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The Change-Makers: stories that inspire

The heart of our mission is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our communities. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some incredible artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with the incredible group below. Check out our favorite stories from across the Voyage family.

Tyler Thomas

Growing up, I really liked to make goofy videos with the kids in my neighborhood with our parents’ cameras, I think that’s what first sparked my interest for directing. I knew for a profession I wanted to go into something creative and it was either film, graphic design or interior design. I decided on film because both interior design and graphic design play a large role on commercials, movies, etc. I remember seeing some bts from a commercial set at a young age and seeing all the moving parts. It looked like a party and I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of. I ended up going to school for cinematography, and during that time I was interning for my now good friend, Kevin Horn who is a super talented DP. He got me on a bunch of commercial jobs and introduced me to a lot of people, so after I graduated I went full time freelance in the Grip and Electric departments. Read more>>

Liv Farnsworth

I think I first picked up a camera in middle school! I stole my parent’s old Nikon Coolpix (or something), and I always wanted to be creative. I’d hit up my friends and put leaves in their hair or make them throw snow in the air. I still love a few of those old photos. I started working for a wedding company in high school & I’ll always remember the first wedding I got to be a part of. There was something magical about capturing LOVE in particular that I fell head over heels with. For a long time, I didn’t think I had what it took to be a wedding photographer. I went to college for a year (for psychology haha!), and dropped out when COVID hit. I decided, “screw it, I’m doing this,” and started to work really hard at building joy own business. It took a few years, and a couple credit cards, but now I am able to be a full time photographer and I am loving life turning humans into art. Read more>>

Natalie Snyder

At heart, I have always been a creative. I took every art class in high school but truthfully, I never took a photography class! I pursued a degree in nursing and after graduating, became a pediatric nurse specializing in the hematology and oncology population. This is truly where my passion for photography was ignited. I bought my first professional camera shortly after settling in to my nursing career, with the hope of finding a creative outlet. But as my nursing career grew, so did my realization of how important photography is. Many of my patients and their families are faced with life altering circumstances – most with great outcomes but some not. It opened my eyes to just how fleeting moments can be and to the importance how a photograph can freeze memories in time! I learned to love that a photograph can bring you back to a moment instantaneously; one that you might not otherwise remember! Read more>>

Nicole Banholzer

Hi, I’m Nicole, founder + maker behind North Star Hounds. I started the business in 2019 after making bandanas for my own three dogs: Flash the 9-year-old rescue Newf, Rosie the 5-year-old Golden, and Pippi the 3-year-old Newf. From the start, I wanted to find a way to give back to the wonderful local community here in the Twin Cities, and each month I choose a local nonprofit partner to donate 10% of profits to. In the past, partners have included Center for Economic Inclusion, Face to Face, NAMI Minnesota, and People Serving People. All of our bandanas and bow ties are made by hand out and to order of my studio in White Bear Lake, just outside of Saint Paul. I use 100% cotton and flannel to make my standard line, and for our dirt, water, and wrinkle resistant Adventure Series I use recycled canvas. Each item is made with 3 snap button enclosures, which ensure our products hold up and stay put. Read more>>

Molly O’Neill

While studying design at Northeastern University in Boston, I was on the traditional design studio trajectory of starting as a junior designer after school and eventually working my way up the ladder to being a design director. Midway through my degree program, a recent graduate and friend started her own design studio and I had the opportunity to get involved. At just 22 years old, I was presenting my work directly to clients and freelancing for her on brand and print projects. While this studio was in the process of being acquired, it gave me the confidence to take the lead and start Fred&Co. Four and a half years later, I’ve been able to create the boutique studio of my dreams working one branding, print, and packaging design! Read more>>

Lisa Buck

In the 90s, I was a young lawyer working long hours at a big firm in Mpls. My husband also worked a lot and travelled for business. So when we started a family, I decided to stay home. We had 4 kids in 5 years! That time was kind of a blur. As the kids were growing up, I went to a lot of their baseball games, football games, dance shows, piano recitals, and school plays. My father-in-law had given me an old Nikon that he no longer used and that camera came with me to every sports event and activity. As I captured my kids’ childhoods, I discovered that I enjoyed learning about the art of photography. I took a few photography classes and I belong to organizations for professional photographers, but mostly this is a self-taught craft. Several years and cameras later, I started Lisa Buck Photography. My goal is to create authentic and compelling images. I provide headshots for professionals and portraits for couples, families and high school seniors. Read more>>

