Starting a business is a commitment and requires dedication, resources and sacrifice. We asked some of the rising stars in our community how they thought through the idea of starting their own businesses.

Tristen King | Free Lance Photographer

The thought process of starting my own business is I wanted to do more with my life than work a standard job. Growing up I wanted to be a content creator on Youtube. I think that is part of what pushed me to wanting t0 learn about cameras. I grew up watching my dad taking pictures at events for the church I attend. October 2016, I borrowed his camera to take pictures at one of the events. After that night I knew I wanted a camera for photography. Read more>>

Lori Saint Rome | Illustrator, artist & Founder of Lorintheory

I have always wanted to create something in the world that was my own, however I can’t say it was exactly what I anticipated it would be. Starting my own business came from putting a passion of mine at the service of others. I noticed that there wasn’t a lot of representation in the illustration or art space and decided to create something that would be a vessel for that. Lorintheory is the result, and most of the time it feels like something that found me because I was meant to do it. Read more>>

Hannah Ajibade | Event Designer

My thought process behind starting my own business was “Hannah, just do it” lol of course I was scared but I knew I had to do it. I have been decorating family and friends events for years and after I decorated my daughter’s first birthday, I decided to take decorating/designing seriously. Read more>>

James Jones | Boys Gymnastics Coach and Attorney

In 2019, there were so many competitive gymnastics programs in the Atlanta area, but there were so few located in the South Metro area. Of the few that were located in the South Metro, none offered boys gymnastics. I became a volunteer coach that had a class for boys that similar to gymnastics but didn’t incorporate all of the events of the sport. The boys came for an hour and flipped around. The boys had fun in this Rec center program but many of the boys were talented enough to do actual gymnastics and even compete. Several of the parents at the Rec center asked me about competitive gymnastics and how to get their son on a team. Read more>>

Brandon Adams | Visual Artist

I never knew that I could turn my hobby into a legitimate business, until after I graduated from undergrad. I had photography, videography, and graphic design gigs here and there throughout college, but I had no idea of the full magnitude of the industry I was entering. I had never seen or knew of any full-time creatives/ photographers growing up as a child, so I thought a career as a creative was unheard of; And I truly viewed the creative business landscape as a supplemental stream of income, and not a main source. Read more>>

Tiara Holloway- Wilkerson | Interior Designer – Black Sophisticated

I honestly didn’t have a thought process behind starting my business. I was doing this as fun, as my passion. I never saw it has a business. People were reaching out to me to help them with their homes but I didn’t have a business yet. It was just the love for décor and designing a space for me. When, it was time to get my business name and license it took me 6 months because I was so nervous. Since, I’ve taken that leap of faith God has open doors for me. Read more>>

Dr. Edoabasi (Edo) McGee | Breast Cancer Wellness Coach & Pharmacist

After being diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2017, I completed 6 cycles of chemotherapy and then a double mastectomy. After surgery in October of 2017 , I had still moments that allowed me to reflect. I went from disbelief at the start of treatment to depression after surgery. I felt like I was staring into a huge hole of darkness and despair with no end in sight. I was going to be bald, breast-less and without nipples or a belly button. Read more>>

Emilola Ogundele | Founder of Lola Love Dolls

Well, I could not find dark-skinned dolls for my daughter in a high street store. I looked week after week but could not find a single dark-skinned doll. I only saw a single doll that was relatively light-skinned and had straight hair, whereas, at the Disney Store, the only black doll I found was Princess Tiana. I kept thinking, “why is it so hard to find a black dolly with an afro?”. Read more>>

Matt Selen | Automotive Detailer & Business Owner

Honestly, the beginning stages were derived from pure PASSION. I have always loved everything about cars & trucks, so naturally it made sense to find something based around vehicles. Aside from working my dead-end 9-5 job at the time, (which was selling auto insurance), I tried to consistently buy/sell cheap used cars as a side-job. $500 decade-old Hondas that would need a simple fix and a GOOD cleaning, and end up selling for double profit. Read more>>

Pamela Tetteh | CEO & Founder of Melanated Hair & LLC

I started Melanated Hair & because i suffer from eczema which is a medical condition where your skin and almost sometimes scalp becomes inflamed with dry, itchy patches. My skin would get unmoisturized within hours, start to flake and itch really bad. I wanted to create products that helped me to have smoother, moisturized, healthy and glowing skin (MHBC slogan). Read more>>

