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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.

Kallie Holstein

I’ve always loved the wedding industry and I found my place in it by (long story short) being born into a family who owns a print shop. The longer version is – My grandfather started it from the ground up and it’s grew into a company with around 35 extremely experienced employees in a building we’ve had to expand on a couple of times. Very thankful for that. A few years ago our grandfather passed away unexpectedly and ever since then my cousin has been running the shop. Read more>>

Larry Robinson

KUDZUKIAN started as a skeletal operation that started with one show — R&R on Sports — which has become the anchor show for the network that currently houses over 20 podcasts. I wanted to do something where I could feel self-actualized; I wanted something I could do until the day I take my last breath. After much prayer and meditation, this is what revealed itself. Then I found myself in partnership with Howard Robertson who was a big brother and mentor to me throughout this process. Read more>>

Chase Wolfe

I picked up my first camera in my sophomore year of high school. A lot of days after school, me and my friends would go to shoots so I could learn how to use my camera. Shortly after, I realized I wanted to take photography and film as far as I could go with it. I started reaching out to many different artists in Memphis that I listened to and continued working with them as they grew their careers. Over the years, I’ve been able to build clientele in LA, ATL, Miami, and many other cities. Read more>>

Virginia Johnson

I got started in Taxes and Credit repair 2016. I remember going to get my taxes done and every other year it seem like I was getting audited. Whenever I would have questions, my tax preparer could never answer my questions. That’s when I decided to look into doing taxes myself. Once I got started in the business I quickly realized I was not the only person having audit issues. Read more>>

Amy Nunley and Ashley Wilson

It all started with a conversation on a girl’s trip. Amy mentioned wanting to start-up jewelry making again as a form of therapy. Ashley then suggested we try out clay. We decided on the name by combining our firstborn children’s names. Ashley’s son, Fin, and Amy’s daughter “Elle” short for Stella. The “& Co” for any more children that may be added to the families. Read more>>

Latasha Taylor-Ross

1. I must say I came into this world with an open heart, I have always been a giving person and have had a soft spot for kids. So in 2014, I decided to start my nonprofit, SGP, with the help of my daughters, my husband, and his mom. Having their support has made this journey special for me. Our first event was our annual Thanksgiving feeding, which provides a meal to those in need throughout the North Memphis and Hollywood community. Read more>>

Beverly Hoover

On February 18, 2017, I became homeless. I was fleeing from a domestic violence situation with my son and my newly born daughter. We lived in my car for 2 days and I finally had to get us someplace to stay. Memphis streets are rough. The Homeless Hotline put us in a hotel for 2 days and told us to go to Mifa after our days were up. I had not ever been through anything like that before. The Salvation Army welcomed my family with open arms. Read more>>

Shelby Monteverde

I have always gravitated towards creating things, especially drawing and painting, and coloring. My grandfather, Ernie Patton, is an artist in Memphis as well, so I think I inherited some of his artistic traits. His paintings can be found all around town in places like the commissary, central bbq, half shell, and others. Growing up, I didn’t consider art an actual option for a career, but while in my first art class in college, I did a report on Lulie Wallace (an artist out of Charleston, SC) and how she was turning her art into a successful business. Still, I didn’t give myself permission to vocally dream that I could travel down that path… especially without fear, disappointment, failure. Read more>>

Kia Thomas

I started working in finances pretty early on after going to school for a career in healthcare. I realized early, nursing wasn’t for me. I put in several hours and worked very hard to climb the ladder in the financial company I worked for. After successfully leading my team to reach every goal placed before us, I decided I wanted more and made a switch to commercial banking. I found even more success there and got into managing banks in my community. Read more>>

