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Jacksonville’s Most Inspiring Stories

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.

Meghan Storck

After around ten years in the banking industry, I found myself struggling to align my professional and family life. I felt like I was never giving anything 100%, throw in Covid, and whoa, I knew I needed a change. I have always worn a straw hat, growing up surfing with my dad, beachcombing, and just being outside for sun protection. So, after brainstorming for a while, hats, it was straw hats. My husband, kids and I were out boating close to JTB, and it hit me, Castaway. That’s it. I applied for licenses and the rest is history, for the first time in my life I didn’t overthink things. At Castaway we believe a healthy passion makes you a healthier human in all aspects of your life. Giving back to our waterways is just one small way we can help. Not only are the prints super fun, and of course, we have kids’ sizes, every hat cleans up at least one pound of plastic/trash out of our seas. Every hat! It makes me so happy. Read more>>

Nadia Wilson

I was born and raised in Jacksonville, FL. I attended Enterprise Learning Academy for elementary, Westview K-8 for middle, and Paxon School of Advanced Studies for high school. I’ve always had a passion for fashion and entertainment. I made sure I joined recreational groups and campus activities that aligned with those passions. I started off being involved with the morning announcements in middle school and continued that through high school at Paxon. Once I got to Florida A&M University I continued those passions and majored in Public Relations while working in organizations that fostered my passion for fashion such as Journey magazine, and Beyond the sky entertainment. I am a member of the Beta Alpha Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. which serves as an outlet for Black women to connect and discuss important topics that are going on within the Black community while connecting these issues to our Sorority’s Five-Point Programmatic Thrust. Read more>>

Joshua and Corinne Vonsander

We started on this venture back in 2017 after being introduced by our two best friends! Prior to this, Joshua had started working in the photography industry as an employee of the company, Lifetouch. He quickly realized he had a passion for not only photography but videography as well. From there he created his first photography and videography business specializing in family portraits and short films. Joshua chose to go back to school and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Digital Cinematography from Full Sail University in 2015. Fast forward two years, I (Corinne) had just purchased my first DSLR and aspired to start my own business as well. When Joshua and I met, we instantly connected and amongst other things, bonded over our love for storytelling through images. Over the last five years, we have worked together to build a brand that serves our couples and families wholeheartedly. Read more>>

Sarajane Maples

I started my career 12 years ago at the Aveda Institute of Jacksonville. I had a very unconventional start to hair and hairdressing. I failed several times at several salons before I found the one I’m currently at. Once I found my salon home the work opened up for me and I realized that I didn’t have to be your typical “behind the chair” stylist. I created Blush and Mane (my bridal business) in 2016 and could never imagine it would go as far as it’s gone. I started working on editorial styling and in 2019 won the “North American Hair Dressing Awards” in styling and finishing. Which was the best night of my life and a long-time goal that I never thought would be accomplished. Since then, I have learned photography and have had the amazing opportunity to work with amazing stylists and hair care companies in all forms. Read more>>

Kevin Velarde

I spent my adolescent years in Virginia Beach, Virginia as a band kid, but also played guitar in several bands. Shortly after I graduated, I found myself hanging with the wrong crowd in the music scene I was in so I moved to Jacksonville, Florida to start over. My many attempts in forming or joining a band when I first moved here never quite got off the ground so for a couple of years, I thought I was done with music. That was, until 2011, I went to my very first music festival called Electric Daisy Carnival in Orlando. Since I had only gone to hardcore/metal shows up to that point, the culture, the energy, and the people were unlike anything I had ever experienced. It was only until the following year when I attended my second festival, Ultra 2012 in Miami, that made me want to pick up DJ’ing as a hobby. Read more>>

Rebekah Parks Udell

I started Sunflower Soul in 2020- about two weeks before the entire world shutted down. I started selling Reiki-charged beeswax candles. I wanted to bring a conversation about, and bring spirituality to light, in the Jacksonville Beaches area. When I lost both of my parents in 2018 & 2019, my spiritual journey began. I felt crazy, but my Momma assured me before she passed that I was not crazy and that my abilities would get stronger as I got older. When she passed they did get stronger, and I had to drive across town to a little shop in the flea market to find some solace and advice. I really want to be that safe haven for others, but closer to home for people in our beaches area. Read more>>

