Our city is home to so many incredible businesses and so we asked the founders how they came up with the ideas for their businesses and have shared their responses below.

Ashley Davis | Arts and Culture Business Leader

Unlock Creative was founded June 4, 2020, and took off on Juneteenth at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement’s uprisings against state violence and illegal killings of Black people. 2020 called for all of us to do our part and that’s what we did. I quit my newly committed position, an opportunity I had coveted as a Philanthropic Program Officer, and gathered up supporters, our first full-time employee, and consultants. We joined the movement by declaring that Blacks Lives are BEAUTIFUL and Black Lives MATTER, and so does Black Wealth. Read more>>

Sarah Douthat | Owner/Senior Agent

I came up with the idea for my business by working as a personal assistant for Guy Gilchrist, who was Jim Henson’s cartoonist. I went to a couple of comic conventions with him, and knew that I had a lot more potential than what I was doing for him. I knew that I always wanted to work with celebrities, but I didn’t know in the exact capacity. I love interacting with people, and being part of the action, I started Debut Entertainment, LLC in January 2020, and it’s been an exciting ride ever since! Read more>>

Tee J | Beauty Technician

The idea came from me being this Extra fun outspoken person! I also wanted to be different and try and create something or a name I haven’t heard of. Gloss came from me starting of with lip glosses! Overtime selling lip glosses become a little hard to sell but I started to see other beauty industry services and products that became pretty popular and I found my love for lash extensions and I felt like I didn’t need to change my name now that I wasn’t focusing on glosses much but the word “gloss” fit a lot of things. Glossy lashes, glossy brows, glossy nails or even the name Xtra . Xtra lashes, Xtra nails, Xtra brows. So I stuck with the lovely name “Xtra Gloss” Read more>>

Sevin | Holistic Healer/Shaman/Spiritual Guide

I have always been an outside of the box thinker. I ran an online radio station by myself for 12 years and it was fun but didn’t fulfill who I wanted to be. My grandmother transistioned in 2015 and I went through it emotionally and mentally. I spiritually got a message through a tarot reading to become a healer like my whole mother’s side was and is so I took that message. So for 7 years, I have worked hard to push, improve, and promote Comfortable Soaks. Healing naturally. My logo is a mesh up of my memories of my Gram, her image, my mother and myself. A natural Aboriginal woman taking time out to care for herself by soaking in a luxurious tub. I started out with 3 essential oils and now I have over 100 different holistic, spiritual products. Read more>>

Kailei Carr | CEO & Global Women’s Leadership Coach

I started my business almost eight years ago after several simultaneous life events. I was leading a marketing department at a tech company and decided to decline a relocation. At the same time my mom lost her battle with stage 4 esophageal cancer, just a month and a half after I got married. Needless to say, everything in my life changed. Though it would have made sense for me to get another six-figure job, everything in me said that this was a time to use my talents and gifts to serve women and especially women of color advance their careers, but I wasn’t sure how at the time. Read more>>

Kenya Johnson | Work-Life Strategist & Founder of Auclare Vision

The seed of my business started a week or two after my college graduation. I had worked so hard to finish my degree and finish on time with a good GPA that by the time my graduation rolled around, I was battling between exhaustion and excitement. Once I turned my tassel, I quickly realized I had NO idea what I would be doing next, and my excitement turned into terror. I had spent my entire life being a student with a roadmap for success. But suddenly, I was no longer a student, just an adult with no idea of what it meant to be a professional in the real world. After several tumultuous months of job searching, I found my first full-time position through a connection. Still, even with that fortune, I realized a new problem on my horizon: I had no idea how to navigate my career. Read more>>