Getting to do what you love?  Providing for your loved ones?  What does success mean to you? Below you’ll find perspectives from some of the city’s best and brightest.

Carline Smothers

Creating a brand that is meaningful and fulfilling for me. I was literally on lunch break at my desk, and the thought came to me. When I go shopping are there any brands that reflect my culture? I did a quick search on my laptop and did not find hardly any companies that did. I knew in my heart that this was my purpose. I continued my research once I got home. I jotted down ideas as they came to mind. Business name is ZOE BEAUTEE and I planned to create a clothing line with the phrase Bèl Fanm (which means beautiful woman in Kreyól) I remember sitting at the dentist office drawing an taking notes, waiting for my husband to have his wisdom teeth pulled. I started the business in November 2012. Then, found out I was pregnant with our third child in December. I was worried it would slow me down, but it only fueled the fire. Read more>>

Alyssia Leggett | Art Broker

I worked in marketing for 18 years before starting my own business. During that time, I got to see so many different sides of the business. Some I loved, and some I did not. After having two children, I was constantly torn between work and being a mom. If I was working, I felt like I should be with my girls. If I was with my girls, I felt like I should be working. I ultimately decided it was time to find something I could do on my own schedule and wouldn’t tie me to a desk. I wanted flexibility to spend time with my kids and work and realized I would have to create my own business to make that happen. Thinking about the parts of marketing that I liked best, and my long time love of art, I created Jenner McGinn Studio and launched my web-based art gallery in 2018. Read more>>

Tailiah Breon | Filmmaker & Photographer

The most important factor to the success of my brand has been operating in a balanced marriage of Faith and Work Ethic. I have been challenged over the years in building a brand to learn the perfect recipe for continuous growth. My experiences have taught me that faith alone will not activate your vision and relying on your work ethic/ skill set alone will not get you t the finish line. The most important factors to my journey have been an equal partnership of knowing when t practice faith and when to push my work ethic. Read more>>

Loli Lucaciu | Writer, Photographer & Creative

Loli Lucaciu Media was born out of a desire to explore and hone my creative skills and interests, while providing useful services to those who need them. Our society encourages specialization, but I’ve always believed in advancing my skills in multiple areas to become a more circular creative; doing so also helps with forging various paths to revenue. Read more>>

Chari Burke

I have always had a creative side growing up. From writing poems, to DIY projects around the house to now having my own printing company. I started printing shirts back in 2018 when my mom first passed. I need something to redirect the negative energy that was build inside of me. I started to each myself how to bring others visions to life. Over the pass two years I have done just that! Read more>>

Guitar Gabby | Founder, Lawyer & TxLips Band Front Woman

I saw a large gap in the music industry and I wanted to fill that gap instead of waiting for the music industry to address it. There is a lack of representation for Black women in the industry on all fronts. I wanted to create a platform for Black women to participate in something they loved without feeling like they had to completely sacrifice other hats we have to wear in life. I also am very keen on the business side of the music industry and wanted to make sure I set myself up for longevity in my career and I knew up front that part of that was going to be ensuring I learned the business of music. Read more>>

Tevin Tyler | Content Creator & CEO

I had the thought of “I’m my own boss” and Is this something i really want to do. As well as will i be determined to it. Read more>>

Aliesha Walker | Event Planner turned Fashionsita

As a growing young woman, the thought of building my own empire, while promoting self-empowerment has always been my vision. I’ve always had a gift of creativity. As a visionary my mindset was to become an entrepreneur and develop my craft. As an entrepreneur my mission is to provide quality and effective services towards my clients. A few years back I had no idea how to start, but I knew that it was time to lay the foundation and began the process to becoming a phenomenal boss lady. Attending Central State University afforded me with the opportunity to develop and shape my craft. During my tenure I assisted with the planning and executing various projects. And that’s when I knew that I was following the right path. Read more>>

Derrick Fowler | Cake Man

The most important factor behind my success is my clients or shall I say my Cake family. I always say that without their support I don’t exist and that is the God’s honest truth. My goal is to make sure that every order that I make is done to make the client feel special. I started this journey 15 years ago with the goal to have my own storefront one day. For the last 4 years I have been in overdrive building my name so that the brand is something that is recognized with quality, professionalism, and a caring attitude toward anyone I come in contact with. My name is on every product I make which means my reputation is on every product I deliver. If you give the customer honest top quality service and respect they will give it back and hopefully feel comfortable recommending my services to their friends and family. Read more>>

Kenya Sheats | Celebrity Ghostwriter, Journalist, Publicist & Self-Published Author

The most important factor behind my success is my relationship with God (Christ), being intentional, and obedient in everything I do. With God all things are possible, and we know faith without works is dead. I incorporate prayer and meditation into my daily routine, it’s actually a lifestyle. I also take the time to plan, strategize, write my visions down, so I can effectively execute the tasks that are assigned to me or that simply needs to be done. I like to work in a timely, but well thought out manner, so I can move on to the next thing. Just knowing I’m getting closer to a goal or something is progressing is a success, to me. I’ve learned that life is one huge process and God has a plan for each and every one of us. As long as you tap into your gift, it will make room for you and bring you amongst great men. Read more>>

Abby Meadows | One of a Kind Jeweler

I listen to my collectors and fans. Without them, there is no Mettle by Abby. Since ever piece is one of a kind and hand forged by myself with hand picked gemstones, I have great flexibility to create what people are craving! People’s stories and lives are so fascinating and inspiring, and I want to honor their experiences with wildly one of kind wearable art. We all want to be heard and known, and my collectors and fans are why I go to my studio with a heart full of gratitude and a mind full of inspiration! Mettle by Abby is celebrating 10 strong years the Autumn and I owe it to communicating and making a connection with my people. Jewelry is so personal and significant, it deserves to be strong and well made, but also something unique and unlike anything else! Read more>>

