Starting a business is a commitment and requires dedication, resources and sacrifice. We asked some of the rising stars in our community how they thought through the idea of starting their own businesses.

Krissy Osborne | Creator, Designer, Photographer, and Non-Profit Program Manager

I grew up taking photos of friends and myself on disposable cameras and polaroids. I loved displaying those photos afterwards in frames, in my locker, or even sending them to friends in cards. As times changed and technology evolved, I found myself always having the best phone and digital camera I could afford so that I could take great pictures. With the birth of my nephews, I was even more inclined to take photos and capture those special moments for our family. When the second one was born in 2018, I decided to purchase a starter DSLR camera and took a beginner course. Read more>>

Ally Davis | Lifestyle Photographer

Photography grew into more than a hobby after my son was born. I was a first-time Mama following my baby around with my camera just to capture as much of this season I could before it drifted away. He will never be as little as he is now. I wanted to capture every giggle, new skill, and sweet cuddle. I learned how important it is to capture the milestones AND the little things. We don’t know what the future holds. Life is too short to miss any moment! We will never be this young again. I will forever cherish the photos I have of my little family & I can’t wait to look back on them years from now to replay those sweet memories. Read more>>

Mentwab Easwaran | Mentwab Easwaran (Mentu) | Designer/Artist/Entrepreneur

When I started designing mugs, it was simply to fulfill my own needs of wanting mugs with substance in my cupboard instead of corporate and outdated mugs. I wanted something that represents me and represents the place I came from and the stories I related to. It was around 2020 Christmas time when I sat down and started developing stories and soon created a couple of mug designs based on the stories I wrote. Read more>>

Kenya Mighty | CEO & Entrepreneur

My thought process was not chronological when planning and preparing for this business baby’s day-to-day troubleshooting. It all started with a vision. I saw Nest Music before I ever thought about a building. Before I ever thought about the build-out cost. Before, I thought about the lawyer’s fees, administration documents, tax filings, and compliance checks. The truth thought the vision constructed process. The dream I had of happy students playing their favorite songs after school. The picture of children finding adults who listen to them and take action on their behalf. Read more>>

Aimee Santana | Artist

My first thought was, “how am I going to do this?” One important question to ask is. Am I going to get sick of my business idea ? Am I going to stick with it? Why do I want to start? But honestly I have really supportive people around me. People who actually push me to be creative. Which helps a ton. Because some days are hard trying to find a balance doing life and working. Read more>>

Antoinette Turner | Owner of Queen By All Means Creations LLC

I created a product in which I knew would require my time and dedication. I’m not gonna lie, I was a little nervous with all that being an entrepreneur entails, but my upbringing has taught me to walk by faith and not by sight. So each day I made a point to join social groups for entrepreneurs’. I continue to educate myself with some of the local and national advantages and benefits of not only being an African American entrepreneur but also as woman owned business. Read more>>

Melinda Emmons | Fashionista & Owner of Melinda’s Boutique

I’ve always had an interest in fashion and wanted my own boutique, but I was afraid to take the plunge. After leaving my legal job, I stumbled upon a small vacant space in Old Seabrook while looking for the post office. The rent was affordable, so I looked at the tiny space and thought I could easily fill it with jewelry and trendy clothing. If I failed in a year’s time, I would return to the legal world. However, within 6 months, I outgrew the space and moved into an old house down the street. I painted it purple with lime green trim, and the brick sidewalk was painted black and white zebra stripes. Couldn’t miss me! Read more>>

Isaac Johnson | Twin Soles Owner/ CEO & Sneaker Enthusiast

Honestly there was no plan in starting the business originally. The mindset was pretty much there from childhood. It may not have always been about selling shoes but we were taught from a young age if you wanted something you had to put forward some work to achieve it. So growing up it was always some type of hustle for us using what we had to produce. As kids doing back flips as twins was mind blowing to many people. Whether it was the twin angle or anticipating an injury it was the fan favorite. Read more>>

Ashley Toman | Recording Artist & Songwriter

Honestly, it wasn’t something I sat down and constructed. The idea kind of came to me organically. I was a little frustrated with the industry after a lot of false promises about placing records, so I made an ad on Instagram and offered consultations to aspiring artists and writers and my inbox was full the next day with clients wanting to get started. I was like, “wow this actually could become a business.” People trusted me to give advice since I had independently landed several song placements and decided to offer my services for a fee. Read more>> 

Josh Jones | Entrepreneur & Clothing Brand Creative

I just knew I had to have something of my own at the time I didn’t know what it was going to be but I knew I wasn’t going to be just another worker I wanted to create my own. Read more>>

Erica Stephens | Owner: Coastal Closet Boutique

Before having our son I had an administrative position at our local school district. Upon getting pregnant, my husband and I decided it would be best for our family for me to stay home with him. So I went from having a demanding full time job, to staying home and although it was amazing to have that time with our son, I did struggle with not having something that I felt like was just for me. Raising a child obviously is also a full time job, however, I also felt like this was the perfect opportunity to pursue my passion, which was fashion & travel and wanted to combine the two. Read more>>

Rachael Stewart | Brow Technician

My thought process behind starting my business was to pursue a talent that I kept from everyone that could benefit other ladies in feeling beautiful. A lot of women suffer with hair loss of the eyebrows. So, being able to create them and make them feel whole again was key. Wake up made up is what we all go for. I have an undeniable craft and I plan to pursue it even further with other techniques. Read more>>

James Cartha | Owner of the brand Gussy St

I had been hearing from family, friends and co-workers for years that I should be doing something as far as creating my own brand. They all would come to me for advice or my opinion on fashion. After a while I started to look at all the brands I had been supporting over the years and thought why don’t I just create my own. Now we have Gussy St. Read more>>

Myesha “MrsD” Daniels | Founder & Master Lash Artist/ Lash Educator & Permanent Makeup Artist

Owning my own Eyelash Studio was always the goal, but starting my lash company happened abruptly. I was working at a lash salon where I was doing well professionally and building a great clientele but as an employee there it was becoming increasingly difficult. So the day that I finally decided to stand up for myself after being walked all over was the day I lost my job. So the very next day when I woke up I decided that I was tired of being overworked and underpaid so my thought process was well if not now then when would there be a better time to become my own boss. Read more>>