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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.

Paige Johnson

I would say my story starts from when I was a kid who always kept a camera on me taking and collecting photos any chance I get. Or growing up watching my mom get dressed and admiring her. That also led into my love for fashion, styling, and capturing moments. As I grew my love for fashion, photography, and being creative continued to grow up until going to college and majoring in Graphic Design, making t-shirts, and starting my blog. Read more>>

Thomas Finch

FDS Drum Services was essentially created in New Jersey/New York. We operated under a different name and offered services that were mainly tailored toward rehearsal and recording studios. The live music scene was very weak in the New Jersey area and drummers had to bring their own equipment to each gig. Drum sets were never provided for them like they are in Nashville. Because of this, musicians mainly utilized rehearsal facilities or recording studios. So those businesses were our main focus. Unfortunately, the area and the market just didn’t sustain or have a need for services like ours. So, we really didn’t even operate except on the rare occasion. It was a really large struggle which eventually led to us choosing to stop for many years. Fast forward to a short run of homelessness and living out my vehicle, then to the Covid-19 pandemic…we finally snapped and couldn’t take living there anymore. It was time to leave, move to the place we had always wanted to be, and take one more chance at doing the only thing we truly knew how to do. Read more>>

Ashley Payne

I am a Nashville-based equine portrait photographer that specializes in creating quality equine art for equestrian homes and barns across the country. My journey into equine photography stems from a passion I have had for art and horses since a young age. I was first introduced to horses in fourth grade after joining my local 4-H Club. I did not grow up in an equestrian family, so although my mom humored my obsession with horses, she thought the horse phase was something that I’d eventually outgrow. I definitely didn’t – sorry mom!  Growing up, I often looked at life through a creative lens of possibility. I was mesmerized by how powerful the mind could be in a mode of creation. My first day of art class in Elementary school was the first time I felt a sense of belonging – a sense of euphoria. The smell of the pencils, paper, clay, and the eccentric teacher caught my attention unlike the monotony of my other classes. Art was a class where I didn’t have to follow the rules and could branch out and truly express my thoughts and bring my imagination to life. From then on, I couldn’t put the pencils down. Read more>>

Matthew Runaway

I was raised on a diligent crops and cattle farm in Perth, Ontario.  I’d always had an interest in music but never thought of it as a career. At 15 years old, my mom convinced me to go with her to a Def Leppard concert. The second I heard the intro riff to “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, I knew that music was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I didn’t know how I was going to do it… I just knew that this decision felt right. As funny as that sounds, my love for music really did switch on just like that. The very next day, I went out and bought a $100 acoustic guitar.  I became obsessed with the guitar. At the time, I was so determined that I had made a deal with my mom: 1 self-taught year meant that I could pursue guitar lessons. I became infatuated with 80’s guitarists but my priority was to focus on my songwriting and learn enough guitar to start playing in bands.  Read more>>

Tyler Ingram

Sometimes some of the biggest hardships in life can be used to create something really great.  I originally started my company as Hamble when I was still in college at the University of Missouri. That was back in December of 2017, and this year I rebranded it as Third & Monroe. While the name Third & Monroe is new, the core message is still the same: we are an online clothing boutique that donates to women’s shelters and aims to spread the message that your future does not have to be defined by your past!  A few years ago, I was in a relationship that eventually became very toxic and abusive for me. Most people that know me would say I’ve always been a confident person, but I essentially lost every ounce of confidence I had in myself.  Through a lot of self-reflection and personal growth, I was able to get to the other side of that pain and wanted to find a way to help others going through the same. Read more>>

Marianna Barksdale

I started doing comedy about 5 years ago when I was still living in Brooklyn, I took a class at the Comedy Cellar because I had always been obsessed with stand-up comedy but I never thought that I wanted to actually do it till 2016! After my class show the manager of the Comedy Cellar went out of his way to tell me to not let anyone tell me to change and to not stop doing comedy, something I didn’t really understand at the time but now, after quitting comedy two times, it makes much more sense! I ended up in an abusive relationship following my class and I was worried if I booked comedy shows the guy that abused me would show up and hurt me. I was scared to do comedy (or go to my favorite coffee shop for that matter) at all again until I moved to Nashville in 2019. I took *another* comedy class, this time at Third Coast Comedy where I remembered how much I loved doing stand-up. Then I quit again because I was working at a retail store and didn’t have any time or energy to go to mics or put in the incredible amount of work that it takes to being a standup comedian. Read more>>

