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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.

Maggie Miller

I have always had a creative mind. I would stay up late on school nights drawing under a flashlight and find any scraps I could use to make 3D models just to satisfy the creative itch in my brain. It was always a hobby though and not something I thought I could make something out of until I graduated college and moved to Jacksonville in 2018. During that time I started creating content on Instagram for fun, eventually created a website, and started creating a brand for myself without even realizing it. Read more>>

Eduardo Agustin Carrillo

Seven years ago, my brother and I started working weekends after many friends requested us to do renovations around their homes. Our friends were also thrilled and satisfied with the outcomes and so they started recommending us. Eventually we received more requested from friends of friends and so we had the idea to start a company and invest in it full time. We started this small company, EAC Premier Paint &Texture to provide services for our community. Read more>>

Kyla Weatherspoon

Hello! My name is Kyla Weatherspoon. I am a young mompreneur. My residential and commercial cleaning business wasn’t actually my dream in the beginning, it was my mother’s dream. We talk all of the time about creating generational wealth and wanting more time for our family. The only question was, how are we going to get there? I mean working 9-5 jobs was only going to get us so far. After giving birth to my beautiful daughter in October 2021, I was tired of talking about creating generational wealth and this how ShuShu Services Residential and Commercial Cleaning was born. Read more>>

Sarah/Matthew Karl/McIntyre

The story of how McKarls started actually goes back to April of 2020. We were both out of work due to COVID and we were trying to figure out what our next move needed to be. Our industry was hit hard and we weren’t sure what it was going to look like upon return. We are both truly passionate about bartending. The creativity that’s involved in cocktail development, the love and history about spirits/cocktails, and the bond you are able to make with other talented bartenders and even guests.  Read more>>

Elizabeth Luke

The Jacksonville Baby Company is Northeast Florida’s only agency focusing on the health and wellness of families after they welcome their babies into the world! Elizabeth Luke, owner of The Jacksonville Baby Company started the business in 2013 while in the midst of raising her own children and working as a nanny. As a busy working mom who experienced my own struggles after giving birth to our third baby, I saw that there is a huge need for in-home, hands-on support and encouragement as parents begin their lives with a new baby. Read more>>

Nathaniel La Fera

My story is simple i believe every client has the right to have the most amazing beautiful and healthy hair that they desire. I have spent my adult life helping people achieve amazing results with their hair through coaching and some basic hair hygiene skills. Healthy hair is a daily choice and if you live by the Golden rule which is “healthy scalp healthy hair” you too will achieve your dream hair. These days i make A small collection of my own product line we call the essentials. My Nathaniel La Fera Luxury Leave in is a cult phenomenon. Read more>>

Talitha Smith

Rooted With Love came to be when the pandemic left me with an empty space for another year. I decided to take a passion and turn it into the sweetest little plant shop in Arlington. Everyone always said the shop just had a zen vibe. The space would house premium indoor plants and host some of the most fun workshops and events. This was the beginning of a healing journey for myself, which even led to Rooted With Love giving a lecture at the Garden Club.  Read more>>

Sheri Fitzgerald

We have always been Christmas lovers and are known for how much we love Christmas. It started in Massachusetts and then we brought our love for holiday decorating to Florida. My husband takes care of all the lights outside and I decorate the inside of the house. We have several trees both inside and outside the house. During COVID, I wanted to do something that brought people happiness while bringing balance to my life as well. Read more>>

Le Dream

Le Dream Nail and Beauty Lounge was founded in 2020 in Jacksonville, FL by CEO Christy Kim. Her inspiration behind opening her own beauty lounge started when she was working as a nail technician in her parents’ salon when she was 16 years old. She then expanded her skill in the beauty industry at the age of 22 and learned how to do microblading/Permanent makeup services through Phi Brow Academy. Read more>>

Jessica Florence

My name is Jessica Florence. I am a 28 year old architecture graduate at Florida A&M University, from Jacksonville, FL. I was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic breast cancer, with a metastasis to my brain and spine. My first diagnosis was discovered in 2016 at the age of twenty-two. Prior to my first diagnosis I discovered a lump in my right breast. I have no family history of breast cancer. I didn’t think it was a concern. Read more>>

