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Portraits of South Carolina

It’s more important to understand someone than to judge them. We think the first step to understanding someone is asking them the fundamental questions about who they are and how they became the person they are today. Understanding and empathy are essential building blocks for a better, more compassionate world. We’re incredibly fortunate to be able to ask these questions each week through our interview series. Below you’ll find inspiring interviews from in and around South Carolina.

Rachel Davis

As with many good things in life, creating Matchstick Social came suddenly and evolved quickly. In the early summer of 2013, my now business partner, Amber Ludeman, called me to join forces and it took about 15 seconds for me to agree. Within a few weeks, we were working 12-hour days from my kitchen, and a month or so later we opened the Matchstick Social office in the heart of downtown Charleston. Now, more than 8 years later, we are proud to be an award-winning digital marketing agency with 6 incredible full-time employees. Read more>>

Tara LeClaire

Hello! My name is Tara LeClaire, I am the founder and CEO of Tara LeClaire Weddings. Thank you for taking the time to learn a little more about me! I am an Air Force wife with two amazing teenagers. My husband recently retired after 23 years in the Air Force, my son attends Charleston Southern University to become a pilot, and my daughter is a junior at Fort Dorchester High School. I am originally from Richmond Hill, Ga, and have lived in Charleston for the past 11 years. Before becoming a wedding planner, I worked for youth services with the Air Force for 9 years and moved all over the world with my family! A few years back a sweet friend of mine asked me to coordinate her wedding since she knew I had managed several events for the Air Force in the past. It was then that I fell in love with weddings! For 6 years I was a freelance/contract coordinator all over the Low Country until I started my own company three years ago. Read more>>

Shane Violette

My name is Shane Violette from Boston Massachusetts and I was raised in a family of touring musicians, so music has been part of my life since day one. I taught myself how to play and record just about all the instruments but the Bass is what I excelled at which started my career of playing bass for many bands and touring the East Coast most of my life which is great but life happens. Kids, wife, bills, etc… So, the next best thing other than “slapping the bass” is to record others for a living. In 1997 my father and I built a small home studio in the garage at my grandmother’s and boy we were busy, Year after year we upgraded the equipment outboard, and mics and mastered the craft, From 16 track 1″ to MCI 2″ reel to reel… Straight analog this is before digital recording was popular. lol. Read more>>

Jon Kotter

Born and raised in Akron, Ohio where the sun never shines, the rain never stops, and people never give up hope. After finishing high school in Copley, Ohio I attended Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio where I studied Economics for both Undergraduate and Graduate school. A certified nerd inside campus classrooms, and outside the halls I was putting on rap shows, making music videos, and recording albums in my (sparse) spare time. One time I even opened up for Andy Milonakis and Riff Raff at a packed show in Columbus, Ohio…my friends will never forget that day Haha. Though I wrote and recorded songs in high school, it wasn’t until college that I met people who expressed that I have a knack for making catchy music. That’s where things started to take a turn…into the rabbit hole of the never-ending question…Read more>>

Donnell Black Jr.

I’m originally from Newark, New Jersey I grew up with both parents being in music. With my father being a producer/artist while running his own production company & my mom being a talented singer/ artist herself. I eventually found my footing in music through Hip-Hop becoming an artist/poet/rapper I’m just creative for the most part. I’ve been going hard in my profession for a while since high school in 2015 in South Carolina when I began recording. Now winning Charleston City Paper “Hip Hop Artist of the year” it’s a beautiful feeling working so hard! I’m a lyricist usually we get overlooked in a world full of nonsense but I outshined it & won! Read more>>

Alexander Hallowell

tarting out as a drummer in a band at the age of 11 Zaandr has always been involved with music at a young age. After hearing electronic music for the first time a few years later he knew it would be the musical direction he would be taking. Starting off Djing Around Columbus, he knew that he would need to create his own material. Zaandr is releasing so much new music for the upcoming year, we wonder what and where he will be headed. That can only be answered by the diverse sound of the tracks he is bringing to light. With everything from bass house to tech house to dubstep and future bass. The question will be “where is he headed next”? That is exactly what he wants you to think. Zaandr isn’t one genre or the other. It’s the dark and energetic sound that he brings to every track that allows you to know just who you’re listening to. Read more>>

