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.

LaSundra Davis | Photographer & Retail Manager

I had no idea I would own a photography business when I purchased my camera. I enjoyed taking photos so I wanted to try my hand with a DSLR. Some people began taking interest in my work and wanted to book shoots. I was at a turning point. Should I continue doing and learning photography or should I start a photography business? The latter won. I love shooting and enjoy making people feel good. Getting paid to do it was a win-win. First, a name. The tomboy in me didn’t want anything too girly or to use my name. Keeping that in mind, I came up with Respect the Shooter (IG: @respect.theshooter) has now evolved into the newly minted LLC., RTS Photography. Read more>>

Soso Models | Actor & Model

I knew I wanted to model since the early 2000’s when America’s Next Top Model came out. I just didn’t know how to start. After I graduated from college in 2012, I decided to take a risk and book my own solo photoshoot. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and results. From there I used the internet to search for local modeling opportunities. As I started to do more modeling work I had to come up with a way to market myself. My nickname is “Soso”, so I definitely wanted to incorporate that. I wrote down five to six options for names and Soso Models stuck out, so that’s what I went with. And I said this is how I am going to brand myself and become my own business. Read more>>

Katurah Turner | Photographer and Artist

When it was time to name my company, I wanted to choose a name that had meaning. I started with Fotos by Katurah but then decided that I didn’t want to use my name in my company’s name. After doing some research, I asked a friend whose husband was Nigerian, “How do you say Photographer in your native tongue?” I was told that the closet word to photographer was E-ton, which meant history recorder. That was perfect. As photographers, we record our client’s events and milestones, forever freezing those moments. So from that day forward, Itan( pronounced E-ton) became my company name. Read more>>

Leana Marie Marshall | Diversity and Inclusion Consultant & Yoga Instructor

I worked at a yoga corporation who did not treat their BIPOC employees fairly. There was no diversity and I felt very isolated and excluded. There was very low representation of black and brown leaders in the community. No black or brown leaders in the executive suite. I asked over and over for diversity and inclusion training and also sensitivity training. Every single time my concerns fell on deaf ears. Working in a corporation with so much system racism, white privilege and tone deaf comments promoted me to start my own business, Elle Em Consulting. Read more>>

Elliott James | CEO | KING TV

In 2015, Elliott S James launched KING TV. A native son of New Jerusalem (NJ) his passion for entertainment, including Film/ Television, Music, Theater, Dance and Fashion originated while growing up in an urban metropolis. Elliott S James is a graduate of Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management. Hampton University was also where he cultivated his acting as a member of the prestigious Hampton Players Theater Ensemble, directed by Dr. Karen Turner Ward. He starred in literary classic productions such as August Wilson’s Fences and The Bad Seed. Read more>>

Tatyana Arrington | Actress, Entrepreneur, & Media Correspondent

The idea of STIX Unlimited is not one that I can take credit for. STIX Unlimited comes from the mind of my brother Ahjanee “Lemon” Arrington. He began designing back in high school and in 2010 started the very early beginnings of STIX. I remember like it was yesterday when he started designing clothes. I had never seen such originality and depth to art before. One of his earliest designs was the “ALL EYES CROP TOP” he made for women and when he gifted me one I wore it as much as many times as possible. I still even have to this day. The name for Ahjanee’s business stemmed from the nickname my Grandpa Wheeler gave him personally, “Sticks” due to his slender frame and height (6’2). Read more>>

Larissa Dubose | Certified Sommelier

The Lotus & The Vines was created because of the lack of representation of people of color in the wine industry. I wanted to create a brand that was education based but still fun and approachable, so that people that looked like me could learn the soft skill of wine knowledge and wine etiquette. Wine can be intimidating. Seeing someone that looks like you share fun and factual tips will give you the tools to put your best personal and professional brand forward. That someone is me! Read more>>

Jahquel J. | Author, Entrepreneur & Creative

I wanted something by us, for us. Meaning African American romance novels that are written for us. I love black love, and creating a subscription box geared toward African American readers was the goal, and important to me. Growing up, there weren’t many things that were for people that looked like me. There are plenty of subscription boxes, however, I don’t see any that celebrate black romance the way Treat Yo Shelf Box does. Not to mention, I saw so many subscription boxes for hair, plants and everything under the sun. Yet, I never saw one for the literary community, especially the black community. I’m not saying there aren’t any, however, I’ve never seen it, so I decided to create one. Read more>>

Maiya Newton | Entrepreneur

I came up with the idea for my company, DUFFLEBOX, one day when she came home from Cross Country practice during her senior year at Georgia State University. Due to my busy schedule, I realized that I didn’t have any clean and functional underwear or any proper nutrition for her performance. I started the company to address the fundamental problem I believed existed in the sports industry. I believe disadvantaged athletes lacked basic resources to enhance their performance. An affordable subscription box for athletes with a buy-one, give-one model could help alleviate that problem. Read more>>

Yvonne Rosegarden | Love Healer & Well-Being Artist

My very interesting career journey has consisted of creatively manifesting the ideas and concepts of others, starting with producing large scale entertainment, commercial and academic events for big audiences; working with production companies, corporations, and academic institutions. Over time and after many successful experiences, working with large groups, I discovered that I wanted to focus more closely on producing special events for individuals and small groups. I wanted to feel more connected to people and to my work, to truly enjoy all aspects of what I was doing. I combined my passion for wellness, well-being and joyful living with my love of producing events, and RedMelanin, featuring my “Soul Prescriptions Journeys” came to be. Read more>>