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Hidden Gems: Local Businesses & Creatives You Should Know

Every day we have a choice. We can support an up and coming podcaster, try a new family-run restaurant, join a boutique gym started by a local fitness champ or we could keep giving away our money to the handful of giants who already control so much of our commerce. Our daily decisions impact the kind world we live in; if we want a world where small businesses are growing and artists and creatives are thriving then we should support them with our time, money and attention. We’re proud to highlight inspiring creatives and entrepreneurs each week in Hidden Gems series.  Check out some of our latest local gem features below.

Bomani Mintz

I’ve always had a strong passion for food, combined with infatuation with technology from a young age. I remember towards the end of college, in 2012, I opened my own “Foodstagram” account, dedicated to all things food. Back then, they really weren’t that common as they are now! So much so that people would make fun of me for taking photos of my food. Right around this time, I worked in Houston for a CPG food broker. Outside of my day job, I reached out to local restaurants to shoot photos and help them better tell their story through food. I’d also work at catering gigs or volunteer at food festivals; anything that was exciting involving food, I was there. Read more>>

Brandon Lang

I’ve always wanted to be a part of the music industry and audio/ video production ever since I was young. My father influenced that early on as he exposed me to live music through his own band and playing guitar. My journey really began though back in 2012 after finishing college at Cal State Fullerton with an emphasis in radio, tv, and film production. I worked for a production company called Select Multimedia while in college to learn more of the ropes behind live production. I’ve been a dj for over 20 years and the passion for music has always been there but everything fell into place it seems after college. I networked and made a lot of great connections while in college and played events all around Southern California. Back then I was a part of 2 local dnb crews, UPGRADE and BREAKBEAT BBQ. This allowed me to really get exposed to what drives people’s passion for music, why people go to events, and why quality production is important. At that time, I was able to focus a bit more on what I wanted to do and I knew that music and production was it. Read more>>

Margaret Peterson

I have always had a love for flowers and an entrepreneurial spirit but if you’d have told me at the start of 2020 that I would be finishing out 2021 as a floral designer with my own business, I would have never believed you. Before working with flowers, I was in politics & I definitely was not as happy as I could have been. I was stuck in a huge rut and really confused with what the next step for me was. I had just gotten married in January and I was so inspired by the florist who did our wedding and I vividly remember thinking that I would give anything to do what she did. My mom encouraged me to go for it- I had plenty of time on my hands, so why not? I started by selling small arrangements on a Facebook group here and there. I put them on Instagram stories and hounded my husband’s co-workers to buy arrangements for their wives. I reached out to friends and did a few smaller events. Read more>>

Melissa Mari

I started playing guitar and singing probably around age six. Since then, I’ve explored many styles including folk, jazz, rock and now metal which is a genre that I feel fits my energy and motivations best. Probably because of my own difficult upbringing, my message has always been about embracing or digging into the dark side of human nature, inner struggles and spiritual ideas. Read more>>

Devon Jefferson

State University. After my internship, I decided to stay in LA to sharpen my skills. I began working for multiple media companies such as HotNewHipHop, Elevator Magazine and RapTV. In 2017, I started my own media platform, DROPSMEDIA, dedicated to connecting music fans directly to independent artists and trending music and industry news. Today I currently contribute to HipHopDX, where I have developed my Connected DXTS interview series and spoken with artists such as Curren$y, Big30 and Maxo Kream, among others. DROPSMEDIA is currently offering digital marketing services and is in the midst of launching our rebranded website and original content series for launch at the top of 2022. Read more>>

Maddie Miles

Integrative Health Practitioner, female hormone GURU, and herbalist! I founded peace. love. hormones. – AKA your period’s BFF! Our mission is to end period stigma and to teach all persons with a period how to get in-tune with their cycle, their second biological clock, through educational resources and functional supplements. Right now, we have a few offerings: My herbal supplement comprised of 10 Chinese and Native American herbs to help balance hormones and prevent PMS symptoms. I also have a plant-based cookbook, Hormone Harmony ebook to help menstruators get in-tune with their cycles, and some fun swag! I also have a podcast where I chat all things women’s + menstrual health. I LOVE WHAT I DO! Read more>>

Julia Cotten

I’m a native Austinite and spent most of my life traveling and exploring the world with my family. Travel has always been a great form of education. I attended a self-paced high school that allowed for more of a creative learning environment that revealed to me that I’m a natural entrepreneur. Finishing high school early at the age of 16, I used the following year to continue traveling and learning before beginning college at St. Edwards. I am a junior pursuing a degree in entrepreneurship and business. Read more>>

Paul & Nancy Person

Windmill Meadow Farm specializes in fresh-cut, locally grown flowers in the Fredericksburg area. Our love of fresh flowers and the impressive cut-flower arrangements we saw on our travels to Europe inspired us to establish Windmill Meadow Farm, named for our restored 1886 wooden windmill when we retired to Fredericksburg. We began with a small garden plot and quickly ran out of space so expanded the farm to one acre of specialty flowers. Fredericksburg, as a popular tourist destination, has many B&B’s, inns, restaurants, and other attractions which make up our market for customized floral arrangements. Read more>>

