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Hidden Gems: Local Businesses & Creatives You Should Know

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

King Alvarado

I was outgoing and well-spoken from an early age and begin my art education in elementary school. My earliest memory was of five-year-old me reciting, “I Know I am Somebody Because God Don’t Make No Junk” in front of a large crowd, a colossal crowd of five-year-old me. From there, it’s been all acting, dancing, public speaking, and teaching the whole way. Summer camps, after-school programs, the whole shebang, from kindergarten to the present day. I’ve relished plays, dance concerts, musicals, and various cultural arts experiences. Somewhere in there, I played soccer and got into plenty of trouble. My family is full of educators and leadership personalities, so my environment shaped my natural abilities and my parents supported me as an artist and arts educator. Like everyone else, the pandemic brought reflection and clarity to my career and life. Read more>>

Amanda Peterson

As far as my real estate career goes, I became a licensed agent in 2018 after spending six years at home raising my children. I was raised in Illinois where both my paternal grandmother and maternal grandfather were real estate agents. I grew up going to open houses, watching Nana negotiate, and admiring her business ethic and fashion sense. I dreamed of growing up to be a businesswoman just like her. Fast forward to 2017, I was a stay-at-home mom raising my two favorite people in the midst of a failing marriage. I cherished nearly every minute of staying home with both of my children (minus diaper blowouts and that things-haha) but my marriage had become unrecognizable. I studied online for my real estate exams with the hopes of selling just one house. In 2018, I became a fully licensed agent and joined a local brokerage. I was still struggling through a changing marriage and had no income of my own. Read more>>

Mia Cervantes

I grew up in a small town in Kentucky, so I was always looking for a new adventure! When I was in middle school, I simply would walk around Wilmore and take photos of my friends. As I proceeded to take photos throughout middle school and high school, I began receiving inquiries to start shooting for seniors, weddings, and eventually artists, so I began to build my business. As I’ve moved to Nashville, I have become even more passionate about fusing my love of music with photography and started photographing more concerts, festivals, and artists and hope to eventually shoot shows and weddings full-time. Read more>>

Hera Lynn

Like a lot of little kids, I grew up taking piano lessons. It was the typical classical education: learning how to play Ode to Joy, Fur Elise, the usuals. But after I would finish practicing my classical songs, I wanted to keep playing. So I started making up the music of my own. It started out as just piano parts, but eventually, I started writing lyrics to go along with the music. When I was 12, I wrote my first song. From what I can remember, it was pretty bad. But then, I wrote 100 more songs over the next few years, and eventually honed my voice as a writer. When I was 17, I moved to Boston to study Songwriting at Berklee College of Music. I graduated early when I was 20, and then moved to Nashville to pursue writing full-time. I now co-write five days a week in the pop and country genres. My focus is writing for other artists – I like to be behind the scenes, helping artists tell their stories. Read more>>

Elise Lance

Wedding planning is truly the combination of everything I love: Organization, creativity, and working with people! I began my wedding planning industry journey in my Junior year of college, I had been majoring in Biology and Psychology on a Pre-Med track for three years and decided to go in a completely different direction. I joined a wedding planner in Northwest Arkansas and learned so much from them, and fell in love with weddings! When I got engaged I planned my own wedding and loved every minute of it, and knew I wanted to turn it into a career long-term. After graduating from college, I got married and moved to Nashville, TN where I started my own wedding planning company. I’ve learned so much as a business owner and have loved getting to meet so many amazing people along the way. Weddings are such a joyful time in people’s lives, I love that I get to be a small part of that and make a couple’s dreams come true! EL Events is proud to have a full 2022 schedule and a busy 2023 already! Read more>>

Lindsay Phelps

I’m the Owner and Founder of The Staff Curator. I began my staffing career in the yachting industry where I learned the value of luxury recruiting. During that time in my career, I traveled the globe providing a crew for my clients’ yachts. After six years of boarding yachts around the world, I sought to bring that same luxury recruitment style to my client’s homes. And thus, The Staff Curator was born. Today, The Staff Curator provides Nashville and Franklin homes with highly skilled Estate Managers, Personal Chefs, Housekeepers, Personal Assistants, In-home Teachers, Childcare Professionals, and other integral home personnel. We recruit full-time, part-time, and freelance estate staff. Clients of The Staff Curator work directly with me starting with initial consultation, candidate discussion, interviews, and the hiring process. I’m experienced, efficient, and excited to discuss your staffing needs! Read more>>

Courtney Nelms

I am Courtney Nelms, a local makeup artist from Memphis, TN. I’d like to think that my story is pretty interesting. During my freshman year at TSU, my close friend taught me how to do my makeup before a Future concert. As the years progressed, I increased my knowledge by practicing more and more. I had friends that would ask me to do their makeup for certain events but never believed I could do anyone else’s makeup. When nursing school didn’t go as planned, I decided to step out on faith and do something I loved. In the spring of 2019, is when I created my business Coated by Court Artistry. It started off small but since then, my business has grown tremendously. Read more>>

