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The Change-Makers: stories that inspire

The heart of our mission is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our communities. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some incredible artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with the incredible group below. Check out our favorite stories from across the Voyage family.

Sierra Emery

As a child of two entrepreneurs, I have always wanted to create something I can share with other like-minded people. My main passions in life have always been music, specifically Classic Rock music. As a female fan in a male-dominated genre, it’s always been a struggle to find products that celebrate these artists outside the typical band t-shirt, poster, or guitar pick. I wanted to create products that any Classic Rock fan can enjoy in their home but would also appeal to people who love great scents! Out of this concept, On Tour Candle Co. was born in 2020. Read more>>

Lindsey Watson

I started my journey with photography about 7 years ago, back in high school! I started on a borrowed camera from my grandfather and quickly fell in love with photography! I bought my first camera the same year and have been taking pictures ever since! I started photographing seniors graduating high school and college, families, professional headshots, and engagements! The first wedding I ever shot was for one of my childhood friends! And that wedding sparked my love for capturing love! Read more>>

Taylor Moultrie

Hi, my name is Taylor Moultrie, and I am from Charleston, SC. I attended Winthrop University, obtaining my Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a concentration in healthcare management. I am currently at UNC Charlotte, obtaining my Master’s in business administration. I am also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Charlotte’s Rho Psi Omega chapter. I am the CEO + Founder of Moultrie Wine Company and Bar. Moultrie Wine Co. is a wine retailer that specializes in customizable wine boxes and chocolate-covered strawberries. Read more>>

Jennifer Ramirez

See, I am very passionate about female empowerment. Each of my grandmothers migrated here from Mexico at a young age. My maternal grandmother raised 6 children, 5 of which are daughters. She worked alongside my grandfather as a crop worker in the spring-summer, and they ran a neighborhood “cantina” for the remainder of the year. She worked every day until her death (in her early 60s). On my mother’s side, I am the first college graduate and the only female college graduate in the family. Read more>>

Jessica Reynolds

I grew up in Charlotte, NC, but after attending Clemson for my undergraduate degree fell in love with Upstate SC and, after grad school, ended up back in the Greenville area. I grew up spending time making candy in my Great Aunts smock (sewing) shop and around her kitchen table. This has had a big influence on my artistic process. Putting myself out there daily is the hardest part of being an artist. Professionally the most challenging part has been comparing my successes to others’ seemingly more successful art businesses. Read more>>

Laura McCann

I’ve been an entrepreneur for over 30 years. My first business was started in the fashion industry in my late 20s in New York City. I was trained as a designer but had incredible opportunities early in my career to travel, which allowed me to learn everything from trend research to manufacturing. Let’s say I had a big career and success early, setting me up for more self-discovery. I could also have a family and do “it all.” I realized I was living to my full potential, which I trained myself to do through many self-inquiry methods, self-help, and an openness to learning. Read more>>

Margie Graddicks

I started at Empire Beauty School in Manhattan in June 2013 and graduated in February 2014. I’ve worked in a few hair salons, but it wasn’t successful because I had no following clients. I’ve worked as an independent contractor for an on-demand beauty company for a year and 9 months. Things didn’t work out due to the issues with transit and some unhappy customers. Now, I’m trying to find a way to continue promoting my business on my social media platforms. I’m doing my best to make it look good. Read more>>

Julie Haneline

I’ve always wanted to work for myself. I didn’t always know how to get there, but I was determined. I started an online clothing boutique back in 2015, which failed because I didn’t push the business hard enough and, to be quite frank, had no clue what I was doing. I’ve always had side hustles to supplement my regular income, which is how I got to where I am today. I’ve done everything from cleaning jobs, dog walking, babysitting, and furniture flipping. Read more>>