Marina Shaltout

I am an artist and professor. I was interested in art from a very young age and always knew that I would end up in a creative field. In college, I studied Metalsmithing which led to my fascination with 3-dimensional work. I went on to receive my master’s degree in 3D + Extended Media from the University of Arizona and continued exploring sculpture, video, and installation. Now, I currently work with a wide range of media and teach courses in sculpture, ceramics, and videography at Coker University. Read more>>

Erica Russell

I fell in love with accounting when I took a class in high school. I’ve always been a “numbers person” and when I took that accounting course, a light bulb went off for me and I knew I wanted this to be my career. I’ve always had a fascination with numbers and have always done well in math, so accounting seemed like a perfect fit. I went to school for accounting and business and have worked in the industry for over 20 years. Today I have my own management and bookkeeping firm Empire Estates Group, LLC. Read more>>

Alice Hardy

I graduated from the College of Charleston in 1994 with a bachelor’s in Biology and a Minors in Chemistry and Education. I taught high school sciences until 2006 when I decided to stay home for a few years with my girls when they were young. When my youngest was old enough to get on and off the bus by herself in 2018, I got my real estate license and I have never looked back! I absolutely love working in real estate. In the past four years, I have worked myself up to being the Top Producer 2021 for Realty One Coastal and I am proud of it! I love to work with people and make their dreams of homeownership come true! I am also very involved in our community. I am the neighborhood captain for Legend Oaks Plantation for The Lowcountry Orphan Relief. Read more>>

Darneta Jones

I began my counseling career at the University Of South Carolina Union, a two-year institution, and later transferred to The University of South Carolina Upstate, a four-year public institution. While I was there, I was approached by the Dean of Student Life and asked to serve as a part-time counselor, serving the students at Residential Life. It became very clear to me that I had a strong passion to launch my private practice. So, it was at the end of my last academic year at USC Upstate that I took a huge leap of faith and became a full-time private practitioner. I recall having a planning meeting with an organization in the City of Spartanburg, and I was told that I would not make it past year one as a private practitioner, to his surprise and many others, Complete Visions & Hope not only made it past year one but it has thrived for 19 years. Read more>>

Tony Wright

When I was young, I always love television and fashion. I just never thought I could combine both. I was serving our country and when I had to do something else my passion for television came back. I did not do it right away I wanted because I did not know any behind scenes people who look like me. I found some like Devon Franklin, Bryon Allen, and Tyler Perry and knew I could do it as long I did not give up and the fashion I started when I was young as well. I started designing but got more passionate when my passion for media and fashion collided. Read more>>

Erin Kienzle

I have been “talking to the camera” for the last 20 years. In the 80s I was the dorky little kid recording fake radio shows in my bedroom and producing TV shows using my karaoke machine… so it was only natural I would major in Broadcast Journalism! I worked my way up the ranks through local television news, starting as an intern, then a videographer, then a producer, then a TV reporter, and TV meteorologist, and now I’m a TV host. I host a local lifestyle show called “Lowcountry Live” on the ABC affiliate in Charleston, SC. However, we all had a “pandemic pivot” and mine has brought me the biggest joy in my long career. When the world shut down and we were all forced to connect only through video, I realized that it was a real struggle for so many people. They felt awkward, looked uncomfortable, and didn’t know what to say. Read more>>

Cait O’Brien

Hi, my name is Cait O’Brien and I am the face behind Cait O’Brien Photography. I was born and raised in New Jersey went to the University of Vermont and got a BS in Environmental Science. While working as an Environmental Scientist I met my husband who then joined the Navy. The Navy has taken us from South Carolina to New York to Virginia and back to South Carolina. In 2017 I received a certificate in photography and photoshop from Auburn University. I started my photography career shooting families and started to focus on newborns as that was the stage of life, I was in. As I grew older and stopped having babies my focus started to shift toward the boudoir. Read more>>

