Starting and growing a business is hard, but often deciding to start the business in the first place is even harder. We asked some successful entrepreneurs from around the community to open up to us about how they thought about starting a business.

Latisha Sidney | Owner of EyeKandi Boutique

Before starting EyeKandi Boutique, I knew I wanted to start something that would allow me to stay home and raise my two children. I wanted to be my own boss so that I’m able to grow doing something I love. I wanted to stay out of the ordinary corporate America jobs but I wasn’t sure on what to take on at first. Initially, it started with photography, although I am good at it, it wasn’t something I looked forward to doing. It was more of a hobby and I really wanted something I could wake up and be excited about. In the midst of doing research, reading books and watching YouTube videos I found my love for eyelash extensions. It then turned into my passion as I started seeing more customers and opportunities through the year. Read more>>

Khoa Le | Boba Tea Shop Owner & Curator

For my entire life, I have always had an intriguing connection to boba. It has been a dream to be able to start up my own boba tea shop and provide the local community with my own take on classic drinks and toppings. I have taken the duty upon myself to create something familiar but unique. I introduced the Bear Jelly topping which was the first shop to carry it, if not the only, in Houston. Read more>>

Adrienne Hoffman | Calligrapher and Respiratory Therapist

For my full-time job, I am a respiratory therapist. I work hand-in-hand with doctors and nurses to take care of patients in their greatest time of need and, although difficult, I find it very gratifying. My dream job though, is to be a wife and mother, and when the time comes, I want a job to do in the home, while still being able to raise my children. Ever since I was a little girl, I would find drawing letters to be fun; instead of doodling, I would write words in fun ways. About three years ago, I decided to practice the art of calligraphy and that’s how Joyful Soul Calligraphy came to be. Read more>>

Sehaam Ahmed | Co-Founder, Our Tesoro Custom Jewelry

Our passion for making jewelry started out as a shared hobby several years ago. We always played around with the idea of turning this hobby into a business, but never took concrete steps until April of 2020. With the world going into lockdown, we decided it was now or never. We took the plunge, hired a website designer, and got to work. In August of 2020 our website went live and Our Tesoro Custom Jewelry was born. Read more>>

Mariam Kamara | Resin Artist & Behavior Scientist

I have always loved to create, whether it’s a new makeup look or interior design. God has blessed me with an eye for all things visual and I told myself that I needed to find something that fits my aesthetic. The thought process was simply “Show people your creative side and tap in to who you really are” Easier said then done. I started my small business in 2020 immediately after graduating with a masters in Applied Behavior Analysis. Read more>>

Shawnre Tieuel | Writer | Director | Photographer

My process took a few years to realize that I enjoyed writing and wanted to pursue filmmaking. I was a financial advisor during the attack on September 11, 2001. If the market would’ve changed for the better by August, I would’ve been training with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in the World Trade Center. Instead, I was scheduled for my cognitive test on September 12 (my sister’s bday). Read more>>

Christina Johnson | Candle Enthusiast & HR Professional

Hi, my name is Christina Johnson and I am the owner and founder of Tranquility + Peace Candle Co. I started my business due to my love for candles. At the time we were all stuck in the house due to COVID. At first it started as a hobby that I wanted to do just to past time; until I spoke to my husband and told him about my idea about starting a candle business. He told me go for it, and that’s exactly what I did. I launched my candle business December 14, 2020. I love filling my home with different candles. Read more>>

Mia Su | Business owner & pastry chef

As soon as I graduated from earning a Bachelor’s degree from Poly U (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University) in Hotel Management, I moved to Houston with my husband, Jack, and had been a housewife for 5 years since. Despite the love I have for my family, there was a voice that spoke to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and I was caught in the train of thought about self-actualization. Read more>>

Sandy “The Bag Lady” Priska | The Happy Bag Lady/Spreading Happiness

The thought process of starting a second business was a 5 letter word for me, C-O-V-I-D! My husband and I are not new to being business owners. We are proud owners of a Montessori Preschool, Klein-Spring Montessori School, which has been serving our community since 1984. But March of 2020, our World Changed! COVID hit our business hard and that scared me. All of our eggs were in one basket and this was my opportunity to try something new! Read more>>

Tiara Brown | Juiceologist

My thought process behind starting my own business was highlighting the importance of being healthy & pursuing a healthy diet in the African American Community. Many of us, African American people, grow up eating very unhealthy, and as a result that same unhealthy diet follows us into adulthood unless we make a decision to change it. My business,JuiceologyHTX, provides the option of including 100% all natural cold pressed juice into your everyday diet. A healthy alternative to unhealthy food choices. Read more>>

Amia Breayna | Innovative Headwear

Well, it was originally Amia’s idea and after bringing it to Breayna, we felt it was 100% possible. After having had constant ideas we felt it was time to finally make our ideas a reality. Starting a hat business could actually be done! A lot of our core motivation centers around being from Houston and wanting to be well known as a brand for our creative directions. We wanted to quite literally be on the heads of Houstonians. Read more>>

Caryn Schumack | Owner

The decision to start my business sparked from conversations with my friends and family. I have always loved to express my personality through accessories. The brand that I shopped with frequently for bracelets stopped making them and offered her vendor list for purchase. I bought the list with the intention of using it for personal use only. Once I began posting my creations, others wanted their own pieces and thus MyDarlinNikki was created. Read more>>

Jetrice Gardner | Founder & Executive Director of T.E.O.W.| The Empowerment Of Women, Inc.

