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The Most Inspiring Stories in St. Louis

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.

Brittnie Selbert

Co-owners Beth Clauss and Brittnie Selbert took over ownership of their home studio in November of 2019. After going through yoga teacher training the year before, both yogis knew they wanted to share the practices of Baptiste Yoga with everyone. That made this opportunity so much more special and they knew it was the right move. The events of 2020 tested their devotion and they used the tools they’ve learned from yoga to stay grounded and get clear on their mission: To create new space for the members of our community to experience the PHYSICALNESS, POSSIBILITY & EMPOWERMENT of the practice we love. After pivoting the business and teaching exclusively online during quarantine, Baptiste Power Yoga St. Louis now offers in-studio, online and outdoor yoga classes and workshops! Read more>>

Joshua Weidner

I started doing magic at five years old and kept with it off and on through elementary, middle and high school. I got my first magic trick after a magic show in Branson, MO. As soon as I was able to read well on my own, I started checking out books on magic from my local library. I fell in and out of magic until I graduated high school but I got back into it during my first year of college and shortly afterwards, discovered a magic shop on The Landing in St Louis called Gibbol’s. A friend of mine and I became part of the staff who demonstrated magic for the customers on Saturdays and I did that for several years. In January 2010, I kicked off my business as a magician with a show for one of my dad’s friends who booked me. That first year, I did a few shows for adults but primarily did magic for children’s parties. Read more>>

Brian Bachman

I started going in 20 different directions from a young age as I’ve always been a dreamer. I grew up being passionate about creating music, music probably saved my life but that’s another story. Most of my young adult life was focused on being a songwriter and music producer. I started a small music licensing company in college but my own fear of failure and depression caused me to doubt myself, abandon that and ultimately look for more stable positions. Through my own struggles with depression and anxiety, I eventually challenged the stigma that asking for help is “weakness” and counseling is for “crazy” people. Counseling and my faith changed my life, transformed my relationships, and helped me find peace. I had never been able to experience satisfaction, contentment, and peace before as I was also striving. Striving to earn my value, to earn my “right” to exist and to be worthy of love. Read more>>

Megan Arnotti

I began developing the concept for Island Life about five years ago. I have always worked in the fitness industry in big box gyms and felt that often the gym experience was a negative one for women. They felt self-conscious and often didn’t enjoy the process, only the end result. That’s when the idea for my business came to me. I wanted to create a beautiful space where people of all sizes, genders, and ages would feel comfortable and learn to truly enjoy the process of getting more fit and healthy. I opened as a yoga studio and as I got the hang of ownership have been steadily adding more services. About one year in, I added personal training and shortly thereafter got certified as a Pilates instructor and added that to my schedule as well. Now we are a boutique fitness experience with a wide variety of class offerings, ranging from incredibly gentle restorative yoga all the way up to high-intensity fitness boot camps. I get to help make people’s lives happier every day and it’s the best thing ever! Read more>>

Charlie Martin

I think my story is like a lot of people who grew up in the Midwest — I was born and raised in a small town (that was best known for its water tower), and although it was not a bad existence, I just always knew that it wasn’t where I belonged or where I would flourish. After some trial and error, I ended up in St. Louis to attend cosmetology school and it was the first time I really felt like I was meant to do something– my passion and my talent intersected to create something tangible that I could pour myself into. Right out of school, I started working at a large, successful salon and although the experience was priceless, it definitely was not the right environment for me. I felt overworked with too little pay and felt like my voice would never be heard. Most of the employees seemed so emotionally invested in the salon, but the salon did not seem to return that investment. Read more>>

Jenny Hill

Yes Honey Studio was conceptualized in the spring of 2018 by Jenny Hill, who took the idea from a business plan to one of the most inspirational and fun fitness studio’s in the country by the fall of 2020. Hill combined her background in fitness and group training with her love for dance to create a dance fitness studio for everybody. Hill spent a year during business development networking within the dance community of St. Louis to find the best and most passionate dancers to be instructors. Together the instructors, or the Squad as we refer to them, bring positivity, energy and a safe space to move your body to the St. Louis community. Yes Honey offers both YES MOVE and YES STRENGTH classes. YES MOVE are an hour of dance fitness with elements of strength training. They range in themes from hip hop, to Latin, to Bollywood, to jazz, to twerking to Afrobeats. Read more>>

Yolanda Warren

Sometimes things just come easy. Cooking may be hard for some. But for me, it was a gift. I moved to Texas at 18 where I lived with my Sister and she cooked all the time effortlessly. I knew I could do better. So I went to school at LeCole Culinaire for Culinary Arts. Eventually, I went back for my business degree. Best decision I get made. After I finished school, I had one of the best Mentors a girl could find John Buchanan. Together it was a good work relationship. He never stifled my growth and always encouraged me to do more. Once we went our separate ways, I took everything I learned from school and work and knew I could be excellent at my passion. I decided to open my own Commissary kitchen 1 because the waiting list was too long, 2 because we needed one in the North County area. I wanted to help others achieve their dreams like I was helped. So Chef Yo A Shared Space was born. Since opening, we have fed several families during the pandemic who were less fortunate. Read more>>