Bryan McClelland

My journey as a social entrepreneur started, in part, due to the fact that I am half Filipino and half American. Growing up on the East Coast of the US and going back and forth to visit the Philippines allowed me to experience very different cultures and opportunities. Initially, I had always wanted to be a doctor. But in college, I realized that I would much rather spend my time outdoors working on issues dealing with sustainability. Thus, I pursued an undergraduate and master’s degree in environmental resource management. After my studies, I moved to the Philippines to work on sustainable community development projects. When I learned about another initiative that was building bamboo bikes in Africa, I thought that I could bring this technology into the communities that I was working with. Read more>>

Aaron Shaw

My story isn’t the usual one. I did not find my passion in life early in painting. Before I started painting, I had only taken two art classes, one in junior high and one in high school. I’m completely self-taught and my style can be described as a negative abstract type of art. This is where the colors, shading, etc. are inverted. I really started painting when I was married as an escape. I didn’t paint a lot until during and after my divorced as a way to cope. Through a friend, I started to become involved with a non-profit organization in Columbia, SC called COR (Columbia Opportunity Resource). That was really the first time that individuals wanted my artwork for purchase. It was an event called Time for Art. It’s where you buy art by bidding. You volunteer hours to bid on a painting. Since that time, I’ve turned my passion into a business. I was able to complete my first mural in 2019, and I’ve had multiple art showings. Read more>>

Julie Hansard

Ever since I can remember, I have been fascinated with the animals that call our earth home. For most of my childhood, I envisioned myself working as a zookeeper or vet, caring for the creatures that captured my imagination. I feel so lucky to have parents who encouraged my sisters and I to participate in the arts. I spent time learning dance, piano, theater, and voice. It wasn’t until late high school when I picked up some cheap watercolors and instantly fell in love with the medium. I opened my Etsy shop in December of 2016, during my freshman year at Winthrop University. Since then, I have experimented with many mediums, increased my technical skills, and gained a newfound appreciation of art history. Read more>>

Christie Rainwater

Servant leader. As I campaigned for my mayoral race, you would find those words on my sign, not as a slogan, but as a commitment. I never intended to become a political leader, but one thing I have always been intentional about from a young age was serving others. I remember being 6 years old and going into my grandma’s bedroom in our house on Long Island, NY. She had brain cancer and required much help. As a young girl, I couldn’t do too much, but I did what I could. I would sit with her and rub her feet. Looking back, it is obvious that God put a desire in my heart to serve others, and I did it with joy. Read more>>

Saidee Williams

I moved to Summerville from East Tennessee a little over a year ago. We moved to the area for my husband’s job, and quickly decided on Summerville because of its quaint, historic downtown! We love being out and about without whatever community we’re living in. There’s never been a shortage of things to do here, which is amazing! But I found myself combing through many different spaces and platforms each week to find what all was going on and what we’d like to plan to go out and do. That’s where The Summerville Scoop was born! I wanted to give our community one-stop shops to see lists and photos of things to do, places to eat, drink, and shop! I wanted to make it easy for people to support local businesses and events. Along the way, I’ve become even more passionate about assisting these local businesses— helping them be heard and seen by folks who may not see their advertisements otherwise. Read more>>

Vivian Howard

I grew up in Deep Run, a small town in eastern North Carolina. I started out working in advertising right after college. I soon realized that I wanted to work in the food world. I went to culinary school and then worked in the kitchens of several of New York’s top-rated restaurants — Voyage, WD-50, and Spice Market under the tutelage of renowned chefs — Scott Barton, Wylie Dufresne, Sam Mason, and Jean Georges Vongerichten, respectively. My parents enticed me to come back to North Carolina with an offer to help me open a restaurant. In 2005, I opened Chef & the Farmer in Kinston, N.C. The farm-to-table fine dining restaurant celebrates the foods of eastern North Carolina and turned Kinston into a tourist destination. I expanded my entrepreneurial footprint with four other ventures: the Boiler Room, a popular oyster and burger bar that closed due to the pandemic; Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria in Wilmington, N.C. Read more>>