John Panghulan

My name is John Panghulan, Founder & Creative Director of Love Of Zen born out of Jacksonville, Florida. My family migrated into the United States back in 2015. I always believed that US is the land of opportunities. Growing up I am always been into fashion like streetwear, sneakers & luxury brands. My style evolve throughout the years and I realized that I need to start a clothing brand. I founded Love Of Zen back in August 2020, supported by my friends and family.  Read more>>

Grace Bio

Ever since I was a child, I always had a mysterious force guiding me to something greater than me. It wasn’t until 2007 I discovered what that force was. I started my Art Career while I was still in High School at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts.
Like any artist, I just “put myself out there.” Fortunately, I got plenty of opportunities, but found myself getting burnt out bringing other people’s visions to life but not having any identity of my own. Read more>>

Wisguere Dormevil

I started my journey originally in Haiti. I was born and spent most of my childhood there. My parents migrated to South Florida and eventually, they sent for me. I lived in South Florida until I was about 19 years old. I’ve always loved music! In 2010 I started producing music for a few friends. The name, “FlyGame Music” originated from this. In 2013 FGM became a brand. Managing apparel and hosting club events, most of our time was spent in the studio creating content. Read more>>

Jane Berge

started personal training back in 1992 because I loved helping people feel good about themselves. I have been a personal fitness trainer and coach for 30 years. Within this timeframe, I also started a t-shirt business, designed my website, acquired my real estate license in 2008 and wrote a 90-Day motivational journal that I sell on Amazon. You can say I am always trying new things and keeping myself busy. Really all of these jobs help people feel good in one way or another. Read more>>

Asmar Gary

I started my professional career in the hospitality industry 16 years ago as a dishwasher at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse in Philadelphia. At that time, to me the person with the best job in the restaurant was the bartender. He dressed cooler than everybody else, always had a crowd, and went home with cash every night. So I aspired to be and eventually became “The Bartender” for a number of high end hospitality & spirits brands like Aloft hotel, South Kitchen & Spirits, SX Latin Brands and more. Read more>>

Corey Taylor

Almost 28 years ago I finished my traditional apprenticeship under Tony Browning in Manassas Virginia about 30 minutes outside the nations capital I have been fortunate enough to have worked and continued to learn from many amazing artists along my journey . I have been able to work hundreds of conventions along the way as well. Over my 28 years in the industry I have watched it transform from a underground industry to what it is today.  Read more>>

Mark Harris

Let’s go back to 2011, I started working at Footlocker Inc. and that is where I began to like casual sneaker fashion. Before Footlocker Inc., I worked at Forever 21 and JCPenney. As you can tell, my resume is heavily focused on retail. While working at Footlocker Inc, I pursued a degree at the University of North Florida in Health Administration. After graduating and working in the health care field, I found a liking for helping college students create a memorable college experience.  Read more>>

Amy Green

Plantation Oaks Farms is one of the oldest working farms left in Florida. It is part of the Mizell-Hodges Estate in the quiet town of Callahan, Florida. In 1933, the farm was purchased by the current owner’s great-grandparents, Walter and Helen Hodges. In 1935, their daughter Jean Hodges was born, the current owner’s grandmother. Walter, Helen and Jean were a small family of three but all were full of the love of thousands. Read more>>

Candece Downey

I am Jacksonville native and a natural creative. I started my business by making beaded jewelry and crochet accessories. I have since expanded my skill set to include designing and making clay earrings. I set my self apart from other creators with my use of color and texture. I’m also in the process of launching Awkwardly Chique DIY Clay Experiences where you can come learn a clay technique and make your own earrings. I have launched a mini version of the DIY Experience that I do each month at the Vagabond Flea in Murray Hill. Read more>>

Dan Reading

I’m lucky enough to have a highly successful 20-year (and counting) career in insurance investigations. That said, I’m a creative person and tend to get involved in extra-curricular passion projects to channel that creativity toward fun, positive, and fulfilling outcomes. I’ve been a musician playing in bands since I was in middle school. Over the years I was lucky enough to take that creativity and my love for music and turn it into some really amazing moments, memories, and fun. Read more>>

