventually launched Sincerely Elizabeth which lead to this wonderful journey. I was young and had no idea how to run a business but with a whole lot of passion and love, I was able to pursue it. I learned the ups and downs as I continued to grow and expand my knowledge and artistry. If you’ve been looking for a sign to start and pursue something you’ve dreamed of then this is it! Do it! Life is all about stepping out of our fear and comfort zones to grow and learn. Believe in yourself, you deserve it! We thank you all so much for every ounce of genuine love and support. Read more>>

Jet Jurgensmeyer

Well, being born in Nashville, I kind of just fell right into place on stage. When acting came around it was as if I found that missing piece. I started getting on stage when I was about 3 years old, singing, telling jokes, and such. Acting started not long after that, at about 4. This industry is quite literally all I’ve ever known. I always love making people smile and I try to do that through everything that I do. I’ve been very lucky to have a strong backing behind me this whole time through my family and friends and even my co-writers and fellow actors that I work with! I’m very excited to see what the future has in store for me and I hope that my next album will get the ball rolling! Read more>>

Lindsay Niedringhaus

There was a part of me who always knew I wanted to be my own boss; it just took me a while to be brave enough to actually go out on my own. For the bulk of my career I’ve been the reliable, steady #2. My need to please, coupled with my perfectionism and hesitancy to speak my own mind, made me the perfect almost-boss. Let my boss be the one who spoke up—I was just there to cheer him or her on and make it all happen in the background. Read more>>

Stetson Nelson

I am originally from Leesburg, FL. I have lived in Nashville for almost 5 years now. What brought to me Nashville is pursuing a music career, specifically, singing/songwriting and being an artist. I do not think I have a traditional route into music like a lot of friends and acquaintances I know. A lot of them went to college for music or music has been their sole interest their entire lives. I’m a little late to the game, I guess you could say. I grew up as an athlete, particularly focusing on baseball. I started playing baseball when I was around 5-6 years old. That was my whole focus/interest growing up. I started playing guitar when I was around 11-12 years old and I loved it. It was more of a hobby and stress reliever for me during my younger years, but I played quite a bit and became pretty decent at it over the years. Read more>>

Nieka Webster

My story started 10 years ago. I was going to college for software engineering and working full time as a Quality assurance Analyst. My quality assurance position was checking the credentials of doctors to be in network with insurance companies. It was not technically related to my education. From there I studied and self-educated myself in my spare time & Attended meet-up groups to be surrounded by other IT professionals. Studying and attending the meet-up groups assisted professionally from a technical perspective. So I was able to get my first job as a software tester which shares the same title in IT as quality assurance. I worked on waterfall projects & escalated to agile projects. I grew in my software development coding skills and went from manually testing software to writing code to test it (automated). As technology grew in mobile app expansion, I started to self educate myself in mobile development. Read more>>

Erin McLendon

When I moved to Nashville in 2008, I was a bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed little songwriter going to Belmont University to major in voice. I loved my experience there but once I graduated, I realized the music industry, from a woman’s perspective, is a very different place than I had initially thought. If you listen to the radio for an hour, you can probably count on one hand, the number of times a woman’s song is played. In fact, in 2014, I had a meeting with a record label who talked at me for an hour and at the end said “…and yea, we’ve already signed our one girl for the year, so we’re tapped out.” My jaw dropped. Read more>>

Katerine Weber Quevedo

My name is Kate. I am the face behind Viracocha Decor. I am Peruvian. I am happily married. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and second degree in Digital Marketing. I worked in the corporate world for many years (but it was enough ). This worldwide pandemic brought a new perspective on me on what to do with my life, and I wanted the freedom that it brought. I love home decor. I am also very picky with what I get for my home. I like to look for affordable pieces, however, I feel sometimes we need to invest a little more money in products that will be in our homes for a long time. In my opinion, there is a healthy balance. Read more>>

Jay White

My name is Jay White. Musician singer- songwriter/producer out of Nashville Tn. Started playing music at 2 years of age. My dad is a pastor so I spent a lot of time honing my skills in church. Understanding my purpose, my gift began to make room for me and I’ve been on the journey ever since. Read more>>

Carla Thompson

With all the changes from Covid, we decided to homeschool my daughter for the 2020-2021 school year. As part of her curriculum, we signed her up for a weekly art class. She would come home with ideas and things she wanted to try. However, between full-time work and handling all the things related to homeschool, time and funds were limited. They did a paint pour in one of her art classes and she came home loving it. We decided to give it a try at home and had a blast! We started watching a few videos for different ideas and ran across the Dutch pour method. I knew we just HAD to try it! Well, we did and it was AWFUL! I woke up the next morning way too early because I couldn’t get our failure off my mind. Read more>>