Katie Le

As a child growing up in a remote dirt-road village in Vietnam, it meant photos were extremely rare. I cherished the very few photos that I was blessed to have because my uncle, who was from the city, was a photographer. Many families in my village do not have photos of themselves or of their loved ones. After taking my very first photography class in high school, I went back to Vietnam for a visit. It was such a joy for me to be able to take pictures of people in my village with my digital camera and bless them with the photos that I took. My digital camera went with me everywhere.  I purchased my first Canon DSLR after college and began to take free portraits and weddings for family and friends. What started as a hobby became a desperate attempt to find a way to get out of the 40-hour workweek after I have my kids. Read more>>

Jason Gordon

Once I graduated high school, I was going to a community college, but that really was not fulfilling enough. I spend a lot of time on the computer so I tried to find new things to get into. I was listening to a lot of different music at the time, and that is what kind of sparked my interest in making beats on FL Studio. I had a lot of friends that were doing music so it just made sense. Ever since then I have been branching out into other things like doing live audio for the band. Read more>>

Mariah Perryman

My story is full of twists and turns, but I got my start by ultimately deciding to pursue every passion of mine and not just one. Born and raised in St. Louis, I grew up as a quiet, only child who loved animals, reading books, drawing, and performing. After trying my hand at different sports, instruments, and even singing in the St. Louis Children’s Choir, I discovered my deep passion for dance. I danced most of my childhood, even competitively, and was trained in various styles including hip hop, African, tap, ballet, and praise dance. I also enjoyed cheer and was part of the St. Louis Jr. Rams Cheerleading Squad for a few seasons. I graduated from Cardinal Ritter College Preparatory High School, where, yes you guessed it, I danced too! But I also developed my love for community service and curiosity for Historically Black Colleges and Universities while there. Read more>>

Karen Scalf

In the upper part of Duplin County, North Carolina, and tucked next to the bottomlands of Goshen Swamp, Kornegay Hereford Farms has continued the 1949 heritage of producing rich foods from the land. The red and white Hereford cattle have always been the legacy of this family farm since Cecil and Jean Kornegay began raising their four children, including daughter Karen [Kornegay] Scalf. The Herefords from England are a heritage cattle breed that has always been known for their flavor, tenderness, and efficiency on grass. The gentleness of the breed is an understatement and is quite evident in the memorable photograph of the found Cecil Kornegay with his beloved bull KHF Mr. Dynamite. Continuing his love of the Hereford breed, Karen, along with her husband Gary, have continued the Hereford farm. Raising their three children on the farm has taught their family the value of healthy foods. Read more>>

Alexis Giles

Not having any set goals for a career, I jumped into my local preschool at age 19 from my high school pita-rolling job. All I knew at the time was that I needed to move on and do something that makes me happy. Hi, my name is Alexis Giles but my students call me bestie… or Ms. Lex. My biggest flex in life is being children’s biggest fan. In this role, I’m their teacher, friend & biggest supporter! I’m still at the school that I started working at in 2016 at age nineteen now twenty-five! Let’s just say. The two-year-olds haven’t scared me off yet. During this time, I worked with several different teachers that had different teaching methods. Some teachers are more strict or haven’t gotten out of the “worksheet phase”. I always sat back & observed. I spoke up when needed and felt strong emotions for the students. Read more>>

Hernán Buelvas

I was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela. One of the hottest and most colorful cities in the country. Generally, we’re described as very intense and passionate. And I do think part of my view of the world came with that. From age 6 to 18, I was a swimmer and went to a lot of championships. That gave me the opportunity to travel around my home country and opened my eyes to different people and cultures. It also gave me persistence and a sense of responsibility that I don’t think I would have been able to get elsewhere. Since I can remember I’ve been a very visual person. I’m one of those “looks at the sky” people. I can get lost in the colors of the sunset, the shape of the clouds, and the birds flying to an unknown destiny, so I think part of my love for photography came from looking at nature. Read more>>

