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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.

Derrick and Tori Anderson

We started our business, Anderson Supplies, back in May 2018. I, Derrick Anderson, had a desire to start a business but was not sure of what business I wanted to start neither the direction to take. However, one day I was walking from lunch and saw a sign that read “Rent a fence”. It dawned on me, “Why not rent out tables and chairs?” So, I called my wife, Tori, and asked “What do you think about starting a business that rents tables and chairs?” She agreed it was a good idea. This was actually the only business idea we both agreed on. We officially started Anderson Supplies a few months later. We started with only a small pickup truck and $1,500 from our savings account. Read more>>

Amaro Dubois

My name is Amaro Dubois. I am from Brazil. I started playing the violin when I was 6 years old in a small town called Campos dos Goytacazes in Rio de Janeiro, BR. I started being interested in playing the violin because of cartoons I used to watched; those good old cartoons where the woodpecker would play the violin while walking around, those were my favorite to watch. So, I got interested and asked my parents about it. It is important to say that I wasn’t a very calm kid, so my parents were just like; lets try this and see if he can settle that energy down a bit.  Read more>>

Johnathan Meadows

Loyalty Films is a business I started in 2011 based off a hobby for photography and videography. I have always seen things a certain way or what some people call a photographers eye. Shortly after purchasing my 1st DSLR I continued to sharpen my skills to the point where my hobby turned into a business. I can honestly say one of the most rewarding things is to see the smiles of satisfaction from customers. Read more>>

Floyd Lee III aka Tre Lee

My story begins back in a city in the Delta of Mississippi called Greenville. Growing up in the Delta of Mississippi, sometimes the ideals, dreams, and gifts glance over. I was fortunate to be able to grow up in a home with both mother and father. My mother being a director of a private school in Greenville, MS. My father worked on the manufacturing line for the Nissan factory. Two hard- working parents were dedicated to providing a living for their children. Read more>>

Akilah Wofford

This journey becoming an entrepreneur has been a life changing. I worked in various sales position since the age of 16, which include retail, network marketing, promotional gigs and even real estate. I wanted to challenge myself to create something different. I have always had a passion for heels and became known for having a lot of heels. I would collect shoes in different sizes from co signment stores just for my friends when we all went out to party.  Read more>>

Decarcerate Memphis

During Trump’s “tough on crime” reelection campaign, we came together while the pandemic was surging and people were really suffering. Criminalizing poor, working-class Black and Brown communities was a grossly inappropriate response, especially considering those communities were most affected by covid-19. Once Biden was elected we took the time to re-evaluate the issues that are specific to Memphis and what particular issues the criminal justice system operates on as a whole. We learned about traffic stops and how dangerous traffic stops are to the general public. So we decided to put a campaign together to end pretextual traffic stops. Read more>>

Ashley Stewart

As a child I always loved music. I couldn’t rap nor could I sing but It was always something about music that grasped me. As I got a little older I got into promoting music artist and parties in high school and then proceeded to college where I would do promo for DJs and some of the college parties and also being able to promote rap artist on the side. I really enjoyed promoting parities and artist especially artist because as stated as a child I loved music. Wasn’t an artist but knew I wanted to do something with music.  Read more>>

Shaniki Brown

Hi! I am Shaniki Brown but everybody calls me Nikki! I am 41 year old Breast Cancer Survivor of five years. Before I became an entrepreneur, I worked in childcare and loved it. But in 2014 when I became the proud foster mother of Stanlee Brown, whom I have adopted in 2019, I couldn’t devote myself to his needs and work needs. Needless to say, Stanlee won! Becoming a parent, has been one of the most rewarding things in my entire life. Read more>>

Daniel Dahmer

My love for the Art of Rap started when i first heard Eazy E as a child.His voice was so captivating that i knew it was what i wanted to do if i could.I used to rap his lyrics in the mirror as a kid and basically re write his lyrics with my own twist.As i got a little older i started to write my own lyrics and eventually got a karaoke machine where i got practice recording my own songs.I Been thru multiple name changes until i fully developed my style that was 100% authentic to me without being forced. Read more>> 

Torian Jewell

Originally born in California to two military members, my mother and I moved to Memphis once I turned 1. From there I spent 14 years of my young life in Memphis. Some of the beat moments of my life were enjoying many of the greats cornerstone events and landmarks the city had to offer. I moved away for high school and came back upon graduating. Once I came back, I decided to join the Air Force after three years back home and have been traveling the world since 2013! Read more>>

Candice Todd

I started making wigs four years ago when I was pregnant with my son. As a child I was bullied about my hair being shorter than others. I would wear braids and twist to fit in with others. As I grew older, I developed a love for hair extensions. I always knew I wanted to make women feel beautiful no matter how long or how short their hair was. I started making wigs in college and for a long time I made them only for myself. When I went on maternity leave from my job in 2018, I decided to invest in a wig making course. And that is when I started my wig making business. Read more>>

