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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.

Ginger Lewis

It started a long time ago…. Our Ford station wagon was a popular family car back when I was a kid. That car was dependable, rugged, comfortable, and tough. Just like our family. One day my two brothers, Tim and Rob, my little sister Hayley, my Mom, and Step Dad, and I all hopped in that wagon and took a road trip. We drove for a couple of hours northeast, right outside of LA. I looked out the window and saw nothing but rolling hills, cactuses, Joshua trees, and dirt. Read more >>

Tony Crispigna

Wow, ahh, well, it started with a passionate curiosity as a wee lad. The things I took to were things I adored and thought about all the time, and this present moment is no different. Writing this inspires me to say that the pursuit of my curiosity ended up discovering pain-free universal things that make the world a wonderful place to be. Namely, food, beverage (water), music (language) and health (happiness). I am summarizing the wisdom of my journey to prevent me from digressing into the countless stories that all play an interconnected role in my present momentum. Read more>>

Kati Edge

I have always loved make-up since I was a little girl and would sneak and play in my mom’s make-up, and then she gave in and would slowly let me wear more and more as I got older. Starting in 6th grade with a little brown mascara and blush and adding a new product every year. Then when I decided I wanted make-up artistry to be my career, I began to volunteer as a make-up artist for the Orlando Opera Company, in Orlando, Florida. Two years later I would become the make-up and wig supervisor for the Opera’s chorus Department, working directly with the make-up and wig designer for the the show. Read more>>

Trace Thompson

Looking back, my life appears to have always been rooted in music dating back to my early childhood listening to my parents’ vinyl albums. I started learning piano and quickly moved to guitar after I saved up enough money bailing hay one summer in high school. I ended up winning a national songwriting competition my senior year which gave me some confidence, but I quickly learned I was naive to the business of music after a brief visit to Nashville in the early ‘90’s. Lacking any real mentor or direction, I joined the local fire department and used that money along with the songwriting award scholarship to put myself through college. Read more>>

Dex Morton

My Story. My name is Dexter Morton or Dex.Art.Lab on IG, I was born in a small town in Alabama called Eutaw and raised in Chattanooga, Tn. I have been working with art since the beginning. I remember growing up and watching my uncle Chris draw and use pens and markers after sketching to create artwork. He would show me the importance of a clean line. He used either sharpies or ink pens to clean up the work then erase afterwards. After some time I picked up the skill by doing what he taught me. I got to a point where I could look at something, memorize it and draw it from my thoughts. Read more>>

Jessica Adair

I’ve always been a creative person. I have been drawing since I could use a pencil. I also would be the child wearing a Sunday school dress while climbing a tree during the middle of the week. I have always been a very expressive person. I’ve spent my whole life trying to better my skills, so that means a lot of practice, but also a lot of seeking out inspiration. I truly believe everything we create comes from weird amalgamations we form—nothing is truly unique. I’ve had companies reach out wanting me to promote their clothes and I’ve had people request prints of my work, so I decided to create separate instagrams for both endeavors. Read more>>

Daisy Sellas

I’ve always loved music, especially country and traditional cowboy music. I grew up on the last working cattle ranch in Southern California, and I can remember super chilly fall days where my dad would take my sister and I to ride horses and we’d listen to Johnny Cash, Dave Stamey, Toby Keith, Willie Nelson, and Dierks Bentley. And when I got a guitar for my 9th birthday, it all kind of fell into place. iTunes was still thriving and I would browse through it on my parents’ computer listening to everything from Taylor Swift to Patsy Cline and the Rolling Stones. Read more>>

Andrea Denney

I have had many hardships that could have broken me if I was a weaker person. In my childhood home I was misunderstood and due to bipolar disorder at a young age not really included as part of the family. I was bounced around from parent to parent, kicked out twice and at 17 finally moved out on my own. The emotional damage to a person with mental health issues was very daunting to get past. Then I moved in with my first husband who until I got pregnant with my son was in a decent if not at times happy marriage. Once I got pregnant everything changed. We lost our home and our jobs, I had to go on bedrest due to the baby trying to come at 6 months. Read more>>