Marjorie Poff

It all started in 2020. As many of us wondered why we were making any plans in the middle of a pandemic, a conversation led to a thought of why so many planners try to be one-size-fits-all. I am a planner to my core. Even as a little girl, I was the one telling everyone which characters they would play in our make-believe games, the ones who organized group projects, and who had all my birthday parties planned out every year. And now, as an adult, my days tend to be structured and routine, and making decisions comes at ease. But trying to use a paper planner has been a daunting task that leaves me overwhelmed and frustrated. I am also an Enneagram One, so the sentence that I just wrote should not be true. In processing this conversation, I realized the frustration IS that planners try to throw as much into each page as possible so that there is something for everyone. Yet, in doing this, many people like myself end up giving up on their planners even before seeing a new month. Read more>>

Chris Moreno

I’ve been infatuated with music ever since I was a kid and it was always the thing that brought me the most comfort and inspiration growing up. I began playing guitar at around 11 years old and that was soon followed by playing in a series of bands throughout my teens & early twenties. The bands were on the harder rock side of the spectrum and although I participated in songwriting for these groups, I was not the main singer and I think that caused me to eventually lose interest. When I transferred colleges the band dismantled that lead to a period of about 6 years where I rarely played music or even picked up a guitar. I landed a corporate job out of college and I basically assumed my musical days were behind me. Read more>>

Dr. Audra Lance

When I was living in Chicago, I visited Nashville to attend a seminar. I immediately fell in love with the energy of the city and people, and I knew this was the place for me. I knew this is where I wanted to build my life and my practice after graduating. And it doesn’t hurt that I happen to love country music As I began researching the area and continued to visit, I saw there was an opportunity for my particular skill set and area of expertise. There was a need for more doctors who specialize in sports and non-surgical injuries, and I felt like I could make a difference with these patients in this community. I made the move, opened a practice in Brentwood and have never looked back. Read more>>

Crow Buntry

It all started one day when a bunch of rowdy, young country fellers were sitting around a campfire smoking their second pack of smokes and finishing up a keg of beer that none of them was old enough to buy. That very night they realized there was something special in the smell of smoke, stale beer and sad country songs. After finishing their beers, packing the truck with all their earthly possessions, which mostly included gittfiddles, an out of tune upright piano and rolling papers. Loaded in more ways than one they headed out for the Music City known as Nashvegas. There was book learnin to be done but more importantly, there was fun to be had and music to be wrote & played! Read more>>

Jasminee V

I started doing music when I was 13/14, no one really knew about it, overtime I kept doing it and got more confident in what I was doing. I recorded my first song when I was 18 years old, I am now 22. I didn’t come out to everyone that I was an artist until December of 2020 as of today my music has grown so much from when I came out thanks to my manager which is also a recording artist and CEO of rocket world entertainment , I’ve also just did my first show November 6th with recording artist young rocket, it was amazing I just wish for many more blessing on this journey Read more>>

Brenna Sledge

A little over 8 years ago, I married into the military & have since moved 7 times in those 8 years. When the opportunity presented itself to move back home, our little family of 5 jumped at the opportunity. I’m a native Nashvillian, born & raised. I’m a very proud mama of 3 littles & I knew I wanted to be closer to our “village”. Before the pandemic, I had spent the last several years building a massage therapy business. Upon moving back home during the pandemic, I did not have any plans to work until getting settled at our new home of record in Nolensville, TN. Read more>>

Stuart McClean

We founded Inertia’s Root with one goal in mind to offer premium quality holistic cannabis supplements to urban professionals. We also wanted to change the stigma behind the use of cannabis as a safe alternative to opioids. As a professional, I worked several years in the substance abuse treatment industry and watched prescription drugs ruin the lives of many people suffering from chronic pain. Our journey began with huge risks. I decided to leave the treatment industry and take a chance with holistic health. The cannabis industry is a risky and volatile business, but I wanted to make a difference and help people my way. Read more>>

Kate Sykes

I am from New Orleans, Louisiana. I started playing guitar at 9 years old, which progressed to songwriting around the age of 11. At 15 I started modeling, which turned into my predominant career for about 10 years. I was mainly living between New York City and Milan, Italy, but stayed playing and writing through the years. After getting accepted to Berklee College of Music, I decided to pursue songwriting full-time. Luckily, I have been able to get my degree done remotely, which has allowed me to move to Nashville and completely immerse myself in the music scene here. In addition to writing music for other artists, I’m actually releasing my own in the new year. I’m stoked! Read more>>