Jazmyne Tribble

The story of BLK Spark started with a recent MBA graduate desperately searching for purpose and a creative outlet during the 2020 pandemic. The changes and uncertainty the pandemic bought lit a fuse in me to discover my passions outside of the career I was starting as an HR professional. God revealed the art of candle-making to me through a YouTube video on a random Friday night. I instantly became intrigued with the science, creativity, and peace of mind associated with candle-making. Shortly after making my very first candles in my mom’s kitchen, I decided to officially launch my homemade candle business on August 30, 2020. Read more>>

Kaitlyn Ward

It all began with those days where I had nothing to do but virtual school, no extracurricular activities, and the pandemic was just beginning. During my free time, I’d catch myself naturally scrolling through Pinterest, Poshmark, and Etsy for hours at a time. Some would call it an obsession, I’d call it inspiration. Just scrolling and seeing countless unique designs of clothing, a variety of styles, and multiple color patterns intrigued me. I was completely hooked. Originally, my plan was to make custom t-shirts, tote bags, and other accessories and clothing for people, but when my best friend informed me about LITE Memphis, I couldn’t think of doing anything else but applying and beginning my own clothing line. For the fall semester of my junior year, I learned countless tips and information that were needed to begin and maintain my business. Read more>>

Lennard James

I am the CEO of Enzo Entertainment. I started Enzo Entertainment 20 years ago while working for Verizon Engineering Office in Nashville as an Accountant. A friend approached me one day and offer me the opportunity to invest in an upcoming concert he was having. I knew a little bit about the entertainment business considering I would watch my late cousin was Rufus Thomas perform on Beale Street. I have been in budget meetings with other festival and expo events as a board member. After that successful night performances, I never looked back. My profit margin that night was more money than I had made that year. I knew then that I wasn’t fulfilling my destiny. Read more>>

Shelita Grier

I started back in 2017 after I created a birthday outfit for my daughter’s birthday. I had always been interested in customizing things and arts and crafts, but after I made my daughters outfit, people started asking me to create things for them. I was in a really low point in life, having to move back in with my parents with my 2 children, and creating my business helped me to get back on my feet. I was able to create something that I was proud of. Read more>>

Sarah Reynolds

In May 2017, I created the lifestyle brand: XOXO, Sarah Jo, and @itsmesarahjo. I wanted to find a way to bridge my love of fashion and lifestyle with local businesses. I run this on the side of having a full-time job and volunteering for various charities. I have so enjoyed getting to promote businesses to my followers. Read more>>

Sue Purnell (Big Sue)

My career in radio started at a small station in Omaha, Nebraska, KNOS, 88.9 in the late 90’s. I would later move to attend the University of Memphis to pursue my degree in Communications. While at the U of M, I briefly interned with Interscope records which led to networking with radio and club djs in the city who helped me land the radio gig I was chasing. After 5 years, and the opportunity to work several major dayparts; AM Drive, Midday and PM Drive, and learn to jump behind the turntables and dj, I left Memphis to join a different radio group (Citadel, now known as Cumulus) in Lafayette, Louisiana. Read more>>

Charles Nwankwo and Rickey Johnson

Sage Memphis initially started off with Charles and a good friend of his—Minh Nguyen— wanting to do marketing and rebranding for Oshi Asian Kitchen. It was quickly decided that the owners of Oshi Asian Kitchen wanted to sell, instead of re-brand, the business. That very moment is when Charles sought out other business partners Rickey Johnson, Courtney Mims, Christopher Tatum, Oderah Nwankwo, and former business partner Jeremy Toney and as a team, they decided to step in and formulate their own idea of starting a restaurant. From there, the concept of Sage Memphis was born. The rest is history. Read more>>

Kelly Lindsey

I am an artist and an art educator who lives in Memphis. I graduated from the University of Memphis with a BFA in Art Education and a concentration in sculpture. I started making lamps in 2006 in collaboration with a good friend and fellow artist. We worked for several years together. I made the lamp bases using only cast concrete. We circulated many local artists’ markets and eventually decided to branch out individually. I took a few years off from making lamps and focused on two-dimensional art but found myself missing making sculptural, functional pieces. Read more>>