Ashlye Fleming

I found BODYROK when I lived in San Francisco back in 2012. I was having coffee with a friend and was noticing how toned her arms were and asked what she was up to. She took me to my first class and within 2 minutes, I decided it was not for me! I was a fitness junkie, loved group classes, and was an athlete growing up, but this was CRAZY. I finished the class and thought I would never look back. That night, I felt sore in all the right places. I felt stronger somehow, after my one class. By the following day, I couldn’t WAIT to go back again. It was an addiction. My body had never felt so strong and toned as when I was doing BODYROK. I am injury prone, always have aches and pains, and this workout literally took those things away. It challenged me in a really fun, exciting way. I loved the results, the energy, and the way I could get the workout done so quickly and go straight to work without showering. Read more>>

Alex Lawwill

My journey started in 2020 (little did I know). I have always loved the light and warmth of a candle, and would light one in every room for hours (still do). At the time, my only intention was to figure out how to re-use my old jars so that I didn’t have to keep making frequent trips to the store to buy more. I got curious about how to make them and ordered myself a starter kit. Once I learned the art of pouring candles, not only did I solve my personal problem but I got even more curious about the ingredients, and started to learn about all the chemicals and toxins commonly found in most retail store candles. I then expanded my journey with friends and family, and one of my friends said to me “you should really make a business out of this.” At that very moment, a fire lit inside of me, and I jumped in feet first. His words gave me the courage to experiment beyond just a hobby and are of outward service, sharing my light and joy with the world. Read more>>

Marisa Martello

So back in my early 20s, I had completed Esthetics school in Las Vegas. For some reason, I just didn’t feel a strong urge to get involved with esthetics once I had graduated, I was still young & trying to figure it all out. One thing I did know was that creating was where I belonged. A way I could express my art in whatever form that may be. Years went by as I worked jobs in the service industry to pay my way but just never felt fulfilled. There was nothing I had found that I was even remotely passionate about. I took up photography during this time and fell in love. Having the outlet to create was powerful for me & I loved having something to look forward to, I was grateful this became a hobby for me as I was very much in need of expressing myself. 2017 rolled around & I finally had enough of working my current dead job bartending, I knew I had to make a big move if I wanted to start up any kind of career & make something for myself. Read more>>

Emilee Scott

Hi! My name is Emilee Scott and I am your esthetician here at Embur Esthetics. I have a PASSION for what I do and helping people feel confident inside and out. I opened this small little business TWO MONTHS before the pandemic (want to talk about reevaluating your life choices!). Two years this baby has been in my life and two years of the most emotional rollercoaster, I have ever been on. They never said being a business owner was going to be easy but they have said it’s the most rewarding. ⁣⁣Everyone always asks me what got me into aesthetics. Usually, people that get into or find a passion for it usually go through skin issues or had really bad skin. I didn’t— I was an MUA for the longest time and wanted to find a different career path that made women feel confident when they look in the mirror without a lick of makeup on, a career path that makes the journey worth it. Read more>>

Brooklyn Jones

As a 19-year-old black woman just entering freshman year of college at Tennessee State University, I have found a passion and fell in love with photography, I shoot because I find peace in being especially active, It has been the way that I have experienced much of the world. As a young photographer, Photography allows me to connect with the world around me. For me, it is a huge creative outlet as a way to express myself, With photography, I feel like I am always learning, there’s always a new challenge presenting itself. It relaxes me, it helps me escape from the stress of daily life and the boredom of routine. It calms my nerves and allows me to be present at the moment. Photography is like meditation for me, and it makes me happy. I believe that when you can do what you love and also make a living from it – this is the best combination. Photography for me is all about personal freedom. It’s a fantastic way to create your own reality. Especially if you’re working with something highly controllable like still life. Read more>>

Sofia Goodman

As a child, I loved music and would sing and perform songs for my mother and her friends. I took piano lessons for a little while, but quit shortly after my teachers were switched. When I was in middle school, I was very depressed and started to get into punk rock. I love the rebelliousness of the music and how it questioned society’s structural norms. My friends and I would see live music and local bands and I started to develop an interest in playing drums. After a year of convincing my parents, I finally landed a drum set. The fact that my dentist had told me that drums were “a man’s instrument” probably made me more resolute to play. As I got into high school my depression worsened. My school music teacher, Claudia Keller, one of the few female saxophone graduates of Berklee College of Music in her time, saw my passion for music and had me take lessons with her husband, who is a local blues musician. Eventually, Keller recommended that I go to Berklee’s 5-week summer music program. Read more>>