Jordan Powers

I was born and raised in Toledo, OH, and lived in Minnesota for the last 12 years. For the last 4 years, I have been pursuing a career in architectural photography and video production – both residential and commercial. Over the last few years, I have really had an eye on Nashville as a growing city and one that my family could live in. I made several trips here to explore the area and last summer we made the decision to relocate and get a fresh start. With the amount of development happening in Nashville over the next several years, it is the perfect city for my business to be based in. Read more>>

Lee Hester

Looking back, I can say that my career really got started in 96. I met a producer while touring with a vocal group in 92 or 93. That was when I got my first acoustic guitar. I played a little on the piano but I didn’t know how to read sheet music so everything was by ear. I wrote some songs, went down to Florida and made a record. I worked for my dad unloading trucks during the spring and summer of 96 to pay for the recording, cd’s and just enough for the move to Nashville. I arrived in September of 96. I spent the first 6 months doing crazy odd jobs like 3rd shift security, landscaping and various warehouse jobs. Read more>>

Leslie Sampson

Born in Waterford, Ireland in 1844, Kelly’s primary education focused on the wine and spirits industry. Shortly after turning eighteen, he immigrated to the United States and stayed in New York for about a year. In 1864, he made his way to Nashville, Tennessee. At first, Kelly worked for R.H. Singleton in the book and stationary business. He helped compile and print the first directory in Nashville. Kelly eventually rectified his own whiskey and sold it to Union soldiers who occupied the city. In September 1866, Kelly stopped in Chattanooga on his way back to New York. Read more>>

Cameo Bobo

Hi! First things first, Yes, my “real” name is Cameo Bobo. Now that I have your attention lol, here’s alittle about myself! I’ve been featured on the H&M’s Time Square billboard, authored a bestselling book, and had three hit singles on radio. Additionally, I’m CEO of a girls program and shopwithcameo.com boutique. My most rewarding accomplishment is being a mom to an amazing son! So, how’d I become this multi-faceted, multi-passionate version of myself? Well, I started out as a Fashion Designer and Stylist participating in fashion shows around Tennessee. Read more>>

Keturah Allgood

My journey has been a long and winding path. I am from Brevard a small town in the mountains of Western North Carolina right outside of Asheville. These ancient mountains hold a plethora of talent. Due to their relative isolation for years , most of my family members had to learn how to entertain themselves. I grew up surrounded by music and storytelling. It was infused in my bones. I started rhyming and writing songs at a ridiculously young age. My mom loves to recount the story of myself and my uncle, who is also a songwriter, riding in the back of the car going to the Worlds Fair in Knoxville Tennessee. Read more>>

Vicky Reddish

I really fell in love with art in high school because I had incredible teachers who invested so much time in us. I painted off and on from then until 2016 at which time I made a space in my home for a studio. Since then, I have enjoyed being able to paint anytime! I love to travel and I am so fortunate I get to do so often. I am inspired by nature and the textures of old buildings and relics. I am wildly passionate about color. I primarily work with acrylic paint but I’m always trying new mediums and ideas. I am passionate about capturing the emotion and complexity of a moment or memory in my work. Read more>>

Margaret Haynie

My parents say I’ve been singing since I could talk. Growing up, I participated in the church choir, bells, and school choir, then in college, I took voice lessons, joined the chamber choir, a capella group, and bluegrass band. Writing has been my outlet since I was young. Even in grade school I excelled when writing short stories, and I remember writing songs even in middle and high school. When I was little my dream was to be a singer, and not much has changed. Of course, there have been bumps in the road. After college, I looked for jobs for months without much luck because nothing seemed the least bit interesting when all I’ve ever wanted to do was sing and write songs. Read more>>

Nicole Devine

I have been singing since I was four. I always did choir in school as well as all of the musicals at my high school. In college, I stopped doing music in school and it wasn’t until I was on a trip for Habitat for Humanity where one of the other members of the club brought his guitar that I really started singing again and participating in benefit concerts. After college, I started performing live in local bars and restaurants and it was going pretty well but on October 12, 2018 my life changed. I went to a Keith Urban concert with my dad. Read more>>