Jena Pickle

I got my twang and my imagination growing up in the small East Texas town of Overton. Never much to do. My Mom who was a self-taught painter/artist and I made the best of our time. We would paint, paper mâché, go to plays at the local college and visit museums in Dallas. One summer, we got into photography and made a darkroom out of the bathroom and developed film that we made abstract paintings from. My creative side and mind is mostly attributed to her and the fact that I had to have a very strong imagination living with my grandparents, mother some farm dogs, barn cats and 300 acres of land. Nature, art and music heal all. I knew early on I would move to a bigger city and when that time came, I embraced it. I moved to Dallas and it felt like New York City. I lived with my aunt and her family and enrolled in a cosmetology program immediately. Read more>>

Hilary Coniglione

Bluebonnet Picnic Company all started on a late December night in 2020. I was feeling burned out from my corporate America job and felt like I was unable to spend the time I desired with my 16-month-old. I was three months pregnant with our second baby and I just felt like I was in a place in my life I didn’t want to be. I wanted to build something for my family, be a present mom and wife. My director of marketing job was too demanding and lacked joy and fulfillment for me. After swiping through Instagram, I told my husband about a cool business concept, luxury picnics, that I had seen popping up in California and how someone I was mutual friends with had started in Arizona. After showing my husband, Franco, the pictures online he immediately told me “This is an awesome idea and you would be great at something like this.” Read more>>

Dan Garcia

While in law school, on whim I decided to also pursue a career in music photography. I was able to “fake it till I make it” and secured photo credentials for Lollapalooza in Chicago. The month leading up to the festival I taught myself how to use a professional camera and my first time taking photos professionally I took photos of artists like Outkast, Eminem, Lorde and more. From there, I hit the ground running and made a career out of it, traveling across the country and working music festivals like Lolla, Coachella, Bonnaroo and Austin City Limits. I got to the point where I could comfortably quit my career in law after graduating and I never looked back. Through work, I’ve met artists like Taylor Swift and have experienced some amazing shows throughout the country. Read more>>

Robby Nethercut

I’m a born and raised Austinite. I went to Westlake High School and was very active in sports. Westlake has a very competitive football team. Being on the varsity team was something I knew I wanted and had to achieve. I worked and trained for months and made the varsity team my sophomore year, which very few people have done. I think only a handful of people in the history of the school have accomplished this. It was a huge accomplishment and a defining moment in my life. It taught me the value of hard work and instilled in me that if you are dedicated and work hard, you can achieve anything you want. Opportunity does not knock; it presents itself when you beat down the door. Being successful and driven has been important to me from a very young age. Read more>>

Matt McGinnis

When I was in college, my girlfriend won an all-expense-paid trip to Europe, and she chose to take me as her guest. We flew first class, stayed in grand hotels, and traveled in luxury on the Orient Express. On the train, we sipped elegant Bordeaux wine and vintage Champagne as we rode through the Swiss Alps. I fell in love with wine right then and there. After college, I toiled away in various marketing positions in the non-profit world and then in technology, all the while cultivating my love affair with wine. I even worked part-time at a winery on the weekends in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. When we moved to Texas, I decided to pursue my love for wine, beer, and distilled spirits by blogging and freelance writing. As a writer, I was able to tell the stories of people who were actually making these magical liquids. I found it to be absolutely fascinating. And I wanted to learn more. Read more>>

Brent Sapstead

Like many others, my brewing career started in my kitchen as a homebrewer. After a dozen or so drinkable results, I worked up the courage to ask Rob and Amy Cartright of Independence Brewing, at that time the newest brewers in town, if they’d be willing to entertain an extra set of hands from time to time. I cut my teeth at their brewery over the span of 3.5 years, learning the ropes of cleaning, packaging, cleaning, filtering, more cleaning, and eventually brewing. In the latter half of my stint at Indy, I had the opportunity to meet and get to know the team at Real Ale Brewing in Blanco, TX. Read more>>

Buddhima Kurulasuriya & Tanisha Panditharatne

We are a group of friends, mostly Sri Lankan, who met in Austin in 2017. Invariably we would talk about home, with the conversations usually involving the food we missed so much. We were inspired to start Sleeping Lion after noticing the lack of Sri Lankan food in Austin. Given our shared love for cooking (and eating… and drinking), we decided to give it a shot. We started making traditional and fusion dishes and our friends were our guinea pigs. The positive reviews (and the fact that no one died) motivated us to go further. We toyed with the idea of a food truck but opted against it since we wanted it to be personal and more of an experience where people could participate in prep, tasting and hearing our stories. Read more>>

Dee Bryant

Deep down, I think always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but it took me a while to get here. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a theoretical mathematics degree, I was confident that my next step was to pursue a life in Academia. That was until I spent a summer bartending in New Orleans. That summer changed my life. I was immersed in a world that was raw, real, and success existed solely on understanding your customers and solving their problems before they even knew they had one. This is when my love and passion for people, solving consumer needs, and delivering joy and excitement came into existence. Read more>>

