Our community is comprised of some absolutely brilliant entrepreneurs and so we asked a few of them to tell us the story of how they came up with the ideas for their business.

John Cramer | Actor, Creator, Co-Owner of Make Your Show

Make Your Show was just a natural extension of the relationships my partner, Jason, and I had with other actors and creatives. It grew out of our own curiosity and willingness to try new things, to explore. When others saw us taking a stab at creating our own work, they wanted to know if we could help them do the same. Jason and I love to help! Other services exist to provide actors footage for their demo reels, but we were interested in giving the people we worked with more than just a scene. The original concept was that we would help actors produce a short film that could also function as a pilot for a series if they wanted to continue developing the concept. This would give them not only reel footage but the also chance to take their work to film festivals and establish new relationships. The process of putting together a short film involves so many different skill sets, from writing and casting to production and post-production. Read more>>

Faith Beverly | Founder/Owner/Creative Developer

Before coming up with the idea to start a candle company I had been styling hair for about 20 years. Doing hair and making women beautiful has always been my first love. But after doing it for so long I realized that I needed something to gear towards my future retirement. I always knew that there was something bigger in the world for me than just doing hair which is why I got my bachelor’s in business management at such a later age in life, so that I can pursue business outside of being a hairstylist. Six years after my degree Toward the Light Candle Company was birthed. I made my first batch of candles purely with the intention to gift my clients for Christmas. I googled how to make candles and bought a candle making kit online and made 50 8 oz candles. The experience was so soothing and fun; I knew then that I would never purchase another candle in store. I thought; this would really be a great business Idea… but how do I make it unique? First, I prayed. Read more>>

Kesa McLaurin | Creator & Designer of Heirtage Socks

I saw that there was a need for the African Diaspora to be displayed on socks. I found that you could find many other cultural socks but none that include Black and Brown people. This inspired me to create what is now known as Heirtage Socks. Read more>>

Monica Kerik | Life Full of Goodness Founder ✻ TEDx Speaker ✻ Well-Being & Resilience Strategist ✻ Mental Health Coach

At home and with my family, I used to qualify several actions as “Full of goodness”. When I caught a kind action between my kids, a piece of news or article that reflected respect and inclusion, a nutritious food, an inspiring song, a day where we were in contact with nature, a moment when someone helped someone else, using less plastic and reducing waste; all of those experiences, in my mind were elements that created a “life full of goodness”. In that period in time, back in 2015, I was knee deep into studying several courses and taking certifications in Buddhism, Mindfulness, Positive Psychology and Organizational Leadership and I wanted to create a philosophy that would enhance our well-being with mindful, intentional actions that would contribute to feel good to do good, starting with ourselves, then with others and then expand those to sustain the world. That is how the concept came to life. Read more>>

Merlyn Oliver | Content Strategist + Consultant

The idea found me. I started my creative career as a social media coordinator for Iman Cosmetics and Jay Manuel Beauty in 2015. Snapchat was at an all-time peak, Instagram stories didn’t exist and I was unaware of having a career in social until a recruiter reached out to me. I learned all my basics there; how to take quality photos and videos from an iPhone, influencer marketing, PR, and event management. I was running 8 social accounts for two brands on my own and it wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t love what I did. Fast forward, every job I had since then involved me creating. I pride myself on being a visual person and building an idea/vision to reality is really my passion. When covid hit, I had no idea God planted a seed that would grow and lead me to create full-time. Within two weeks of being furloughed, I had my first client from a reference. I decided not to take the offer to go back to “corporate” and build my own creative empire. Read more>>

ADRIANNE BUCHANAN | Author & Mental Health Advocate

Bohemian BAP is a wellness community created to provide support, encouragement, and mindfulness tools that promote emotional and mental wellness for women of color; specifically, women of Faith. In 2018 after being the “Strong Friend” for majority of my life, I experienced an emotional breakdown. I ended a long-term relationship, I was barely showing up for work, and I had fallen off the eating disorder wagon. My life was a whirlwind of chaos. I could feel that something major had shifted within me. Something I could no longer brush off. Depression and anxiety had consumed me. Without access to the mental health needed, I focused on what I could control. Myself. I started to change the things that were making me unhappy. Being strongly against using medication as a method of treatment, I began researching holistic ways to manage my symptoms. Read more>>

Tiffany Weaver | Visionary & Founder, Prolific Watch Company

I have been an avid watch lover ever since I was a kid [in the Swatch Watch] era. Likewise- I am committed to excellence, and Black Excellence in particular. I decided to pair my love for fine timepieces with my commitment to excellence. Hence, each watch release is specifically designed to honor a Pioneer of Black Excellence, past or present. I figured there was no better way to honor two things that I feel passionately about. Read more>>

Amanda Gardner | Photographer- The C.O.L Collection (Weddings, Corporate & Creative Portraits)

My mom Peggy Attaway and myself started this 16 years ago! We were shooting high school football on Friday nights for my brother’s teams and we were asked by a family in the community to do a very small intimate wedding. They weren’t financially able to put a lot of money in a photographer and we had ZERO experience, so we took the wedding as “a trial run” and it’s been a wild ride ever since. We often joke about that first wedding, how different our lives are now and in shock we have still made it in this fickle industry. If you would have told me that day I would not only be shooting weddings 16 years later, but have traveled to some amazing places for work, and I would be teaching photography, I would have laughed (hard!). Read more>>

Jason Cicci | Writer, Producer, Owner of Make Your Show

Breaking into the acting industry is hard. To gain more experience and exposure, I wrote, produced and starred in my own indie series that allowed me to show what I could do best as an actor. When an actor approached me and asked what sort of show I might create for them, I knew that a business idea was born. I figured that if I could create a vehicle for myself, I could certainly get to know someone enough to build a show or a short film or a pilot for them. Although there are businesses that offer actor reels, with actors getting to show themselves in scenes, I knew that they could benefit even more with experiencing what it’s like to be the protagonist in a story that has a beginning, middle and end. Read more>>

Narsha Njoya | Creative Director & Brand Interaction Strategist

Branding and design are a solid foundation in the evolution of a business, especially those who want to make their mark in the digital arena. I saw women-owned businesses needed a specific aesthetic to carve out their own space in their respective marketplaces and I understood firsthand how this type of service would work well remotely. So, my boutique design studio was born. Read more>>

Myrna Love | Best-selling Author, Financial Coach, & Financial Services Professional

Since high school, I have had an interest in business with a strong steering towards business math and anything that involved solving problems. My professional career has always had me in the administration and operational accounting space. Having been laid off twice at the time, I decided I was not going to leave my destiny in the grips of an employer. Therefore, I started assessing to determine what I could do as a ‘side hustle’. Approximately 7 years ago, one of my goals was to obtain financial coaching/planner certification. As I progressed in my career during that time, I allowed that particular goal to be suppressed. However, I never steered away from the ‘side hustle’ path. Instead, I developed an interest in real estate investing and pursued that arena and started my REI business in 2018. I was laid off a 3rd time in Nov. 2019. Then, of course, COVID hit the world. During this down time I enrolled in a coaching program. Read more>>