We asked some of the city’s rising stars to reflect on what made a difference in their journey. We asked them to tell us about what they think the most important factor has been behind their success.

J Latoy: Singer/Songwriter

The most important factor behind my success is me staying true to myself. Whatever obstacles I may face, (be it mental or emotionally), I always strive to stay true to myself and let that shine through. Read more>>

Avery Albright: Owner/CEO, Baked by Ave

Undoubtedly, the most important factor behind the success of Baked by Ave, and any venture in life, is consistency…and passion. One of the major contributors to the growth of my business has been social media, and with that, consistency is imperative. In the beginning, I received a few orders purely as a result of word of mouth within my job at the time. Read more>>

Stone Payton: Managing Partner, Business RadioX ® Network

SERVING. We made the decision from Day One to be a Pro-Business, Earned Media platform. We never charge Guests to join us On Air to share their story and promote their work. And on the client side of our work (where we do charge a subscription fee, and do make money), Read more>>

Young Bowzer: Professional Music Producer & Artist

The most important factor behind my success would have to be my will to invest in myself and the quality of product that I put out, plus my willingness to learn. Read more>>

Caroline Quiñanola: Creator and Designer of de + ria designs

This is actually quite challenging because the definition of success can be quite different for each one of us. It can be financial or just simply getting your business/brand started. I take small steps forward and that is success in my opinion. I came across this Latin phrase “Semper pergendum sine timore” which means to always move forward without fear. I try to live by that but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Read more>>

Lelo Jones: Agriculture Specialist

I think what people appreciate most about the Outdoor Fresh Farm brand is it’s authenticity. We’re not just some organization coming in and taking up space in a community we know nothing about. We’re actually from the same streets, we are a part of the community, and we’re here to serve. Read more>>

Rachelle Cooper: Chef| Recipe and Content Creator

One of the important lessons that my business has taught me is you have to stay ready so that you don’t have to get ready. Over the past 3 years there’s been so many opportunities that has been presented to me and I can honestly say that some of them I definitely wasn’t prepared for at all.Read more>>

London Ruth: Music Producer

The most important factor behind my story is probably my support system I can’t talk about them enough. They kept me focused and on track and when I got off track they didn’t hesitate to tell me that I was wrong or out of line. Read more>>

DJ Rhane: DJ, Entrepreneur

The most important factor behind my success is my family, friends, & my significant other. I can’t forget about everyone that supported me and my brand. The motivation they give is everything for me and my craft because it keeps that fire behind my passion for DJing. Promote yourself even when it’s only you. Read more>>

Joseph Wallace: President & CEO

The most important factor behind the success of my brand is I am a living testament of everything the brand represents. When someone thinks of the brand and the positive movement behind the brand, they see my lifestyle and how I embrace reflecting positive energy out into the world. Read more>>

Brittny Sweatt & Toni Fuqua: Unified Curators

Our Three Brand Pillars: Camaraderie. Community. Connection sets the tone for the success of Colliding Brands. Colliding Brands is highlighting something that’s missing in the DMV area: true Community Building. Read more>>

Michael Mandzak: Stand Up Comedian & Comedy Club Manager

I know the term “practice makes perfect” gets thrown around a lot and haphazardly applied to any situation in which someone may need some poorly thought out motivation but in the comedy world it truly is the bottom line. The timing, the word play, the punchlines, they all need to be worked on in front of a crowd. Practice is on stage, you are always practicing. Read more>>

Jovan Pope: Sneaker Cleaner/Restorer

The most important factor behind my success is Customer Service. I repeat, CUSTOMER SERVICE! I was taught as a child to have manners, show respect and treat others the way that I would want to be treated. Fast track to today as an adult, I always greet my customers, no matter the time of the day. I’ll say, “Good morning, hope all is well!” I want my customers to feel welcomed, appreciated and important. Customer Service means nothing without the support of amazing customers. Read more>>

Auzerais Bellamy: Founder, CEO and Creative Director of Blondery

I believe the most important factor behind Blondery is the fact that we have maintained and exceeded our standards for quality. The product is delivered fresh, intact, and beautifully presented whether we have 5 orders or 5000 orders. It is very difficult to scale up and maintain standards for any kind of business so I am proud of what my team is doing. Read more>>

Paris Phifer: Plus Model/Influencer

The most important factor behind my brand and success is my faith and ambition. I believe That you are nothing without God and with him all things are possible. My ambition I feel is what sets me apart from the rest. If I want something I’m going to get it. If that means putting in hard work to obtain it then that’s what I’ll do. Being disciplined is something I am working on but with faith, hard work, and prayer you can obtain anything in life. Read more>>

Anthony Clint Jr.: Music Entrepreneur

The most important factor behind my success and the success of my brand is the ability to add value to others and their situations. That value comes in different forms such as information, skillset, work ethic, etc. Read more>>

Shy Musiq: Singer /Songwriter

I constantly remind myself of my definition of success. It is easy to get lost in everyone else’s or the worlds definition of success that we miss out on our true blessings. For me, making a living out of my art and inspiring people to chase after their dreams is what keeps me motivated. When I get messages back from people saying they are inspired by my bravery of putting myself out there, it reminds me that the world always need examples to follow from. Read more>>

Harold Caudio: Father & Artist

The most important factor behind what I am doing is that my work impacts this society in a very sweet inspiring way. Read more>>

Ryan Bradburn: Set/Prop Fabricator and Illustrator

For me, the success behind the brand is that I am the brand. When someone hires me they get all the hard work, the personality, and the humor. When I take on a project, I always try to incorporate that joy into what I am doing. It adds something extra to the project that makes the client smile. I try to take their concept and advise them on little details that can be added that level up the concept to really make it shine. Read more>>