Hollie Sikes

It’s hard to trace my “story” back to the beginning because, like many musicians before me, I’ve been writing songs since elementary school! I’ve always been a writer to some degree, and songwriting falls in with that. In high school I started a band with a few friends and wrote off and on during and after that time, but I’d say music became a serious pursuit once I got to college. I hadn’t played in awhile, but I went through a lot of big changes as I went into my sophomore year and it felt natural to go back to music. Read more>>

Joe Hermes

I grew up in a small country town 2 hours south of Chicago called “Heyworth” IL. My Dad spent his days building a business and my Mom took care of the home and watching over my Brother, Sister and I. Riding dirt bikes and four wheelers, fishing and jamming music with my friends was how I spent most of my recreational time and of course Church on Sundays. I used to love hearing music play at family gatherings and especially when I would see my family having fun and singing along to songs they liked was pretty special to me. Read more>>

Katherine Yazbak

I have known since I was little that I wanted to do something in design. It started with drawing triangle dresses, and learning how to sew around the age of seven. There was a spark I felt and I knew it was my purpose. I went to design school and worked for a few years in the fashion industry but not in design. I decided to leave NY and come to Nashville and found myself back in the service industry. In 2020 I decided to take the leap and try starting a business making jewelry. Read more>>

Lena Lauterwasser

I have always loved coffee from a young age and growing up I would always make drinks at home and experiment with different things for my family. It was always something that I loved doing and had a passion for, but I never dreamed it would take me as far as it did… I was working a few odd jobs here and there when I applied for a part time job at the CoffeeHouse. I almost didn’t even apply because from what I had seen on Facebook, one of the requirements was that you had to be 18 years old. So I saw the opening for the job on Facebook at first and I was interested, but sadly scrolled on by the post becuase I was a few months out from turning 18. Read more>>

Tiara Johnson

In 2014, my oldest sister came to me and asked if I wanted to take up cosmetology. At first I thought to myself, “how would I get the techniques of learning?” Taking a leap of faith, I filled out an application at Paul Mitchell. At that time the school was located in Antioch, in the middle of being in core class we found out the location was closing down and every student had to transfer, no exceptions! I didn’t have a car and didn’t know how I was going to commute back and forth. From car pulling with classmates to riding the van that was provided to us, I did everything in my power to stay focused and get me a car. Read more>>

Ben Byler

Ben Byler, a native of Nashville, TN Music City USA has been in entertainment most of his life. He has a very successful background in the arts, film, radio, and television. He has performed with many Grammy and CMA Award-Winning acts including a recording and publishing career working with Warner Brothers, EMI, and other Music Row subsidiaries. Since 2016 his career expanded into production developing and hiring hundreds of musical acts for international cruise lines. Ben began performing at Opryland USA in Nashville, TN from 1989 until the park’s closure in 1997. Read more>>

Favage

When I first started to enjoy rap music, my parents would turn on our local rap radio station here in Nashville whenever we were driving around town and I was 9 or 10 years old at the time. And when I started writing lyrics, I was about to enter 8th grade in august. In fact, one day in class my teacher assigned me and my classmates to do a little rap, so I gave myself a little confidence, wrote some lyrics, and showed it to everyone. They were really impressed by them. From then on, I would write vulgar lyrics too young for my age (wasn’t happy about that looking back) and I had a lot of fun writing them. Read more>>

Kiersten Ziegler

I actually started as a writer. I was an avid reader growing up, and eventually ran out of books I found interesting and decided that I would fill in that void. From , I found different ways to expand my storytelling.. I’ve always been drawn to creating things, whether it was from writing, filmmaking, special effects makeup, painting, sculpting, woodworking, graphic design or jewelry making, I always found a way to find a new way to tell a story, learn a new skill and make something new. I studied filmmaking and graphic design where I really honed in on my passions and found the perfect combination of story and creation. Read more>>

Karen Kosowski

I started out as a singer-songwriter when I was 18. I got “the bug” for hands-on DIY recording when my first band started making our own recordings on an 8-track recorder in the basement where we rehearsed. That band didn’t last but my love of songwriting and recording did… I spent the next 12 years as a solo singer-songwriter, during which time I wrote, produced and recorded my own records. In the mid-2000’s I started getting asked to produce records for other artists on my local scene (in Toronto) and I quickly began to realize that what I loved most was writing/producing/recording, not being a solo artist… Read more>>