Sidney McConkey

Growing up, I never really had a passion. I played sports and did music but it wasn’t anything I excelled at. Ever since I was young though I loved to be in front of the camera and I loved my picture be taken. When I took my senior photos in high school I had an amazing time but didn’t think modeling was ever even in the future for me. I left the smaller town of Brainerd Minnesota where I was born and raised and went to the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire to pursue a degree in psychology 3 years later I randomly shot with a small photographer in Eau Claire and that’s when the fire inside of me ignited. I modeled for fun for about a year and in September 2021 I was invited by supermodel Coco Rocha to attend her modeling camp. in New York. I knew I couldn’t let this opportunity go to waste. I flew to New York and after four days at Coco Rocha Model Camp, my life changed. I came back to Wisconsin and immediately started contacting photographers in the twin cities. Read more>>

Sarah Genskow-Neal

I first decided to learn photography as a freshman in high school – to be honest, I really wanted an awesome Myspace photo haha! So I learned basic camera fundamentals and enjoyed photographing for fun on a point and shoot camera. I officially started my business + upgraded my equipment as a 17 year old in high school. (I needed gas money for all the fun road trips my friends and I wanted to take,) so I started offering senior photos to my classmates. Soon enough their siblings were inquiring about senior photos etc. And now, I am photographing many of the initial seniors I worked with for their weddings and other life events. I now primarily photograph weddings + elopements, and couples locally as well as offer destination + travel photography. I love capturing love and have had the honor of photographing so many incredible couples over the last 12 years. Read more>>

Jenn Kerfeld

I started my journey in photography right after High School. Attended Ridgewater College in Willmar MN and graduated with a degree in Photography. I moved around a bit until I found my way back to my original area in Central MN. I purchased Meyers Photography Studio in 2007, with my cousin. I have always been a visual person. I love to see colors, patterns and textures. I remember what people look like or what they were wearing more than remembering other charcteristics about them. In 2020 I changed the business model to boutique which means, we do fine artwork instead of selling digital copies to our customers. We focus on everything from custom framing to canvas and fine art albums for our clients. In 2021 I changed the name of the business to my own and we are now Jenn Kerfeld Photography. Read more>>

Hailey Barrett

I got my start in the wedding industry with an internship my senior year of college with another wedding florist in the cities. I went into that internship just with the hopes of dipping my toes into the waters of the wedding world, not expecting to care about the actual floral part of the job, but simply hoping to gain any kind of experience with weddings I could get. After my first day on the job and my first time seeing the transformation of an event space from beginning to end, I was completely hooked. I fell in love with every aspect of wedding floral design, and also couldn’t get enough of the logistics side of events. So, I knew my career goal moving forward was to become a wedding planner + florist. A few years down the line and a lot more weddings under my belt working for a handful of different wedding pros in the industry, I decided it was time to take the leap and start my own business! We’re now 6 years in, thriving, and growing more and more every year. Read more>>

Kill Palace

Kill Palace is a pair of pairs, made up of boys from two different Catholic schools. Michael Belsito (Guitar and Vocals) and Nate Gabrielli (Guitar and Vocals) spent their elementary years at Maternity of Mary St. Andrews school. Meanwhile, Mike Corbett (Bass) and Mat Heinrich (Drums) were just across 35E at St. Jerome. We all eventually met our sophomore year of high school and started jamming in our friend Andrew’s basement. We had similar tastes in music, but we each kind brought our own inspirations to the table. Unfortunately, we fell short in our attempt to be the Midwest’s next great ska band early on, but we quickly agreed there was better music to be made. We played at a few school events, recorded some demos, and after graduation, we decided to keep playing together. We went through probably 5 different band names before eventually settling on the name Kill Palace. Read more>>

