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.

Erika O’Brien | Jewelry Business Owner & Content Creator

I knew I always wanted to create my own business and offer something I loved. I have always loved earrings but found it hard to buy different styles that were good quality but not expensive. I decided I wanted to create many different styles of jewelry at an affordable price for people my age to be able to buy. I started researching wholesalers and educating myself on jewelry quality and it started from there! Read more>>

Brian Hinkle | Coffee Shop Owner

The initial thought process was one of creating new challenges for ourselves and bringing to life a social space where one was needed. It was a long, gradual process and, in a way, many of the thoughts that went into it were answers to what we were looking to accomplish in our personal and professional lives. We both had great jobs and were not looking for less work but more meaningful work in an environment of our own choosing. Read more>>

Jackie Fowler | Lifestyle and Fashion Blogger

I wanted to start my platform to give representation for the plus size community. Plus sizes aren’t represented enough on any media stream. Growing up as a bigger girl I didn’t see anyone to look up to that was like me. I want to be that for a little girl. I want to show them that you can have confidence in yourself at whatever size you are. I also wanted to start my platform for something that is just mine. Read more>>

Michelle Saxton | Author,Business Owner, Talk Show Host & Mother

After losing my dad in 2000, my mom in 2002, and my husband killed in a car accident Thanksgiving 2004 and after 4 years of being mad at God and the world because I didn’t recognize or understand what grief, anxiety and depression was, not until opening myself up, admitting to myself that I had a problem would I then go and lay on a therapist couch to begin the healing process. Once treated for my mentioned conditions it was God that came to me early one morning waking me up out of my sleep and said , “Turn your pain into gain. Initially I didn’t understand what God meant by that but it took 10 years later after losing my husband that I realized what that meant. Read more>>

Javona “Jovi” Bee | CBD Alchemist, Licensed Massage Therapist & Yoga Instructor

There was a gap, almost like a disconnect, with clients between sessions. I wanted to build relationships and communities. I wanted to provide clients with self-care between their sessions. The companies I worked for did not align with the vision I had for the type of massage therapy I wanted to do, so I started my own business. Also, I wanted to be able to connect with clients on a deeper level. I wanted to be able to sit and talk with them before and after the session to better understand who they are, what their physical kneads are, and their stressors. Read more>>

Ermia Hamidzadeh | Fashion designer

I wanted freedom! Read more>>

Janet Davila | Real Estate Agent

As a teen I worked at subway, The W Hotel, The ritz Carlton then at a bank and I knew in my heart that the only way I could be happy was to work for my self. During these years my parents bought an investment home and ran into issues because people in that transaction took advantage of their ‘poor English’ understanding. As immigrants my parents always had a desire to buy houses and would talk about it so often. I also went to showings with them. The High school I went to gave me a scholarship and I decided to enroll in the real estate courses. In the middle of the recession in 2009 (the hardest time) I became a licensed real estate agent at 21. Read more>>

Thy & Matt Mitchell | Owners

We wanted to create a business based on something that we loved and believed in – the joy of having people come together and enjoy great food and drinks from around the world! Read more>>

Alecia Frausto | Registered Nurse & Artistic Dessert Creator

I initially started my business because I was needing something to do at home to keep me busy. I left my job as a nurse in the beginning of the pandemic to stay home with my newborn baby. We decided we weren’t comfortable putting him in daycare so early so I chose to stay home. While staying home I decided to turn my hobby baking into a business! I’ve always wanted to have my own business so I said, “Why not doing what I love. Making sweets and making art!” Read more>>

Ty Jones | Speech Language Pathologist

From the time I began practicing as a Speech Language Pathologist, I have always dreamed of starting my own practice and one day being a keynote speaker at American Speech-Language-Hearing-Association (ASHA). To date, I am proud to say I have accomplished one of those goals. With nearly 10 years experience being a Speech Language Pathologist, I have worked in pediatric clinics, long term care facilities and in the public school setting. All of which have been fulfilling, however each of these settings have restrictions. Namely the public school system being inundated with paperwork and meetings. I strongly believe the children are not always the center of focus. Read more>>

Nazareth Guerrero | Co founder

The story behind starting our business was to share the love we felt from our abuelita, Esthelita. When our grandmother would come visit she always brought us small snacks and sweets. We would share a sweet moment together. Now that she has passed, those memories have helped us through difficult times in life, strengthen the bond we share as cousins, or simple bring a smile to our face when we see one of the pieces of candy we used to share with one of the most amazing woman we had the honor to call our grandmother for more than 20 years. Read more>>

Shawn Jackson | Full Time Baker

As most small businesses, it started as a hobby. Although I am a decent cook, have never been good at baking. So when Covid came into our lives, it became an opportunity to learn a new skills. I quickly fell in love with the science behind baking, and learning how the ingredients worked together. One thing led to another, and Pioneer Woman’s Bakery was born. Read more>>