Andee Rudloff

OH WOW…. In short, I doodled, a lot, with sharpies mostly. Some people noticed my doodles and wanted to buy them. I started putting artwork in group shows, small businesses, and galleries. I found that many of my working friends and family never saw my artwork because they were working when the spaces were open, so I started taking my work to the streets. Over 25 years, I have done hundreds and maybe thousands of murals. There are very few if any murals from the beginning still out there, but I like the temporary nature of murals creating an immediacy to take them in while you can. I believe murals should embrace and reflect the space and community in which they reside. I’m always interested in creating the next one and thankful for each and every opportunity. I predominantly do murals now with businesses, schools, communities, as well as personal projects/collections. You can find my current work at @chicnhair on Instagram, Artist Andee Rudloff on Facebook, and Read more>>

Mollie Franklin

I got married at 14TENN back in August of 2019. When looking for wedding venues, my husband and I were looking for something fresh and industrial, where we could celebrate with all of our family and friends. We looked at what felt like hundreds of venues’ websites and reviews. I stumbled upon an advertisement for 14TENN, which was located right down the street from my house in the Nations neighborhood. The space immediately caught my attention, primarily because I had never heard of or seen the space but also because the renderings of the space looked exactly like what we were envisioning. I immediately reached out to schedule a tour of the space. When we arrived at 14TENN a couple of days later, it was nothing but a dirt floor and some beams. However, the 14TENN staff helped us paint a visual of what the space would look like once it was complete and filled with our guests on our wedding day. We instantly knew this was where we wanted to tie the knot! Read more>>

Brandon Trammel

I graduated with a bachelors degree in fine arts with a focus in printmaking at SIUC. After graduating I began building an illustration portfolio while teaching myself graphic design, animation Iand branding. During that time I worked as a graphic artist at a printing company. I wanted to expand my knowledge of branding and marketing, so I moved to Nashville in hopes of finding a job within an agency. For the next six years I bounced around several corporate jobs working as a graphic designer while having the opportunity to take lead on several ad strategies and brand identities. During this time I realized I wanted more control in these endeavors, so I began working as a freelance artist on the side. After a few years of navigating through different client demographics it was important to me that I revisit the artistic freedom I experienced in art school. During the past two years I have been collaborating with other artists within the music industry creating band merchandise, show posters, festival merchandise, assisting in brand identities for bands, and occasionally music videos. Read more>>

Anna Diaz

I grew up just loving wrestling and watching it with my family, and at the age of 15, I decided that I wanted to try it and never looked back since. Read more>>

David “Dave Lucci” Birdsong

I’ve always had a niche for art, fashion and music as far back as I can remember. I can look at anything and draw it, I have an eye for art. I’ve won contests from drawing different things while in and outside of school. in Tn and Ga. That passion for drawing and seeing my creation changed from me wanting to see my same ideas and/or concepts on actual materials like clothes etc. My first thing was styling Airbrush shirts when they was in, I didn’t actually airbrush the shirts but I had the ideas and someone to do the shirts s/o “Ol Skool” Mike Olanski. I wanted to be ahead of the curve but finances will hinder your creative process. I wanted to put things out and have stuff done before others could even fathom the idea of doing the same. Read more>>

Ryan Adams

I was raised by my great grandmother, shortly after my son was born when I was 15 she passed 3 months later. That was it for me. I dropped out got my GED, got emancipated by a local judge and started my life. I did iron construction for the first 5 years of my work life until landing a tattoo apprenticeship. I did that for 3 years before moving into barbering and never looked back. I’ve been a barber now for 7 years and finally opened my own shop in East Nashville called black heart barber company. I am a self-made man and have been alone and on my own since I was 15 with child. I am a tradesman and craftsman and have worked like a horse to pave my way. Read more>>

Hannah Rose

Hannah Rose, a singer/songwriter from CA, has known she has wanted to do music from a very young age. Hannah grew up in a very musical family, leading her to start performing at the age of six, teaching herself piano at twelve, and learning guitar at fifteen. She has always made up her own songs because she was constantly singing, but when Hannah started playing piano, she started to take her songwriting very seriously. This led to her signing to a pop label when she was sixteen. Her first self-titled album was released when she was seventeen. After much thought and a beautiful experience, Rose felt called somewhere else musically, and cordially ended her recording contract to explore other musical paths. Read more>>