The Corwin Trio

Hi! We are the Corwin Trio! We are a professional string trio based in Nashville, Tennessee. Most of the time you can find us playing at weddings or other private events. The trio consists of 2 violins and one cello. Veronica, Syneva, and Melissa all met at Belmont University around 2007 when Veronica and Melissa were pursuing Masters of Music Degrees in Violin Performance and Syneva was a Belmont piano accompanist. In 2013, we came together, and “The Corwin Trio” was officially formed. “Corwin” is an Old English name meaning “friend of my heart.” We loved the idea of friends going out and playing gigs together. And so we emailed everyone we knew (and didn’t know) advertising our services. It started off as just a few sporadic weddings but then, it really took off. So did our friendship! Read more>>

Erin Woodward

It started off with a dream that included an international reach, in service to others. Within that lofty dream, separating out components of my pursuits: Hobbies versus vocations. Local versus global. Short-term versus long-term. What could I do for fun versus how could I fund my lifestyle? In either arena, creating impact and bringing value to the world around me. To this day, my fundamental goal remains, to make my life better at the same time elevate others. I live with a sense of urgency. Nothing is guaranteed to us, and anything is possible. All this to say, as a hobby, I wanted to see the whole world, so I set out to eat at all the best restaurants, and I started a blog documenting my travels starting in 2017. The World’s 50 Best Restaurants noticed and picked me up as a Tastemaker representing their brand, and I won an award for my efforts. I pulled my husband into the endeavor, and we specialized in ‘public displays of affection.’ Just doing something I loved, date nights with my husband, something I wasn’t being paid for, I established a global reach by accentuating the romance surrounding fine dining and luxury travel. Read more>>


I was born and raised in Nashville, so it’s not much of a surprise that I ended up making music. As a kid, I was in piano lessons and church choir. By middle school, I had stolen my brother’s toy guitar and taught myself to play. Music made me feel alive. It was my safe haven where I could process and deeply feel emotions I didn’t have the space for in a turbulent upbringing. Luckily, I was surrounded by a community where this art form was not only valued, but also the town’s primary export. Having accomplished journalists in the family, any form of writing was an encouraged (if not somewhat genetically pre-dispositioned) passion. By the time I was in high school, I was in professional songwriting sessions. When it came time to start looking at Universities, it was like a punch to the gut when thinking about an existence where I was unable to pursue these relationships and hone my craft. Read more>>

Courtney Coker

Courtney Coker is a freelance photographer fascinated with the Southern landscape and the people who inhabit it. Her portraits attempt to capture the beautiful complexities of being human. Courtney spent a previous life in medicine earning her MD and training for several years in obstetrics/gynecology and radiology before returning to her true passion, photography. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia with her husband, three daughters, eight chickens, and one exasperated dog but spends much time in Nashville where she grew up and where her parents and sisters reside. Read more>>

Louie Bello

I started singing when I was 15 on the street corners in Boston. I grew up in a time when there were singing groups all over the city and the competition was fierce and exciting. We used to sing just to get girls and to be the cool kids. I was always a music lover inspired by my dad performing with his bands all over the city but I never wanted to really be an artist or writer. I fell in love with the process when I wrote my first song at 18. I made my way to California and signed my first pub deal with Sony. I made lots of mistakes navigating that part of the business and learned a lot from my times out there. I had a few down years when it came to music and family. Got a divorce way back but had my first beautiful daughter, Italya. That changed my perspective and pushed me to follow thru on my dream. I realized how much I loved performing and writing. I ended up going to Nashville about ten years ago for a meeting with a label and fell in love with the city and the people. I realized I needed to step up my writing game. I spent these last years touring Europe, making records independently, and trying to break thru the country world. Read more>>

Mari Myz

Music has always been in our lives from a young age. We come from a musical background on both sides of our family. We were introduced to artists from the genre from Bob Marley all the way to Whitney Houston. Call it cliche but we actually started in the church choir, eventually breaking off into our own category. We always knew from a young age that music was something we wanted to make a career out of and in the year 2017 started implementing our vision. The group set out to get exposure. We went on auditions for many talent showcases such as “America’s Got Talent” and many more. Our 1st debut single “Just a Vibe” as Ayoka & S.O.H released in 2018 eventually changing our names to Mari Myz. Read more>>

Julie Lavery

I grew up outside of Boston, MA in a small town called Whitman. I sang in the church choir as a kid and took part in every musical I could from elementary school through college. I graduated from Berklee in 2010 and moved to Orlando, FL for my first paid singing gig as Ariel in “The Voyage of the Little Mermaid” show. My next move was to Los Angeles to start a band called The Running Mates with my then-boyfriend-now-husband. We wanted to travel and see the world so we turned our band into a duo and worked on a cruise ship in Australia for a little while and then flew to Bora Bora for a residency at the St. Regis Resort. That brings us to the pandemic. I had a lot of downtimes to think about what I wanted to do with my life. We were back in Boston at the time and decided that life was too short to wait around so we packed up and moved to Nashville in 2020. I also made the decision to pursue my lifelong love of songwriting full-time. I released three singles in 2021 and plan to release more someday but since coming to Nashville I’ve written with some amazing artists which opened some unexpected doors. Read more>>