Wendi White

I’m Wendi White the owner & operator of Wendi Consulting, LLC. With over 12 years of accounting and auditing experience across several businesses, I specialize in personal and small business tax preparation, conducting non-profit audits/agreed-upon procedures, providing full-service outsourced accounting needs & general business counsel.  Read more>>

Brittany McLamb

I started singing at an early age in the youth choir at my church. But it wasn’t until I won my elementary school pageant around the age of 10/11 that I performed solo in front of an audience. To give away my title as “Little Miss Salemburg”, I had to perform a talent. I had taken dance since I was in kindergarten and my mom assumed that I would perform a dance routine as my talent. To her surprise, I chose to sing my favorite song at the time which was “If You’re Not In It For Love I’m Outta Here” by Shania Twain. I was dressed in cowboy boots, fringe vest, cowboy hat, and a blue jean skirt, and when I finished the song the gymnasium roared in applause. I had never experienced anything like this before, but I knew that I definitely wanted to again! At this point, I started performing at every talent show, pageant, and event that I could and recording demos at a local studio. Read more>>

Marissa Pitre

The journey of my business started with my inner journey. I’m excited to watch my business grow as consistency is the key. I started when I was in high school when I became a YouTuber and now have expanded to production and music. Dixie’s and Daises birthed a couple years later as this business supports my mission in life, saving the world & saving the bees.  Read more>>

Trey Gibson

I was raised mainly in North Nashville my entire life and influenced by its rich culture. The first place I learned about the depth of hip hop culture and its history was at Fisk University at a summer program called Thrust when I was in middle school. I started writing my own poems and rhymes at the beginning of high school and always looked for a route to take it more seriously but after a few failed attempts I left it alone. It wasn’t until the end of my sophomore year of college that me and my homeboy, jyou, started making music together which eventually led to us striving to build careers.  Read more>>

Elizabeth Moore

I started making candles as a hobby – while I was in high school my sister had a small candle side hustle, and when she left for college, being the classic little sister, as soon as she was gone, I snuck into her room and started experimenting. It started small, just off and on for a couple years, until I started getting more requests to create regularly, so I redid the branding, put together a website, and six months later here I am!. Read more>>

Sharon Ingram

I never would have dreamed that when I began working with clay, that one day it would lead me to owning a beautiful pottery studio and gallery. I fell in love with the medium around 1989, which is where my journey began, as I had a hunger to learn the pottery wheel. After making a career change in 2004, my path led me to opening Mud Puddle Pottery Studio, which is a place that people can take pottery wheel, hand-building in clay, sculpture classes, and also a place that they can purchase clay, supplies, and equipment to start their own home studio. In 2009, we expanded into a larger space, opening an Artisan Gallery featuring the work of regional artists and craftsman. The gallery is host to some of the most recognized potters, glass, jewelry, copper, metal sculpture, painting, and fiber artists in Nashville. It is certainly worth the trip to drive less than 20 minutes west of downtown Nashville and experience shopping where every item is handcrafted and one-of-a-kind.  Read more>>

Sarah Nicholson

As a kid, I dreamed of owning my own bakery, but I also wanted to have a successful career. I wasn’t necessarily taught that those two dreams were mutually exclusive, it just seemed that way since everyone I knew was headed to college. So, I went to Bellarmine University to earn my degrees in Biochemistry and Economics. This is important because I met my husband, Matt, who helped make our daughter, Joey. Fast forward a bit, it’s 2020, and were stuck at home. Like everyone, I needed a new hobby. I started making cookies in November so I would be prepared to make them for Joey’s first birthday. I immediately fell back in love with baking. There science behind each ingredient and the creative process of decorating feels like I’m making art. Nicholson’s Nibbles officially launched in January of 2021. Thankfully, others thought I was pretty good at it and allowed me to make cookies for their events and parties! I’m particularly thankful to my first few customers who have supported me throughout the year. It’s been through word of mouth (and cookies in mouth) that I’ve been able to grow to where I am now!. Read more>>