Grace Brown

I could say that I started planning for Grace Skincare in May of 2020, however, that wouldn’t be completely true. I have been planning the start of this company for years, I just didn’t know it. When I began struggling with acne in 6th grade my mom took me to the dermatologist where I was prescribed my first conventional acne treatment. It worked, but only for a few months. This cycle continued through middle school, high school and even college. If I could count the different prescription treatments that I tried I think it would be close to 50, including Accutane TWICE. Nothing ever worked long term, and it was such a confusing cycle of acne, dry skin, some clear period and then back to acne again. Read more>>

Marisa Ray

Things weren’t going as I’d hoped with my music/songwriting career in Nashville back in 2010. Through a series of events, I realized I wasn’t benefiting from pursuing it any longer. I had just had a baby, and I began to really question what I was doing and and how it was adding any meaning to my life and the life of others. I started painting as just a way to release creative energy. My grandfather was a commercial artist, and I used to spend Thursdays with him. He taught me drawing and we talked about the art world. After doing a couple of paintings my husband convinced me I could sell them. I thought the suggestion was absurd, but I posted it on Facebook as a dare between us and he was right. It just blossomed from there. I had never made a dime at music, so the idea that someone wanted to pay me for something I created was invigorating. I have been a traveling artist for over 10 years now, doing fine art shows around the north and southeast. Read more>>

Treá Allen

I started first with a love for fashion. So I started customizing my own clothes for myself and others, and soon after I fell in love with photography helping one of my best friends/mentors with his shoots. So I bought a camera and started shooting almost everyday. Through the early years, I’ve experiented with friends, shot weddings, senior photos, etc., and I’ve always strived to perfect my craft through every season. Which has what got me to where I am today. Getting to shoot elegant photos while also styling them as well. Read more>>

Katie Cole

I grew up playing 5-7 nights a week in pubs, clubs and bars from age 16 onwards. Hippie Mum who force-fed me and my sister Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and Janis Joplin. My dad gave us an earful of classical music as he was trained as a tenor and pianist. But of course, my story is not simple. I forged a career paying live in Melbourne, Australia, I also wrote songs from dance and pop artists locally and in Europe including Gloria Gaynor and others. So yes, as a songwriter I was kicking some goals…. But as an artist, my genre and style belonged essentially nowhere in Australia. Read more>>

Jalen Walls

I’ve been writing since I was young since the age of 13. I grew up in a dysfunctional family and ran to the streets for guidance. Being raised by a single mother and having my father incarcerated most of my life then eventually dying of Kidney cancer led me even deeper into depression turning to drugs to numb the pain. In and out of juvy, I was a trouble kid. I dropped out of school in the 9th grade missing more days than I attended I hated school. Started selling drugs out of my Grandmas’s house and fell deeper in the game. Me and my Mother finally managed to get an apartment. Since she wasn’t working at the time I had continued to stay in the game. One night it was quite then next thing you know someone knocks on the door, then kicks it in they came in 6 deep to rob me. Not knowing who did it at first I go and buy me a Gun. Read more>>

Amanda Piver

I started baking in 2018 as a creative outlet when my son turned 3 – his birthday cake that year was the first cake from scratch I ever baked and decorated. From there I became slightly obsessed with finding and baking new recipes and trying (and frequently failing at) decorating techniques – I did everything at night or during my son’s nap time. Eventually, I started an Instagram to document the cakes I made and began to be asked to make cakes for friends and family’s special events. Through encouragement by family members, I decided to make things official and started The August Cake Co., named after my son in honor of the very first cake I made. Read more>>

Justine Lynn

I grew up in South Africa, with my musical influences being old school Motown, Blues, Soul, and traditional South African artists; Aretha Franklin was my all-time favorite musician. At the age of 14, I moved to Canada and my love for music continued to grow with much of my time spent on stage performing. In high school, I heard the song “God Bless the Broken Road” by the Rascal Flatts and was mesmerized by the harmony, the melody, and the way that it grasped a moment in time. From then on, I was hooked on Country Music and couldn’t get enough. I did my post-secondary education in music and spent much of my adult life performing, writing, and immersing myself in Country Music.  Read more>>

Jack Chapman

I’ve been an artist since middle school. My brother brought home a photo of a car he drew and told me, “You’ll never be as good as me!” Well, that was about as much inspiration as I needed.  I served as a graphic artist in the United States Air Force for several years and have always looked for ways to express myself creatively.  I took up photography a little over a year ago to release stress, it has taken off and I love to see others getting enjoyment out of my creativity. Read more>>

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