Meka Egwuekwe

odeCrew was founded in May 2015 by Petya Grady, Audrey Willis, and myself with funding from the Memphis Grizzlies Foundation to teach middle and high school kids at the Lester Community Center in Binghampton how to create mobile apps over the course of six weeks in the summer. This successful summer camp evolved into an after-school program during the school year, and has now grown into a multi-faceted organization CodeCrew is today serving kids and adults, in-school and out-of-school, plus teacher training and policy work. Read more>>

Nadia Merino

Hope Heals came from an idea and a dream. Hope actually means “Nadia”. All my life I’ve been a healer. At first, I didn’t recognize it, but over time it became apparent. I would have people come to me all the time with different issues, looking for a resolution or just to be heard. I acted as a therapist for family and friends for many years. I myself have been through a great deal of trauma & believe my life’s purpose is to help people navigate through those traumas. From childhood trauma, narcissistic abuse, to near-death experiences. I’ve literally had to grow through what I went through. I created Hope Heals to help heighten intentions towards whatever healing is needed. Read more>>

Jennifer Richardson

I started cooking around the age of 9, my mom stated I was 6, my mother had caught strep throat and hadn’t eaten in a few days, and she wanted homemade biscuits and sorghum molasses. She talked me through the recipe, and it gave her enough strength to get out of bed and continue to care for her family. My father had to be hospitalized so, whenever they were away, I and my older sister would experiment, boy did we mess some stuff up, lol. So when my parents came back home I would ask them to buy me cookbooks, and my Dad, loved to hear me read, so I would read the recipes out of the book while he laid in bed. He passed in 1993, I was 11, after that I started collecting seasoning and spices. Read more>>

Allison Jackson

Well much like many people fresh out of high school I had no idea what I wanted to do. I had always been into beauty [skincare and make-up]. However, I also was like I wanna go to college. Only because I felt like my parents would be proud of that decision, and peer pressure of course. So, I went to college for a couple of years and realized that wasn’t for me. Which led me to do some research on esthetics programs and apply to Gould’s Academy. I went through their program, graduated, and began working at European Wax Center not too long after. After about a little over a year working with them, I decided to branch off and start The Wax Quarters. Read more>>

Tia Waller

I started my business in November of 2015 with very little knowledge of how to run a business. The knowledge I have now is solely off on experience. I had more lows than highs in the beginning due to little knowledge. I made so many mistakes, but now I’m featured in the W magazine, have products on TV shows, wigs on models and actresses, life is only getting greater. Read more>>

Rebecca Knoernschild

The dogs are barking, the children are crying. There is a pile of laundry on the chair in the bedroom that is going to have to be washed again because now I can’t remember if it’s clean or dirty. I’ve just gotten back from the large regional hospital where I work PRN as a Physical Therapist on the weekend. I shower (that’s always first!) and change, kiss my husband and boys, then grab my camera and head out the door. It’s Golden hour and I have some pictures to take! Read more>>

Tabria Price

Growing up, I have always struggled with loving and appreciating my natural hair, and as I got older, I started to notice that it wasn’t just me dealing with this issue. I decided that I wanted to change that but I couldn’t find a good set of products for my hair and I was always dealing with really bad breakage at the time as well, so I started doing some research about different natural remedies for hair growth, so I mixed up a hair growth oil and it actually worked! Read more>>

Camri McNary

I started my business originally just by posting my vegan meals and different vegan recipes online. People became really interested in what I was doing and started asking me to cook for them, which caused more people to reach out, and then, I grew a solid client base. Read more>>

Amirah King

Since freshman year in high school, I knew I was supposed to have my own business. As I child I grew up playing basketball, had a strong love for technology, history, music, and creating ideas I saw in my mind. Throughout high school and time in college, I explored web design, graphic design, creative & journalistic photography. Currently, I am combining all of those things that make me happy into my business as an overall creative, via photography & videography services for individuals & businesses all over the world. Read more>>

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