We asked some of the city’s leading artists and creatives to tell us about how they decided to pursue an artistic or creative career. We’ve shared some highlights below.

Amanda Barrett | Photographer/ Owner of Amanda Beth Photography, LLC

I am a huge believer in authenticity! Being genuine and true to yourself (at least in my experience) has been the best leader in my success. Authenticity brings trust, and building trust is part of my job! If you don’t trust me, then you won’t feel comfortable in your photos. Providing genuine experiences and being my authentic self has given me not only happy clients, but true friendships as well! Read more>>

Sazj Ford | Christian Influencer & Mentor

That’s an easy one! Without hesitation my answer would be God. The Saved Girl Brand is built on the principal of God first and sisterhood second! Each decision and major move thus far has been filtered through prayer. It may seem tedious, but in my experience it is so necessary. There were moments when I tried to force success or growth with my own agenda and desires, but after hitting a brick wall last March, it was time to go back to God and get clarity on why our growth had slowed down. Read more>>

Maddie Sullivan | Destination Wedding Photographer

Relationships are the heartbeat and foundation of my brand! As a wedding photographer, your client puts a high level of trust not only in your work as a creative but also as a documentarian of their defining moments. It’s paramount that my team and I build and establish trust from our first inquiry with a client to their wedding day and beyond in order to create a stellar client experience that not only serves my client but opens the door to further opportunities. Read more>>

Meredith Pennington | Dance Convention Owner, Immerse Artists Experience

Immerse Artists Experience, also referred to as IAX, is truly a unique dance event. The reason for the success of the Immerse Artists Experience brand is simple: do everything with others in mind. We are in the business of providing the next generation of dancers with tools to help them succeed in dance and in life. Our safe, nurturing, kind, and encouraging atmosphere comes from a heartfelt desire to inspire, motivate, and serve others. It is IAX’s number one goal to provide exceptional classes, service, and value to everyone who choses to attend. Read more>>

Tony Davis | Film Producer

Being grounded. In my industry you can get caught up in the hype and lost very quickly. Staying humble has played an important factor in my success. Read more>>

Rachel Macleod | Calligrapher

I want to start off by saying that I don’t feel like I’ve hit the point of being successful yet. There’s still so many major goals I have yet to hit and even when I do hit those goals, I don’t think there will ever come a time where I will want to sit back and say I’ve made it. There’s always need goals to hit and fun accomplishments to strive for. But with that being said, I believe there are a few things that a.) got me to where I am now and b.) will make me successful in the future. Read more>>

Khay Renee | Photographer

I’d say it would be the fact that I love what I do! Because I truly love what I do and am passionate about it, my outlook and everything that comes with this journey is always positive. There’s a quote that says, “as long as you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Does it get hard sometimes? Sure it does. But because I love what I do, I can be vulnerable about the challenges and openly embrace them. When people can connect not only with you art but you as an artist, the legacy you build once you leave this Earth is much more impactful. And, to me, that’s where true success comes from. Read more>>

Kofi Boakye | Emmy-Nominated Pianist

My most important factor has been my resilience. My entire life, I’ve conditioned myself to never stop at the first “no”. I’m a true believer that there is always ONE individual out there ready to give a yes to your dream, to your vision, to joining your fanbase, to being apart the journey you’re on! And it only takes one person to spark a change. One individual could spark a city. That city could ignite a state. That state could revolutionize a nation. And that nation, could change the world! Read more>>

Courtney Sawyer | Certified Spray Tan Artist

Willingness to put the customer first and go above and beyond to satisfy my clients. My clients know that when they come to their appointment I will always listen to them and go the extra mile for whatever they may need. Read more>>

Capri Joppy | Model- Fashion, Beauty, Fitness.

One phrases that I live by is “collective versus competition.” To me, the phrase means that working with other creatives gets me way further than working against other creatives. Though competition can sometimes be a healthy form of inspiration, competition is at times unnecessary. Therefore, I found success in collaborating with local creatives and being inspired by the amazing things they create. I’ve learned so much valuable free-game from collaborations that I keep in my creative tool box. Read more>>

Kris Urquhart | Model & Creative Lover

The most important factor my success is staying to true to who I am. The modeling industry is a tough industry where sometimes losing your identity is very easy to do when you want to get notice. When I started in the industry, I constantly reminded myself that being enough would be more than enough. When I was younger, my parents allowed for me to live in my creative lane at an early age. They encouraged me to explore it and to fall in love with the process. The success I have now is because I stuck to my values and morals. I’m edgy but feminine with a touch of vulnerability when needed but add that together and it me completely. It’s my style, it’s my personality, and it’s my brand. It’s Kris Jae’. Read more>>

Raven Tolbert | Dance Studio Owner

The most important factor behind my success/the success of my brand is prayer and keeping God in the center of not only my life but also my business. There have been many times when I did not know how I would get things done or where I would get my personal and business necessities from and I have no doubt that it was God, who sustains and supplies all of my needs. Read more>>

Marrico Simpson | Inventor / Brand Building Coach / Service Disabled Veteran / Licensed Barber and Cosmetologist Instructor

The most important factor behind my success thus far along with the brand is dealing with adversity. When it comes to success that someone is seeking to find; in most cases, there will always be adversity that he/she will have to face to get to their destination. When you learn how to deal with failure and denial without giving you up, you build a character within yourself to learn how to deal with adversities as such. Read more>>

Jacqueline Knight | Owner and Chief Product Officer

The most important factors behind my success are my faith, the support of my family, in particular my loving husband who prays and pour encouraging words into me everyday and the love for and of our customers. Read more>>