When I originally had the thought to begin T.E.O.W.| The Empowerment Of Women, Inc., I knew I wanted to provide services and resources for young girls. I want young girls to know there is more in the world than being a rapper, or a social media model. I want to expose young girls to a world filled with unlimited possibilities. Read more>>

Milton Lara | Graphic Designer/Creator of Loteria Salvadoreña

Since I can remember, I have always had an entrepreneurial mindset, but I was always so scared to take that leap. A few years back, I was working a 9-5 corporate job as a graphic designer, I loved it, don’t get me wrong, but I always had it in the back of my head that I can be doing this for myself, call my own shots. During this time I began to work on an ambitious project that took me almost a year to complete, La Loteria Salvadoreña. Which up to now, is my uttermost work of art. Like bingo, it’s a game of chance but instead of numbers, images are used. Each image is taken directly from my Salvadoran culture and was created with so much affection. This game gave me the confidence to leave the corporate world and begin my own journey. Read more>>

Erica Hoke | owner

Once upon a time, the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker… wait, wrong story. Once upon a time, the leader, the teacher and the artist stumbled upon an idea. It was fun, and unique and appealed to kids from 6 to 96 from all backgrounds and interests. It drew in the leader first who dazzled through spreadsheets and numbers and feasibility, and then the artist who envisioned the groups and families and couples who would come enjoy, and finally the teacher who saw the simplicity and beauty in a well directed team. Together, they decided to be the best part of someone’s day (including their own!) Read more>>

Johnny Thai | Professional Hair Stylist, Colorist.

Being our own boss not only gives decisions freedom, it also drives us to push harder everyday. I always hated the fact that i have to be under pressure over someone ways of things, most of the time it’s driven by personal perspective and experiences. Ever since going on my own, i have more freedom to be as creative as i can be, and a lot more room to manage personal time with my family. For consumers, I strongly believed that it’s the only recipe for pure authentic quality results and services. My personal recommendation to all the people that have strong passion and dreams, going solo and build your dream is the best way to go! Read more>>

Robyn Elder | Makeup Artist

The thought process behind my business was my love for makeup. I started doing makeup since being a teenager, i love playing in my moms eyeshadows and when i turned 16 she let me get my own from MAC COSMETICS it was a wrap from there lol. I did my friends makeup, my mom, and cousins! I was so obsessed lol i always use to say “i can’t wait to have my own cosmetic products/line so i can achieve as many goals as so i would practice with my cousin and we would do each other’s eyebrows. That was always fun! I would always write down business names to come up with something different. So i decided to use my middle name “Renay” added “blush” because it has a classy sound to it and it went from there.. Read more>>

Dr. Kreslyn Kelley-Ellis | Leadership Consultant & Spiritual Coach

Service! I was a school principal assigned to a high poverty school and I felt limited by the system’s bureaucracy to fully serve my students and families. I was well connected in the community and I knew that if I walked away I could serve creatively, freely, and impact-fully. Simply put, I wanted to serve my community and make a difference in the lives of as many people as possible. Read more>>

Starlic Williams | The Renaissance Man

Before I answer your question, I’d like to say thank you for featuring me. I understand you feature individuals who are referred to you, so I’d like to thank whoever thought enough to bring me to your attention.
I’m a creative person who’s into lots of things from music, photography, fashion, and philanthropy. I’ll focus specifically on photography to answer your question. I always had an eye for photography but I knew nothing about it. I naturally knew how to pick angles and frame shots with a camera phone but I had no experience with a real camera. I have kids so I decided to buy my first camera which was a Nikon D-5200 and shot exclusively with the kit lens on the auto setting. Read more>>

Super Driver | Music Content Creator & RideShare Driver

Wanted to work for myself and create financial freedom for family Read more>>

Jaivairia Bacote, M.Ed. | Tutor & Track Coach

Throughout my teaching career, I noticed the academic reading and writing disparity between affluent and Title 1 institutions. This prompted my interest in developing a tutoring program that truly strengthens the reading ability of underserved students. Every day I would get up and go to work, but I never felt like I was accomplishing anything or helping my students grow. I finally had a breakthrough when I worked tirelessly with my students 1-on-1 or through small group instruction. Read more>>