Nicole Drewes

I floundered a bit in my 20’s and didn’t go into esthetics until after working for a day spa as a front desk coordinator and management. I got to a point….well I turned 30…. and felt I needed to do something more with life so I went to esthetics school. I already enjoyed the industry as a whole but I fell in love with esthetics. After graduation in 2008, I worked at a few spas in the St. Louis area before going solo in 2011 as an independent contractor for a salon off Washington Ave near SLU. I did primarily hair removal services (waxing) and really built a clientele. I was presented an opportunity to rent a room at a massage studio in 2015. Moving to Richmond Heights gave me the chance to advance my career and offer more skin services like facials; chemical rejuvenation and dermaplaning. I became SkincareSTL LLC. Read more>>

Jeff Papenberg

Belleville Health and Sports Center (BHSC) has been a staple in the west end of Belleville for over 40 years. Originally built as a racquetball club, Memorial purchased the club in 1986 and begin turning it into gym and physical therapy facility. BHSC has a rich history and unlike any other gyms in the area. We have several members who have been coming here since the racquetball club days and continued through the transformation into a health club. It is also rare to find members of a health club who have been coming here for 30 plus years, along with multiple generations of their families. We are more than just a gym, we are a community. Read more>>

Katelynn Schoemehl

I’ve always loved all things beauty. Even as a little girl, I was the go-to friend for styling looks, hair, and make up when my friends and I played dress up. I never imagined I would have the opportunity to pursue a career in aesthetics when I graduated from college with a degree in communications. However, after spending five years in pharmaceutical sales in NYC, I learned more about the aesthetic medical device industry and was fortunate enough to land a job with an Aesthetic start up company called Ulthera. Over the last decade, I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside several of New York City and Chicago’s top plastic surgeons and dermatologists gaining extensive experience in aesthetic injectables, skincare and minimally invasive treatments. It wasn’t until I moved from NYC to STL with my husband James in 2015 that he started encouraging me to think about leveraging my experience to open my own medical spa. My vision was shaped with the goal of creating a space for women run by women that would offer a full menu of cutting-edge procedures while demystifying the world of aesthetic treatments. Read more>>

Suzanna Davis

After contemplating in my early 20s on what I would do with the rest of my life seemed very cumbersome to me as I had no desire to finish college. Working odd and ends jobs nothing seemed to catch my attention so I decided to enroll in beauty school as a hairstylist. Even that didn’t seem to stick but one thing I did realize, I enjoyed working and helping people feel good about themselves. Just not working on their hair. That sparked my interest in aesthetics and it was finally something I became passionate about. Fast forward 19 years later, my business is thriving as I continue to build my team where we specialize in the top beauty trends including lash extensions, microbladding, fibroblast, and much more. Read more>>

Erin Prange

The bare bones: I grew up in St. Louis, MO, got my B.A. at Colorado State University for Dance and Spanish, and my M.F.A. at Webster University for Arts Management and Leadership. I consider myself to be a dancer, businesswoman, mom, wife, dog-lover, leader, friend, sister, and eternal optimist. I have grown up with dance in my life since age 3, and I have always been the “leader of the pack”. I have some kind of magnet that pulls me to the front of any room, and every role I’ve played in school, work, or home tends to lean in the direction of leadership, despite my efforts to downsize commitments. I started with The Big Muddy Dance Company back in 2009 when it was simply a small group of dancers hungry to take class and rehearse however possible. Six of us created a makeshift studio in the old Crestwood mall arts spaces and started compiling repertoire to perform wherever we could. Read more>>

Julie Yawitz

We have a daughter named Kaitlyn, who was diagnosed with Autism at the age of three. My husband and I have been very proactive about getting her the services she needs. From the time she started high school, I had been looking ahead to what comes next for her. It has been my goal to keep her engaged in her community and for her to have meaning in her life. I was struggling to figure out a plan for her for post high school. I could not find the right fit. She wasn’t ready for competitive employment, yet, I did not feel like she would be happy in a day program. I was looking for something in between. At the age of 21, students age out of Special School District and are left to figure out what comes next. Two years ago, on Mother’s Day Weekend, I walked into an AR Workshop Franchise, looked around and instantly felt this was going to be the next step in Kaitlyn’s Journey. AR Workshop had everything Kaitlyn and I love- Crafting, a relaxed happy environment and lots of parties. Read more>>

Brian Ames

Together, we spent 33 years in one of the U.S.’s largest global corporations – a husband-and-wife team, executive and spouse, dad and mom, living in the suburbs of four U.S. cities in as many states. On a whim, just before we retired, we took a ballroom dancing class. Instantly, we were hooked. We were fortunate to find Just Dancing Studio in Manchester as the home base for our new hobby. When Just Dancing’s previous owners decided to exit the business, we decided to enter it and purchased the studio in August 2019. Five years ago, we could not have imagined a more unlikely outcome for the initial years of our retirement from corporate America. We aren’t sure what we thought we’d be doing, but it wasn’t this. We could not be more delightfully surprised. In addition to its many health and social benefits, we love dancing because it is joyful and beautiful. And our world needs more joy, more beauty, even if it is just “one step at a time.” Dancing unites us; it lifts our spirits together. Bringing this elegant and classy artform and sport to more people is our studio’s primary goal. Read more>>