Dylan Mansour

My name is Dylan Mansour and I’ve always had a love for animals. Growing up my family always had multiple dogs. I would spend all my free time loving on them, teaching them tricks, and playing fetch or tug. When I moved out of my family house, the first thing I did was get my own dog. His name is Atlas and he is a 6-year-old German Shepherd. He is my soul pup and very best friend. I always knew I wanted another dog as well, but lived at a place with no yard. Wanting to wait until I could move, I saved up money and did lots of research on what breed would fit our lifestyle most. I came across the Australian Shepherd breed and immediately fell in love. They were such smart dogs, they were an active breed, and loved to work! It was around this time that I was able to move into a new place with a yard. Read more>>

Patrice Hazan

I am a physical therapist who specializes in Geriatrics, I have been practicing for over 20 years. During this time, I noticed that over and over we would work with patients’ short term (following the current medical model) discharges them with a home exercise program and recommendations for community programs only to have them return to our clinic in a few months with the same problems because they are not exercising at home. Individual treatment is very expensive and is limited and short-term. If a patient does not continue to exercise, they will lose the gains they made in physical therapy. It is not easy for a frail individual managing multiple chronic conditions to continue to exercise at the right intensity to maintain strength and function. They may be fearful of falling, they may be afraid of injuring themselves or causing pain from arthritis. Read more>>

Geoff Ellinwood

My dog training journey I guess started when I was seven years old. We had a Brittany who was wide open! He would bust out the front door, chased the paperboy down, and would knock over the neighbor’s birdbath among other things! After a year or so my mom and I went to dog training class. I was to sit quietly, watch and pay attention. We got a couple of classes in and then my mom got injured at work and couldn’t physically hold a leash so… I had to do the classes. I think the next youngest person in that class was 25 years old. It felt like the trainer kept coming over every other minute to check on me, to which I thought “stop doing that you’re gonna get me in trouble my mom‘s gonna think I’m not paying attention! “But knowing what I know now, that trainer was probably terrified to have a seven-year-old child in their class! Read more>>

Jess M. Cutler

My husband of 8 years is Will Cutler. He is a chronic entrepreneur and jack of all trades. We have 2 dogs – a Lab-adorable retriever “Cabo” and a GSP “Vail. Having graduated #1 in my class from Wingate University in the peak of 2008 – I am very familiar with the nationwide phenomena that can ruin your future plans and force you to reinvent yourself. After graduating during the peak of the last recession – when I could not find a job in the Charlotte area – I decided to move to Myrtle Beach with my best friend and “live the dream.” Considering I had been killing myself for the last four years to make straight A’s (that no one seemed to care about in the ‘real world’) – the thought of spending the summer on the beach – working an easy job at a Bagel Factory – sounded ideal. Read more>>

Vanessa Wong

As an empath who creates therapeutic art and music with healing frequencies, my journey has been shaped by many people and situations in life. I was born into a broken family on an island called Labuan in Malaysia. My parents struggled with their relationship and I felt very anxious and helpless when they get into conflict with each other. It was very traumatic and I still remember all the details. Normally as a child, I would instinctively side with my mum in any conflict, but because they love me equally, I was stuck in between the extreme of both worlds. I felt lost and confused. My parents have always described me as a creative rebel because I would always trust my guts more than their words. Read more>>

Ashley Kates

All of this started from Postpartum Depression and a realization that our standard of care for a woman’s pre+postnatal body is sub-par. Before having my first babe, my daughter, I was a national level figure competitor, personal trainer, and nutritionist. I knew a lot about the human body and worked for a health center. Going into my pregnancy, I assumed I would “bounce back” because of how fit I was going into it and doing “all the things” one should to stay healthy including chiropractic care, proper supplementation, and yes, exercise. The moment my daughter was placed on my chest I knew something was off. It took me two years to admit I had postpartum depression and, in that time, I searched for anything and everything to distract me from it which led me to this passion of Mom+me Strong. Read more>>