Gracie Moses

This question is super daunting (lol) but honestly such an important one. It feels broad to talk about my “story” as a whole as if it’s just one because it’s not. My story is made up of many developmental narratives that make me who I am, and those little stories are what brought me to where I am today. So, to answer this question I’ll share a few pivotal and special moments that have solidified my passion for music, and what makes it my vocation. Music was always the thing I never had questions about, it was always such an inherent part of who I was, especially as a kid. My mom loves telling me this story about me at family summer camp. To give it some context, I was bubbly as hell (still am) and was always very high energy with constantly diverted attention but also always asking question. Read more>>

Alexandria Rodriguez

The idea for klōn started in 2018 in my kitchen. I had just competed in a fitness competition and didn’t feel like I “fit in” or “fit the mold” that was fitness. I was proud of myself for competing but I kept having the feeling of defeat, and lack of purpose, and I still didn’t feel like I was worthy to be a “gym chick.” As months went on the feelings only intensified. I would buy workout gear that I thought would help me feel better or give me motivation. I couldn’t keep buying $150 leggings and the $20 leggings weren’t cutting it either. So one night in 2018, I had enough. I decided there had to be a better way to not only help myself but help others not feel this way. I began to look up the companies I liked and brands that others liked. I created a business plan and began to get my ducks in a row to see if I could actually make this happen. Read more>>

Demonte Miller

I never had the thought to be a comedian or anything related, I thought I would be an astronomer, but after my aunt gave me a ride home and told me how long you have to be in school and the amount of money you make in that career, my interest in it was gone quicker than the gas in my car nowadays. I started telling jokes to friends and noticed how I was kind of able to change their moods completely and the impact my words had on them. I started to realize the weight of my words and it felt like the things I said turned into imagery in their heads, which I really liked. My school would have roast sessions which were basically groups of people joking about each other for competition to see who got the biggest laugh. I noticed I was funnier than I thought because I would be doing my work and someone would always tap me on my shoulder like “Don’t let me get monte on you!” it felt like being the final boss in Mike Tyson’s fight night game, you knew you were gonna get your ass knocked out. Read more>>

Kristen Mashburn

It took me years to realize that I‘m a leader. I simply did not have a choice. I was bred into it. I was the eldest daughter, summer activities planner, and de facto name taker when my teacher left the room. I love supporting and creating. Some of my proudest moments have been. Created my own college internship program because I couldn’t find one that suited my needs. Growing a small, one-woman marketing department into a national award-winning marketing team. Leading a service culture that reached a net promoter score that far exceeds industry standards. Defining and building a new retail model for our credit union that met or exceeded every established goal. Leading the organization of the first TEDx event in my community. For ten years, I was with Listerhill Credit Union, most recently as Chief of Staff – Retail. My focus there was to create an environment that allowed my team to do their best work, but I wasn’t a banker. Read more>>

Hope Beryl-Green

I was born into sex trafficking, and my mother died at birth. I never had a choice. I was told when I could eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom. The people who were trafficking me looked like a normal middle-class family, but they were selling me for sex behind closed doors. They trafficked me in the local church, school, and also in many different states. I never had an opportunity to get free. Everybody thought it was just a nice family, with one of my traffickers working in the school. And both traffickers have influence in the church. They took me to restaurants to traffic me. They also trafficked me in the airports we went to. I was a cheerleader and looked like everything was fine on the outside. But I was hiding the fact that I was being raped daily. I had no one to help me because no one ever asked me if I was ok. I was depressed and suicidal. Until one day I met a Christian couple that helped me get free. Read more>>

Ivan Wentzel

The Band was founded in 2016 by Ivan Wentzel, and co-founded by Jacob Newcomb, as a way to jam and play the Southern Rock in their free time after school. It quickly became evident that they wanted to add a member to the band. Ivan convinced his brother Issac Wentzel to join as a lead guitarist and lead vocalist. It didn’t take long before they realized they had a certain musical chemistry and a knack for songwriting. With their lineup complete the Wentzel Brothers have become a force to reckon with. Read more>>