Air Gustafson

Born, raised, and growing up in Northern Thailand, I wanted nothing more than to be an architect. Then one day, the whole thing came unglued in an epic way; I’ve come to learn that I couldn’t read 2D drawings! Such a bummer, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make use of blueprints. The whole world shattered beyond repair. Even since, I’ve lived my life by accident, which means I have no solid plans, no real intention, and no true purpose. I didn’t try to dream another dream until a certain dog entered my life and changed everything. (SPOILERS: Her name is Morty.) Fast forward to April 2011 when a little rambunctious mutt named Miss Morty vaulted into my life. My attitude shifted from Miss Crabapple to Hello Daisy. Being a dog mom and prioritizing Morty’s health and wellness helped me start to enjoy the simple things in life more and more. Read more>>

Terrence Rowe

My love for photography really comes down to a love of stories. My view on photography can be summed up as No photo is ever good or bad, because every photo tells a story. Some photos just tell that story better than others. I love that as a photographer I get to peer into someone else’s story. That can be a high school football game, a portrait session, or a wedding it’s such an honor to capture a brief moment in someone else’s life. This is something I’ve been doing for the last 6 years, and I’ve been taking on clients for the last 4. I got to this point by practicing. I’m always photographing something even when it’s just for myself. I always tell my wife that Nobody has ever told me that there are too many photos, and the more photos I take the better I feel I become. Today I would say I can see myself growing as a photographer. Read more>>

Nate Ebel

After being the first in my family to graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree, I got started in the marketing profession as a marketing assistant at a business coaching and consulting firm. This job allowed me to get a “real-world MBA” in business and entrepreneurship, while also allowing me to dive in head first to the world marketing. It was here that I caught the entrepreneurial bug. After working my way up to marketing specialist within just a few years there, I took a new job at a much larger, corporate company headquarters. While there, I was the digital marketing specialist and worked closely with the rest of our marketing team and outside marketing and ad agencies. It was here that I realized a) I was not cut out for the corporate, 8-hour a day cubicle life, and b) I wanted to start my own marketing agency. Read more>>

Amelia Reigstad

I am originally from Abbotsford, B.C., Canada with a background and education in public relations and communications. Through working in corporate settings to running my own PR consultancy and educating up and coming professionals as a university professor, my passion lies with helping others find their communication purpose. Fast forward and I now call White Bear Lake, Minnesota home where I am a sought-after expert in effective communication and work with organizations and individuals to increase communication in the workplace. In addition, I am the founder of The Women Empowerment Series which encourages and inspires women to use their voice. -All through communication. Read more>>

Jordan Alamat

Hello, hello! Things got started in 2012 – that’s when I DJed my first wedding. I’d never considered DJing, but in hindsight, it was the natural fit. I’d been the playlist/CD maker for my group of friends and, at the time, was making beats for local artists, so music was always something I cared about, pursued, and studied. I attended college at Bethel University, and everyone there’s getting engaged at like 19 years old, so once word got out that I was DJing weddings, my schedule booked up fast. As all that was happening, I was pursuing a radio career at 101.3 KDWB, where I was an Intern and eventually Assistant Producer of the Dave Ryan in the Morning Show. I don’t like acknowledging this cuz it feels gross and show-offy, but it is one of the biggest morning shows in the state and the nation, so my presence on the show (paired with the mentorship of Dave Ryan, Falen Gotlier, and Steve LaTart), raised my profile in the local media scene. Read more>>

Regina Moran

I’ve always been an artist. Whether it was on paper or on stage. It was my dream to express myself through art. My childhood was very rough and for as long as I can remember something about art helped keep me optimistic. The beauty of paintings and the stories in movies and plays. The memories and history in photographs always gave me the warm and fuzzies!!. I would look through my mom’s photo albums and steal pictures to keep. I was such a doodler, I loved art class, and I was in theater all through middle and high school. I was 10 when I first picked up a disposable camera, I never put them down. “Click, click, click” anything and everything! I always had a camera and have so many pictures to prove my obsession! I am also one of those people that keeps photo greeting cards forever. Read more>>