James Stefiuk

Well, I guess my journey to becoming a food photographer started with my obsession with movies at a very young age, and the one movie that officially made me want to pick up a camera was Raising Arizona (1987). At 11 years old I was blown away by the way they smoothly moved the camera around with all the steady cam & dolly shots they used throughout the movie. Up to that point, I hadn’t seen anything like that before. From then on, I was hooked and I played around with any VHS video camera I could get my hands on. It wasn’t until high school that I expanded out to start shooting stills to go along with my love video. My grandfather bought me my first SLR and, again, I was hooked. In high school, I took all the photo courses I could. We learned how to develop our own films, discuss composition and give constructive criticism to our classmates. Read more>>

Cheryl Hanson

Many years ago, I struggled with physical, mental, and spiritual issues. Most of them stemmed from an abusive childhood and invaded every aspect of my life. Medical professionals gave varied opinions of my future, none of them hopeful. I chose to find another way. I chose to look for real answers and found that there was no ready help for someone like me. Today it is my pleasure and passion to help others who have been left with no hope. The Mission/Vision Statement for Wellness at 505 is, “That I/we become the person/people that I could not find.” We strive to be a partner to the ones that normally are left out, passed over, and are trying to deal with their pain on their own. Read more>>

Bonnie Lesney

When I was 15 years old, I felt called to become a counselor. I knew I had a knack for talking with people about sensitive topics and helping them navigate through tough emotions and towards healing. I started studying psychology at 16 and completed two college classes in high school towards my psychology degree. I started my undergrad at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, NC, and graduated in 2009 with a major in Human Services and a minor in psychology. I had completed my internship in the adolescent substance abuse program at the local alternative high school and fell in love with the field. I felt like if I could just make an impact on one person for the better, my whole career would be worth it. I started working as a substance abuse counselor in 2010. Read more>>

Nicole Weston

Hello, I’m Nicole Weston formally known as Eursel Ashford. I’m a South Carolina native and I’m married with 4 kids. As a career, I am an entrepreneur. I am a cosmetologist, certified hair loss specialist, travel agent, business instructor, model, and lifestyle positive coordinator. I started servicing hair clients in my high school days and became licensed in 2007. In 2013 I began hosting and modeling at local events and clubs in my city. 2018 I wanted to elevate my cosmetology career and began servicing hair loss clients with alopecia. I began linking and connecting to oncologists to build a new client base. I then became certified as a Hair loss specialist in March. I was at my peak in 2019 with gaining new clients, modeling, and building my salon with some solid employees; called Artistry Beauty Clinic, upstairs @ 128 Assembly Street inside Capital Nails and Spa. Read more>>

Lindsay Page

“Mommy, Snow Princess is coming to my party!” her sweet two-year-old voice exclaimed over and over again in the weeks leading up to her third birthday. The newest kids’ movie had just come out and she was obsessed with it just like every other fairytale-loving little girl. I had always loved planning birthday parties for my children. I would start months ahead of time by choosing the perfect theme, making favors, and planning the cake. Every last detail was coordinated. It was more for my pleasure than it was for them. I could not get her request out of my head and heart as I continued the preparations for Catherine’s party. I started looking around thinking maybe there was a company that did something like this. Nothing. I was at a loss as to how to make this happen for her. I was driving home late one afternoon and had an idea. Read more>>

Kendra L. Snipe

I am a Charleston native, raised on John’s Island. A product of Charleston County Title I schools, I had the courage and determination to matriculate to college where I attended Columbia College in Columbia, SC. I wasn’t adequately prepared for college so I took advantage of the resources available to me as a means to ensure my successful college experience. People often characterize me as “intelligent” but in addition to that, I am stubborn and refuse to fail at anything I pursue. Intelligence alone did not guarantee that I would make it across the finish line. I graduated from undergrad and decided that I still had “a lot to learn” so higher education was in my future for three additional graduate degrees. Read more>>