Heather & Nathan Manese

The story of The Fallen Brewery began before Nathan and Heather Manese ever met. Nathan had a dream of opening a brewery after the realized his passion for home brewing and he could create a craft beer that everyone enjoyed. The name of The Fallen Brewery comes from their collective deep respect for those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice through the military or civil services. A brewery is a place where those heroes will never be forgotten and whose memories will always be honored. At the time, Nathan was on active duty military with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment and as luck would have it, he was faced with medical issues related to his lungs that were going to force him into medical retirement from the military. In April of 2018, and shortly before his retirement, an opportunity fell into his lap to take over ownership of The Grog Homebrewing Supply in Clarksville. Read more>>

ZB Savoy

I am sort of a weird combination of businessman and musician. And that two sides of me have always seemed to be interconnected in a bit of a circular pattern. Playing in local bands at an early age got me into engineering and producing records for other bands (Black Eyed Peas, 311, Unwritten Law, Tim McGraw), which in turn got me into doing audio installs and production (and eventually management and design) for large scale events like the X Games, Dew Tour and the Rock n Roll marathons. And then somehow working with all of those large corporate entities opened up the opportunity to start performing music again, be it at the Fender tent at X Games, at the finish line of Nashville’s Country Music Marathon, or at related Corporate Events for dinners and cocktail hours. And I really found myself leaning back into being a professional musician about ten years after putting it on the back burner to concentrate on production. Fast forward to the early 2000s and the whole cycle happened all over again! Read more>>

Kaya Gasperich

I’m originally from Nashville, Tennessee. I grew up and spent most of my childhood traveling between the country of Tennessee and the city of Tennessee. Both of which definitely gave me different viewpoints and experiences that I have grown and brought into my life as I’ve gotten older and into Shenanigoats business that I became a part of at the beginning of the pandemic. Going a little bit deeper into my life and who I am as a person I grew up having a very athletic father and an activist mother so you can definitely understand the two conflicting personalities inside of me. But with those two conflicting personalities, they’ve allowed me to grow into the individual that I am today and be able to bring not only the free-spirited activist fighting for the little person personality I have but also the organized strict Lee regimented athletic personality that I have inside of me. Read more>>

Tyler Tisdale

I started out doing solo and duo acoustic shows for a few years and then formed the band Midnight Revel in 2014. I toured and made records with these guys for four almost five years before we went separate ways and I took a personal hiatus from gigs to focus on writing. During this time, I met hit songwriter Steve Azar through my father listening to his talk radio show. I emailed Steve’s consulting company a video and a bio and he contacted me that night and we were on the phone the next day. Through writing sessions, he decided he wanted to manage me and we started working on my debut album. Steve obviously has a lot of ties to Nashville so I got to use some of his connections during the recording process and got to work with the likes of Chad Cromwell, Shaun Murphy, Barry Bays, and Mills Logan. Read more>>

Kenzie Williams

I have been dancing, cheering, and doing gymnastics since age 2. After cheering in college and deciding to focus more on school. I knew I needed to do something to stay active. I started working out and tried everything from HIIT and CrossFit to strength training. I fell in love with lifting weights and decided to turn that passion into a career. During college, I become a Certified Personal Trainer at a gym in my college town. I attended Tennessee Tech and obtained a degree in Nutrition & Dietetics to not only help people with fitness but nutrition as well. I am currently studying for my boards to become a registered dietitian and work at a retirement community in Mount Juliet, TN as a personal trainer while building an online coaching business as well. Read more>>

Sephine Frances

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. As a child, I wrote children’s books, then moved into poetry and then short stories. The Silent Prophecy, available on, is my first novel. It took twelve years for me to finish. I worked on it when I could while raising two boys and running a business. I am where I am today through hard work, determination, and a strong desire to write and be creative. Read more>>

Hannah Trager

My mom jokes that I could sing before I could talk. I was always singing growing up – performing, making up voices, pretending I was already famous… There are really embarrassing videos somewhere on my family computer where I pretend I’m singing a song “requested by my fans” hahaha. Hoping that never gets leaked. I started singing in my church and at my youth group when I was in high school, and that’s when I was like, ok, I need to figure out how to do this for real. I want to be an artist. I auditioned for the music school at Belmont University, got accepted, moved here, and I’ve been here ever since. I’ve met and continue to meet the most amazing and creative people, and have been pursuing music since then. I started putting out music in 2019 and have been riding that wave since. Read more>>

Sarah Lightman

In a nutshell, I’ve had a love for music and singing for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, I would write A LOT of lyrics and listen to all kinds of artists. I was surrounded by music and the arts growing up. It took me a while to figure out my path professionally though. I tried theater and musical theater for a while, then I moved to Los Angeles to try on the acting life. As much as I liked certain aspects of each of them, music brought me more joy and the amount of life I had faced inspired me to go deeper and write music. I realized I had a passion and a drive for sharing my story and the things I overcome through the medium of song. It took some time to feel worthy of this path, but with the write things lining up at the right time, I quit acting and went full time into music instead. I started out doing street performing and moved toward sponsorships, residencies, venue gigs, songwriter rounds, and album releases, and now I’m entering the world of festivals and building an online fanbase. Read more>>