Sherri Welser

Creativity has always been in my soul along with art and music.. I have always loved things vintage and would be drawn to old cars trucks and instruments as well On a trip to Nashville 4 years ago I noticed a guitar in one of the shops all embellished with rhinestones, belts and misc jewelry. I loved that idea of combining both my love of art and music togther in a creative vibe. Upon returning home I started to gather old vintage metal pieces and advertising, vintage jewelry, stained glass, glass tiles .. just anything I thought would be fun and funky ! I then turned to my love of vintage motorcycles and incorporated Harley Davidson and Indian Motorcycle parts and advertising into my designs. Read more>>

Schirra Jobe

I stared my curiosity in design and illustration when I was five years old. I would always ask my father to draw a picture of Spider-Man for me. He is my favorite superhero! After a few minutes of waiting I’d get the drawing form my father and admire it wishing I could do the things he could. I then would realize I have a light that helps me trace things and i would end up tracing the character my father drew! A few years went by and I was eventually developing my own easy way of drawing things. I got into a show called TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), and would make my own little characters and give them short adventures to go on. Read more>>

DJ Miller

I was a competitor in Muay Thai Kickboxing since 2008. Over the years, between learning the sport’s culture and meeting great mentors, I developed a passion in spreading the awareness for Muay Thai. As a former victim of bullying, I always had low self-esteem growing up. Muay Thai changed that. After a long career of competing, which stretched across thirty-plus fights, I retired from the ring and started instructing. My new passion started at a local boxing club in Nashville where I hosted group classes and personal training. Over the course of working as a fitness instructor for seven years, I was pitched the notion to open my own gym. At first, I didn’t think much of the career path. Read more>>

Shelby Fannin

A little backstory on us: Hi! We are Shelby and Elizebeth. We own Vow Collective, a Luxury Wedding Photography business located in Nashville, TN. We serve clients in Nashville and beyond! After working in the wedding industry for several years, and seeing all types of weddings, we realized there was something too impersonal and uptight about the client-photographer relationship. So we decided to take a different approach, join our forces, and create a company centered around people, and serving them well. Through mutual trust and connection, we find out what’s important to our clients, and capture each wedding as the unique and beautiful celebration that it is! Read more>>

Beautiful Things

Hi, I’m Zoiey. This is my story! As a young child I’ve been apart of a creative and artistic family. I grew up knowing who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do, be a designer. I was raised and trained by some of the best designers, planners, and florist in the wedding industry. Although many don’t know their names they know their work. And so I wanted to be just like them. Most of my life I thought I had it all planned out. I was gonna take over the family business and continue my family’s legacy. Well life threw a curve ball… but also an opportunity. I now have the chance to branch out on my own and start something new. Read more>>

Stephanie Self

I grew up listening to country music, singing in church, sitting around the kitchen table with my Papa watching Hee Haw and tapping along to Conway Twitty. I knew from a young age that I wanted to be involved in music. Fast forward to high school, I attended the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts & Humanities in Greenville, SC and focused on classical vocal performance. From there, I received a 4 year voice scholarship to the University of Georgia. Two years in to college, I decided to add a 2nd major because nailing jobs in music performance is not an easy task. My friends were graduating with music performance degrees and doctorate degrees and still had a hard time finding work as classical musicians. Read more>>

Sheree Greider

We are a bi-racial family with three generations of professional artists and entrepreneurs. My son is Toni Delano aka Wolf co-owner and founder of Kyro Ink, a graphic/digital art company based out of the Nashville area since 2000. My daughter-in-law is Demita Greider, known as Demi, a nationally certified yogi instructor, who conducts workshops through the Nashville area. She is also the owner of Wave By Demi, an artisan, handmade soap company. My grandson, Lyric Greider, 17, is a digital artist in training with Kyroink. I’m an expressionist painter splitting my time between Oklahoma and Murfreesboro. Read more>>

