Ideas aren’t everything, execution matters greatly, but starting often requires an idea and so we asked folks to think back and tell us the story of how they came up with the idea for their businesses. We’ve highlighted some of our favorite stories below.

Delores Baker | Owner & Tutor

I came up with the idea for my business from experience and the demand for a unique learning experience outside of the classroom. The classroom is formal for obvious reasons, but tutoring should be catered towards each student’s unique needs. In a kitchen, a chef prepares a meal based on the order, the person’s palate, the occasion, etc. Magic happens in the kitchen! Families are brought together because of what happens in the kitchen. So, we decided to use that same concept for learning math. Let’s take a student, find out what they’re missing for their own unique recipe for conquering math skills and bake it up! Every session is unique, just like every meal!. Read more>>

Elizabeth Flemming | Actor and Producing Artistic Director

I started my Off-Broadway theater company Out of the Box Theatrics in 2015. I was working as an actor at various theaters regionally and I was noticing a lack of inclusion and accessibility in out industry. I am a visually impaired actor and after working several jobs where accommodations were an inconvenience instead of an opportunity to create a safe working environment I decided to take control of my own career. I had an idea to produce You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown on a playground with an inclusive cast of artists. I wanted to compensate all the actors I hired under union contracts so that everyone could receive Health and Pension. At that time I planned to create a company for that one show only but after spending a year raising $8,000 and seeing the effect that production had on a sold out crowd I realized I needed to keep going. Since that production OOTB has produced 5 seasons of site specific inclusive theater (even during a pandemic). Read more>>

Armani Blair | Mother of The Satin Crown

Love, Armani represents my journey to self-love. I started wearing wigs faithfully at the age of 14 in 2008, well before they were as common as they are now. The problem wasn’t the wig itself. It was the fact that I adopted it as my own and neglected the hair that grew from my roots. Twelve years later, I realized that you cannot accept who you are if you do not embrace your roots. Our ancestry is the foundation of where we come from, and you must return to it to gain knowledge of self. This revelation marked a rebirth for me, and just like a baby, I had to learn to walk in my natural hair. For the first time ever, I began searching for protective styles to help me (it) grow, and through that process, Love, Armani was born. Inspired by the undeniable beauty of black women wearing headwraps, I designed beautiful crowns for women to wear as a symbol of our royalty. The crowns hold the essence of who we are and it is a gift to us in celebration of us. Love, Armani. Read more>>

Quanda McNeil | Girl Empowered Motivator

I came up with the Idea for my business, because as a young girl there were things that I needed and there wasn’t any resources. I felt that young girls should learn to love themselves at a young age and not wait until they have grown up and experienced toxic relationships and traumas to find that love. I believe if we empower them at a young age we will help raise women who love themselves and understand their worth. Read more>>

Ed Carmichael | Apparel Brand Owner

I as a Christian Hip Hop artist under the name of (E-Surv) had a vision of starting a clothing apparel line back in 2018. It was originally called Jesus Or Die. At the time, I really didn’t have all the pieces together and didn’t really know much about starting a clothing brand. I just knew I had a really nice logo, a slogan that believers liked, and I wanted to put it on a T-Shirt. I invested in 25 shirts and sold maybe 10 of them lol. Needless to say, the shirts started to collect dust. Literally, at the time, I was a successful full-time employee for T-Mobile and I began to really pay attention to how this company ran its business. My eyes were opened to the importance of branding, marketing, customer service, but most importantly, the passion for the message that they delivered to their customers. I also realized the importance of having a team who bought into the message and could contribute with their talents to make the business a success. No one creates wealth in isolation. Read more>>

William “Trey” Walker | Bartender/Mixologist

T.A.G (The Alcohol Guy) Team Mixologists started as a trio back in 2015; two bartenders and one chef. We were starting our catering and mobile bartending company due to the many requests and wants of our customers at a local restaurant we worked. We began servicing many customers outside of the restaurant which led us wanting to start our own company. When it came time to become officially licensed, life happened and it boiled down to just me! Today, T.A.G Team Mixologists, LLC provides top notch services for weddings, anniversaries, parties, birthdays, corporate functions, bachelor and bachelorette events, and more in the Atlanta area and beyond. We also provide signature mixed cocktails, healthy cold pressed juices, and classes for aspiring bartenders and mixologists. Read more>>

Curtis Johnson | Artist, Creative, & Educator

Larry Bird said God “disguised” Himself as Michael Jordan the night Mike scored 63 points in Boston Garden. I believe God also disguises Himself as ideas. What we choose to do with those ideas upon their arrival to our consciousness is up to us. How those ideas are used ultimately determines impact. Purpose. Since the inception of the tennis shoe, many are noted as historical artifacts that played a significant role in shifting design, culture, and life as we experience. Though Jordans are more than shoes. They transcend sports, fashion, language even. The global basketball community, hip-hop, entertainers, artists, nonconformist, and trendsetters, alike, galvanize around these shoes. These communities saw that the shoes represented something different and as badly as the old world fought to silence them, the new world fought harder to give them a mic and platform. The new world saw originality, authenticity, individuality amongst community, and change. Change of the game. Read more>>

Danielle Patterson “Chef Bella D” | Chef, Caterer, & Makeup Artist

I started selling plates back in 2018 at my call center job. I was doing that every other Friday and mostly on pay days. At that time it was just called Divine Taste. I started off doing pretty well, and each time I took orders, it would increase every week. I had regulars who expected to have a meal from me on pay day. I’ve always been in the kitchen since a little girl, and I really loved creating so it was a no brainer for me. I did that for a side hustle for quite a while. However in 2020 is when I really decided I was going harder than I had before. I had recently lost my job, so at the time I really didn’t have a choice but to hustle and food was easy but didn’t feel like work. The feedback and support was overwhelming. I did my first booking for an intimate dinner, and it’s been history ever since. Read more>>