Lynda Harris

Over ten years ago, my best friend asked me to become ordained in order to perform her wedding. Being someone who cries at Maxwell House commercials (aren’t they touching?), I declined and offered to help coordinate the wedding instead. Two years later, a friend asked me the same thing, and again I declined. She waited a year and asked again. I finally accepted but let them know that if I cried or broke down in the middle of the ceremony, they were to blame. My first wedding was performed at the Missouri Botanical Garden, and I was so nervous, I swore I would never do it again. Since then, I’ve officiated more than 50 ceremonies, and each time I swear no more because I’m as or more nervous than the couple getting married. I love being a part of everyone’s special day, and I love letting them decide how their day will go, with the freedom to express their love in a way that’s unique to their story and their personalities. Read more>>

Christian the Magician

Christian the Magician learned his first magic trick at the ripe old age of five. But he’s been a serious magician since he was nine. Magic was a way for Christian to escape the difficulties he faced growing up. Christian would stow away in his room for hours practicing the magic tricks he found in a beginner’s set given to him by a neighbor. Later, he used magic to connect with the people around him – taking him from a shy, awkward boy to a confident, awkward adult. He even worked his way through college and law school performing shows for ten thousand of people from around the world at a popular St. Louis tourist attraction. Read more>>

Marsha Bradford

The Center began as a grad school project back in the late 1990s. Integrative health wasn’t an especially well-understood concept back then, and at least in the Midwest, wellness centers were dichotomized into medical models or holistic offerings, The Center came to fruition in 2016, just as integrative medicine was finding its feet. I had been running a group mental health practice for the decade prior and was noticing two major issues: 1) clients were making great strides in their mental health but often needed to go outside our group for other modes of healing. This would often mean traveling to new offices, establishing new relationships, working through new insurance billing, etc. And for clients who were already dealing with social anxiety, depression or more… these could be daunting hurdles on their way to healing. Read more>>

Kirk Quigless

Dr. Q is a third-generation health care professional and a second-generation dentist. He has been a practicing dentist for nearly 30 years. Dentistry is literally in his blood. With family and community being his number one passion, Dr. Q ran a very successful mobile dental outreach program that provided dental services to the schools in the underserved districts in parts of Missouri and Illinois for over ten years. Teams of Drs., hygienists and dental assistants provided preventative dental services on site to more than 100 children daily. Generally, this was the only dental care for 90% of the children seen. The vision and purpose of Dr. Q’s Fresh Breath Club goes beyond this amazing product. Not only is it a very attractive product line, it is eco-friendly, sustainable 100% bamboo. Further, Dr. Q is committed to giving back to the community and a firm believer in reciprocity. Read more>>

Megan Sanders

We were the first business in Missouri to provide whole body cryotherapy (WBC). As a physical therapist, I was growing fatigued with only seeing patients after injury or surgery instead of preventing it. I saw the benefits of WBC and the role it played in controlling systemic inflammation and coupling it with stretch-based massage allowed many of my clients to regain control of the pain, their bodies and their lives. We are not a “Cure all” studio, we are a wellness-based studio. We focus on offering education on the role that pain and inflammation play in the body, we address many needs through soft tissue release, stretching and couple that with now over five modalities (infrared sauna, compression therapy, red light therapy, whole body cryo, whole body vibration) to relieve pain. But overall, we offer HOPE. That is my business. To give the public access to understanding how and why their pain begins and then beat it to the punch before it manifests into an issue that requires a medical intervention. Read more>>

Iesha Underwood

My husband and I have always love to entertain at our home. For our 15 years anniversary, we wanted to celebrate with a huge party and a vow renewal. We search everyone for a nice modern, upscale, and affordable venue. Everywhere we found was either outdated or gave you a banquet feel. The places that we really liked were about 30 miles or more in another state. So we decided that we would buy a building renovate it and open a venue. We wanted a multipurpose space that was modern, intimate, and elegant. A place that will bring that touch of class to any occasion. Read more>>

Laura Bunch

I started out working promotional events in New York after undergrad where I quickly realized I wanted to live in a more up and coming, smaller city and on the side of events that was more creative. I moved to Kansas City where I managed a really unique venue downtown that specialized in weddings and corporate events. I actually met my husband at that space! He was the best man for his brother’s wedding which took place at the venue I managed (lol) and was my constant go-to throughout the night with questions. We totally hit it off and fast forward, three years were married! We knew we wanted to start a venue since we saw such a need for an untraditional space that felt unique, comfortable and inspiring. St Louis was closer to home since I am one of six kids, three of which live in STL and the need for this type of space was there. We searched through at least 40 buildings figuring out the right vibe and neighborhood. Read more>>

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