Ashley Mizzell

As an intuitive healer, I’d like to think my story has just begun. The beginning was the part where I began to awaken to the true essence of my being once again, released trauma, and picked back up with life after releasing and clearing much of what had been in my system through an eight-year toxic cycle that took place in my life. My name is Ashley Mizzell. I am the Founder and Executive Director of Breath to Blossom and Yoga and Mindfulness Teacher. My dirty little secret is that I also work in real estate. I’ve worked within the scope of the real estate industry for about eight years or so. I am not a fan of grind culture and a huge advocate of Rest. My sun sign is Gemini so duality and complexity are my true nature. I find balance, flow, and ease within what many would find to be chaos. Read more>>

Dr. Courtney Brandenburg

No one told me that opening a business from the ground up and immersing myself fully as an entrepreneur would be anything short of easy, but they did say it would be damn gratifying when you put in the work. That is where this beautiful, challenging entrepreneurial story begins. Hurricane Maria was a category 5 storm that quite literally changed the trajectory of my career and entire life. I was clueless as to how significantly that hurricane would course-correct every aspect of what I knew and was planning for the foreseeable future. Maria hit Puerto Rico on September 20th, 2017, a mere three months before I was to graduate from Chiropractic school in Los Angeles and move to Puerto Rico to practice with my (Chiropractor) ex-boyfriend at his office. Read more>>

Michael Becker

My journey to becoming a mental health therapist began in my high school years when I started to become aware of my own mental health issues. Looking back, I am now aware that I suffered from mental health issues in early childhood. My earliest memories of suffering from mental health issues were around 6 years old. In high school, I started receiving help through medication management but failed to get the results I was hoping for. As a result, I continued my medication going into college but I added therapy into my treatment plan. I attended the University of South Carolina and through my own mental health struggles, I became interested in psychology. I declared my major to be psychology at USC with hopes that I would one day work in the field. Read more>>

Dr. Stephanie Zgraggen

I am a chiropractor and clinical nutritionist and the clinical director of Lime and Lotus Healing Arts Center in Charleston, South Carolina. I am also an author and leading expert in women’s hormones and health. My private practice is centered on functional endocrinology, lifestyle modification, and whole food supplementation. My expertise includes functionally evaluating thyroid, adrenals, male and female hormone imbalances, and digestion.  My mission is to empower women on how they can transform their lives and incorporate nutrition, supplements, and positive lifestyle choices. I have written for national publications such as Chiropractic Economics, Natural Awakenings, and Nutrition Perspectives and have shared the stage at events with Elizabeth Gilbert and Marianne Williamson. Read more>>

Latoya Dixon Smith

I’m a mechanical engineer turned boudoir photographer, sex doula, and feminine embodiment coach. I got here today because I started to trust myself. Coming from a very masculine world of engineering and manufacturing, I really lost myself inside the company and its culture, trying to assimilate in order to survive. Whenever I got laid off, I had to re-discover who I was outside of a title, outside of the degree, outside of the constraints of fitting into corporate culture. During my journey, I discovered boudoir photography and found that I really enjoyed photographing women intimately and helping them see the beauty within themselves that they were previously not able to recognize. This led me into feminine embodiment coaching and now I support women in helping them remember who they are. Read more>>

Alizeyae Green

I started using yoni steams about 3 years ago to promote my own reproductive health. It was actually something a co-worker suggested I try. I was particularly drawn to the practice of yoni steaming because the herbal blends could be customized to fit each person’s needs. Studying the uses and benefits of plants and herbs has always been of particular interest to me. Once I began making my own yoni steams and actually experiencing the benefits firsthand, I began to share my experience with others. Not many people know what yoni steaming is or what the benefits are. It’s always the first thing I suggest women try when experiencing issues with their reproductive system. Read more>>