Audrey Moran & Kori Borneman

Kori and I (Audrey) met in college, sharing the same passion for skin wellness. Fast forward to almost 15 years later, we found ourselves in different places of life, with loads of experience gained from our respective fields. We wanted to harness that exciting energy by opening our medical aesthetic spa in Charleston, specifically on Johns Island. The idea and concept of Opal Aesthetics were born a little over a year ago. Kori and I saw the excitement of the aesthetics industry and wanted to bring our passion to life! We came to the name Kori, and I was born a day apart in October. Read more>>

Alyda Cervini

We are new to SC; we’ve been here for a year. We are a small family owned and operated business from Long Island, NY. We had a very busy prominent business back home with over 40 years. My father started this masonry company in NY more than 40 years ago, and for the last 12 years, I have taken it over and run it. We are so excited to be in the low country and offer our services here! We love the connections we’ve made and the customers we’ve helped and worked with. Read more>>

Alex Bogart

Alex Bogart first discovered yoga when she was practicing as a Licensed Professional Counselor teaching her clients how to practice Mindfulness and Meditation practices. She quickly fell in love with yoga and the peace and contentment that it brought her so much that she would bring her yoga mat into her therapy office and practice before work and during lunch. She became more serious with her yoga practice after she had her first child, as she found that it helped her in her postpartum recovery. Read more>>

Wendy Powell

Our story started when our kids were little, and we visited a cute tea shop in our area. My kids grew to love tea, and it was a healthier option. The tea shop closed, and we decided to buy the wholesale part of the company. We started selling at farmer’s markets, hoping to have our own shop one day. We knew we would need more than tea and thought coffee, local vendors, and art would go perfectly together. We researched coffee and tea shops. I took classes on expresso and tea making for almost 3 years until we found our perfect spot, a little cottage house. Read more>>

Megan Marsingill

While planning my son’s first birthday, I quickly realized I loved party planning and details. I started shopping around for what I wanted. I was a stay-at-home mom after a rough pregnancy and having to quit my job, so we couldn’t afford any of the party items I wanted for him. Instead, I decided to learn how to make it all. I started making and selling party supplies on Etsy to help give us the little extra income we needed while I was home with my sweet boy. Read more>>

Sanwone and Santae Benjamin

The identical twin brothers Sanwone and Santae Benjamin were born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. They grew up on one of the worst sides of town in the early ’90s. At the age of seven, the twins were taken into foster care because of their family’s mental health and drug use and were in several foster homes before being adopted by the age of eleven. The boys entered the talent shows during their school years and were in several boy band groups. In 2013 the twins found their mentor and helped them with opportunities. Read more>>

Alicia Dupuis

As an only child, I was a pretty quiet kid who was used to having to entertain myself! As a teenager, my mom took me to get my first headshots to submit to agencies and give the whole acting thing a go! Through school plays and community theatre, I found a love for something that brought me out of my shell! The stage was somewhere where I instantly felt at home. I grew up about 45 minutes from Boston, Massachusetts. I remember my mom picking me up early from school several times to make the drive into the city for auditions. Read more>>

Victoria Brannon

I started my LLC when I turned 18, the year I graduated high school, almost a decade ago! I started working for a paycheck when I turned 13, babysitting and teaching dance classes. Once I saw a monetary return for doing something I love, I knew I would be working for myself eventually. My entrepreneurial journey has been just that, a journey. Learning how to serve clients, all the inner workings of running a business, plus experiencing the transition from teenager to adult. Read more>>

Tiffany Palmer

Hello, I am Tiffany H. Palmer, founder, and owner of Natural XScentrics, LLC. I began this company to provide my community with quality, affordable, natural skincare products. When I first began switching from store-bought products to natural products, I quickly learned how expensive that could become. Having acquired a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Winthrop University, a certification in Biotechnology and Chemical Operating from York Technical College, and working as a chemist for the past 8 years, I decided that I wanted to become a manufacturer of products with a purpose. Read more>>