Anthony Hall

For years I worked diligently reaching out to numerous vendors for services such as advertising, marketing, photography, videography, creative design, you name it. At each turn I somehow or another encountered disappointment. Instead of accepting defeat, I figured out how to get it done myself with my team. We removed the middleman, decreased the overhead, and accepted the challenge. After my experience, I made it our business to make advertising & marketing simple and convenient for the next. Read more>>

Hampton Barnes

I was born and raised in Jacksonville, Fl. I attended Florida State University where I received a degree in Business Management. My mom, Kristanna Barnes, went to a candle bar in Cincinnati and fell in love with it. She brought the idea of opening a similar store back to my wife and me. We visited a couple of their stores in Columbus, Ohio and decided it would be perfect for Jacksonville. Read more>>

Kristina Aranilla-Hernandez

I graduated from the University of North Florida in 2016 as a Communications major, with a focus on Advertising. I started my professional career as a Comms Coordinator at the JAX Chamber where I started to really dabble in the photography and videography world. I went on to become the Media Design & Productions Manger, working on all design and visual marketing coming out of the organization before leaving to pursue entrepreneurship.  Read more>>

Lex Rolkosky

I grew up in a really small town in Wisconsin, it is very conservative. The town I grew up in wasn’t a kind one. There was no diversity, there was no culture. I am a part of the (L)GBT community and I was always bullied and told I would never amount to anything by my teachers, classmates and some extended family. I became a waitress in high school and I loved being around people and giving them the best experience I could.  Read more>>

Sara Schober

I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a food photographer. I had watched a documentary about food photography and styling; about tucking in all the ends of spaghetti noodles and picking out the perfect pieces of cereal, and I fell in love with the details that make a shot stand out. Through the years, I learned about more about photography and best business practices while working in portrait and product studios, and built my food portfolio in my free time.  Read more>>

Jonathan Davis

My career as a woodworker started at a young age. I come from a large family and growing up we didn’t have a lot of money, so most times when we needed something for the home we would fix what we had or make it ourselves. Furniture, toys, gifts, you name it, we made it; and I enjoyed doing it. As I grew older I began to develop a desire to have my own toy store. which later changed into wanting to start my own woodworking business. Fast forward to 2017, and JPD Wood Products was born! Read more>>

Sothana Nem

I’m Sothana (“so-tah-nuh”) and I’m a Professional Makeup Artist. I’m the daughter of Cambodian immigrants and have lived in Jacksonville for a good chunk of my life (since 2003, to be exact). Originally, I went to the University of North Florida in hopes of pursuing pharmacy but I ultimately decided that industrial-organizational psychology aligned with my strengths more. I have experience with business consulting and health coaching in previous chapters of my career, but beauty was always an ongoing interest. Read more>>


Potterprimos started when I came to Eddie with an idea of starting a social media presence showing our love of Harry Potter. Being creatives (I with a graphic design background and Eddie with a film background) I thought if we put our heads together, we could really create some magic. Quickly it grew to many more fandoms we both share a love for. Our content consists of aesthetic edits, photoshop manipulation edits, favorite fandom merch, and some fandom travel. Read more>>

Emanuel Premate

My creative journey started when I was a junior at UCF. Initially, I started with nothing but a GoPro. Little did I know the incredible experiences this spark of interest for creative work would lead me to! From supporting small businesses in the community with promo videos to creating content for the European Basketball Tour to having my work featured by national tourism boards such as Croatia Full of Life and Visit Peru. Read more>>

Lindsay & Scott Meyer

Lindsay and Scott Meyer established Congaree and Penn in 2014. It began as dirt and weeds, and it’s grown into a flourishing farm that is dedicated to agriculture & culinary endeavors, and gathering the community to enjoy both. Through the interest from chefs and other restaurants in the city, listening to what the Jacksonville market wanted, and a lot of trials and errors, Congaree and Penn is what it is today. Read more>>