Kevin Bongang | Muralist & Illustrator

One thing most important to my creative process on murals is being organic. I love to freestyle, go with the flow. On almost all my commissioned murals so far, a simple conversation with the client was all I needed to paint something unique that spoke to their brand and reinforced mine as well! Read more>>

Sarah Price | Consciousness Coach

In a word: authenticity. I’m in the business of helping people become more and more authentic versions of themselves. In order to do that I have to make sure my messaging – the brand in its entirety, and everything I push out feels aligned and honest. Authenticity is also how I’ve built my business into the successful coaching practice it is today. My first real turmoil in starting and advertising this work was with the entire industry – “coach”? “Coaching?” Ugh – I hated every bit of it. But there wasn’t anything else to call myself. As my practice grew I’d see local clients out in the world and they’d say “Hey that’s my life coach!” so I had to start getting used to it – but that really set the tone for ME needing to ensure that everything I said and did to share and promote my work was aligned, authentic, and true. Read more>>

Tinzley Bradford | Settlefree Dating Coach, Speaker TV Personality, Keynote Speaker & Author

The most important factor behind my success is the belief in myself and in my vision. In order to achieve something, you must first believe you can achieve it. I’ll go a little deeper on what believing in yourself looks like. I have had this vision of being a Settlefree Lifestyle Coach for so many years and there have been times that I wanted to just be done with it, but having confidence in myself and my abilities kept me in the race. That’s one of the main factors behind anyone’s success, “confidence.” My willingness to learn from my mistakes and failures has also been an important factor behind my success. If you Google failure, you will see that “failure is the state or condition of not meeting a desirable or intended objective, and may be viewed as the opposite of success.” For me, my failures have lead to my success and has caused complete resilience. If you can fail and still get back up and keep going, you will eventually be successful. Read more>>

Barbara Gibson | Meditation & Yoga Teacher

There is a book on my shelf called, “I Been in Sorrow’s Kitchen and Licked Out All the Pots.” The title speaks to me because (like most everyone) I have known sorrow well. As an advocate for survivors of domestic violence and trauma, I’ve also supported others in their deep sorrow. I started Peacestill because pain is not the whole story. I did not always know that. I know now that there is also healing and everything between and around it. I’ve learned to hold all of it with tenderness. Finally, I feel good and safe in my own mind and body. Every journey to healing is unique. Peacestill is my way of sharing and supporting others to get on and/or stay on their path. Read more>>

Dianne Johnson | Yoga Instructor, Personal Trainer & Group Fitness Instructor

Movement saved my life. With depression, Body Dysmorphia, eating disorders, and anxiety, consistent yoga and group fitness has done more for me than therapy, counseling, and medication. I was at a point in my life where I had tried everything, and nothing had worked. While I know this isn’t a solution for everyone, I wanted to offer my knowledge of movement and it’s healing possibilities to others; especially mothers. I wanted to offer fitness that wasn’t focused on aggressive instruction and body shaming. My fitness teaching philosophy focuses on the purity of movement and shifts away from obsessing over weight loss, clothing sizes, calories, etc. to showing up at the gym or your mat with the sole focus of moving and honoring the body. Read more>>

Shawnee Coward | Vegan Bakery Owner & Baker

For me, starting Shawnee’s Goodies was the best solution to the problem that I noticed in my local area…a lack of Black-owned bakeries. I did a lot of research about the bakeries my local area, the products I wanted to sell, and how to provide excellent customer. I believed that by starting my own business, I could create a family enterprise as well as create an additional stream of income. Read more>>

John Reynolds | Founding Partner & COO

My business partner and I had been talking about the fact that in 2015 there were no craft breweries in Gwinnett County. I couldn’t believe that with the growth that industry had experienced a county as large as Gwinnett didn’t have a brewery to call its own. We started to look into it and it started to make sense. There were a lot of barriers to entry standing in our way. We took it one step at a time and in September of 2017 we opened our doors to the public as Gwinnett’s first craft brewery!! Read more>>

Alexis Lior | CEO & Founder

The most important factor behind the success of Adeleigh’s Treasure is impact. Our values are Education, Resilience and Well-Being. My personal desire is to create a community around these values that brings about a measurable impact in the lives of the people we touch. I want to educate customers and clients on how to live well from the inside out while empowering them to be resilient in the face of life’s challenges. My own struggles led me to start this brand and the impact of Adeleigh’s Treasure on my life has been remarkable. Read more>>

Ta’sha Henry A.K.A Stylish Eye Diva | Owner & Creator

My thought process behind starting my own business honestly I was clueless at first. I had that 9-5 mentality. I never thought I would be a business owner. I didn’t know anybody could be a entrepreneur I thought it was for “special people” at first. But once I learned how to changed my mindset and tapped into it I realized my gift was in fashion and mindset shifting from trial error life experiences. Read more>>

Teria Ketterer | Co-Owner

It’s in my heart. For the past 13 years I’ve been working with seniors. I really enjoy putting a smile on their faces. It is more so Important now with the current situation within this world today. God lead us in this direction as if he was preparing us for this pandemic. I was always loved by my patients and decided that I can do so much more, and that’s exactly what I did. I ran into Justin Weeks at a previous job who is just as determined as I am to become an Entrepreneur, the biggest thing was we both loved working in geriatrics Justin has a passion for caring for others and so do I. we talked and put some ideas together, we have used our passion and our hearts to open up an office in dispite of this pandemic. Read more>>