Anastasia Kachel

Since a little girl, I’ve always been intrigued by the artistry of makeup and what it can do to your confidence. As I got older, I started dabbling with makeup. A few years ago, I went through a lot of mental breakdowns, and makeup is what helped me through my diagnosis of schizophrenia. I started practicing every day and on others, and seeing their happiness through a hard time just showed me what I wanted: the beauty community. It’s more about expressing yourself, showing your artistic creativity, and making others feel unstoppable; that makes it worth it all. Read more>>

Steven Young

I started Best In Da Solar System Management Group due to two key people: My wife, Panessia Young, and Billy DJ Surplus Swanson. My wife is an Independent R&B Singer, and DJ Surplus is the #1 DJ for Independent Artists in South Carolina. I have always loved music, but being around these two genuine artists for the past 6 plus years and watching their dedication despite the struggle and disappointments inspired me to create Best In Da Solar System Management Group in October 2021. Read more>>

Lauren Truslow

I started teaching group fitness only a short time after college. I got certified in many different classes and loved being on the mic. I had a day job, but fitness was my whole heart. Once I had my first daughter, I decided to take a break from pharma sales and see what I wanted to do next. I kept dreaming of my studio, so I took a huge leap and decided to bring a boutique fitness concept to Columbia (and this was when no one knew what boutique fitness was). Barre3 changed my life in the very best way. Read more>>

Tyranika Abrams

My family moved across town during the pandemic, and my then 3-year-old daughter experienced many changes: new home, area, sibling on the way, new friends, and new daycare. One day, not even 7 days into her new daycare, I went to pick her up, and she was sitting in the middle of the floor all alone, playing with her shoes while all the other kids played around her as if she wasn’t even there. I stood back and watched as two kids ran right past her, and the wind blew her little ponytail while she sat. Read more>>

Penny Krieg & Jennifer Buffalo

Hey there! We wanted to introduce ourselves. We are a small woman-owned, sister-owned charcuterie company here in Greenville! We started this business amid Covid when everyone else was hunkering down and isolating ourselves, but not us! It’s been 2 years this month since our first delivery to our first customer, and 20,500+ charcuterie boxes later; we still love smelling like meat and cheese! Now that’s funny! The struggle has been real!  Read more>>

Yakima Chinn

I decided to open Topaz Occupational Health Services after realizing in 2017 that I had a passion for testing. I’m motivated by meeting new people. I aim to offer services to companies that generally need help to afford higher-priced testing services. I’m striving to fill the need of the community by serving the people. Things began to take form in Jan 2021, and I opened in May 2021, and I’m still going strong. My passion for people and your connection with patients are so dear to my heart. Read more>>

Lindley Mayer

In 2005, our owner and creator served as Miss South Carolina Teen 2005. During her year, she realized how useful a custom crown box would be. Since then, the design and dream to create this product has become a reality. With the help of her creative and talented mom, they designed what is now the original Crown Couture Collection Crown Purse. For five years, they perfected the design, and the boxes are made right here in our hometown of Greenville, South Carolina, within the family business. Read more>>

Maria Arriaga

I grew up in & out of group homes & foster care as a child. I had a rough childhood, and I knew I didn’t want that to affect my or my children’s futures. I started as a Western fashion content creator on Instagram (@mariaarriagaxo). I would create outfits & collaborate with many western boutiques out in Texas. I quickly started growing on social media, which was amazing. It brought many opportunities I never imagined possible such as collaborating with huge brands such as Wrangler, Idyllwind by Miranda Lambert, Country Outfitters & many more. Read more>>

Rannie Bond

In 2018 my wife Lindsey and I, both veterans of the US Navy after completing our degree work in San Antonio Texas (Lindsey a BA in Interior Design and I a MBA from the Jack Welch Management Institute) picked up and moved to the Upstate so that our daughter Jenna could attend Clemson University. Instate tuition is much cheaper than out of state. After being here about 6 months I attended a beginners Bee Keeping class. Learning about pollinators and their importance to the world around us we were excited to give beekeeping a try. Read more>>