Joy Bosley

Joy grew up in Tuskegee, Alabama, and attended Notasulga High School which was a school that was due to close when she attended. This school also has a documentary about it produced by Allison Wilmarth and Kevin J. Flannagan. The documentary casted Joy’s school counselor and Principal Ms. Berlinda Sullen. The documentary called “Love Goes Public” released in October 2019 outlines the details of the neighborhood and school that Joy grew up in.  Joy’s modeling career started in 2011 as a Model Productions contract winner from Opelika, Alabama. Determined to pursue a career in entertainment she drove 12 hours from Alabama to Miami, Florida to work on the set of Magic City, a TV series that aired on Starz in 2012. She met casting director Bill Marinella and explained how she drove from Alabama for the small part. Bill was impressed by her determination and made sure he booked as much as possible. Joy booked multiple roles and worked three months straight in these roles while living in Miami, Florida. After the casting ended, she later booked with Susan G. Komen fashion event “Love, Peace & Prosperity” to help raise money for the breast cancer research foundation. Read more>>

Tylor Hutcheson

I became interested in photography when I was 15. It was a hobby that I thoroughly enjoyed teaching myself about and loved exploring the intricacies of the technical aspect. Within a few months of getting my first DSLR, I taught myself manual mode and practiced every day. Not long after I discovered night landscape images with stars forming a circular pattern – star trails – and spent the next several months teaching myself how to do them. To this day they are still my favorite images to create. When I graduated high school, I decided to go to college and get a bachelor’s in commercial photography. There I found a new love for photography in creating advertising images. I love working in the studio and creating concepts for different products.  Read more>>

Chris Andreucci

I’ve always been musical and from a young age, I loved performing and expressing myself through music. My parents played a big part in my story which started back home in Ayr, Scotland. I was lucky to grow up in a house that listened to a lot of music, from different genres and eras, and it was this musical education that really formed the foundations of my songwriting career. I always struggled to tell people how I felt about things in my life and I could never understand why. It was like that until just after my 12th birthday, when my cousin and I sat down and co-wrote our first song titled “Help Me”. I realized I had found an outlet for saying how I felt and things kind of snowballed from there. I kept writing and improving my craft over the next few years, playing some of the songs with my band at the time. As the story often goes, the band parted ways at the end of high school and when I got to college I continued to write.  Read more>>

Marcy Karpowitz

Born and raised in New Jersey, I grew up in a family business. Immersed in an entrepreneurial-minded environment, I learned two great strengths: my work ethic and the determination to never quit.  Post-college, I moved to San Francisco and kicked off a career in corporate retail. After years of growth and experience, I transitioned to the agency side where my attention to detail, big picture strategic thinking, flawless execution, and top-tier client service opened up a wealth of opportunities.  I spent the next few years further honing my skills and enjoying the work. As I contemplated my next move, I knew I wanted to be in and cultivate a team-oriented environment where the work, collaboration, and stellar service on top of flawless execution was at the core. Since the founding of MKMCreative and to this day, it’s clear this path was predetermined in the bloodline. Read more>>

KC Johns

With deep roots in the Blues capital of the world, I grew up in Memphis, where I was baptized in soul and fell hard for the stage, the spotlight, and songs that make the world go ’round.  “Music has always been that one thing in my life that digs up a smile when I feel like I’m buried under the rest of ‘life,’” says KC. “I want other people to feel the same way.”  Having discovered my stage legs young, I jumped feet first into this business called music, performing everywhere from Dollywood, where I was featured in Dolly Parton’s “Christmas Coat of Many Colors,” to cruise ships around the world. After performing in ports throughout the Atlantic, the Caribbean, and everywhere in between, I made my way up the mainstream music ladder, opening for artists like Luke Bryan, Chris Young, Randy Houser, and Trailer Choir. Read more>>

Suzanne Kopulos and Karey Welch

Beauty CS started with a friendly introduction between co-founders Suzanne Kopulos and Karey Welch. At the time, Suzanne was represented by Ford Models working as a celebrity stylist, Creative Director and On-Air personality in Chicago, while Karey was building record-breaking growth strategies and product marketing plans for major beauty brands. Working together seemed like a natural fit, as our professional paths began to cross and emerging brands began to reach out looking for support selling at Ulta and Sephora. Originally our agency was brought on board to develop competitive strategies within the brick-and-mortar retailers with product development expansion, eye-catching visual displays, sales objectives, storytelling and creative social campaigns. Our roster of clients also sold at QVC, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s and more. With years of retail success, clients began to turn to us to with a single idea to enter the beauty space and task us with building a brand from the ground up! With expertise in naming, logo design and product development powered by creative social media, influencer campaigns and digital marketing strategies, we have the ability to catapult brands to next-level success. Read more>>