Jazlynn Folland

I first got started in photography by being involved in 4-H. Both my parents are 4-H alumni and volunteers; with that, they entered my siblings and I in all the project areas so that we could explore our interests. Apart of being in 4-H is competing at the county fair to be the best-of-the-best and win a grand champion purple ribbon. I still remember the first photo I entered in 4-H as a third grader which was a picture taken at sunset of a bin set. Since than I have grown to really love taking pictures. I used to search Pinterest all the time looking for unique ideas that would hopefully help me win that purple ribbon. In sixth grade, I got more interested in photography. As much as I wanted to take the Pinterest pictures; I realized that wasn’t me. I tried many new editing techniques, lenses, and overall different styles over the years. Read more>>

Abby Straub

I shot my first wedding as a 6-year-old flower girl. I used every disposable camera at the reception and relished capturing everything I could (back when disposable cameras were on every table at weddings, let’s bring that trend back?!). However, I first picked up a more “real” camera as part of an extracurricular I was in during my freshman year of high school. For the next year, I begged for my first camera and got a beginner DSLR for my birthday. I immediately dived in and learned how to shoot in manual with my friends being my models and muses. I continued shooting friends and seniors throughout high school, but really lost touch with it as I entered college. As luck would have it though, my college was hiring a student photographer and I knew I had to apply for the position. That job definitely made me remember why I loved photography in the first place and showed me how great event photography is specifically. Read more>>

Jessica Sauck

I have always loved photography. From disposable cameras, to my mom’s old film point-and-shoot, to my first 1.5 megapixel digital brick – I couldn’t get enough! I went to college for graphic design, and took every photography class I possibly could, digital and film. My favorite part of my degree was learning photoshop for digital photos and spending time manipulating film in the darkroom. After college, I spent time at a photography studio in Maple Grove. I then married my husband and moved to Southern Minnesota in 2009, where I began working as a photographer for Womeninc Magazine. In about 2011, I began photographing area families, but it wasn’t until 2019 that I decided to really invest in my business. I took more photography classes, business and marketing classes, and finally decided to look at it as something more than a hobby. And I fell even more in love with it all! Read more>>

Cindy and Darly Vu

We started our floral business on February 10th, 2018, just a few days before Valentine’s Day and it happened to be an incredibly successful launch! The idea stemmed from our mom, who had been a long-time florist (20 + years) although she never made an official career out of floristry. We grew up helping her do events for family and friends and eventually when we both graduated college, we started conceptualizing the possibility of turning her hobby into a business. The original name of our company was actually “Maison de Fleur Designs” meaning “house of flowers”. Both of our parents migrated from Laos to France and French culture was a large part of our mother’s background. To pay homage to her – as this business was inspired by her, we came up with a French name. We operated under MDFD from 2018 to 2021, eventually rebranding to Scarlett and Flora today. Read more>>

Tara Flaskerud

Oh goodness, my story. Where to start? Well, I was born with Hemifacial microsomia it is a common congenital facial difference that causes asymmetric development of the face. Hemifacial has been called many terms such as Goldenhar syndrome and oculo-auriculo-vertebral spectrum. When I was younger I didn’t know I was any different than anyone else. I didn’t view people differently other than how their energy felt to me. I also had loved colors because growing up I was in the hospital a lot for surgeries and check-ups. As most of us know hospitals have lots of white. I didn’t like the color white for a long time because I associated white with things I didn’t like. For example. Snow.. I didn’t mind the snow it was the cold that came with it. White was a stale, cotton mouth uninviting feelings to me. Read more>>

Erin Hente

After spending my entire career in the financial services industry preparing people for the unexpected, I couldn’t have prepared myself emotionally for what was to come next. In July 2015, my husband Andy died suddenly in a work accident. I felt lost, overwhelmed, and unsure of what to do next. How do you move forward when you’re overwhelmed and don’t know where to turn? I wanted nothing more than guidance and direction as I began to navigate this new path on my own. I soon realized that I was no longer alone. The next decision I made changed my life. I began working with a life coach and gained the tools to uncover what I wanted for my life after loss and most importantly the next steps I would take to get there. I had become so consumed by the weight of the world around me that I forgot to focus on the most important thing… ME. Step by step, I discovered that my journey hadn’t ended when my husband passed. It had only just begun. Read more>>