I grew up surrounded by the floral business. My great grandfather came over from Poland in 1890 ,started a pansy farm and his sons (including my grandfather) added greenhouses started a wholesale floral business and florist. I never imagined this being my path as well, I was a fashion design major. After college I was looking for a summer job, applied for a design position in 1995 and never looked back. I started working for a family business and would explore other shops learning techniques and tricks of the trade. Read more>>

Barbara G. Ruff

Life is an adventure! My life has always included a focus on both education and ministry. I spent several wonderful years as an elementary school teacher and several more as a principal. Additionally, I am a Christian with an ever-developing relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Because I’ve been an intentional weaver of His gospel throughout my life, it made sense to also share my beliefs through ministry. I have found there are still so many important things that need to be done in the areas of education, ministry, and in our society in general. Read more>>

Carrie Rosen

I was a bartender for 23 years and I noticed people really lived Charleston and wanted to move here, I got my Real Estate license 8 years ago and started giving my card out to everyone I know. Now I have multi million dollar sales in my favorite beach community. I also own a beachfront home that we live in year round. It’s truly a dream come true. Of course not! It is still not. When I realized I could cut down on bartending shifts to make pursue Real Estate full time, there were struggles. I also had 2 young children. Perseverance pays off. Read more>>

Jalin Hill

It all started when I was 11 years old, I received my first phone as a present, the Apple iPhone XR. That phone helped me become a photographer because it was my first camera. One day, in early August, my family and I took a trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina. While in Hilton Head , I took some photos of my mom on the beach . Some of the photos were posted on social media. Shortly there after, I started Jphotos. For sometime, all of my photos were taken on an iPhone. Read more>>

Gail Craven

In December 1999 , I had an epiphany that I should get into real estate. I was 48 years old and had to borrow the money to take the real estate class. In March of 2000, I got my license and went to work. The first year I made $8000. My Dad had a men’s clothing store in Eastern North carolina and I worked in his store from a very early age around 8 years old. My dad instilled in me a fervent work ethic so I was determined to get started and not quit . I have just completed my 24th year in real estate. Read more>>

Pat Konicki

I graduated from the American Academy of Art and began my career as a graphic designer and illustrator in Chicago. After relocating to Miami, I opened a graphic design and advertising firm focused on clients in the fashion, retail, healthcare and manufacturing industries. After marrying, I realized that I wanted to focus on my family and eventually gravitated toward teaching and pursuing occasional design consultant projects. At 50 years old, I received a BS in Management degree, and began working in social services. Read more>>

Stephanie Elmerick

I started calligraphy about 5 years ago. I was scrolling on instagram one day and saw a video of someone doing calligraphy. I was working as an accountant at the time and I REALLY hated being stuck in a cubicle all day, so I was always looking for a way to feed my creative side. I went to Hobby Lobby, bought some calligraphy supplies, and was addicted as soon as the pen hit the paper. I quit my job two weeks later (yes, I know, a little crazy!) and decided calligraphy was something I wanted to pursue. Read more>>

Mark Jones

I’ve been a professional Barber for over 2 Decades. Originally from Chicago I’ll. Started cutting hair at the age of 11. From the time I picked up the clippers I knew that this was what I wanted to do. I have cut in 2 major cites. My home Chi town and Atl GA. I currently reside in Spartanburg SC and have been in business for almost a decade now. The road of Barbering has been challenging. Dealing with the public and the expectations that each individual may have. Also the differences in the mind set of clients in different states. Read more>>

Paul Pike

I grew up in a family of cooks back in Manila, Philippines, starting with my great grandmother who opened her small food shack in 1941. Learning the ropes on how to run a restaurant as a teenager, I finally stepped up to run the business after finishing my culinary school. Since the family had a single location restaurant, I joined food events around the Metro and a yearly 60-day Christmas bazaar which was known all over the country for 15 years. Read more>>