Veronica Rogers

I own an on-site hair and makeup business that specializes in weddings. We travel really all over the Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee territories but are primarily found in Nashville. I have been really passionate about physical appearance (hair and makeup) since I was a little girl. When I was a child, I would always play in mom’s makeup and wear high heels all the time and if I had play makeup that included things like blue lipstick, you better believe I was wearing it every day. My mom would have to wait until I fell asleep to take my high heels off because I absolutely refused to take them off if I was awake.  When I was 9, I started to get acne that quickly turned into a case of severe acne and I needed to see a dermatologist by the age of 10. That’s when makeup started taking a different role in my life — it allowed me to cover up the areas I didn’t like so I could feel comfortable in my skin. The truth is, I know what it’s like to look in the mirror and hate the reflection staring back at you. Read more>>

Richard Becker

Our band Walden started when we were seniors in high school, back in 2012. After high school, all four of the band members continued on to the University of Georgia in Athens, GA, a city instrumental in developing our fanbase. During the pinnacle of our time in Athens, we won the Road to Roo competition – a battle of the bands where the winner receives a slot on the coveted Bonnaroo lineup. This acted as the gateway to signing to a major booking agency, finding management, and expanding our band’s footprint onto the nation. We went on to play other festivals such as Slossfest, Shaky Knees, Summerfest, Hulaween, Kaaboo, and many more.  During the pandemic, our agency dropped us, we parted ways with our management, and we were left completely independent. Finances were in a rough spot. With touring being off the table (which is how indie bands make almost all of their money), we had no money to record new music or make new content. Read more>>

Tonya Denton

After growing up in a small town in North Carolina, I set forth after graduation to pursue music. At the age of 18, I started my first rock band in Saint Louis, where I opened for bands like Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. Later I met guitarist and husband, Cody Denton, former guitar player for The 45, another local Saint Louis rock band. After marriage, we moved to Indiana to live with family as a half-way-point to save money to relocate to Nashville. During our time in Indiana, I unexpectedly became pregnant, haunting our move to Nashville. After nine months of prep work for a new addition to our family. Cody and I lost our daughter, Lydia, a week before our due date. Devastated by the tragedy, we became even more determined to follow our dreams and move to Nashville, so we did. A year or two after settling in, we faced a new challenge- COVID-19 and its shutdowns. During the lockdown, Cody and I began to write music together for the first time, which later led us to form the band, Lydia’s Castle, and eventually meeting our drummer, Jon Wysocki. Read more>>

Zakiyah Johnson

A little bit about myself, I am a 21-year-old full-time business owner of Za’s Delights. I am also a full-time employee as a Veterinarian Assistant. I am one of few in my family to receive my High School diploma with a 3.0 GPA. I was about 6 years old when I realized how much I loved to bake. My mother and I would bake a cake just about every 2 weeks. She taught me how to properly combine ingredients all the way up to decorating our masterpieces. As I grew up things started to change for me. I lost contact with my biological mother, and my love for baking went dormant for a while. I had trouble knowing what I wanted in life and lost my connection and joy to my hobbies. This lasted for a few years as I didn’t know what I would become or grow up to do.  About 5 years ago I found my way back to my family. I realized that life was too short to not have good times and enjoy as much of it as you can. At that moment I decided that I needed to figure out what I love to do most. Read more>>

Maria Bush

“Maria, I want to die. I just don’t want to live anymore,” a classmate in high school whispered to me while sitting in science class. I will never forget that day. I was scared for him and afraid I would say the wrong thing but relieved that he told someone. I remember listening to his experiences and his reasons for wanting to end his life.  After talking, he said he felt somewhat better but had to go back home after school to the place where most of his triggers resided. 20+ years later he is alive today and I am grateful we crossed paths at one of the most vulnerable times in his life. That was the first of many times I would sit with friends and loved ones who expressed suicidal thoughts, attempt suicide, experienced domestic violence, and sexual assault.  Born and raised in the inner city of Kansas City, Missouri I witnessed mental illness and gang-related violence first hand. It gave me a passion to be a conduit for folks to feel seen, heard, and understood. I knew education would be the step to get me there. After spending two years in Marines ROTC in high school, I believed the military was my only option to have my college degree funded until a family friend sat me down and explained my options. I graduated high school a year early, top 10 of my class, then transitioned to Nashville, Tennessee to attend Fisk University. Read more>>