Bria Hickman

My mom taught me to braid when I was 10. I used to braid my younger sister’s hair so often that other people began to ask if I could braid their hair. After mastering braids I began practicing new styles. In my sophomore year in high school, I began a vocational school for cosmetology. While in cosmetology school I worked in a salon as a shampoo tech. When I graduated high school I had all 1,500 hours, went to take my state board test, and passed both portions on the first try. I then began working in the salon as a licensed cosmetologist. I’m originally from a small town in TN and graduated high school in 2008. In 2011, I moved to Nashville and continued working in different salons while I attended college. In 2015 I opened Blessed Hands 2 Bless You and maintained the business until 2020 when I moved to Jacksonville. I now work at CosmoGeeks Hair Salon. Read more>>

Stacey Maurer

Photography kind of fell in my lap as a career. I had been photographing friends and family for a bit, but it really wasn’t until I did my first workshop in NYC in 2017 that I really started to focus on creating a business and brand using my camera. I am entirely self-taught and have spent A LOT of time with education and practicing concepts to be where I am now and I really look forward to seeing where this craft will lead with my future. Gotta keep those creative wheels turning! Read more>>

Lisa Jones

In 2016 I had been primarily a stay-at-home mom. Secondarily I was a yoga instructor and yoga therapist in the area for 15 years – working at various studios and renting a space of my own -always keeping my family first. I was working maybe 3-5 hours a week and only charging 10-12.00 per class or $50.00 for private sessions. At this point, I had my own self-study of clean eating and supplementation for years and what I noticed was that a lot of my friends and family were calling me for “health” related issues and guidance. My husband wound up losing his job for the second time in two years. He was in IT and it was very shaky as a lot of jobs were being outsourced overseas. I had previously been in Corporate and he asked if I would consider going back to work. Read more>>

Barbarella Brown

I actually got started with burlesque on a bet. A friend of mine bet me that I wouldn’t perform in the local amateur contest in town. I’d had years of experience in theater and dance, so I figured this would be a fun little something to add to the life list of things I’d done. I didn’t realize I would fall in love with it as much as I did with theater. I won the contest and then began performing with Peek-A-Boo Lounge for a few years. After taking a break, I got back in with a few local groups but noticed there was something missing in the Orlando burlesque scene. There weren’t a lot of performers who looked like me, and the ones who did were squeezed into shows as a ‘diversity hire’. I wanted to change that. After eight years of performing as a solo artist, I produced the first Ms. Brown’s Colors of Burlesque Show in 2019, becoming Orlando’s first and only Black/POC burlesque, pole, and cabaret show. Read more>>

Jessielyn Wade

When I was ten years old, I remember using a polaroid camera for the first time. This was the beginning of my lifelong passion for photography. From disposable cameras to 35mm rolls being developed at the local drug store, I have been capturing moments in time for many years. My parents were big on travel, and we would often take family trips in our van or annual trips to New York with my grandmother on the Greyhound bus. These trips were always filled with great memories and photos. The photo of us at Niagara Falls with my grandmother, parents, cousins, and siblings is by far one of my most memorable photos. It was because of the emphasis my parents placed on travel and photography that I developed such a strong love for both. And to this day, I continue to explore the world through my lens and capture lasting memories for myself and others. Read more>>

Jessica Cone

My art is a story of perseverance and sidestepping the universe telling me “no.” I’m often asked, “How did you stay so motivated when you first started?” My motivation came from anger. I could of let it get me into trouble, but I transformed mine into determination. I hope to show others that everyone has something unique about themselves that can be their saving grace. My doodling started as early as a toddler in my walker. I had art featured around the city in elementary school and won statewide competitions in High school. Although my art seemed passion-driven from the outside, it was a sink-or-swim ordeal for me. My childhood wasn’t easy due to my mother’s struggle with substances and my father’s emotional distance. I didn’t know if there would be food or lights or if I’d be in a house, car, or hotel. So at the age of 7, I decided I wanted a way out. Read more>>

Shechinah Butler

The idea of having a platform came in 2017 after my first time openly discussing my own scar in being an organ transplant recipient at an empowerment tea as an undergrad. I attended Bethune-Cookman University which is an HBCU (Historically Black College/University) and I was a part of the Bethune-Cookman University Chapter of SISTUHS, Inc. I am also a charter member of The Jacksonville Professional Chapter of SISTUHS, Inc. which is a community service-based organization. I was over the empowerment tea at that time and the theme was Hidden Scars during the month of April which is Organ/Tissue Donation awareness month. Since then I had been sitting on the idea of how I can not only bring awareness to organ donation but to scars in general that are not discussed often. Read more>>