Elizabeth Hudson

I have always made things with my hands for as long as I can remember. Early on, I was encouraged by my parents to draw and paint, which led me to attend Booker T. Washington high school for the performing and visual arts in Dallas where I had the chance to explore ceramics, printmaking, metal sculpture, design, and painting. After high school, I moved to Austin to attend UT, studying studio art, art history, and history but my time there was full of confusion… I always knew that I wanted to be an artist, but my experiences in school discouraged me from delving into my creativity. Read more>>

Freddie Kimmel

Funny enough, I started my career in New York City auditioning and pursuing a career as a Broadway Performer. I had incredible success and started working in my first few months after arriving in the Big Apple. However, at 26 years old life took a sharp turn and I was diagnosed with metastatic cancer. Through the next ten years, I struggled to regain my health and vitality through chemotherapy, multiple surgeries, and immune system dysfunction, and Lyme disease. My body essential shut down and I was in a constant state of fight or flight with one condition after the next. Life was spent on the couch or in doctors’ offices if I was not working. Read more>>

Bre Cruickshank

I’m the founder & CEO of Radical Girl Gang, the online marketplace to shop emerging women-owned brands. How I got here is a loaded question! I was the quintessential little girl labeled “bossy” and “aggressive” while my male peers were called “strong” and “assertive.” You can’t be what you can’t see. I grew up not knowing entrepreneurship was a viable path; it wasn’t until my 20s when I was working at Nike World Headquarters in Oregon that I began rethinking my place in the world and what I was capable of doing. I relocated to Austin in 2017 to lead eCommerce at Outdoor Voices (I was their first digital merchandiser). Soon after moving here, I launched Radical Girl Gang as a side hustle. It was a fraction of what it is today — I launched RGG simply as a lifestyle brand; a way to dip my toes in the waters of entrepreneurship. Read more>>

 

Catherine Porche

I’d always known I wanted to work in the beauty industry in some capacity but wasn’t sure how I’d make a career down that path, so after high school, I went the traditional college route. I eventually realized I was living a life I didn’t feel passionate or inspired by, so I made the decision to go back to school- this time for nails. Once I got started in the industry, I quickly realized there was not a salon home for me that fit all the standards I held for a place of employment. This eventually led me to opening my own private studio. I’ve been in business for about 4.5 years now and the experiences I’ve had throughout this journey have been invaluable to me. Read more>>

 

Tai Nguyen

I started doing stand-up comedy six years ago in Austin, TX. I was working at a call center job at AT&T and was daydreaming of doing something else with my life but I didn’t know what. I would crack jokes all the time at work due to boredom and my co-workers would tell me I should do stand up. I looked up open mics in town and decided to take the plunge. The first time was the scariest but I stuck with it. I say the first year was the most nerve-wracking but also the most growth. I didn’t tell my co-workers I did stand up until I got better at it. I took a day off of work and share a video of me doing stand up on Facebook. That’s when everybody knew. Read more>>

Adrian Salazar

My dance career started when I was a sophomore in HighSchool and I have currently been dancing for about five years! I honestly did not even know that I was interested in dance or even knew what the dance world was like until I got introduced to it later on in my life. I used to only play soccer when I was younger and honestly, it never really fulfilled me, so I knew I wanted to go a completely different route that most teenage boys go. Once I realized that dance truly fulfilled me internally, I started to train at local studios in the Austin area and of course, when you first start something that some people have been doing for years, it can be a bit intimidating! But I knew that this was something I wanted to master to prove to myself that I can do whatever I set my mind to. Read more>>

Shelley Preston

For as long as I can remember, I’ve made some sort of art. I am a black and white fine art photographer and a large-scale abstract painter. About nine years ago, I spent a year nestled in the Northern Rockies, just on the edge of Glacier National Park. That’s where I began painting with watercolors. I fell in love with the delicate and whimsical swirl when I dabbed my brush onto paper. I had no idea what I was formally doing, but I had stars in my eyes! I’ve had a fair amount of tragedy in my life, and I’ve used art as therapy and a means to ground myself. I find a lot of inspiration in pain, and in some ways, I wondered if by being inspired by pain, I attracted more. Read more>>

Simmon (Moni’ye) Belaineh

I was born and raised in Arlington, TX and grew up in a tight-knit Ethiopian/Eritrean community. Since I was a kid, I connected with music and other creative channels on a deep level and would often get lost inside my imagination. I was always intrigued and moved by different genres and art forms, but when my older cousin introduced me to Hip Hop and Hip Hop culture, it hit different. I started writing songs and raps when I was 13, mainly as a way to articulate experiences and emotions in ways that I found difficult through conventional dialogue. But while music was always my passion, I doubted my ability to make something of myself through it, so I gravitated towards sports as I believed I had a better chance of going somewhere with it. I ended up swimming competitively and got recruited to swim at the collegiate level for Southwestern University which brought me to the Austin, TX area. Read more>>