Alexandra Robyn

Before this, I was a marketing manager for a small business in the heart of Minneapolis. And while I liked what I did, I wasn’t happy. Turns out, about half of working Americans are experiencing burnout. It makes sense – I woke up at 6:45 to grab a bus and be into the office by 8:00, to take a 12:00 30-min lunch, and count down the minutes to 5:00. That isn’t everyone’s story, but it was mine.​​​​​​​ ​​One day, I was asked to take senior photos for a family friend and her mom loved them so much, she was sharing them at her workplace where a co-worker saw. The bride-to-be was looking for a photographer and hired me without any experience. After that first wedding day, I just knew. How often do you get to be with someone on the best day of their lives? And for me, that’s every weekend – a new couple, a new place – around the world, maybe in my own backyard. Read more>>

Sunny Evans

I have always been a creative soul. As a kid, my favorite activities almost invariably involved craft paper and scissors. I also grew up on ten acres in SE MN, where I learned to appreciate a slower pace of life. After graduating from the U of M in 2010, I entered the workplace for a short period of time. I tried really hard to appreciate a steady job, but in truth I hated it. I knew it wasn’t for me. So I started my own baking business and hustled at that for a few years while my husband also built his own videography business. We loved the freedom and flexibility that provided us. We worked long hours, but it was doing what we enjoyed. After we started having kids, we continued to enjoy this way of life. I stopped baking for hire, though, and turned my focus on being present with my babies. But one thing was lacking, and that was community. I didn’t know many other parents that were passionate about living a slower life, or that prioritized time outside or time together as much as we did. Read more>>

Anastasia Cannedy

When I was about 13 years ol,d my parents sat my sisters and I down and told us our grandma was diagnosed with cancer and she had a small chance of fighting it. Over the years, in and out of remission I saw her suffer and her body betray her. I saw the medications stop working and her grow so fragile. During one of the last weeks of her life, we watched old home videos. One video in particular was of her and other family members dancing and smiling having the best time together. As I stood behind her, watching her watch a younger version of herself dancing in what seemed to be a perfectly healthy body, I wondered how I could help. I knew curing cancer was out of the question, but I knew I could help those who are experiencing daily aches and pains, headaches and back pain heal naturally so they had the chance to spend more time dancing and smiling with their loved ones. Read more>>

Bert Lee

My story started when my mom named me Bert instead of Robert because she couldn’t pronounce the letter “t” and thought it meant Robber…a thief. My parents lived in Laos and immigrated to America in 1994 and without proper resources to adapt to the western culture they were in constant survival mode. They then interpreted money as success, security, prestige and freedom. As a shy naive Hmong boy, I listened and held onto their every word, allowing them to dictate my dreams and future. I was supposed to secure success by first completing high school, graduating from a four-year college with a degree in math, science or health related field; the “big” money making careers. Instead, I fell upon something that shook my parent’s reality. I decided to study the Arts; which to my parents meant a waste of an education, an excuse to fool around and not be a filial son. Read more>>

Dr. Anansi Wilson

There is a long story and there is a short story to tell, so I’ll attempt to strike a balance. Most importantly, I’m a product of the scores of striving ancestors, Black folks through space and time, who have attempted to make this nation live up to the values it has long purported to have. I’m the child of strong, determined women who inspired–or required–me to carry dignity and self-assuredness in spades. I grew up in deep poverty, partly in rural Kansas and in Kansas City, raised by a single, disabled mother of four and my grandmother. My grandmother–and great grandmother–were stern, no-nonsense yet loving women who were students and participants in Black and American history. I read more books in elementary school than most doctoral students do in the entirety of their programs. Read more>>

Kenneth Fair

I was born in Minneapolis at HCMC then moved to Palmdale, California when I was about 3 I believe. I was there from kindergarten to 3rd grade and I moved before I could finish. We moved to Duluth till about 5th grade them moved back yo California till I was in 7th grade. I literally can’t make this stuff up, haha. We moved to Laughlin, Nevada for like 7 months then moved across the border (Colorado river) to Bullhead City, Arizona. Finally moving back to Duluth to settle down from 8th grade till my first year of college at LSC. I graduated high school from Duluth East. Growing up I always loved art and music. I snowboarded a lot and spent a lot of time outdoors which helped boost my creativity. But like most smaller cities there was only so much to offer as far as culture and opportunities. I just need a change of scenery to be honest. I moved to Minneapolis in 2012 when I was 18, with no job and $500. I knew a friend who said he needed a roommate so I moved, paid him and found a job. Read more>>