Tori Glod

I grew up watching my mom and aunts create art of various forms. My dad is crazy good at carpentry. I have spent many days jamming to music in the garage and cleaning up sawdust with him. I’ve been creating art and building random things for as long as I can remember. I started dabbling into calligraphy and lettering as a business at the beginning of 2020 when Yazi Davis convinced me to quit my job and go full-time. Now we’re here and I’m mixing all the different things I like to create into one and it’s a wild time. Read more>>

Courtney Stroud

I am originally from Charlotte, NC, born and raised! I actually attended college at UCF in Orlando, FL, Graduating in 2007! I moved back home to NC and built a pretty successful career in the Insurance Industry as an Insurance Adjuster. I began doing makeup in 2017 as a hobby – a stress release of sorts. My hobby blossomed into blogging, makeup tutorials, and eventually my becoming a professional makeup artist. I developed an interest in the art of skincare due to my makeup clientele asking me about what they could do to improve their skin. Skin and body care soon took over and here I am today! I now work full time, exercising my passion and walking alongside others on their journey to healthier skin. Read more>>

Crystal Parks

The Diaper Bank for Northeast Florida was founded in October 2019 by Crystal Parks, a Jacksonville native and nonprofit professional. When she became a stay-at-home mother, Crystal’s continued desire to serve led her to start a local diaper bank. Her nonprofit experience afforded her the skills to grow the diaper bank and support existing nonprofit organizations and their clients who experience diaper needs. The diaper bank is led by a group of dedicated volunteers and an active board of directors. Crystal manages diaper bank operations from her home and the storage/workspace donated by St. Peter’s Episcopal Church located in the Ortega area. Read more>>

Malia Pere

Since I was young, I always wanted to have my own business. In middle school, I dreamed of having my own breakfast spot. In high school, I wanted to hop around Florida in a food truck selling smoothies, juices, and acai bowls. Whatever my business was, it was going to be food-related. I’m really close with my family and my parents and grandparents are big role models for me. When my dad was young, he had his own business before getting into the restaurant industry. He traveled all over the world and lived in so many places. I wanted to be just like him – I still do. Without a doubt, everything he and my mom did motivate me to make something of my own. I’m also half-Filipino and I was fully immersed in the culture since I could remember, which I am so grateful for. I was exposed to a lot of different foods at a young age, and I think seeing and helping my grandparents make food that is so different from American cuisine really kickstarted my love for cooking and trying new things. Read more>>

Cameron

My name is Cameron Frazier, and I proudly serve as the Founder and Executive Director of Becoming Collegiate Academy- Jacksonville’s first HBCU-inspired elementary school. I am a product of a village of people who surrounded me with unconditional love. That village began with my forever-loving parents, the late Harmie “Ben” Frazier and Wanda Frazier, who possessed a deep belief in my potential and always extended the greatest expressions of inspiration and support. Thank you mom and dad for your love! I believe that schools are the HEARTBEAT of every community. Where the children are lies the fate and possibility of our future. For over a decade, I have been on a mission to create affirming spaces for Black and Brown children to grow and succeed. I carry the love of my village into every classroom, school, and community that I have the opportunity to work with. I have been fortunate enough to serve as a classroom teacher in both public and charter schools in Jacksonville, FL, and Nashville, TN. Read more>>

James Cosgrove

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved military history. I think I get it from my father who is a huge history buff as well. I can fondly remember watching marathons of war movies together on the couch and him explaining them to me. In high school, I took a basic video editing class and I became extremely interested in editing and making videos. It wasn’t until recently that I found a way to combine my love for history and my interest in videography. Starting Project Past in the Summer of 2021 was a way for me to bring my two passions to you and other viewers on YouTube all while learning new things together. My main goal for Project Past is to bring interactive and informative videos of battlefields, museums, and other places that have shaped our country. I think studying/knowing history is critical for society to continue to progress in a positive direction. History has taught us just how cruel and evil humanity can be at times. Read more>>