Leah Malone

Leah was raised in an Irish subset of South Chicago, Illinois. Leah and her sisters were raised in an environment where drug and alcohol abuse was the norm. The impact the environment had on Leah and her sisters was profound. Drinking and drug use were also prevalent in Leah’s neighborhood, and while she tried to steer her life in a better direction, Leah began drinking at the age of 12. After experiencing a series of adverse events as an adult and mother of four, Leah found herself in treatment for her own addiction. Going through the process of achieving sobriety enabled her to recognize the need for God, a Higher Power working in and through her, and that the God of her understanding will gift her with ways to make meaningful connections with others and share unconditional love. Read more>>

Chris Gomez

I got my start in art when I took a beginner’s sewing class in 2016 and it immediately just ‘clicked’ with me. I quickly taught myself how to sew zippers and began branching out, making dicebags, tote bags, and eventually fanny packs. I didn’t get into leather-working until the end of 2018 when a friend asked if I could make a leather sheath for knives he was making & once again, I taught myself a new trade and fell in love with the process of making something entirely by hand. I fell so hard for leather-working and creating that I eventually left the high-tech industry 0f 20+ years to pursue my craft full-time. Read more>>

Gabrielle Fisher

I’ve always been an artist. From a young age, I was always in talented art classes and I attended the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts in high school for visual arts. I felt that regular school was never for me. Fast forward through failed attempts of going to college multiple times and to 2013 when I drove from Louisiana to Los Angeles at 20 years old. I interviewed with Macy’s at the Beverly Center and told them that I was interested in working at one of the makeup counters as I had always thoroughly enjoyed makeup. I was offered a job at the Impulse Beauty Counter across from MAC Cosmetics and was immediately drawn to the artists that worked there and to the MAC culture. Read more>>

Swathi Konduri

I started taking art lessons as a child because I was bad at everything else (re: any sport that children play). Because I was not naturally gifted at art, I got used to trying new things and struggling. I took lessons for years and learned a lot of fundamentals but definitely did not view art as my passion. After moving to Austin for a tech sales job, I went to a local art market and saw people my age pursuing & selling their art. Approximately a year later, I was selling my art at my first market! I started by drawing more, and the pandemic provided ample time to improve previously rusty skills. Eventually, my friends asked for commissions, my Instagram was gaining more followers, and my perspective of art changed from a hobby to a craft to invest in. Read more>>

Miachel Pruett

After graduating and landing my dream job at an advertising firm in New York, I quickly realized that while my team was great, I did not want to pursue a career in the industry. So I taught myself photography before work and on the weekends, posting the initial shoots on a food blog and slowly building a freelance portfolio. This grew into a side hustle which grew into my current full-time business. My initial shoots were mainly editorial for The Wall Street Journal and New York Magazine’s Grub Street. Now I’m grateful to be back in Austin, shooting commercial video and photo in my photo studio for clients such as Magnolia, Squarespace, and Sephora. Read more>>

Zheng Zeng

I started to study acupuncture due to my mother’s health problems. My mother suffers from knee problems and asthma, when she was at her 20’s, she struggled on walking and standing, her regular doctors always suggested her knee replacements, but her older sister suggested her to try acupuncture and Chinese herbs, which helped a lot. She recovered from her knee pain and her asthma was much better. When she was at her late forties, she started riding bicycle, she started exercises. With all her changes, my parent strongly suggested me study acupuncture instead of go to regular medical school. Read more>>

Alicia Garnes

I’ve always loved jewelry – wearing it and making it. As an adult, jewelry making became a creative outlet and a hobby in the evenings and on the weekends. When I got laid off from a communications position, I took the layoff as a sign that I was meant to focus on jewelry. I started selling my jewelry at craft fairs and on social media. I also started working at Amanda Deer Jewelry as a jeweler. I love learning the business from Amanda and selling my jewelry on the side. Read more>>

Michael Zook

I am an educator by day and food blogger by nights and weekends. I have always loved food, both cooking and eating. I love trying new places and new flavors, and more than anything, I love meeting the people behind the food! My Instagram account @zookeatsaustin started as a way to post pictures of food that I like and tried from around the city. Over time it also became a platform to post homemade dishes, and most recently, my journey in becoming a home pizzaiolo. As time passed, I began to post more and more places that I would frequent and places that I just fell in love with across the city. As a food blogger and somewhat of a critic, I found myself only wanting to post things that I loved and that I could be positive about. In other words, if my experience was bad or if I didn’t love what I was eating, I would rather not post than to write a negative critique. Read more>>

Rolanda Williams

I am creator, operator and owner of Where’s The Party. When I moved to Dallas in 2012, I immediately wanted to delve into the social scene Dallas had to offer and meet new people. After a series of disappointments and experiencing blatant racial discrimination firsthand, I wanted to give up on going out entirely. Subsequently, I did give up on trying new places, which resulted in only patronizing one or two venues I had grown to enjoy. Of course, after a while that became boring. Eventually, I decided to explore the city more observantly and create a platform with the intent to provide a site where implants that had recently moved to the DFW area could find social events that were welcoming to Black patrons. Read more>>