Grant Emerson

I am a freelance web developer, who in a pre-pandemic world, was a full-time professional musician. On a phone call during the initial 2-week lockdown of the Spring of 2020, I lamented to a friend about what the #$%^. I was going to do it because the touring industry was coming to a grinding absolute halt with no signs of coming back to life until 2021 at the earliest. I found an online full remote Full-Stack coding Bootcamp at Vanderbilt. The program was 6-months, which put graduation in November 2020. I saw my window and I took it. Completing that program was one of the hardest things I have done. Would I recommend it… maybe. I’d highly suggest vetting your teacher. My teacher wasn’t much of one so I feel like a self-taught developer at this point. Read more>>

Jake Wiegel

I was living and working in Southern California. After 20 years in law enforcement, an injury forced me to retire. I was always involved in the car scene in some way or another. Sitting around the house was depressing and I needed to focus on something, so I got more involved in a car club there. After a couple of years of going to car shows, meets, cruises, and charity events, I ended up at a car show with Hector Gomez, who was the president of another car club and worked for Chemical Guys. During a conversation with him, I learned Chemical Guys were seeking franchisees to open Detail Garage locations, including one in the area I lived. I followed up with Chad Zani, who at the time was working to expand the franchise locations nationwide. After working our way through the process, we decided to commit to opening a store in Colton, CA. Read more>>

Sarah Underwood

As a sophomore in high school in Minnesota, I thought I would go to college to play soccer. After sustaining a career-ending head injury during an indoor game at the age of 15, that dream came to a screeching halt. However, it opened the door to music. Physical and occupational therapists limited my recreational activities for nearly two years as I recovered, but they encouraged me to play the guitar as part of my healing process. I began writing songs and playing around the Twin Cities with a band. I learned that I could pursue music academically in college, and as a career. After being accepted to Belmont University’s Songwriting Program, I moved to Nashville at 18 years old and graduated magna cum laude from their Honors program four years later with a double major in Songwriting and Spanish. As a student, I interned for management companies and major record labels, including spending my entire senior year and months after graduation with Warner Music Nashville. Read more>>

Nicole Leonti

I signed my first record deal in the gospel music industry at the age of 13. I toured the world and had many top singles. I found myself pregnant and was kicked out of the industry. I didn’t know how to support myself after that so I started singing sessions in Nashville for local songwriters and touring with country artists like Carrie Underwood as a background singer. I found myself loving songwriting and began writing songs for artists, which eventually led to a 12-year career in film/TV/commercial songwriting. I moved from Nashville to Los Angeles and ended up with a record deal on Warner Bros. The duo group I was in, Nikki & Rich, ended up doing some great things. from playing the tonight show to our debut on the Ellen Show, I thought this was finally my big break! we ended up not even releasing the album, and were dropped from the label when new executives took over the label. This was a huge disappointment as it was my 3rd record deal. Read more>>

Presly Pedigo

I’m currently a junior at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville where I’m studying neuroscience to one day be a Physician Assistant. Growing up, I had always been very shy and awkward until I tried out for my very first pageant at the age of 15. I had no clue what I was getting myself into, but I continued because it was something that I truly enjoyed! Pageants have since helped me grow exponentially in confidence, and I have them to thank for where I am today. At the age of 18, I captured the coveted title of Teen Universe USA and represented our country at the international competition in Panama City, Panama. Three years later at the age of 21, I hold the title of Miss Rocky Top for the USA National Miss Organization! I represent the state of Tennessee at nationals this summer. I have been able to grow my love for serving our city and state as the founder of Camp INSPIRE: a day camp for kids focusing on building volunteerism and leadership qualities. Read more>>

LeLann Evans

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to become the president. Back then, I didn’t fully understand the position of power of the president, but I knew that I wanted to be able to bring change to my community. As I got older and started to study politics. I realized that I didn’t have to become president to bring change to my community, instead I needed to know how to maneuver through government to gain the resources for the change I wanted. I earned my B.S. in Political Science from Austin Peay State University where I also completed a six-month study abroad program in South Korea. In 2017, I received a Non-Governmental Organization Management certification from American Graduate School in Paris, France, where I spent two years studying International Relations and Diplomacy. While in Paris, I worked with the Ivory Coast delegation to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization. Read more>>

Chad King

After graduating from Florida State University with degrees in Finance & Accounting, Chad got into sales with Xerox, selling copiers door to door. While becoming the top producer at the company, Chad was simultaneously studying successful individuals that had tremendous wealth & prosperity. He noticed a common theme amongst many of them… Real Estate. With nothing but an amazing woman by his side, Chad jumped into Real Estate full time. Starting in the wholesale/fix and flip space, to date, Chad has completed over 450 wholesale/Fix and Flip deals. He is now the owner of several companies in different verticals, an accomplished investor, and a business coach; teaching sales, investing, asset acquisitions, and income stream building. Chad’s passion is building generational wealth through investing in assets; he currently owns 635 units of multifamily apartments that he has acquired through direct purchases and completing 506 (b&c) syndications. Read more>>