Tomika Wilkerson

I was born in Orlando, Florida, and relocated to Jacksonville in 2004. The oldest of three children, my mom being a single parent had to work two jobs to make sure she was able to provide for all of us. I guess you can say I was put in a leadership role at an early age. I know that everyone has their own story and testimony, and I prayed that one day I would have enough courage to be able to share mine and that it may have a positive impact on others to help them in some way in their own journey. When I envisioned what this program needed to offer, I realized I wanted us to be the voice for little girls that feel or felt as though they don’t have the support or/and understanding I wish I had when it came to certain issues or feelings. Read more>>

Desiree Howell

I realized I wanted to provide therapy and become a psychologist when I was in high school. I loved the idea of helping people feel better and improve their life by talking, caring, and problem-solving together. My own experiences of abuse, trauma, neglect, and losing my father to cancer when I was in middle school, all contributed to my dedication to understanding why people do what they do and why they are who they are and how to overcome, heal, and prosper after the painful experiences in life. With the help of student loans, I earned my degrees (BA in psychology, MA in counseling, and Ph.D. in counseling psychology) at Ball State University, completed my internship at the University of Florida, and obtained my first professional position at Pennsylvania State University’s Counseling and Psychological Services center. Read more>>

Tracy Russell

I’m Nurse Tracy, a registered nurse since 2008, specializing in women’s healthcare. After a decade of bedside nursing, I was burnt out and looking for a career change. I got my eyebrows microbladed and fell in love with how it made me feel, and the idea of creating a new beauty business! In 2019, I became a licensed cosmetic tattoo artist in Vermont and opened Inked Arches Permanent Makeup. I began working out of a day spa while still nursing part-time and building my brow business on the side. When the pandemic hit in 2020, I decided to leave nursing for good and started construction on a tattoo shop in my hometown, Main Tattoo. In 2021, I “retired” from nursing, and began training other women how to perform permanent makeup through Vermont’s first state-approved course! Since then, I have trained more than 17 women how to do microblading, machine shading, lips, and eyeliner techniques! Read more>>

Adrian “Asia” Petty

Adrian “Asia” Petty started an independent comic book publishing company in 2000 and the following year released the black and white comic book, “Teshuvah, Prophets of Jah”. After below modest returns, Director Adrian “Asia” Petty went through a self-imposed hiatus suggested by Lady Death creator, Brian Pulido. Adrian returned in late 2008 with the preview issue of the genre-blending and audacious quasi superhero narrative, “Ms. Johnni”. Since then, Ms. Johnni has captured the interest of fans and critics alike with its introspective look at the main character in search of her missing daughter. In June 2020, Jericho Projects partnered with publisher Markosia Enterprises based in London and published its first graphic novel, “Appalachian Assassin”. This 100-page book details the story of Jessie English, a southern bred special forces soldier, returning home from a mission after being left for dead. Read more>>

Felicia Anderson

It was in 2015 when I realized that instead of being a model in front of the camera I truly flourished and fell in love with all things behind the camera. I begin photographing families at my church and even shot my first wedding there as well. It was up from there! In 2019, I officially said goodbye to my full-time job which I’d been at for almost nine years! That was a very scary leap to take but my faith was strong. Walking away from corporate America was when I experienced a major shift in my business. I began photographing people all over the USA. I was reaching people who I had never known beforehand and traveling to beautiful places; which still blows my mind to this day. With the growth of my business, I then begin to long for my own space to create in but didn’t know how that was going to be possible with the pandemic hitting so hard. Read more>>

Kip Wellman

My business partner, Reagan Combs, and I saw a need for a better way to service customers with routine preventative maintenance, such as an oil change, for their vehicles. We were tired of having to book appointments at brick and mortars, constantly getting up-sold for items our vehicles didn’t need, poor quality, and hidden costs or going to the dealership for a simple oil change only to leave several hours later, frustrated and confused, after paying far more than expected. On multiple occasions, we thought to ourselves, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a convenient way to get your car serviced and not be pressured to buy things you don’t need?” We decided to do just that by bringing a new service to our community, and oh, by the way, we were going to deliver that service directly to the customer’s doorstep with GoMobileX – the On-Demand Oil Change Service which provides timely preventative maintenance services.. Read more>>