Emmaline Childs

Today, I can call myself a content creator, but even 3 years ago I never dreamed this would be in my future. I’m your typical suburban thirty-something woman. I went to college, got a job, got married, bought a house, had a kid. Pretty textbook until I got into my thirties and did something I never thought I’d do – get divorced. Nobody ever plans to get divorced when they get married, so it’s safe to say my whole perspective on life was altered a bit. Suddenly it wasn’t so textbook and I had all of these empty pages that I needed to fill. I had finally found my stride when the pandemic hit, and once again my world changed. I’m extremely outgoing and an extrovert and I badly needed a social outlet. That’s when I found TikTok. I very quickly found a love for creating content and made it my mission to make videos that make people laugh, or feel like they can relate to someone else. Read more>>

Casino Gwaup

I’m from Atlanta GA I came to LA 5 years ago working with Engineer and producer Super we’ve built a solid foundation in how we work and who we work with we are just great at what we do I couldn’t of made it this far without my producer and engineer super and friends BobbyRaps producer songwriter and touring with friend Big Baby Gucci this year it’s been wild fun and I’m looking forward to dropping my new project Out The Muddy 2 go stream the 1st one Out The Muddy everywhere on digital platform services. Née Single Bad As Hell Out now every where distributed by 300/Sparta Rbaron & Money Corps. Read more>>

Mara Short

Hello! My name is Mara, and I am part of the artist community. I was drawn to art and the outdoors from a young age. Currently, I am most focused on pen-drawings (not very forgiving of mistakes), oil paintings, and pastels. For inspiration, I draw on my deepest experiences – mostly within Minnesota: everything from hiking to horseback riding, and trips to the Boundary Waters. The environment is an important passion of mine as well. Though I did not pursue art as my primary degree, I continually pursue this passion further – ramping up commissions and opening my Etsy shop in late 2020. When I look at the next few years, I hope to replace my marketing day-job with art full-time. Life is short, and passions should be fully explored! Read more>>

Griffin Engelby

When I was a first-grader, we had a house fire. We lost pretty much everything that was in the house due to smoke damage. Because of that incident so young, I think my brain marked the importance of keeping photos and memories. When I was younger, I was obsessed with instant polaroid photos – and those photo booths in the mall. As I grew up, I began taking photos for events at school and church, and once I graduated I’ve done photos for engagement shoots, headshots, and cosplay! As much as I’ve loved photography it wasn’t until the support of my fiance and the confidence I’d gained through classes that I started Rabbits Foot Photos. I want to make people feel as beautiful and unique as I think they are. Read more>>

Jay and Heidi Woller

We’ve always had the dream of being entrepreneurs. Last summer on a family road trip to Colorado, the idea of Guy Lively was born. It was there that we decided to bring the essence of nature to a men’s skincare line focusing on real, natural ingredients. As active, outdoor enthusiasts who have a passion for health, wellness, and being good stewards of the environment, creating this type of product line was a “natural” fit. As we did further research, we saw that the men’s skincare industry was being driven by natural and premium products, so that’s what we set out to create! We officially began working on our business in July of last year. It was a fun, yet challenging process. I have a background in marketing and launching products, but we are both new to the skincare industry, so there was a huge learning curve. Read more>>

Kiriat Ocasio

You Can Mija started a year ago. With many fears, insecurities, but with the vision of empowering, motivating women to ensure that regardless of the many things we have to do, we can do everything. My business started with a $12 iron, a roll of vinyl and an old shirt, but with a vision and a huge dream. Today after 1 year my business continues to grow, we continue to work three times as hard to reach the goal I want to achieve. Consistency and determination will always be the key to a business’s success. Read more>>