LaShonda Wells | Web Design Expert & Brand Strategist

I came up with the idea for my business because at one time I was a blogger who knew nothing about how websites worked, but I was constantly trying to figure it all out. After spending many sleepless nights and teaching myself how to build my own website, I would change it up all of the time. I realized that I had developed more love for the development and design aspect of it. I knew there must be a lot of other bloggers with the same problem. And I was right. Soon after, I built many websites for bloggers and then small businesses. Read more>>

Yohance and Di Yonna Mitchell | Founders of an Educational Nonprofit Organization

While working in education, we realized the great number of students in dire need of academic assistance whose parents and caregivers are unable to afford the ongoing one-on-one and small group support they need. We founded Vision Tutoring Educational Foundation then secured 501(c)3 tax-exempt status, so we could apply for grants, request donations, lock-in contracts, and seek additional funding that would allow us to provide the much-needed service at little to no cost for eligible families in need. Read more>>

Crystal Jordan | Autism Advocate

The coloring book did not originally come from me as a business idea. I just wanted to create something for black people about autism in a fun way and had no idea that this was the major market need. I got the idea by watching a tik tok video about becoming a children’s author. My book was written, but I was having difficulty with previous illustrators, and I was in the process of completing my coloring book. Read more>>

Emily Pinner | Event Beverage Consultant

It was definitely an evolution! The wine and spirits world is logistically changing-from shipping, to wine in a grocery store, to sales on a Sunday. In the South, we have come to accept what other deem as kooky alcohol laws. For as long as I can remember, wine was not allowed to be sold in a grocery store. But, about 6-7 years ago in Tennessee, that changed. As a manager of a local, fine wine and spirits shop, there was a bit of panic. It would be so easy to just grab a quick bottle of dinner wine while stopping for groceries on your way home from work. So, I had to dig deep about what could set us apart, and that was hands down, knowledge and customer service. I approached all reputable caterers, event planners and venue owners and said, when you book a client, send them to me to help with their beverage selections. I got to where I had seen some successful parties and some not so successful ones. I figured out the right questions to ask a client and gently steer them away from possible costly mistakes. This became a very popular and successful resource for clients hosting a large party. Read more>>

TaTanisha Copeland | Professional School Counselor

As an elementary school counselor , I am always looking for resources to help my students. I noticed that a lot of my students suffered from anxiety and displaced anger. Mindfulness and meditation had really been a major help to me and my daughter (as we both had our challenges with anxiety). However, I found it difficult to find mindfulness resources that my Black and Brown elementary students could relate to. So with the help of my son and daughter, I decided to create my own mindfulness resource. It is a YouTube Series called Mindfulness Maya. We upload a new video every week that teaches early learners about the concept and practice of Mindfulness and Social Emotional Learning. Read more>>

Juanika Freeman | Web Designer

I came up with the idea for OneTechGirl because everything around us is business related. All businesses need Sales and Marketing to grow, scale and succeed. My business helps entrepreneurs and small businesses do just that. I have come up with a Sales Driven Website Blueprint where I build websites that attract, capture, nurture and convert cold prospects into high paying clients. Read more>>

Naisha Tyler | Owner, Curator and Artist

The idea for House Of Stuyvesant came about because I wanted to see a place exist that housed all of the chic and neutral things that I love: home décor, jewelry, body products and handcrafted décor and art. A place that was affordable and that the everyday person could see in their home. Read more>>

Suhyoon Wood | Founder & Brew Witch

Beejou Craft Kombucha grew out of love. I started making kombucha as a hobby in spring of 2019 and found that I really had an affinity for it. It was really gratifying for me to be able to create in the realm of science and food. After a few months I had started to share my kombucha with my friends; then they shared it with their friends, and so on and so forth. I quickly realized that I needed to make things legitimate, since my customer base had grown so quickly. By the summer, I had begun research on establishing a kombucha business. By the fall, I enrolled into a business class called Co.Starters Columbus, put on by our city’s Chamber of Commerce. By a stroke of universal luck, I was introduced to an offer too good to pass up for what is now our taproom and brewery. We began breaking ground in January of 2020. Read more>>

Jestina Howard | Founder & Makeup Artist

I had been a professional freelance makeup artist for several years working on video & photo shoots, TV and live performances. I also offered makeup services to women who needed enhancing for a special occasion or wanted a lesson. One day in 2002, I had a client that I made up for a party and she loved her look. She wanted to purchase all of the products I used on her. I wrote down everything along with where she could purchase the items. When I handed her the information, she asked me why I didn’t have my own brand. She told me that if I had my own products she could buy everything from me. At that moment a light bulb went off in my head! The next day I started researching how I could create my own product line. Read more>>

Laquita Thomas | Cosmetologist

Arie’s Lux&Co…. The name Arie’s come from my one and only daughter middle name Arielle. Lux&Co comes from her diva’s ways, lol and since I can’t leave out my boys we just put them in the place of the Co. Hopefully to start them a clothing line or something. I’ve always been a big fan of the beauty industry. One of my dreams is to become one of the most top famous celebrity hairstylist. Read more>>

Kirmari Scott | Dancer/ Choreographer & Entrepreneur

The idea for my business came about when my Fiance and I were talking about me creating my own path as a dancer. Dancing is my passion and I love African dance styles and I wanted people to learn about it and receive some of the personal benefits that I received from it. So since Orlando didn’t have many African classes I figured instead of being upset about it, I can use that to my advantage. I started teaching classes, choreographing, and performing through my business LIVE2MOVE. Read more>>