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.

Rocio Rodriguez | Tie Dye Artist

I started tie dying over 12 years ago. I remember going to Walmart with my cousin Yami and buying a tie dye kit to repurpose some old t shirts we had. After that it was instant love, I was fascinated with re purposing all of my old tees. Throughout the years I’d make tie dyes and give them away as gifts, I’d see the smiles on my friends faces and even if I was just doing basic spiral tie dyes with tulip kits at the time they’d love them. The reactions and love I would get about the shirts would bring me like an instant sense of comfort and happiness. This is was all pretty early on in my tie dye journey. Read more>>

Weatherly Munroe | Serial Entrepreneur & Art Enthusiast

I have always had a creative nature, and learned early on to appreciate the various shapes and forms of art through my mom, who was an architect, and dad, who was a furniture designer. As a collector, I wanted to create a space where people could wander (and wonder) and enjoy an amazing array of handcrafted work by alot of different minds and hands, all in one place. I imagined a mini arts festival that changed often, with moving walls, changing art, and rotating artists that would seem new each time someone stopped by. I wanted a place where both the artists and the customers were treated the same, knowing we could not survive without either. I visited many galleries around the southeast, and aimed to pull together the best of what I saw. I knew the name on the outside had to be as compelling as what people might find on the inside, one that said, “that place sounds happy, let’s go in!” Read more>>

Mark Edge | Jewelry designer

It was a simple choice between sleeping in or going to work at 6 a.m. In the summer of 8th grade, my father gave me an ultimatum: I could take a three-hour, five-evening jewelry making class-or come to work with him at his lumber company. His start time was 6 a.m. sharp. That choice changed my life. Not only did I get to sleep in, but it launched my career in jewelry design. After the class, I set up a card table in my bedroom and started making jewelry. Quickly, I gained a loyal following and started selling to high-end boutiques in my hometown of Birmingham Alabama and eventually to retailers around the world. Read more>>

Oscar Ruiz-Schmidt | Creative Director / Fashion Designer

Since my start at fashion school in Berlin I was introduced to new approaches and methodologies regarding sustainability practices, mindfulness and craft. Zero Waste Design resonated with me enormously and has since then been my main driving practice. Read more>>

Nina Cherie Franklin, PhD | Healthy Living Coach & Founder of “That Salad Lady”

After decades of working with corporate and private clients in health, fitness and nutrition, I grew increasingly frustrated with the wellness industry spreading misinformation and mismatched claims. As fate would have it, I was gifted a beautiful wooden salad bowl for Christmas. In the new year, the simple gift of this bowl sparked my transformation into “That Salad Lady” and, ultimately, the development of the brand. For me, salad bowls and all the possible combinations of fruits, vegetables and other whole foods to fill them trigger the same emotional reaction one might have from being gifted fine jewelry, a designer handbag or something else they’ve always wanted. Read more>>

Mia Dunlap | Self-Development Coach & Writer

The idea for this business came out of my pain. It came from my life. I remember saying aloud to myself at twelve years old, “My life feels like a movie and I don’t know if I make it in the end.” And while this is not the end, I certainly have made it out of the tragic cycle of poverty and homelessness and violence. So my business came as a result of using my adversity as a bridge to the curating a life that felt safe and whole and worth living. AYA: Adversity Yields Audacity is a company where we support folks in doing just that… to have the audacity to use their adversity as a bridge to their personal success. This is done through 1-1 coaching, self development workshops, and healing art experiences. Read more>>

Derrick Standifer | Author, PhD Student. Rubik’s Cube Strategist

I came up with Life is Like A Rubik’s Cube after teaching people how to solve the Rubik’s Cube. I learned that many people lacked confidence when it came to solving the twist and turns of the Rubik’s Cube, I also realized that too many people lacked confidence when it came to solving the Twists and turns of life. So I came up with 5 steps to solving both. The first step to solving life and to solving the Rubik’s Cube is to believe. Step 2 is to solve your cross, which means to identify your why. Step 3 is to fill in your corners or immerse yourself in a positive environment that will allow you to grow and prosper. Step 4 is to take it to the next level, or continue to grow, develop and better yourself, Step 5 is to see to see the bigger picture and keep your commitment to your commitments. Step 6 is to not take the stickers off because there are not short cuts in life. Read more>>