Marcus Hilson

What inspired my passion for film was the love that I have had for movies as a child. I grew up watching many Horror, Action, Comedy, Animation, and Martial Arts films. I was heavy influenced on the feeling that I got while watching different 70’s, 80’s and 90’s horror classics such as the original Night of the Living Dead, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Demons. I would envision myself being in those films or situations and would often reenact it or make my own version with childhood friends. Though some of my favorites may have been Horror films the moment I knew I wanted to make my own films and start my own independent production company when I watched inspirational martial arts films such as the Karate Kid and Master of the Flying Guillotine. Since then, I have studied and researched film as a fan as well as to learn more. I would attend film school in Nashville in 2018 as well as a film festival that same year as a lead actor in a short film. Read more>>

Desiree Conley

My journey to find the career that would give me a flexible schedule and to be an active, but successful mother for my children began in my twenties. I had loved the salon atmosphere because of its’ exciting energy as I witnessed my hairstylist’s impact on her clients with their new hairstyles while growing up, and I knew I wanted a career that I could make people happy. Once both of my children were in school, I went and toured multiple cosmetology schools until I found the one that was a great fit with the curriculum and flexible schedule I was looking for. I attended New Direction Hair Academy (later changing to The Beauty Institute) part-time for a year and a half and went to school while my kids were in school. After completing and passing my boards I worked in a few different salon environments until a friend convinced me to go out on my own. That was by far the best decision I made in my career. I had the ability to be flexible for my family while doing what I loved. I have now been in my own suite for four years and have been doing hair for over 14 years!. Read more>>

Kayla Rae

I was born and raised in New England and I am the youngest and only daughter of an incredibly hard-working single mother, who is a very successful educator and trainer in the Permanent Cosmetics Industry. As a kid, I enjoyed sports but felt like I need an additional outlet. I always loved seeing live Theater performances as well as film and television, so I developed an interest in acting. By the age of 8, I was getting involved with local theater groups. It wasn’t long until I fell in love with it and wanted to pursue it professionally.  Growing up in the Boston area at the time, there weren’t many opportunities for child actors, so my mother placed me in various adult acting and voice lessons throughout the city. In hindsight, I wouldn’t change anything. It really brought me out of my shell and allowed me to develop people skills and improv skills that translate to so many other areas of life to this day. I have a Bachelor’s degrees in Journalism as well as theatre. After college, I worked various jobs for professional sports teams. I also worked for a social recreation program that enabled mentally and physically handicapped adults teaching life and social skills. We put on a yearly theatre production and it was one of the most rewarding opportunities I’ve had. Read more>>

Kaileigh Dunn

Born and raised in Illinois, Kaileigh graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing. She moved to Nashville in 2010 and excelled in a marketing profession. Kaileigh was very intrigued by business practices and came to find her calling with commercial real estate in 2015. Kaileigh Dunn is known for her commitment to clients’ needs, dedication to educating her colleagues, and involvement in the community. Her and her husband operate Dunn Commercial Group, which won the Small Business of the Year Award for the Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce in 2019. Kaileigh serves with several professional organizations including Leadership Wilson Board, Mt. Juliet Chamber Ambassador, Wilson County CASA, EMTAR Board of Directors, as well as she volunteers constantly with many non-profits.  Read more>>

Lance Ingram

That’s always an interesting question. I could talk about that first time I heard Boston’s self-titled album or about going to my first concert (double-billing of Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers in Jackson, MS). While both of those experiences greatly shaped what I do today, I don’t think that’s what you’re looking for!  But to answer your question I can point to three moments.  The first was when I was a junior in high school, I submitted a poem in a statewide poetry contest. The poem won second place and when my teacher found out she told me there could be something there for me. She advised me to consider pursuing journalism and without second-guessing her, I moved forward as if there were no other options.  The second was becoming the City News Editor for my college newspaper, The Daily Mississippian. For a college newspaper, it was pretty impressive. Five issues a week and something like 15,000 + copies a day. I had worked my way up from staff reporter to senior staff reporter to City News Editor in about 10 months. Read more>>