 

Sylvia Troconis

Being curious is a strong trait of my personality. I am very lucky I have always had a strong support system that would encourage and enable me to explore. As a child, I had very supportive parents that would always let me explore my creativity. They would always enroll me in a class or a course that I wanted to do. From jewelry to paint to pottery to sculpture, they would always, without complaint, make sure I went to each course. Read more>>

Blythe Zemel

The best part of my story is that it’s equally filled with humor as it is a story about empowering girls and women around us. How did I get started? I got started with a pair of polka dot cat-eye sunglasses, a chainsaw, and a tree limb that needed to be cut down. I was laughed at and mocked for my choice in eye attire, but I simply stated, “Wait for it, I am going to create cat-eye safety glasses for women”. So I did, Safety Sasses. But here’s where the story gets good, Safety Sasses launched as a prototype last year and has done well in wholesale and direct sales. We continue to strive for our next phase of models and exposure to the marketplace. Read more>>

Emily Thomas

My journey with photography a little different… When my daughter was born, I didn’t know the first thing about photography; I had never even applied one of those awful early Instagram filters to a picture before! But, like so many new moms, I couldn’t take enough pictures of my baby and quickly became frustrated with the limitations of a camera phone. It didn’t take long for me to convince my husband that we needed to buy a ‘real camera’ and once it arrived, I immersed myself in every educational resource I could get my hands on. I was surprised by how quickly I fell in love; the shooting, the editing…I was fascinated by it all. Many evenings, I packed up the stroller with my baby, my camera, and a blanket and headed out in search of a good spot to practice. It was one of those evenings that I had an idea. Read more>>

Danielle Billings

I started my healing journey in 2016. I had just left a toxic relationship and started an inner healing journey of my soul. Through my teacher, Liana Shanti, I started looking at ways to nourish and heal my body. Before this, I never cared about my health or what I ate so It was all very new to me. I started doing juice cleanses and then I worked my way up to doing a full on candida cleanse in 2019. I realized I had to start healing my body and putting my health as a priority and this cleanse played a major role in that. I quit drinking, smoking cigarettes, and eating fast food. Read more>>

Kari Phillips

After being a stay at home mom for a few years, I decided I needed an outlet that allowed me to identify myself as more than just a mother. In 2015 I taught myself how to sew and began creating and selling custom nursery bedding sets. I spent three years making custom bedding, children’s clothing, and personalized baby gifts, but eventually, my passion for that burned out. I decided to take a little break from the sewing machine and try a new outlet. Earrings were always my favorite accessory so I dove into making leather earrings for myself and friends with no intentions of making a business out of it. After a couple of weeks, my friends started telling me that they were constantly getting asked where they got their earrings so I decided to create a business page and that’s when Parker’s Place Designs came about. Through the powers of social media, the word spread and now, three and a half years later, Parker’s Place Designs is thriving and has come further than I ever expected! I absolutely love what I do, and I love seeing my jewelry being worn every day. Read more>>

Dawn Bosland

I have always, always, always loved to bake! I think it comes from my grandmother… there wasn’t a thing she couldn’t make from scratch! While I’m not THAT good, I’ve always loved to be in the kitchen baking, cooking and entertaining! The focus on custom sugar cookies started after I attended a decorating class with a friend. We went for a fun night out but it quickly turned into more for me! I absolutely loved it and was inundating my family and friends with my practice cookies! Baking the sugar cookies was the easy part for me – mastering the icing consistency, layering, adding texture, achieving the right color… well, a lot of that is still very much a work in progress! I am constantly learning. Read more>>

Alex Moe

In 2016, I was medically discharged from the Air Force and was looking for a part-time job that would work with my school schedule. I was studying exercise science. Starbucks offered a flexible schedule so I applied and got the job there. Then I started getting into fitness and working out and realized the coffees that I was drinking had a ton of sugar and excess calories in them. I started making lower calorie, healthier versions of drinks you could order at Starbucks. Then I began posting them to Instagram and it hit home for a lot of people. * Over the last four years, I’ve put out hundreds of recipes and content to help people enjoy delicious tasting coffees without all the added calories.* In doing so built a following of over 1 million throughout all my social media platforms. Recently I launched my own coffee company, KNINE Coffee Co., an ecommerce based coffee company with a mission to give back. We deliver great coffee to dog and coffee lovers and donate a portion of our monthly profits to local shelters and rescues. My goal is to provide people with options for lower-calorie drinks that still taste great. Read more>>

Amy White

Growing up, I had big hopes and big dreams, none of which involved trucking. Unlike a lot of kids, I didn’t have dreams of being one thing, like an astronaut or a doctor. I’d much rather preferred to be a ringmaster at a circus, not the trapeze artist, not the girl on the horses, but the RINGMASTER. I’d get to be at the center, keeping the crowd interested and getting to introduce each incredible act being performed by people with their own talents, but mostly being the leader. I loved to be the center of attention; many times, demanded it. I like to call it “middle child syndrome” after having met so many people throughout my life who are middle children and after having three boys of my own. Whew, that middle one. CHALLENGING, but I wouldn’t change a thing about him! Anyway, my need for attention sometimes got me into trouble. Read more>>