Cedric Perry | Artist Manager and Record Label Owner

The idea stemmed from one of my best friends who was seeking to enter the music industry and become an artist, but did not have the resources or the help needed to navigate the field. I was really taken back by his talent, so I offered to learn about the industry and become a manager. It’s been a whirlwind since then, but my purpose has remained the same; help promote talented artists and help them create a career of their choice. Read more>>

Chay Johnson | The Create Spot LLC – Custom Products

The Create Spot, LLC. started from my passion for crafting. As I sat and zoned in on what I was doing, I would get tickled seeing the different stages to completion. I would be intrigued with how I could take various supplies and produce an amazing item. One day I was making myself a T-shirt, and I remembered my dad saying, “Entrepreneurship is the way to go.” It took me about a year of doing research and testing to perfect the quality of the items I wished to offer. I wanted my business to be “The Spot” where an idea came to life! Read more>>

Lynisha Henderson | Boutique Owner/Founder

I use to draw sketches as a child never taking the actual sketching thing seriously. My grandmother had a friend who use to run fashion shows locally and she offered to make some of my pieces but as a child I was reluctant of showing* giving someone my creative work. Some years have passed and I noticed that I still had the love for fashion so I wanted to open my own store so I jumped out on faith and tried back in 2017 when I felt the time was right. Jumping in to opening a business with no knowledge led me to many many set backs and doors closing so sadly I had to close my store. Read more>>

Mykia Green | Master Aesthetician

My thought process behind me starting my own beauty spa originated from not seeing many Estheticians like me, In this field for skincare. Of course There were estheticians I knew but they mainly focused on makeup, waxing and things like that. I didn’t know anyone in my hometown that was black and really correcting the skin. Read more>>

Melissa Dinas | Real Estate Investor

As a young single mom of a child with severe disabilities I had to figure out a way to make an income to support us. I couldn’t do a “job” from 9-5 because I had no childcare who could care for my daughter’s intense needs. What I did instead – because I’ve always been an outside-of-the-box thinker – was, I started small businesses. – I became a free-lance hair designer and booked brides and bridal parties for their wedding-day hair & makeup looks.
– I cleaned houses & hired a couple of cleaners to help with the workload
– I hired a painter by trade and painted home interiors. Read more>>

Qiana Glasper | Owner of Qi Essential Oils

Initially, I never planned to start Qi Essential Oils. I got tired of wearing perfumes that didn’t last all day and the ones that did, were expensive. I made the decision about 7 years ago to stop wearing perfumes and began wearing body oils. One day I made a random scent with the body oils and I was blown away on how good it smelled. I continued for about a year making scents, then friends and family started asking for them. At the time, I was not writing anything so it was whatever I poured and mixed is what you would get. Read more>>

Tony Mayne | Military-to-Civilian Transition Director & Champion for Jesus Christ

After 20 years in the Army, I wanted the responsibility and opportunities business ownership provides. Military members are blessed to be surrounded by some of the most selfless, servant leaders America has to offer. I feel it is my responsibility to share what I have learned. Most importantly, now that I am out of uniform, I can use my platform as a US Army Ranger and Special Operations veteran to be a champion for Jesus Christ. Ranger For Life complements my work with GallantFew, Inc. in the military-to-civilian transition space and our family’s leadership of the St. Luke United Methodist Church’s Military Ministry at the Ranger Outreach Center in Columbus, Ga. Read more>>

Thao Tu | Wedding & Event Planner

I’ve always loved a really good party! I grew up in a family where entertaining was just a part of life. In 2010, I started working at an entertainment production company and discovered this was something I found so much passion in. I loved working together to create an awesome event and experience. Life happened aka three kids but while raising my kids, I would constantly find myself searching for side gigs at festivals, parades, doing setup at trade shows – literally anything I could do to be a part of any type of event. Read more>>

Tawania Grangent | Producer, Director, Writer & Actress

Being a woman of a particular age, plus size and of color I felt that I wasn’t anyone’s first choice to cast in projects. Sure, I could get background roles, but after many years on stage and at least two in film, I felt that I had the experience and talent to be at least someone’s co-star. Then one day as I was in character as a day player on a popular Atlanta television show, I looked up at one of the leading actors who was blowing his lines and blowing them royally. Read more>>

Pamela Beasley | Non-Profit Executive Director & Virtual Executive Assistant

I started my businesses because I love helping and supporting others. Throughout my life, I always found myself being a support system, physically, emotionally, and financially. I started my non-profit, Here To Help Foundation, because I wanted to impact people on a larger scale. Prior to forming my non-profit, I used my personal funds to help others. This limited the amount of people I could help. However, I knew grants and donations would allow me to make a bigger impact in my community and in the lives of others. Read more>>