Allison Tanner

Growing up, I always struggled with acne. It was my biggest insecurity and I was teased a lot in middle school because of it. I wore tons of makeup and went to so many different dermatologists to try anything I could get my hands on. I even went on Accutane twice. Fast forward to college, I was a biology major and in the pre-med program for a few years until I realized that it wasn’t my passion. I took a few years off and I was working at a hair salon as a receptionist where I fell in love with the beauty industry. Read more>>

Julie Bradley

I started from modest beginnings with little money and big dreams. I am an early 90’s kid that was fascinated with anime, Disney, and video games. I drew my favorite characters and action scenes religiously. Through school, I was recognized as the “art girl” and fantasized about pursuing a career as an artist. That sadly faded away somewhere in high school. By college, I lost my spark. I resisted any direction toward traditional arts “thanks” to one too many conversations including the phrase “starving artist”.  Read more>>

Sigrid Wade

My name is Sigrid and I am a French woman living in Jacksonville, Florida (USA). I have always been crafty and DIY-leaning with handmade cards, gifts, and knitted accessories, and even pacifiers clips after becoming a mom. I work full time and I run this little stationery business Sweet Undertone from home single-handed on my “free” time. Sweet Undertone began when I met my now-husband and was always on the hunt for cards that would fit our special situation as he is incarcerated. Read more>>


I actually started rapping making fun of the way one of my friends use to rap. I started out strictly free styling and jumping into cyphers. It didn’t matter where the cipher was I wanted in. My friend DC from New York introduced me to actually writing raps while attending Gainesville job corps. As I got better my friends started to brag about my abilities and challenge other rappers for me to rap against.  Read more>>

Robin Clark

I became interested in skincare about six to seven years ago as I was (still am) a heavy YouTube watcher. I loved to watch all the black beauty gurus (Jackie Aina, Raven Elyse, Vicky Logan, ULoveMegz…etc) and being super interested in make-up. Their videos showed me the art of makeup and they had great skin and I also loved their skincare routines. I realized that in order to have a flawless makeup application, you first must have to have a great basement/ canvas-your skin. Later, I had a conversation with a friend telling them that I was considering becoming an esthetician. Read more>>


I was born and raised in Warwick, Rhode Island. I started off recording music on a home computer. Some of my friends in elementary school had an interest in music at a young age and we embraced it by free styling and studying music. We were too distracted with the wrong crowd to take it serious. I didn’t record any music until 2015, where I recorded on a home computer set. I only released songs on SoundCloud and YouTube at the time. Read more>>

Brandon Rains

Like a lot of people my journey started with making YouTube videos, in high school me and a couple friends would get together now and again to make a video on our channel “Midtown Destiny Studios” At first it was mainly for fun but the more we did it the more I wanted to keep doing it. Once 11th grade hit I was introduced to the TV Production class at my high school and instantly fell in love. I also had the best instructor you could have around, who truly has a love for the craft and inspires me everyday. (Shoutout to Mr. Ligler) Read more>>

Geysha Tomassone

I have always had a passion for beauty. Since I was 14 years old, I worked at a small hair salon during the summers, just taking appointments and cleaning, and just fell in love with the industry. I knew that I wanted to be a hair stylist and give people confidence through hair. After graduating high school in 2005 I immediately enrolled in beauty school and was licensed in 2006. Read more>>

K & C Bartending Cayla & Kevin

I (Cayla) have been bartending for the past 5 years at local Jacksonville restaurants. I love to shake up tasty drinks and see peoples reactions on how much they like them. In 2021, a friend of mine asked if I could bartend her wedding because their original bartender fell through and I took on the challenge. I had no idea what I was getting into, but after the wedding was over, I was so happy I did it. I dragged Kevin along to help me and we had so much fun being a team together for the day.  Read more>>

Jade Robinson

My journey began in 2008. I was new to Jacksonville and looking for a fun hobby that would help me meet new people. My employer offered a volunteer program that introduced me to the American Cancer Society (ACS). And immediately I started helping with their Making Strides against Breast Cancer campaign (MSABC). Volunteering is a great avenue to give back to noteworthy causes, but you can also uncover your passion. Read more>>

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