Kendra Danielle

After completing my Peace Corps service in the Dominican Republic in 2017, I relocated to Baltimore City. Baltimore became my home for the next 3 years. I fell in love with the grit and the grind of the city, but what attracted me the most was the passion, love, and pride Black folxs had for their city. I met a plethora of folxs fighting to make Baltimore a healthier, safer, & more liberated place to live. From healers, to activist, to community organizers, to artists, and more. Read more>>

Deidra Terrell

Innovation Dance Company of Memphis TN began in a one bedroom apartment in Frayser. Looking around I seen that there was a lack of activity for the young men and women. I walked and drove around the neighborhood asking the parents if they would allow their children to be a part of this community dance and mentorship organization. 21 years later we are stronger than ever. Innovation Dance Company of Memphis TN has participated in numerous events all over the Mid south including the southern heritage classic parade,The Midsouth Fair Dance competition, The Annual Memphis Juneteenth festival as well as the grand opening of the New Amazon Factory Frayser location. Read more>>

Amor KT

My name is KT and I am from Birmingham AL. I started braiding hair just a little over a year ago on March 04, 2021 due to losing my job . I did my first head for $40. Yes, 40 bucks. I posted my work on Facebook. Next thing you know I was booked up the next week for box braids $75 a head. I added stitch braids in July and then it took off from there. I have had clients from California, Nevada (Vegas), Atlanta, Mississippi and even FLORIDA. I really appreciate the support and social media has definitely gotten be where I am today. Read more>>

Niki (Nicole) Jilvontae (Jackson)

My name is Nicole Jackson better known in the literary industry as Niki Jilvontae and I am a 40-year-old mother of two who was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. I started reading and writing at a very early age which developed into my love of poetry by the time I turned 8. My obsession with words grew stronger throughout my life helping me gain two degrees and eventually sign to my first publishing contract in 2013.  Read more>>

yung kaioken

I’d rather not say my gov name for personal reasons but heres what lead me to use my music as therapy. To keep it brief for interviews sake, lets talk about the four main areas that haunt me to this day. Starting at the youngest age, me and my older brother were taken away to fostercare at the ages of 4 and 6 because father at the time pulled a knife to our mothers throat in front of us. Came back home with just mom and oldest brother. Read more>>

Christie Boyd

Hi, thank you for highlighting my story. I got started in this business out of frustration and a burning desire. I’ve always wanted to be my own boss and own my own business. I really felt if I could work hard to build someone else’s business surely, I could put that same energy into building my own business. I wanted more for myself and my family. I wanted to create a brand to prove to myself and my children that anything is possible. I am showing them they can do and be whatever they want with hard-work and commitment. Read more>>

MICHAEL AYENU

Right after senior high school in 1999 I decided to follow my passion. Music was everything to me. Luckily For me I joined soundmax systems who had gigs almost every other weekend. I learnt on the jobs by showing up two hours to practice before show time. That is how I arranged my music and got better. I went from playing christening, engagements, weddings, funerals, stage events, private gigs, radio and night clubs. I gave most of them out when I started working with the biggest artiste from Ghana about twelve (12) years ago. So I have been on road since 1999 till date. Read more>>

Natalie Hewitt

My story is similar to so many others. My grandmother had started a couple of quilts for my girls and didn’t get around to finishing them. I wanted to learn how to quilt in order to get them finished. I started reading and watching YouTube videos and eventually I put my first quilt together. The rest is history. Last year, I learned that my favorite quilt shop was closing because the owners wanted to retire. So, I decided to take the leap to keep the store open.  Read more>>

Denisha Malone

Yes, Hi my name is Denisha Malone, and my story starts back from as far as I can remember, about 5/6 years old. I am the youngest of 7 siblings and growing up with beautiful well rounded older sisters is what really inspired me. The way that my sisters always carried themselves, their appearance, talents, and wisdom really molded me. I was raised around hair and beauty, from watching my sisters put on makeup and do hair, I’ll think to myself “wow my sister is beautiful” and I would go practice on myself. Read more>>

Antionette Morris

AMorris Collection is a safe place for women to feel confident, no matter the shape, size, race or age. Sometimes, instead of clients wanting an original custom design, they ask and are adamant about getting the exact look of the pic they send. The secret sauce in getting your designer giving you a 🔥 design is allowing them to freestyle. Preparation, organization and discipline!!! When you have all 3 in order, you’ve set yourself up for greatness! Read more>>

J’von Toles

I started drawing when I was 3 and I was born and raised in memphis. I progress all throughout my life and I tell myself that I don’t have a limit, ceiling, or a cap. I graduated from Memphis academy of science and engineering(2011), Southwest Tennessee community College(2015), and MTSU(2018). I went through some tough times in school like being told that I wasn’t good enough to do art or that your art is not what we are looking for.  Read more>>

Darius Dowdell

Originally from Birmingham Alabama born and raised majority of my life before moving to Atlanta Ga. Growing up my parents entered me into a few dance organizations realizing the passion I had for dance “Mad Skillz” based out of Birmingham Al was one of them. The experience of being in a group taught me about choreography, traveling, teamwork etc. and also built up more confidence being in front of large crowds. I eventually felt I should move on to do more work on the music side of things with my older brother Controversy. Read more>>