Ryan Anglen

I started homebrewing back in 2007 and quickly found it as an outlet to a fairly stressful career in software. I fell in love with the history of brewing and the amazing and continuous evolution of beer, even to this day. I traveled quite a bit in my previous career and found myself talking to more people across the world about beer than I did about software. As my wife and I began to start our family, we decided to take the leap and start Whitestone Brewery in 2015. Read more>>

Kristine Reaume

I’ve been playing music since I was a child. My mother has a wonderful creative and expressive spirit and encouraged me to follow my passions. I was grateful to be afforded private flute lessons and had the opportunity to attend summer music camps. When it came time to decide what I wanted to study in college, music was the only thing that made sense. After I received my undergraduate degree in music performance, my family supported me as I moved across the country from Michigan to Texas to attend graduate school at UT Austin. While at UT, I was fortunate enough to study under Prof. Marianne Gedigian and other amazing music faculty. Read more>>

 

Alize Mendoza

So I have always had a niche for making people prettier and helping individuals feel better about themselves through their appearance. I got my esthetician license in 2016 and have been practicing my craft ever since. My sobriety has really been a leading factor in story. I am so blessed to be where I am today and to have the clientele that I do. Many of my clients are my friends and I am so thankful for them. Everyday and every client is a learning experience. I never stop learning. Read more>>

Tanvi Dave

My interest in dance and fitness started at a very young age. I grew up in Nairobi, Kenya where I was exposed to several forms of dance. From Aerobics Fitness to Classical Indian Dance, I truly enjoyed the technique, rhythmic movements and discipline involved in dance. I trained for several years and got to perform at numerous cultural events, weddings and school functions. The energy and adrenaline rush I got while dancing was always a thrill! Though I did not dance much through high school and college, I knew I would eventually get back into it. I was first exposed to Zumba at a local gym in Austin, and I knew right away this was something I would love to teach someday – it was a perfect combination of Dance and Group Fitness! Read more>>

Courtney Bearden

Bearden Blooms started as a way to spread joy through the beauty of flowers. Our first growing season was Spring 2020 and each season has been bigger and better since. Right now, we are wrapping up the Fall growing season and starting to “put the farm to bed” for winter. We will continue to plant cool weather bulbs and start seedlings for early spring transplanting through the winter months. Starting in December, we are bringing back our potted amaryllis bulb gifts. They were a huge hit last year and sold out quickly. They make a great gift for friends, family, teachers and as a hostess gift for holiday parties. I’ll have them for pre-order on our website soon. Read more>>

Kellee Yacoub

Back in 2012, we were living overseas in Honduras and I started watching YouTube videos about how to decorate sugar cookies. That year with a five years old, a three years old and pregnant with my 3rd baby, I decided to learn to decorate sugar cookies. We had an Easter Egg Hunt coming up and so I determined to make cookies for the kids invited. They were nothing fancy, but that was when the love for sugar cookies was born. Over the next few years and even a move to Texas, I continued making cookies for my own kids’ birthdays, Christmas, and special occasions. In 2018, after 17 years as a teacher, I resigned from teaching and made the leap to start Sweet Home Cookie Co. Read more>>

Peggy Keefe-Lopez

I got the idea for Yippitee when my oldest son turned two. He was really into bugs at the time and I remembered a shirt my sister had when we were kids. It had toy bugs that attached to it with snaps and she loooved wearing it and unsnapping the bugs to play with. She wore that shirt every day unless my mom had managed to sneak it into the wash! I searched in vain for a similar shirt for Aidan. I knew he would love it and it would be so cute at his bug-themed birthday party. When I couldn’t find it, I settled for a simple shirt with only his age on it. At his party, my mom told me that she had searched for a snap-on bug shirt as well – remembering how much my sister loved hers. That coincidence stuck in my head and I couldn’t let go of the idea of a shirt with detachable toys. Shortly after his birthday, I began the process of combining those two ideas myself and that’s how Yippitee was born! Read more>>

Avery Reid Jr.

I’ve always been interested in photography but I never really felt like it was something I could do full time. Last father’s day, my wife, Shaniqua of 12 years along with my three children Avery III, Aveyon, and Avr’iana gifted me my first camera. From then it’s been my happy place and business. Now midway through my second season I’d say the biggest thing is to get started. Read more>>

Tessa Brown

My grandmother is a painter and my mother has incredible drawing skills. I guess my story really starts with my family line. It wasn’t that I grew up constantly doing art, but there were pivotal moments that I can look back on and see how it was something that did come naturally to me– it was kind of like, “Hey, this stuff just makes sense to me.” I’ve always had an imagination. Diving into a good story and imagining new places has always been something I’ve done. When I started middle school (I went to a very small school) I had the choice between two electives– band or art. Band was a big deal at my school, so choosing art was definitely choosing the “outsiders” path, but my parents weren’t really a fan of me joining the band (didn’t want me to be a “band nerd”), so I started art classes and became whatever art kids are called. Read more>>