Rhylie Crosswhite

I got started in cosmetology long before I recognized it was the path I was on. I grew up in a small town called Chico, in the valley of Northern California. I was with my mom at one of her hair appointments; she had to see someone else because her usual hairstylist, Vince, was too busy. While her color was processing, Vince had a cancellation and simply asked her if he could “try something new” on my hair. I was 11 years old, naturally blonde and I believe I left slightly blonder with a shade of purple underneath, and I loved how fun it was! He told my mom that day, that I was going to be a hairstylist. My mom was really cool and would occasionally bring me back to Vince for more fun colors.By the time I was 14, Vince opened his own salon and asked if I would like a summer job, I was thrilled. I spent that summer sweeping hair, keeping the place spotless, greeting and serving clients, learning how to do inventory, and eventually taking over the phones. Read more>>

Mia Rago

I grew up in the western suburbs just outside of Chicago, IL. I have been singing since I could talk and was first introduced to music by my Dad who would sing Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Bobby Darin songs around the house. I was diagnosed with severe scoliosis at the age of nine and was forced to give up sports and physical activity for years. I underwent two spinal fusion surgeries before the age of 15. There were a lot of things I was unable to do at the time while my back recovered, but I was always able to do music. By the time I reached middle school, I decided to pick up a guitar and started taking lessons. This allowed me to begin songwriting and even record my own demos on my computer. I continued songwriting and singing all through high school. I decided to go to college for music, so I applied to Belmont as a commercial voice major and got in. During my first year of college, I solidified five original songs that I wanted to record and distribute. Read more>>

Nina Brito

I’ve always had a dream of owning my own shop. A little bit of me reflected in products for others to purchase and smile about. I may have waited longer than I should have to take the plunge, but I finally have chipped away at that dream. The foundation has been laid. I started my entrepreneurship early on by making jewelry and selling it, running craft shows, and managing both retail stores (early in life) and wholesale brands (the past ten years). All of my experience has given me the confidence to give it my best shot with Thunder Moon Collective. Read more>>

Mridu Parikh

The first half of my career was in NYC in Account Management (Client Services) in various marketing companies. My husband’s job opportunity introduced us to Nashville (not the “It” city back in 2005). Eight weeks later we settled into our Green Hills home, with no friends, family, or connections. I thought I hit the jackpot, staying home with my son and my other one on the way. Yet a couple of years in, I was yearning to get back in the workforce. But I wanted something flexible and more aligned with my interests. This was the spark of my entrepreneurial journey. I had no start-up experience or education. Just a desire to create something on my own terms. I also had the benefit of watching my father, an incredible entrepreneur, create success through hard work and ingenuity. I remember thinking, “this is in my blood.” Read more>>

Sean Kelly

I am the medical director of the Vanderbilt Comprehensive Care Clinic (VCCC), Tennessee’s largest HIV treatment center, and the founder of The Ruby Gala. I became a Nashvillian in 2016 and, since then, have been working with the Mayor’s office, health department, and many other agencies to end the HIV epidemic in our city. In 2019, I founded (and currently co-chair) The Ruby Gala to support this effort. To best explain the purpose of The Ruby Gala, I’ll first provide some background: In the early years of the VCCC, HIV was an unstoppable epidemic that devastated our community (in 1994, the year VCCC was founded, we lost a patient every day to AIDS). As revolutionary new therapies were developed, we learned that although the virus could not be eliminated, it could be suppressed, and the immune system could be restored. Read more>>

Dr. Mike Belkowski

I graduated from the University of Montana in 2016 with my Doctorate in physical therapy. When I graduated, I had zero intentions of starting any businesses or companies. But through a series of events, I quickly became disgruntled with the allopathic model of medicine. Less than five months into my first PT job, I decided to open my own PT practice in Missoula. In 2017, ProActive Health opened its door to treating patients. Throughout the next couple of years, I was constantly learning and picking up holistic, efficacious treatments that led to amazing healing benefits for my patients.One of those treatments ended up being red light therapy. I was blown away at the dearth of quality products and education on the market and, thus, BioLight was born in early 2019. The last three years have seen amazing growth in the red light therapy space and BioLight has vaulted as a top company in the industry, predicated on providing superior, leading-edge products and education for a more affordable price. Read more>>