Carolyn Fraser

After completing a degree in Art History from the College of Charleston, I helped my brother West Fraser establish a gallery in Downton Charleston. We opened Fraser & Co. in 1995 and I worked for the gallery for two years. For many reasons, I decided to change my course and head to culinary school at Johnson & Wales back when it was still located in Charleston. This set me on a course that I would follow for over twenty years. From interning for the Amelia Island Co. in Amelia Island, Fla. Read more>>

Angie Scharrer

I fell in love with drawing at the age of 4, when I received my first big sketch pad. I was a pretty creative kid. I had more fun building Barbie houses than playing with the Barbies themselves! Looking back, I think this was an early sign that I wanted to be an architect one day. In high school, I learned how to oil paint, which was a game changer. I would paint large-scale streetscapes and landscapes of faraway places I’d seen in photographs. Living in these paintings was a total escape, especially from the long, dull Wisconsin winters. Read more>>

Joe Rattacasa

In 2017 I had started a dog training company and was looking for a way to make a supplemental income. I responded to an ad online for a part time position as a mover and Rick and myself hit it off and have had a great relationship since then. Since that time Hauling Hubbies & Handymen has grown and changed in many great ways. In my experience nothing is ever a smooth road. There have been many moves and various situations over the years that have been challenging mentally, physically, and emotionally. Read more>>

Orlando McGill

Photography has always been my passion, however I didn’t start pursuing photography one hundred percent until the pandemic in 2020. While working a nine to five job I began taking photos of friends who were willing to pose for me while I learned to use my equipment. As I improved I transitioned into taking photos in and out the studios doing birthday shoots, maternity shoots, grad shoots, outdoor shoots, and content shoots for friends and others who were recommended. Read more>>

Bruce Sweeting

I was born in Estill, S.C. with a solid connection to the most incredible power in the universe, known as the “Imagination Force”. This grants me the ability to bring anything I write or sketch to life using whatever traditional or digital tools are at my disposal. Not only can I breathe life into my imaginative machinations, but I can also breathe life into the ideas of anyone who comes in contact with me. ­My connection to the “Imagination Force” grew when I attended Benedict College; as a graphic communication major; Read more>>

Ansley Burns

I stared singing at a young age, I would sing all the time, and in front of my parents and at church just for they fun of it. I started attending voice lessons at the age of 9. Voice lessons helped me realize that I wanted to be a singer and entertain people. After going to to voice lessons for a while my mom brought up the idea to audition for America’s Got Talent, I of course said yes and I was so excited to see what the how experience was going to be like. Read more>>

Carley Gant

Hi! I’m Carley! During the day, I’m a full time Reading Interventionist. I love my day job, but I always like to challenge myself. As a hobby pre-Covid, I was selling Paparazzi jewelry. I loved interacting with people and doing markets, but I was noticing there were many more opportunities for hand made items. A few years later, after some research, I decided to try making soaps and I loved it! I enjoy working with new scents and shapes. Read more>>

Lia Davidson

Since a young girl, I’ve been fascinated by the fashion and beauty industry. I have always worked in the luxury industry and wanted to work more “behind the scenes” for a brand. In 2023 I got a fantastic job as a Canadian Marketing Coordinator in one of the beauty brands. With all that, I’ve always been passionate about food (good food) and experiencing new places! With traveling and my job, going out to business dinners, and all was when I started my food page @the_hungry_her—where I get to share all my delicious food & travels.  Read more>>

Ryder Wood

Pro wrestling has always been a huge part of our family. I am starting back with Ryder’s great-grandfather, Les. It’s one of those things passed down from generation to generation. The Wood family’s love for pro wrestling runs deep! I (Ryder’s dad, Chad) never remember not watching wrestling. It’s always been one of those things that my dad (Clark) and I bonded over. Thankfully, things are trending in the same direction for myself and Ryder. Ryder got into wrestling at a very young age. Read more>>

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