Bonnie Hernandez

I am one of six children born to two very hard-working people. My Mom’s first child was stillborn and I didn’t know much about his death until much later in life. We are a tight-knit family that is there for one another even though we don’t always get along or have the same points of view. My Father working in a factory setting for much of my young childhood and later became a diesel mechanic which he still does to this day. My Mom was a housekeeper for much of my older siblings childhood and then became the manager of a plant nursery later becoming the owner of her own business. Read more>>

Taylor Terrazas

I never in a million years would have known or believed I’d be making my living off of natural makeup. When I was young, I had a very fraught relationship with makeup. I felt deeply insecure about my appearance and used it to hide myself, which always felt really oppressive. The desire to be able to look at my authentic self in the mirror and find beauty became an important driver and major focus. I stopped wearing makeup entirely for several years and not only noticed those internal shifts happening but also how drastically my skin cleared up once I started to let it breathe and stopped using conventional makeup with terrible ingredients. Read more>>

John Crenshaw

I started business at a very young age, when I was 15, I created my first ‘real’ business importing gadgets and cellphone parts from China… I consider Console Pros one of the breakthrough moments in my life. It was my brand that hit a million in revenue which was a game-changer for me. It’s funny because it didn’t look like anything special from the outside. From there, it was pretty much just doubling down on what we knew best and investing the returns. Read more>>

Aubrey Shaw

Since I was in Kindergarten, I knew I was going to be a teacher when I grew up. I came from a family with a lot of love, but that didn’t have much money or education. I was the first person on both sides of my family to graduate college. I aimed to graduate college because that’s what you needed to become a teacher. I aimed and I figured it out, including how to pay for it, and I made it! I even graduated with honors! Right out of college, I became a 4th-grade teacher at a low-income school. Those babies y’all!!! They’re my whole heart! I taught for four years and had gotten married and was expecting our first baby. My mom had started going to real estate whole selling investment classes and I attended some of them with her. It got me thinking about the industry. But whole selling was all about getting buyers/sellers and then handing them over to bigger players. There were a lot of holes and unanswered questions about how to find information. I felt like I was trying to play ball without a ball. Read more>>

Melissa Santos

Through my many hardships in my childhood, up to my adulthood, I’d always known I wanted to be an independent, successful woman. Growing up in a Latinx household, rarely do young girls hear the words “successful” and “Latina” being used in the same sentence. I’d come from a low-income minority background and I always knew I was not going to stay there. Or as many would say, “I would make it out the hood.” Many think in doing so you are leaving behind family, culture, or are “embarrassed,” but for me it is the opposite. I’ve used every obstacle I’ve faced and channeled that into my success. My personality, my art, and my motivation is all powered by my roots, by mi familia. My goal was always to provide the ideas that Latinx women can be successful and independent. Coming from a home of creatives, I was always given a platform to express myself through some form of art. Read more>>

Tiffany Hoang

I started Rooted in Color just a couple of months into the pandemic in 2020. With more time on my hands and making a conscious effort to shift my focus to the “life” aspect in the work-life balance, I was itching to find a creative outlet. My 9-5 is a complete 360 from earring making so anytime I get to work on Rooted in Color initiatives, I am delighted and overjoyed. I don’t know how I stumbled upon making earrings specifically, but I am so glad I did as I get to create beautiful art and share it with the Austin community. Inspired by the women in my life and my affinity for plants, I launched Rooted in Color to celebrate joy and life. Whether you are feeling fun and playful or looking for a clean and simple look, Rooted in Color earrings are sure to help you make you feel the best version of yourself. Read more>>

Ashley Brown

Growing up, I was always fascinated with storytelling. I come from a family of immigrants and growing up hearing their stories really shaped my view on everyday life. From books to movies to pictures, I was obsessed with the escapism that stories provided to the every day life. Once I got to high school, I got involved into the Digital Media track that was provided at my school. I absolutely fell in love with everything film and photography, and I knew telling stories was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Read more>>

Janeskha Solis

Meeting this young lady will remind you that anything is possible! Janeskha Solis was born and raised on the south side of San Antonio. As a little girl, Janeskha dreamed of participating in beauty pageants. Growing up in a single parent household, she felt this could never be an option for her. In her early 20’s, Janeskha found herself as a single mother herself. Janeskha soon experienced some trying times and found herself unemployed and homeless. As difficult as it was for her at this time, she now wants to share her experience in hopes that her story will inspire or empower anyone who may have lost hope in their journey. Read more>>

Kasey Scroggins

It all started for me when I was at the young and ambitious age of 19. I didn’t necessarily know I was destined to be a hairdresser. But I was intrigued. After a tour of a South Austin beauty school, I was hooked. Upon graduating, I spent three years in a well-established salon in New Braunfels that had an incredible, intense training program. Assisting the top stylists, observing their craft, while also working to perfect my own skills. Wanting to take on more, I moved to Austin in 2014 to dedicate myself to my passion. I used the next salon I worked in to create a clientele for myself, focusing on a high-quality full service that is hard to come by. Read more>>