Alexander Nicely

I started Lift with Purpose as a way to give back to the disability community using fitness. As a person with Cerebral Palsy throughout the first 18 years of my life I had taken part in many different methods of rehabilitation, ranging from traditional physical therapy, Botox, surgeries, intensive physical therapy, and functional fitness. As a byproduct, I also witnessed the cost of all these treatment methods. Through those experiences, I began to understand what a tole, having a disability can take on an individual’s family. It was only through the love and support of my community and love ones that I was able to regain and maintain the ability to walk and I decided at 23 that I wanted to use my passion for fitness as a way to assist other disabled people to be more independent.  When Lift with Purpose was founded our first fundraising efforts were fitness competitions. We would partner with a family who was in need of assistance and host a weightlifting competition. All the proceeds from that competition would go towards helping the client obtain whatever rehabilitation service they needed. After a few years, we determined that we wanted to broaden our reach and began reaching out to local and national businesses for monetary donations in order to help our clients. Read more>>

Amy Frederick

I am the youngest child in my family. There was always music playing in our home. All of my siblings played the piano and I followed in their footsteps with my first paying gig at age 12, accompanying a church choir. This experience convinced me to take advantage of every opportunity I had to play music with and for others. I loved meeting new people, the sense of purpose I felt being in service, and the spiritual nature of music. In high school, I was in the band and concert choir. I played for musicals, funerals, parties, and anywhere possible. Music gave me purpose and excitement. Ultimately, I ended up earning a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Alabama but my real journey had only begun at that point.  Read more>>

 

Hanna Fahmy

It all started out when I was eight years old. I took some of my mom’s clothing apart to make some clothes for my doll. She was VERY angry, at first, but, then, she offered to help me. She made me promise that, if she bought me some fabric, I would leave her clothes alone. Then, she told me if I wanted to sew for my dolls, I needed to learn how to sew on a sewing machine. And… that is how I fell in love with the craft.  When I was in my early teens, my mom told me that I should go to school to learn to be a tailor. I learned to design clothing and to make my own patterns as well as sew.  After I got married, I moved to Alexandria, Egypt from Cairo. Soon after, our son, Joseph was born so I was very busy being a new mom. Around the time Joseph was 3 years old, I opened my first ‘shop’ in Alexandria. Using a room in our apartment, I set up my shop. I began making prom dresses for the girls from my church. Business was great!!! I became extremely busy and was very popular within a year.  Read more>>

Amanda Thomson

Amanda Thomson is the CEO and Founder of global brand, Thomson & Scott and creator of Noughty, the world’s best alcohol-free sparkling Chardonnay and Rosé, with still dealcoholized wines launching in 2022.  Sold in more than 35 countries after only launching in London Autumn 2019, she is taking the drinks industry by storm.  Having been brought up on a plant-based, no sugar diet by her health-conscious mother, Amanda has always had a keen interest in healthy living.  After a successful career as an Arts Broadcaster at the BBC, she moved to Paris and studied for her Diploma in Wine at the renowned Le Cordon Bleu School.  Amanda has since been announced as the only Brit on the US board of ANBA, the Adult Non-Alcoholic Beverage Association.  Read more>>

Marilyn Lauterbach

From a very young age, I’ve always had a fondness for food. After a year of culinary & hospitality training, I decided that I didn’t want a career as a chef and felt my passion would be better kept as a hobby.  Moving to Nashville in 2014, I somehow found myself frequenting chain restaurants. As a food lover… in a new city?! I figured posting my dining experiences on Instagram would be a good way to encourage myself to branch out. Soon after posting, I realized how many people like myself, were not only new to the area but also needing inspiration for a new place to discover.  At the time, there were very few local “food” dedicated Instagrams that weren’t posting edited, staged, or sponsored photos. By capturing my raw experiences and sharing them, I felt that the content was relatable in a sense of “what you see is what you get” to the average customer. While my brand as a creator and food enthusiast has definitely expanded, my main goal will always be to remain authentic. Read more>>

Chinelle Gwartney

In 2018, myself, Samantha Glumm, and Kayla Martel were on another paranormal team. This team included both men and women. During our tenure on the team, we learned quickly what it was like to be a female in the world of paranormal investigation. Not having our opinions heard, being treated differently as our male colleagues, and having new and inventive ways to investigate spoke about in a negative light, we endured this and so much more during our time on that team. After a particularly horrendous night of investigation at a location in Kentucky, Samantha came to me and asked about starting our own team. An all-female team. Our goal from the beginning was to show the paranormal world that women are just as good as men at investigating, and to bring equality and advocate for other females in the field. Elite Vixen Paranormal was born in November 2018, and we have been going strong ever since! We now have a team of 6 beautiful ladies, from all walks of life. Read more>>