Dean Phillippi

I did Theater and Stage Plays in High School. I always wanted to be in the film, but when I graduated, it was during the Vietnam War Era, and the draft was still in place, so I enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Once out of the Navy, I did theater and state off and on in my hometown of Washington, Pennsylvania. Eventually, lift necessities took place; (work, marriage, children, home, bills and etc.) so I had to hold down a full-time job. I worked at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida for 30 years and retired, and then I went to JP Morgan Chase as a Vice President and worked there for 5 years, and retired again. While living here in Florida, I did theater and stage plays at the Florida Theater and Florida Times-Union. Once I retired, I jumped right into acting classes at Tandem Media Studios here in Jacksonville, Florida. I did several classes, which were great, and started auditioning for film, TV Series, Commercials, and Print Shoots, So since 2005, I have been 100% into acting in films, TV Series, Commercials, and Print Shoots. Read more>>

Jason Tetlak

I’ve always been interested in art. I’ve been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember. It wasn’t until I visited Miami a few years ago that I got interested in street art though, and since then my focus has been on doing large-scale public murals. Up until then the largest thing I had painted was probably 3 feet by 3 feet, and now I paint walls that are up to 150 feet long and 30 feet high. Read more>>

Porshaye Jones-Davis

I started practicing makeup at the end of 2019. At first, it was something to do to help with my depression. In 2020 the world shut down and I was left with ample time on my hands and of course nowhere to go. The more I played with makeup trying to find my perfect face, the more interest I took. I immediately latched onto The Crayon Case makeup being that Supa, a black woman, was someone from back home that made it. After that makeup became my favorite pastime and soon the goal became to get good enough to be a Crayon Cutie. Read more>>

Kimberly Forrest

My interest in skincare began during my pre-teen years when repeated interactions with the neighborhood bully left scars on my face. I wanted the epidermal reminders of my bad encounters gone as quickly as possible. I had little finances to purchase skincare ointments or creams to help my scars fade faster, so I developed my own remedies using ingredients from my mom’s kitchen. This passion was reignited in my adulthood while helping my children battle the scarring effects of eczema and acne. I returned to my pre-teen passion to care for my family while my husband was away for extended periods on military duty. I restarted making natural products as remedies for my family’s skincare needs. Read more>>

Nicole Leone

I was in college studying Marketing dreaming about a business I wanted to own one day though unsure of what type of business that would be. I started using a camera I had gotten years prior for fun. My friends told me I had a talent for taking photos in spring of that year and by the end of the semester, I got asked to do my first paid photo session. I started taking photos of anything and everyone I knew. I brought my camera on every trip, adventure, and outing with friends. I also started to take photos for my campus ministry’s Instagram. I learned so much by just stepping out and taking photos. I spent hours in Lightroom learning how to edit photos through videos and by just playing around with the settings. I ended up creating my own presets from all that I learned and tweaking them for each session. Read more>>

Jaczmin Robinson

Hi, I am Jaczmin Robinson, I am 24 years old, the youngest of 7 girls. I grew up and reside in Jacksonville, Florida. I am a college student, majoring in Photography. My hobbies are Singing, traveling, and spending time with my family and friends. have my own photography business Diamond Eagle Productions, The name was inspired by my mom is our diamond in the sky and my dad loved eagles. When I was two my dad passed away, which changed my and my family’s life tremendously. However, My mom being a woman of faith, knew that God would be her comfort, provider & strength. She worked two jobs one working at Daniel Memorial fostering children and the other working as a teacher aide in schools. My mom believed that all children need love, and someone to talk to and she was an outlet to help each child she met become who they are. Read more>>

Cambria Hebert

I’ve always been a creative type, with a vivid imagination that always kept being an only child from being lonely. Becoming a writer wasn’t ever really something I ever seriously considered, I think it was more of a pipe dream, something I never really thought I could do. I went to college, in Maryland where I grew up, and could not decide on a major, because there were too many things to try and nothing ever felt “right”. I ended up changing paths and going to a trade school and getting an associate’s degree in cosmetology. In my early twenties, I married a United States Marine and we had two children. My husband worked a lot of hours and wasn’t home much because of training, deployments, etc. I wanted something I could do that would be flexible and allow me to be home with our kids, I wanted them to have stability. Read more>>