Hannah Williams

I moved to the beautiful city of Austin in 2005. In that time, I’ve lived in four different parts of town, bought and sold four homes as well as helped several family members with their own purchases and sales. For 15 years, I called myself a “wannabe real estate agent” and would search for homes in every part of town at every price range, truly immersing myself in the market trends. I was born and raised in Southern California and grew up on stage, acting and singing. I loved people of all walks of life and was often referred to as the community builder. My husband and I met when I was 17 and he was 19. We love dreaming, hiking, being with our kids and friends, working out and playing music together. We have two daughters, eight and 13, three dogs, two cats and a bunny! Read more>>

Adrienne Simes

I have loved art since I was a young girl. I remember spending recess with a sketchbook and pencil refining my drawing skills. Growing up, I was lucky to have had numerous amazing art teachers to help inspire me as an artist, push me to improve and guide my journey. These teachers coupled with the encouragement and support of my family helped me grow into an eager, thriving artist. This foundation helped me discover my passion as an artist and propelled me into a career as an art teacher. Throughout my teaching career, I have found ways to continue my own journey in art. Summers off allowed me to travel and find inspiration in the world around me. Traveling by myself in Central America had a profound effect on my art and style as I have always been drawn to bright, bold colors and loud designs. Read more>>

Katie Conley

For as far back as I can remember, I was always interested in art. As a child, I always had an artsy, creative project I was working on and a few more ideas percolating in my imagination. I took art lessons, won local contests, built and decorated an heirloom dollhouse, and created a cut paper collage calendar to name a few. I’m originally from the Midwest and went to college at Indiana University in Bloomington Indiana. In college, I switched my major from journalism (I enjoy reading, writing & being in the spotlight) to studio art with a concentration in painting. I’m so happy I did! I immediately felt at home in the studio classes and felt the fellow artists were my people. Read more>>

John Park

I started Taekwondo in 1971. My father Grandmaster Dong Keun Park is my teacher. He’s Koreas undefeated fighter. In his day, there were no points or weight classes. Other countries didn’t train in Taekwondo, so they fought the other countries rules. He was over 200 and 0 internationally not including domestically. Please google him. He has his own Wikipedia page. Fast forward 50 years and currently, I am the Advisor to the University of Texas Taekwondo team. My black belt rank is 8th Dan Kukkiwon and 9th Dan JidoKwan. I trained many National Champions and several US National Team members. My first University coaching experience was at New York University in 1991-1995. Then HeadCoached at Rutgers University and US Naval Academy. My last coaching before UT was at West Point. Actually, I was one of the coaches that coached West Points Taekwondo Team at UT back in April of 2019. Then moved to Dripping Springs June 2019 then opened Belterra Taekwondo in November 2019. Read more>>

Taylor Rae

Music is my life and always has been, so the story starts around 25 years ago. For as long as I can remember, I have been drawn to the stage. I memorized my first song at age two (Carole King’s “Too Late Baby”) and sang it for anyone that would listen. I started private vocal and piano lessons young and was involved with musical theatre year round from age 7-18. There was never a moment in my life where I had to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up – I already WAS a singer, and that was that. Read more>>

Allissa Poppick

I started making jewelry my sophomore year of High School. We had an incredible art program and a teacher who really believed in me and my skills. I was not really sure what I wanted to do when I graduated High School, so I ended up going to a state college for a few years where my focus was jewelry and metalsmithing. After a few years there, I decided it was not the right fit for me, so I stopped going, and I saved up for a jewelry design course in Florence, Italy. It was there that my skills really began to blossom. I had never done the type of work that I learned there before. I had this very strict yet very focused teacher show me tools that I had never seen before and techniques that I never knew how to do. Read more>>

Craig Anderson

My main career was as an art director/creative director in the advertising business. I got out of that a little while ago. I really got into cooking about 15 years ago. I’ve always enjoyed making desserts and giving them away to neighbors to try. During the start of Covid, when everything was shut down, I started thinking of what could I do with my interest in baking. I’ve always realized a whole pie is too large for a couple or individual to finish. I had some small 5″ tart pans and had the idea of turning a regular-sized pie into a smaller, more manageable size. As I tried more and more recipes, I realized I may be on to something. At the time, my wife and I were living in Dallas. But with everything shut down, that was not the time to try and launch anything. Read more>>

Cristina Burnett

As a little girl, I always enjoyed picking up any camera that was laying around the house. Back then, it included a lot of polaroid cameras. When I got to high school, my parents gifted me my first digital camera. I was obsessed and always took my camera everywhere I went. I was fortunate enough to go on family vacations outside of the country, so I could get some really cool photos for someone at such a young age. When I got to college, I started experiencing some hardships. My photography was my way to express myself during that time. From ages 21-23, I really gave up on all of my passions and it was a very dark time in my life. My camera ended up sitting in the back of my closet for a couple of years.  eventually got through these hardships and started living my life again. I met my husband and he encouraged me to pick up my camera again. Read more>>

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