Dakota Heflin

I came to Nashville from Sarasota, FL originally to attend MTSU where I studied in Music Business/Journalism. I have a performance background and am an avid music junkie, spent about eight years as a publicist in the music industry—four of which I founded/operated my own firm, Songshine Media—working for acts such as Billy Ray Cyrus, Ty Herndon, Camille Rae, Joe & Martina, Jake Loban, various music festivals and more. In the midst of the 2020 pandemic, I initially took on the hobby of making bath bombs for loved ones as a crafty distraction. With a combination of my passion for music and the love I have for my twin Nigerian Dwarf/Pygmy goats, Jack & Diane, and their adopted sister, Sandy, The Groovy Goat Co. came to fruition in May of 2020 with a line of bath and body products that I authentically derived from classic rock songs and the scents in which each inspired. Read more>>

Melissa DeOrazio

The Dirty Rain Revelers are husband/wife team, Matthew and Melissa DeOrazio, both on guitars and vocals. The music they make is in the vein of Roots-Rock, with elements of blues and country mixed in; infused in the sound is their love and warmth for each other and for life itself.  The couple met on a gig in Austin in October 2005, a post-Katrina love story set to music. Melissa has family roots in TX and grew up in Austin; Matthew went to Austin to retreat and recover from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  The two quickly began performing, recording, and touring together, and after a year and a half, Melissa and Matthew eloped on a beach in SoCal in August 2007 and moved back to New Orleans. As two independent artists from divergent backgrounds, they felt compelled to merge their styles to create a sound more representative of their union, and ultimately more rewarding.  Read more>>

Drew Hale

I’ve been involved with music as long as I can remember. I was a worship leader at a large church in my hometown of El Paso, Texas for most of my teens/20’s until moved to Michigan in 2008 to take a music director position at a small church in Traverse City.  I have always been a songwriter. I began writing at 11 or 12 years old and started a rock band where we used my songs to record a couple of eps and a full-length album in Nashville back in ‘03. I’ve always loved the art of storytelling, and to me, country music was about the best medium for telling stories! I grew up on Cory Morrow and Pat Green, and songwriters like Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, and I gleaned so much about the art of telling stories from them and guys like James Taylor and Harry Chapin. There’s just something about songs that speak to the human experience and the day-to-day struggles of life and love and purpose that speak deeply to me, so I do my best to make that my focus as a songwriter.  Read more>>

Kinsey Paul

I’ve worn many hats within the beauty and fashion industries… I got my start in Atlanta as a clothing designer, specializing in custom women’s special occasion dresses, gowns, and swimwear. Not long afterwards, I moved to Miami to further my career as a designer and stylist, working mainly with artists, record companies, and in the entertainment industry. I lived there for about 7 years and had so many wonderful opportunities and experiences. It was during my time here that I founded and grew my first business (an online woman’s clothing boutique), YERAbrand. The “YERA” in YERABrand was in memory of Yerusalem “Yera” Gebregiorgis, one of my best friends that I lost unexpectedly and suddenly in 2010. YERA also stood as an acronym for what I felt represented my clothing: youthful, elegant, retro artistic designs. In 2016, my (now) husband’s job relocated us to Tacoma, Washington. During my time there, I was offered a management role with Tom Ford.  Read more>>

Caroline Sharpnack

I started photographing around age thirteen when I was given my grandpa’s old Canon film camera. I slowly grew my camera collection throughout high school and spent a lot of time staging photoshoots with friends around town. Naturally, I decided to study photography in college. Towards the end of my time in college, I developed a deeper interest in interiors (I’ve always loved interior design) and I started to think about what it would be like to pursue that niche. After college, I freelanced for companies like Airbnb and Houzz, shooting as many homes as I could (and making connections, too) to build my portfolio. I finally took my photography business full-time in September 2020 after about 6 years of freelancing while working a full-time job.  Read more>>

Stacy Arvin

Born and raised in Murfreesboro, I grew up with a love for art, music, dance performance, and costume styling. After graduating from Paul Mitchell, The School of Nashville, my studies continued in advanced hair specialties, small business management, social media marketing, Reiki, holistic health, yoga, sports nutrition & fitness training. I’ve worked for three 5-star salons in Middle Tennessee and have been hired for events from Las Vegas to Montego Bay, Jamaica!. Read more>>

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