Danilo Cruz

Well, I’ve always been an artist starting out when I was a kid drawing anime characters. Once I got to high school, I noticed a lot of the upperclassmen had tattoos, so I started drawing different things here and there. One day someone saw a design and suggested I should get into tattooing. So I asked my dad to get me a kit for my birthday and started practicing on fake skin, then certain friends and family. That was 16 years ago. Throughout the years I’ve researched and honed into different styles and methods of tattooing. Practice and tons of diligence were what it took to get where I am. Now I have officially created the brand and business I’ve always wanted in my own private studio for now, and I’m the near future expanding it to having multiple shops. Read more>>

Loraine Badaloo

My journey as a hairstylist started out 31 years ago in Kingston Jamaica where I had my own hair salon. I then migrated to the US in 2003 and decided to give back some of my knowledge by teaching my passion, cosmetology, in Manhattan New York. I spent 14 years as a Cosmetology Educator and have now decided to build my own brand ProhairTextures Beauty Salon in Coral Springs Florida. Read more>>

Robert Jaramillo

Well, I have been cutting hair for family and friends, growing up. Got sucked into a bar game working at a few bars in Dallas, Texas. Working my way up, so I stopped cutting hair for years. Started going to a new barbershop and meet a really great barber. Who told me I would be great it. But I never had time to do the school part of it. So when I moved from Texas to Florida. I had a chance to go back to school for barbering. Finished school a year later and became a licensed barber. Read more>>

Andrew Sarowitz

I’m a sports dentist from New York. I’m part of the medical staff of the Brooklyn Nets and I do a lot of work with combat sports athletes in the UFC and Bellator. That’s what brought me down to Jacksonville for UFC 273. In addition to treating professional athletes for sports-related trauma, I also have my own mouthguard brand Impact Dental Designs. I make custom mouthguards for a good portion of the UFC roster. That takes me all over the country to various gyms to work with the fighters during their fight camps. In addition to working with athletes, I have a network of dental offices in New York City. Read more>>

Mary Stewart

Believe it or not, I’ve been in the health care field for over 20 years! I am a Licensed and practicing Occupational Therapist. I am social and love helping people, which is what initially drew me to a. career in Occupational Therapy. Some of my hobbies include Painting, Home interior design, and repurposing furniture. It’s therapeutic to me and brings me great satisfaction. I went to a Board & Brush workshop with a few friends and immediately fell in love with the brand and concept. When I learned it was a franchise, I saw it as an opportunity and challenge to grow. It was a huge leap of faith, but I applied to be a franchise owner. Thanks to my supportive husband & business partner, Melody Van-Zant, it is a reality now. Read more>>

Jeff Kubes

Now when you look at my catalog, almost everyone tells me that they would never guess that the same artist drew all the different designs I provide through The Kubes Store. Here is the reason why; ultimately I am building a catalog that I hope someday surpasses 5000 artworks. I personally want the ability to drastically change the way I draw, and thanks to all the different features in Procreate I can do that in a few clicks instead of having 200 paintbrushes & tons of blank canvases sitting around. I strive to be able to put out a range of different artworks that anyone can scroll through and find something they like. Most artists lock themselves into one style of drawing, and then it becomes a sort of a first-glance situation where if someone can look at your portfolio & it’s all the same style and that exact style doesn’t vibe with the customer, they’ll move on. Read more>>

Anais Santos de Nieto

Having an orphanage or charity has been one of my biggest “dreams” since I was 8 years old. I always say it’s my dream but I’m 100% sure it is God’s dream and He shared it with me. I’m from a beautiful Island called Margarita. There are beautiful beaches, welcoming people, and great food. It’s always summer and I miss my island so much! We work with three villages on my home island of Margarita. Seven years ago, I moved from Venezuela to the USA, with my husband, my baby girl, and 2 big suitcases. We packed our dreams, hopes, and memories and started over from nothing, my country was starting to fall apart. ⁠ I could never forget about those who remained in Venezuela, the reason why I created Builders Charity, and every day I work from home, and different coffee shops around Jacksonville, FL. Read more>>

Sarah Kersey

The closet has been a highlight of downtown saint Augustine for 15 years now. Growing up in high school, I would sell clothes I made here. It was also a spot for local artists to sell their clothing. Three years ago, I was given the opportunity to buy the closet and it needed a slight facelift. So I put my spin on it. Now, we have a vintage boutique with a western flair to it. Read more>>

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