Lexi Sidders

Hi! My name is Lexi Sidders. I am a 22-year-old Singer/Songwriter who just moved to Nashville from California! I have been singing Since Kelly won Idol and I truly believe that this is what I am on Earth to do; sing, write and make people feel happy while honing my craft. I have spent various years auditioning for shows to be discovered, but after my second audition for Idol, I realized that this industry wasn’t as easy as I thought. I began researching ways to make myself better, to stand out. I started a duo band with a family friend, we played at local wineries and bars for seven years. I believe I made a name for myself in my small town, but I knew I could do something bigger. My guitarist’s dad, Rolf Gerhung, who is also an amazing writer and singer, invited me to join Durango’s Songwriting Expo, An event that takes place twice a year put on by an amazing man named Jim Atterbury, where professionals from record labels critique your original music and you would be able to perform for them and make amazing contacts, which I am very grateful for. Read more>>

Macy Addis

I was born in the small town of Portsmouth, Ohio. I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t singing. From the early age of two, I would sing and put on shows for my family, friends, and neighbors. (Our home videos are pretty entertaining). Whether I was in the backyard or at the grocery store, my parents could always find me because they could hear me singing. I started out singing at church and auditioning for every choir solo. My first big solo was with my 4th-grade elementary choir. At that show, my family and teacher realized how comfortable I was performing in front of large crowds! At the age of 15, I was invited to the O’Keefe Music Foundation, where I was able to record and film music videos with musical prodigies from all over America. It was at that foundation that I really started focusing on strengthening my voice. Read more>>

Jarrod Barry

It all started in 3rd grade. This crazy thought came to mind. I wanted to start a band and tour the world. I knew it wasn’t just some average thought. It was exhilarating. The feeling this image in my head gave me was indescribable. I knew what it was and what I wanted from a young age. From there, I went on to attack this dream with everything I have, and here we are! My new song Happy is kind of this story. Just talking about how some days it feels like this wild dream may never happen. Then others if you can focus on the good times, why you do it, and the memories you cherish from it. You’re going to be just fine! Read more>>

Joshua Ketchmark

I grew up two and half hours south of Chicago, IL. It’s hard to remember now what came first: the radio, or my parent’s record collection. Either way, I was hooked. Queen, The Beatles, John Mellencamp. Then I discovered a guitar in the basement closet of my house and I was off and running. I went from basement and garage jam sessions to playing shows in the surrounding area. Eventually, I moved to Nashville and played guitar for a couple of local acts, starting songwriting and recording on the regular. In 2002, I moved to Los Angeles, CA. Moonlighting once again, and playing guitar for bands in Hollywood. My day gig consisted of working in the studio with established artists and Grammy Award-winning producers. I was getting a front-row seat to see how major label records were made. Read more>>

David Onri Anderson

I was born in Nashville, TN in Centennial Hospital. My mother is from Paris, France, and her father is from Algeria. My great grandfather on my mom’s side was Rabbi Moshe Atlan, who was later buried outside of Jerusalem. On my mother’s side are Jewish refugees from Algeria who moved into France. My mother came to America to pursue art in Florida, and there met my father. My father was born in Denver, Colorado, but lived all over America and in Curaçao and El Salvador. I am the middle child of three boys and a younger sister adopted from South Korea. Our family is eclectic, artistic, loud, and spiritual, and we are a bunch of misfits that like to enjoy food, nature, art, and books. I have been making art since I was 3, and I still do today as my “living”. Read more>>

Alta Franklin

I am an assistant coach in the Girls on the Run (GOTR) program. My current site is Fox Hill Elementary, in the North Kansas City School District. I have been an assistant coach for the past ten seasons and have been a part of the program since it began there in 2018. I quickly learned and liked the vision and mission of the GOTR program. I was impressed with the focus of its curriculum. I like how it concentrates on the mental and physical well-being of each girl as an individual and as a valuable part of a group, team and community. Important life skills are embedded throughout eight weeks of lessons and trainings in preparation for the 5K run at the end of each season. I enjoy teaching and exhibiting these core values that help build character and prepare girls for lifelong success. One of my main goals is to ensure that each girl knows and feels like she is special and that she can be free to be who she is. Read more>>

Benjamin Gipson

In 2021, a few friends and I were sitting in a coffee shop, chatting about the state of local music in KC and how there are so many great unknown, local artists who just never have the chance to be seen, heard, or discovered. We joked about making a name for the “little guys”, for the “underground homies” and having the city support them. After releasing my first single and playing my first two KC shows with some great musician friends, we realized that there was a need- a need for a network of local artists from all genres and experiences that have the opportunity to showcase their work. There are a few local record labels or niched collectives that are looking to do this on a small scale but not one that is for all artists, all people. Beyond music though, we know that artists of all types- photographers, videographers, visual artists, poets, etc.- thrive on connectivity and opportunities to grow their craft. Many times though, unless you know the right people, it is difficult to go from passionate hobbyist to being paid for the art you make. Read more>>

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