Kelly Ella | Makeup Artist & personal stylist

I spent the better portion of my adult life working as a social worker. I went to school, trained and was licensed. I worked with various populations over the years but ended with child protection. I loved it and found a lot of fulfillment and happiness in helping children and families. Unfortunately I suffered an attack and was unable to return to my position. I had been suffering greatly with Post Traumatic Stress and right before the pandemic hit I found myself, essentially unable to return to my life long career. Read more>>

PorterStoutBeerGod | Cultural Sherpa

I always watched Anthony Bourdain and I loved the foods and beer that he ate around the world. During the pandemic I would always think,” I wish I had that job.” I realized I needed to stop using the word want. So, I decided to make my hobby my business and it was the best decision that I ever made! Read more>>

Brickell French | Model and Model Coach

After completing my Undergrad Degree from Old Dominion University, like every other grad I was forced to figure out what I wanted to do with life. The thing that brought me the most joy was modeling. Whether it was me modeling or me helping others, I felt that was my purpose in life. I spent many years of unofficially coaching others but it wasn’t until 2019 until I really decided to fully take on the mantel of Coach and start my business, That’s Brickell LLC. I lead with my personal values of positivity, self-worth, respect, freedom, flexibility, faith, peace, and growth. Read more>>

Doug Murphy | Certified Personal Trainer, owner of DSM Fitness

I wanted complete control. I worked in the corporate world for 10 years and grew tired of layers of management that didn’t have a clue what it is was doing. Their poor decision making affected my paycheck! Add to that the stress of being held accountable for things I had no control over. I wanted total freedom and responsibility for my future. I’ve been self employed for over 23 years now, and I could never work for a boss again-I’m the boss! Read more>>

Kaya Loore | Chef

I’ve been working for almost 8 years now and have never felt 100% cared about or supported at any of my jobs. I’ve also found myself working with people that have little to no work ethic. That’s when I decided to begin to create my own job, my own Buisness. Read more>>

Brianna Brown | Master Cosmetologist & Salon Owner

Every since I was a little girl I always loved to do hair. I’ve always told myself I’m going to own my own hair salon. After moving to Atlanta I worked in a few salons that didn’t work out for me. I told myself the next salon I work in will be my own and I worked my day time job to fund my business Read more>>

Felicia Thomas | Boutique Owner

I started my business, because I wanted a brand that represents me. I was exhausted with going into shopping mall and boutique that did not have a section for midsize girl sizes Xl or 14-16 that was contemporary or fashion forward pieces. I always wanted to be a buyer & shortly after the pandemic & catching Covid I realize it was now or never. Read more>>

Chauntee Miller | Effortless Beauty LLC- Jewelry and Accessories

I knew I wanted something more out of life. Internally, I became tired of working for corporate America. Then, the pandemic hit and I could no longer ignore my feeling of being tired of working for someone else. Tired of clocking in and out , tired of being emotionally and mentally drained. Tired of my employer not truly caring about my circumstance our needs. However, the straw that broke the camels back was when I noticed how I wasn’t fully present when it came to my husband and children because I’m so overworked . That moment is when I knew that my overall happiness would not come from me being shackled to a computer and phone for eight hours of my life. An a change was very much necessary. Read more>>

Heidy Hernandez | CEO | Mother

The pandemic drastically hurt the hotel I was employed at, and as a result my hours were significantly reduced. My anxiety grew high as I was already living paycheck to paycheck. My oldest daughter-Berenice R. had to step in to help pay my rent and bills. She refused to allow me to go back to working two jobs, as I did for ten years. I felt terrible that my daughter had to pickup my “slack.” As a result she pitched me the idea to starting my own business, even if only for the days the hotel did not give me hours. Read more>>

T’keyah Smith | Mother & Entrepreneur

Dope Kraftz came into fruition in 2021; however, I didn’t execute it until this year in May 2022. Last year, I was going through a bit of a rough patch with trying to navigate through the pandemic with a new baby and suffering with PPD (postpartum depression). I was looking for a new hobby and a way to make extra money. I was thinking to myself “what do I enjoy the most?” Because, in my opinion you have to really enjoy/love what you’re doing in order for your business to grow and be successful! One of my favorite holidays is 420, so that’s when I came up with the idea of making custom ashtrays. Most ashtrays I’ve seen are boring,so I wanted to create custom ashtrays. Read more>>