Anthony “ESY” Jones

I started my interest in being an artist at a very young age my grandfather was a painter in San Francisco in the 70’s and 80’s. I was born in Oakland California and Loved to doodle and draw sketch and things. My mother and I moved to Minnesota when I was around 9 or 10. We had just had a family tragedy where I lost my father to gun violence and my mother saw it fit to get us out of Oakland California. Moving to Minnesota was an eye-opener I had never been outside of Oakland before that and I had never seen snow before! I had a small circle of friends in school but could make new ones easily. one day another kid stood up in the lunchroom and asked if anyone wanted to come over his place after school and make music no one said anything so I stood up and said id come by, mind you I had no experience in music in particular I was in Choir in HS and played Percussioon but nothing serious regardless its been history ever since. Read more>>

Jesse Hill

McKay and I have been involved in the Crossfit space for quite a few years. Through that, we met at Crossfit events and became friends. We started nutrition coaching at similar times and eventually, we decided to create our own brand and voice in the nutrition space. There are so many brands and trends on the dietary side that we really wanted to emphasize what we believed to be the foundation of change. Kor means base and our base is sleep, resistance training, daily movement, and understanding how to eat in line with your goals. Read more>>

Morgan Hebert

When I was little, there was no knowledge of what I was as a child was going through. Depression, stress, and anxiety covered me in waves. My parents constantly abused me out of love because they were parenting the best they could. When going to elementary, and middle school I was constantly bullied for constantly picking my skin. Then in high school with trying to manage the school workload, marching band, my parents constantly putting shame on top of shame, and now the school was trying to figure out why I was picking. When I, myself was trying to figure this word “dermatillomania”. I was so overwhelmed that it led me to cut due to the lack of resources in Louisiana at a very young age of 14. After the hospitalization, I then started to slowly understand. It took three years to somewhat come to terms with it. In November of 2020, I have found the TLC BFRBs Foundation support group and that is when everything started. Read more>>

Amy Ripley

I started thinking about this business idea back in 2007. I was freshly out of college I thought I could design albums for people…like digital scrapbooking. At the time online-automated digital albums were just about to take off. Shutterfly, Snapfish…they had their hands in that industry. I figured I could design using those templates. But as a freshly-graduated twenty something, I realized quickly that I needed to gain more industry experience. So, I tabled my vision and I worked for 11 years in agencies and corporations. In 2010, my father died unexpectedly from a heart attack. I was 26 years old and the call shook my world. I flew home to Pennsylvania the next day and immediately was thrown into planning a funeral with my 4 siblings and my mom. It was surreal. As the years moved on, I began to understand that grief was simply something I was always going to have with me. Read more>>

Angela Oltmanns

As long as I can remember, I enjoy creating simple joys in my daily life. Let’s face it, life is challenging. Many stressful things come up – whether we choose it or not. It’s lovely when we can get a break and are able to go on a nice vacation but what happens in our daily ordinary moments of life? Can we have joy then too? I created Simple Daily Joy, my online gift shop, to offer products that help us cultivate simple joy in our daily living. My shop specializes in print-on-demand spiral notebooks, mugs and stickers. This means that a product is produced by a professional printer only when an order is placed. It is my way of being an eco-friendly shop! Read more>>

Rahwa Kibrom

I have always been a crafty person. Ever since I can remember I get joy from working with my hands and creating things. As an adult in addition to my day job, I have always done some kind of craft on the side mostly as a hobby and once I have perfected it I’ll try it out for sale. In the past, I have made threaded line canvas art, scented travel candles as well as large paper flowers used for decorations in weddings or homes. I usually just jump into a craft that looks interesting. I will research all about it via Youtube and google and take tips to keep practicing it. – Most recently I have gotten into Polymer clay. This has been my Covid hobby. When the pandemic hit, we were all stuck at home I was exploring ideas of what craft I could take up with my children since we would mostly be at home. We started playing with polymer clay – they would make figurines or key chains and I would make earrings and lapel pins. Read more>>