Aryn Callarman | Coffee Shop Owner & SAHM

The most important factor behind the success of our brand is our team. Our baristas are friendly and give great customer service. We empower them, include them in decision-making, and try to be the best employers we can be. Read more>>

Jene’t Taylor | Faithpreneur

That my clients experience relief when working with me. I love to hear the sound of someone being able to breathe again because they know they no longer have to worry about everything. They now have the support they can count on and know that their business will be handled in excellence. Read more>>

Dimestate Don | Graphic Designer, Recording Artist

It would be the people who support it most. The inquiries, and ideas all contribute to the diversity of the brand. Read more>>

Shernell Carter | Master Cosmetologist, CEO of Sassi N’ Klassi Beauty Bar

The most important factors behind my success is motivation and hardwork. I started in the beauty industry in 2004 while in hair school. I’ve went to hair shows in different states and even participated in competitions. For many years I was always involved in different events in the industry. I even had side gigs as assistant to the hairstylist in photoshoots and runway shows. As time went on I realized that with my Master cosmetology license I wasn’t just stuck with doing hair and it opened up so many other doors for me. Read more>>

Ebony Payne Brown | School Founder, PEACE Academy Charter

The ultimate mission of PEACE Academy Charter is to provide a liberatory education that is grounded in critical thinking, cultural empowerment, and community love. The most important factor behind our success is that all of our systems, structures, and beliefs align with this mission. Every staff member or partner must deeply believe in this work and the impact it will have on our children, communities, and society as a whole. Read more>>

JAYO! | Creator, Entrepreneur & Owner

I think the most important factor behind the success of my brand is originality, attention to details, consistency & expansion. I never wanted to develop a brand that was just locally-accepted or received in one place or by one type specific group of people. From the start i envisioned the world enjoying not only Sick Society Clothing’s garments, but each character’s story, evolving to comics, cartoons and becoming more then just clothing. Everything about Sick Society Clothing has meaning from the name of the brand that is actually an acronym to each character and logo having a story, a purpose driven streetwear clothing brand. People want more then to look fly (eventhough we wanna look fly first 🙂 ) we want purpose! Read more>>

Shana Jobes | Lash Technician and Educator

I would say that the most important factor behind my success/ the success of my brand is my ability to be consistent. My determination to succeed and my resilience. I’m also very passionate about what I do, and I believe that it makes a huge difference in the quality of my work. I go the extra mile to make my clients feel special and I really love what I do. Lashing is an art. I love making my clients look and feel beautiful. I love teaching the skill and most importantly, I take pride in my work. All of these factors contribute to the success of my brand. Read more>>

Brittani & Stephen Richardson | Owners

The most important factor behind our success and the success of our business is CUSTOMER SERVICE. In growing up, we were always taught to treat others the way that we would want to be treated. We have always strived to go above and beyond to accommodate our customers and make sure that they have an experience that makes them remember us in a good way to want to come back again! We have laughed, cried and simply became part of the community with open arms from so many around us. The artists next door to us as well as the staff and students of the local schools and residents around, have become not only friends, but family, ALL in how we have treated each other and made people feel welcomed! Read more>>

Kweeng Doll | Musician/ entertainer

The most important factor behind my success is to be consistent and authentic. Stay true to yourself and your brand never change for anyone or anything. Not everyone is going to love you or support you but the ones that do will support and love you 100 times more. When you are consistent find out so many things about yourself and your brand. You will evolve ofer time and out do everything you did the year before. I look at my career year-by-year. That’s how I measure growth and see what areas need to be worked on more than others. Read more>>

Dre Gilly | Tattoo artist

The most important factor behind success is consistency, focus, and passion. Being an artist we are filled with passion but being focused and consistent is just as important. Read more>>

Jeffery Vallier | Wardrobe Stylist/ Personal Shopper/ Personal Assistant

The most important factor behind my success and the success of my brand is integrity, trust and standing behind my word and my work. I am a firm believer and advocate of under promising and over delivering when it comes to my work. I love to go above and beyond to ensure that all of my clients needs and wants are being met as it relates to fashion. These factors and my process has proven successful not only with revenue but client retention and gaining new clients. Read more>>

Tonita Bybee | CEO and Founder of Savvy Girl Consulting and Savvy Talent Management Group

The most important factor behind the success of my brand is my clients. The clients provide the vision and I am a mere vessel used to help their dreams and visions become reality. From their concept to my implementation and execution we work as a team in tandem to get the job done. They allow me control and trust my business instincts which offers me the freedom to be creative, make mistakes and learn from them while rising to the top The client is my business. There is no me without them. Read more>>

Kira Kira Deevah | Media Consultant, Music Executive

The only factor behind my success in life is my faith. I lead with integrity and I don’t compromise my principles. I believe the most important factor behind the success of “The Kira Deevah Show” and “Deevah Entertainment Inc. is not only am I relatable and easy to talk to. I stand on business. Period. I’m so huge on let’s cut the small talk and get the job done. Read more>>

Cameron Cullers | I am the definition of RAAW – Real Artistic Ascending Warrior

I would say the most important factor behind my success, is the spirit of gratitude. I believe that when one lives in the spirit of Gratitude they live with purpose and reason. They give without seeking a reward. They love on others just because and they are at peace with themselves and the world. The spirit of Gratitude is the true road to freedom. Read more>>

Rudy J. Breedy | National Talk Show Host, Entrepreneur & Vice President of Programming for Rude Rangers Entertainment, LLC

The success of our brand has been fueled by innovation, dedication and most importantly, collaboration with other committed creatives within the entertainment, education, technology and business industries. And we’ve been steadfast about doing this in a way that’s mutually beneficial for all involved. Unfortunately for us, we were taken advantage of several times during the start of our brand building journey and that nearly caused us to quit. Read more>>