Luke Olson

The Olson Bros Band originated in Olympia, WA and is led by singer/songwriters and brothers Luke and Isaac Olson. In 2019, they finished out the year with opening gigs for Dwight Yoakam , Dylan Scott, Lonestar, and Phil Vassar. They also put out their 4th studio album in 2021 called “I Bleed Evergreen” which showcases the brothers harmonies and lyric writing. The Song “By and By” has received international attention with the line dance for the song spreading across many countries in Europe and Latin America. I Bleed Evergreen”, (The title track off of their 4th studio album) is a song inspired by the brothers home state of Washington landing them a commercial for Subaru in 2021. Read more>>

Kendall Brower

Growing up in Jacksonville beach, Florida I thought I was an artist because I liked to write and sing songs. When I moved to Nashville to go to Belmont University I didn’t even think about the songwriting department at first but luckily someone encouraged me to apply! From there I started co-writing in different genres and realized I could keep doing that for others. Being a songwriter has been super fulfilling because I get to serve artists of all different genres rather than trying to figure out just one sound for myself. In the first few years I got almost 50 cuts & some sync placements and now I work with a wonderful team helping me do this full time between nashville and Los Angeles. Read more>>

Shana Smith

When I was 22, I chose to leave an extremely abusive marriage with nothing more than a small backpack. I had no money and nowhere to go. I lived in my car. Each morning, I got dressed in my business attire and went to work. I kept this a secret but was determined not to allow this living situation to define who I was or what I would become. Living in my car was far from a perfect scenario, it was occasionally scary and often sad but I realized in those moments that I was safe and, as imperfect as the situation was, it had moments of absolute perfection because I had community and love around me. Read more>>

Gennean Woodall

While I am originally from California, I moved to Nashville in 2013, just one-year post-grad. I was ready to experience living in a new place and had a gut feeling that Nashville might be a great fit for me. It’s actually pretty crazy to think back to what the city was like almost 10 years ago because it really has changed so much! After moving, I got a job as an administrative assistant, where I worked for 4 years. During that time, I also took up a bunch of side gigs to make extra money in order to try to pay off my student loans, which had quickly become a goal of mine. Read more>>

Antoine Baynes

I was born and raised in Detroit, MI, the home of Motor City and MoTown! Growing up there I quickly began to teach myself how to dance, and how to work a room full of people. Entertainment became apart of my chemical make up as a human being and putting smiles on faces is something I truly fell in love with. I work extremely hard! Although talent helps; hard work out weighs talent, so consistency followed by discipline is key. I once fell on hard times going through homelessness and mild depression made me question a lot of things. Through it all, I just kept going! Read more>>

Andrew Randle

What I love most about training is it allows me to help so many people reach their fitness goals, in such a unique manner. Even better is I’m able to work in multiple environments that promote a pursuit of a healthy life. All providing the elements I believe are critical for fitness SUCCESS: music, different exercise options, & a support system in fellow members and coaches. This is a dream career for me!!! I am a Mayweather Boxing+Fitness Trainer, Youth Coach at LPG Sports Academy, basketball coach for the B2B Ballers (AAU program), and owner of Pinnacle Shape, an innovative traveling training fitness company. Read more>>

Adam Peacock

I grew up just outside of Detroit and while I was attending Eastern Michigan University, I started taking classes at the Second City Detroit. Eventually, I went on to perform in several theatrical productions. That’s where I met Nate Dufort, who was performing in the Detroit Touring Company at the time. Shortly after the Detroit space closed, we all made the move to Chicago and I got a job working as a member of the National Touring Company. It was then that I pitched the idea to Nate and together we created My Neighbors Are Dead. Read more>>

Abrielle Herb

Growing up in sunny Scottsdale, Arizona in a tight-knit family with a dad who was a professional painter and a mom who loved to cook and scrapbook, creativity and expression were always welcomed and encouraged. For as long as I can remember, I knew I wanted to be successful in either broadcast or the beauty industry and lucky for me, my career now entails both. It all started when I went to Arizona State University and got my B.S. in Communication, minor in media analysis at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism (Go Sun Devils!). Read more>>

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