Mississippi Golden Gurls

How It Started: A couple years ago, after one too many times of losing my iPhone, I finally decided it was time to create an Instagram account. At that time, I wasn’t too savvy at backing up my phone, so when I did lose my device, I essentially lost all the precious photos of my dogs. With Instagram I finally had a place I could electronically catalog my favorite pictures and videos of my pups, and I always knew where I could find them. I was so relieved. I had no intention of sharing my space with anyone else. This was for me and for me only. Read more>>

Christian Robertson

Robertson, an alumnus, attended Jones County Junior College, earned MAJAC All-Star honors, was listed as a Top 80 JUCO Prospect according to jucorecruiting.com, and a MACCC State Champion Runner-Up, all before signing to the University of Arkansas at Pine-Bluff. Christian played for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Men’s Basketball team for two seasons, where he was a SWAC Runner- Up in 2019. Robertson graduated from UAPB in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education. Read more>>

Dana Vasileuskaya

Hello, my name is Dana and I from…Belarus! If you don’t know about the location of this country, it’s in Eastern Europe, right between Russia and Ukraine, yes. All of my life I’ve been passionate about music and wanted to be a songwriter, music teacher and basically be a professional in this sphere. In the age of 15 my life was radically changed. My friend invited me to church and I met God there. I realised how real God is and this realisation naturally leaded me into dedication of my life and my dreams to Jesus. When my perspective was changed, I started to serve God through music and my voice. Read more>>

Brandon Jordan

I was imprisoned at the age of 15, waived into the adult system and given 25 years. I served a total of 17 years and 3 months, I was released in 2016, released my first album in 2018, published my first book, “Courage Under Fire” in 2021, released my second Album “FacTs of Life 2” in 2021 as well under the moniker Brad FacTs, I co authored an anthology called “The Comeback” in 2021 as well, I am a public speaker, and mentor as well. Read more>>

Caprisha Page

I used to be a high school English teacher in a brick-and-mortar school. I was diagnosed with epilepsy and hypermobility spectrum disorder, which helped to explain some of the health issues I was having. This made it impossible for me to continue teaching in a regular classroom because my seizures were difficult to control fully. With the help of an amazing neurologist, I was able to gain enough control of my seizures to teach ESL online part-time. Since then, I have been teaching English to students all over the world.  Read more>>

Vilencia & Toysha Pierce & McKinney

Girlz on the Move story begins in 2018 when Toysha and I decide to attend a paint party in Memphis, that was thrown by a group from Minnesota. It inspired us to keep the fun going in Memphis. We have always talk about starting something diffident to bring family and friend together to have fun. That’s when Girlz on the Move was started by us, as a dream that became a reality. Girlz on the Move, Toysha and I started having paint party in Memphis and it rapidly grow to having events across the Mid-South. Read more>>

Kazha

We (Singer Kazuha Oda, and guitarist Hideki Matsushige) formed the band Kazha in the end of 2008 while we were visiting Los Angeles. We went back to Japan to record our first album. Released the first album “Overture” in 2010 and started touring internationally. Around 2015, we gradually moved our base of operations to the Birth Place of Rock’n’roll, Memphis TN. Now we are touring nationally in the U.S.A. as an Official Ambassador of Music Export Memphis. Read more>>

Anthony Fullilove

I started playing football for my grand father coach Texas & his long time friend coach Eric Watson in 1999 for the Whitehaven Steelers at the age of 6 years old. They taught fundamentals of football and life morals that helped me become who I am today to the kids and communities we currently serve. My grand mother Mrs. Peggy Rounds the wife of Coach Texas was/is a firm believer in hard work, discipline, fun giving back and education. My family put me in sports to help me learn team work, leadership and the importance of (fellowship). Read more>>

Lieutenant $hyne

Lieutenant $hyne (Martavious Payne Sr.), is a native of Memphis, TN. While being raised in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in South Memphis on McMillian Street (a.k.a. McKillan), $hyne had to persevere through countless struggles ranging from overcoming poverty to losing childhood friends to gun violence while simultaneously avoiding a premature demise. As a byproduct of a single parent household, $hyne grew up with his siblings and a loving mother who always tried her best to provide for her children. Read more>>

Gena Heelz

“Born Cassandra Askew, I went from the daughter of a well-respected Reverend in Memphis, TN to a thrilling performer that has graced stages all over the world. I am not only an actor, but I am the executive producer and founder of Life In Entertainment. I own my own digital distribution and cable broadcasting show. Life In Entertainment is a brand that I have created from the ground up as my pride and joy. Read more>>

Bria Brown

Like many writers, I started writing at a young age. For me, it was poetry and diary entries. I enjoyed using my imagination to create little scenarios in my head. But I was always too shy to act or perform- stuff like that. Throughout middle and high school, I had moments and opportunities to share a poem or pieces of writing. I think I may have won a prize in my high school Creative Writing Club. Read more>>

Nuha Abuduhair

I grew up watching my mom bake and always loved to help her in the kitchen. In college, I decided to pursue a Bachelor’s in Nursing and after my exams, I would head to the local baking store to purchase baking supplies as my “treat” for finishing exams. Read more>>

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