Dani Billings

Being raised in a business-minded family I always knew I wanted to be in business and leadership. I graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Retail Management with a focus on Fashion Merchandising. I started my career in big-box retail, but have experience in luxury and specialty retail. I have made it my mission as a woman in a once mostly male-driven position to not only master the art of retail but deliver the best possible customer service to each and every customer. I pride myself on being able to take all of my experiences from my professional career with me, which allows me to continue to learn and grow not only as a person but as a leader. Read more>>

Big Spliff

I started my musical journey when I was 10, I would do things like freestyle and write my own music, and I started taking my music seriously sometime this year in March. I found myself writing every day to ease my pain and take my thoughts away from all the extra negativity in my life! One day I was traveling and I decided to make a post asking if there were any Managers willing to work and network my music with me! And Killa Skip One of Charleston’s known respected artists reached out to me to begin my music, Journey. since then, I have been the First and Only Female Artist of the Chum Bucket Committee. I have been working very hard on staying consistent and getting my music out there so far most of my streams are mainly out of town! The goal is to Grow outside of my city I love my city but I know they’ll catch on later!!! Read more>>

Eliza Gellman

I was fortunate enough to grow up surrounded by the notion that “food is medicine”. I was guided to healthful food choices, never for weight loss, but for nourishment. After college, I began to experience hormonal issues resulting in digestive distress, cystic acne, chronic UTI, and myriad other issues that began to affect my quality of life. I had been a certified personal trainer for a year at that point and began to help others with their nutrition, beginning courses in fitness and holistic nutrition. In 2016, all of this was exacerbated when my mother was diagnosed with a rare form of thyroid cancer. We lost our most prized and angelic human in October of 2017. Read more>>

Lekisa Coleman-Smalls

Believe Life Is a Party and It should be celebrated, especially your birthday!! I love birthdays and I truly believe that you should celebrate them to the fullest. It’s your day, why not make it special! Crafting started as a hobby for me, but then it quickly turned into an obsession. I decided to turn my new obsession into a business. That is how “Crafty Gems Boutique” was born. Read more>>

Chantelle Broughton

I have to give a shout-out to my parents, Nathaniel and Milestone Broughton. I was raised in a household where if you needed shelter, something to eat or drink, advice, or help with your kids you could come and my parents would help you. We didn’t have much growing up yet my parents dedicated their lives to helping others. That sentiment has always stuck with me. I worked for the Department of Mental Health and became frustrated at having to diagnose children with mental health disorders for environmental problems. These kids needed someone to talk to and parents needed to parent and place their children’s needs at the forefront. I couldn’t figure out why the focus wasn’t on that. I launched Kinfolk Coaching in February 2021. Our mission is to empower families to improve their wellness and productivity. Read more>>

Dijonnay Robinson

So, my business journey began after the pandemic hit. I am currently preparing to go to PT School (Physical Therapy). Currently, I am working full-time at ATI Physical Therapy as an operations support specialist. During my time here I have been working closely with the PT. She helps me stay on top of things for school and teaches me lots of new things along the way. PT school is like a full-time job. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend school and not work to support myself. I plan to begin school in May of 2023. So, I began my business back in October 2021 to help with this. My plan is to attend school and work for myself on my own time. This will make things much easier. I have faced multiple challenges within the last two years and this has pushed me into my passion for hair. I have always loved hair extensions. Read more>>

Galya Gornishka

I am originally from Bulgaria and after I graduated high school, I got accepted to college in Charleston SC. I studied finance and accounting in college but I was always super into makeup. I would always do my friend’s makeup in high school and college. I used to love getting super made up just to go to class ahahaha but people used to notice and compliment me and ask me to do their makeup too. I was always so happy to do it because I loved it and never charged for it. Unfortunately, it took me many years before it even crossed my mind that makeup could be an actual career. I was raised rather traditionally, I was thought to go to school, then college, and then get a good-paying corporate job with benefits. Nobody told me I can do something that I love and make money from it. Makeup did not seem like a real job to me. After I graduated college, I stopped doing makeup and started working in corporate America. Read more>>

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