Kamra Joosten

My oldest son has Down Syndrome, and when he was little we had a terrible experience with a photographer. She was so focused on getting him to look at the camera, that he quickly became agitated. When you have a child with Down Syndrome (and many other disabilities) eye contact is not a favorite thing of theirs. I had told her at the very beginning of the session that we want more candid shots of him, and when we do family photos, if he is looking great, but I do not expect him to be looking as long as the rest of us are looking at the camera. We walked away from this session with not one family photo and only 2 of him. I was so disappointed. I vowed from that day forward, that my mission would be to provide families with the best images possible. Read more>>

Emma Torkelson

My small business story started just over a year ago in February 2021. I was working full time at a hospital and feeling stuck, tired and drained. At that point, I had recently “retired” at the age of 22 from my professional dance career and I remember feeling like I needed a new creative outlet in my life. I have always admired photography and been curious about what it might be like to start a career in that field, however, I never seriously considered it being possible for me for some reason. And then I read a book called “You Are A Badass” By Jen Sincero and she helped me gain confidence in myself and start to take control over my own life. When Covid started, I had a lot of time to think about what I really wanted to do with my life and started a dream board. My dream was to somehow get paid to travel the world. So in 2021, I bought my first DSLR camera with that goal in mind. Read more>>

Kasia Guzik

Since I was a child, I’ve always been very artistic and fashion has been one of my main interests along with art, graphic and interior design. “You should work in fashion”; I’ve heard this comment so many times before. I’m the kind of person who is usually asked to go shopping with my friends in order to help and advise them with what to wear. In the end, doing this and enjoying the results helped me realise that I want to pursue a career in fashion and set up my own little business. Since leaving University I’ve worked in retail for a variety of fashion departments including women’s and men’s as well as accessories. My goal was always to style my clients with clothing that best accentuated their specific body types whilst also helping them to understand how to pair pieces together and incorporate accessories, something that I found helped build trust and lasting relationships. Read more>>

Adrian Forbs

I grew up in the suburbs but recently went through some hard times. I had to live with friends for a while, and things took a turn for the worse. I’ve been in my share of challenges, such as being stabbed nearly to death and being homeless, but I feel this has made me stronger in some ways. I am a restaurant manager at the moment, part influencer, and part artist. I make music under my main alias, StonedAKhana. I have an album dropping on all platforms soon, and you can view the music videos now on YouTube. The album is called “DeadRap”. It is titled this because during the stages of my life in which I was making this music, I had little to no effect on the world around me, therefore I was in part, dead. I also felt like I was halfway in the ground due to my circumstances, being in a run-down, poor, and toxic living situation. I got out with my life, and I am working hard to move past what happened prior to my being here. Read more>>

Cindy Bober

I love crafts. I was in a large craft store one day and came across a melt & pour kit and thought it would be fun to try. Honestly, it probably took me well over a year to do it, but once I did, I knew it was for me. Step ahead a few months or so, and I was thinking about all of the skin issues that we had in our family. I started researching. The more research I did, the more I realized that there were so many chemicals in the products that we use. I did more research into natural skin care and soap, and how I could make them. I came across the cold process soap method and started purchasing things for my apothecary. I started by making a lavender essential oil cold process soap. I was hooked! After using the soap I made, I noticed a huge difference in my skin. It wasn’t dry, or patchy with eczema any longer. My husband starting using it and couldn’t believe the difference. Read more>>

Aly Goelzer

My photography journey began at a young age playing with my mom‘s camera and eventually my own little digital camera, but the story really accelerates forward in my first year of college when I took a film photography class and got to learn all the ins and outs of the film world and all of the time and patience it takes to develop your photos by hand in the darkroom as well as mix chemicals correctly to get the best end product. I also got to learn all of the Photography basics in a medium where you can’t immediately see your results which is definitely rewarding and challenging. After that initial class, I took many other classes across different creative mediums and ended up switching my major to photojournalism and diving in headfirst. Read more>>

Meg Sharp

I am a third-generation family business owner at Sharp & Associates, founded over 60 years ago by my grandfather, Dennis Sharp. I’ve been working there for about 10 years now alongside my grandfather, my mom and our amazing team of employees that have been with us longer than I can remember. We deal in Commercial Leasing, General Contracting, Self-storage and vacation rentals, which are all seemingly different industries, but at the root of it, we basically specialize in Rental Space. We build it, we own it, and we rent it out. Read more>>

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