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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.

Lillie Kane Meakim

We all have a story and reason behind our motivation. Unfortunately, my childhood was filled with constant visits from the police, rape, and verbal abuse. My father left when I was too young to remember. Meanwhile, my mother was addicted to drugs and alcohol, bringing random men into my home each weekend. I grew up in a verbally and physically abusive household, which made me stronger and passionate to find my freedom. I moved out of my home at the age of 16 and shortly after became an emancipated minor. After legally being granted my freedom, I became more determined to find deeper truths to life and embrace each and every day. With that being said, I have found that without health, it is hard to be happy and enjoy all the things life has to offer. I ended up becoming a Certified Health and Nutrition Life coach and social media influencer. I am a Youtuber who provides free content to people all over the world with “What I Eat in a Day”, recipes, and other informational videos. I also offer one-on-one coaching to help people reach their health and life goals. Read more>>

Steve Barcellona

I am what happens when you say yes to your mid-life crisis! Over twenty years ago, I had a great job, and I was making a good living, but I was working 60 plus hours a week. My job wasn’t and was never going to give me the kind of lifestyle or freedom I wanted for my family or me. Even worse, it was sucking the life out of me; I wasn’t doing what I loved. The art of magic and sleight of hand has always been my passion. I love seeing the incredible impact it has on people. One day, I realized that I wasn’t where I was supposed to be; I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing. So, I did something about it, and I took the leap of faith. Pre-Covid, my calendar stayed pretty full, performing comedy and magic at banquets and events all over the area. It’s like being a celebrity, one night at a time. Read more>>

Miss Dior

After I graduated college I worked as a scientist. I thought this was my passion, but as I got into the routine of doing the same thing everyday I found that it was just something I was just good at. It didn’t make me happy and I felt like something was missing. I honestly couldn’t see myself doing lab work for the rest of my life. One day I wrote down in my journal all of my skills and the things I was passionate about. I found that the things that make me the happiest involve hair and beauty. I decided I wanted to start my own beauty brand and put my cosmetic chemistry skills to work. I quit my job and started working full time on my business. Throughout the process of building my brand, I felt completed; I knew this was my dream job! I could see myself doing this everyday without being bored, especially because I’m not doing the same things all the time. I have a variety of tasks and challenges that I have to do daily, weekly, etc. My business didn’t start overnight. It took me over a year with the proper research for sourcing and formulating quality products, creating a brand identity and understanding marketing. On December 7th, 2020 I officially launched my business HAUS OF DIOR. Read more>>

Christina Weaver

The Women’s Creative was built by two other local women-business owners and myself. It started originally as a small group of women-owned businesses that gathered every few months at local spots (primarily in Saint Louis City) to sell their products. After a few of these events, word spread that they were happening and more women wanted to be involved. As we grew we quickly realized that there are hundreds of women who have started and are building small creative businesses in the Saint Louis region. These women are using these businesses to increase income levels and financial stability for their families, provide needed medical care, fulfill creative passions, connect with other women, share wellness solutions that they have learned with their community and so much more. Their passion for their work and the gift they were extending to Saint Louis was significant. Bringing them together to support each other and fill in the knowledge they needed to grow their business was a clear and achievable goal for our team and we stepped into it. Read more>>

Samuel Schneider

I’m Samuel Schneider. I’m an adopted 16-year-old elevator enthusiast who films elevators for my YouTube channel from in the St. Charles and St. Louis Missouri area. I love elevators. I know all about them, including how they work. I was born in Springfield, Missouri, and I was later adopted as as a baby. I then moved to St. Charles, Missouri. An elevator enthusiast is someone who is interested in elevators. I got into elevators a long time ago when I was much younger. I don’t remember exactly how or when I got into elevators, but I remember watching videos from the YouTube user named “DieselDucy”. DieselDucy, also known as Andrew Reams, is the one who started it all. He filmed his very first elevator back in 1993, thus starting the elevator enthusiast community. He is actually the one who inspired me to create my YouTube channel on April 16th, 2017. I created my Google account in 2017. Read more>>

Malagrios De Jesus

I started my modeling journey in 2017, I decided to even get. into modeling because a childhood friend of mine passed away in such a horrific way by the hands of another childhood friend & as I was grieving her death I was trying to figure how could I always honor a legacy. for her so people won’t forget her name & some of what she stood for. She (Glynis Pinto) is her name, she always wanted to model professionally. She was always into the latest fashion & very fashionably since we were kids. until her untimely assassination. I actually was inspired by a lot of her fashion sense since I met her. So as I grieved for 2 years after her death I was also thinking & engaging in a plan as to what to do. Modeling & getting into the fashion industry just kept coming up very broad in my mind with her & for her. In 2016 I had this guy who was my boyfriend at the time (MC Kev) real name Kevin Veal & he was very close to Gylnis as well, he’s even her only child’s godfather. We talked a lot about Glynis & how we missed her & her lies & dislikes and we both suggested modeling would be GREAT to honor her & our friendship. Read more>>

Angela Flotken

I was always health conscious but around the time I got pregnant with my first child, I began to pay even more attention to the ways I could impact our environment in a positive way. What I learned was eye-opening. I realized that the simple choices we made (the food we ate, how we chose to treat our garden, the mattresses we slept on) could have a profound impact on our health. I wasn’t thinking about a career opportunity at the time. I was simply following my interests and passion to better our lives. After leaving a career in financial services to stay at home I continued my quest for more knowledge. I took classes, received my certificate in plant based nutrition through eCornell, befriended people in the health community and absorbed as much as I could. 8 years later it seemed as if the world was shouting at me to do something with the information in my brain. And so, The Better Have was born. I had one goal at the time and when I think of it – my goal today is much the same. I wanted to share everything I could to empower people to make more informed decisions to protect the health of those they love. I wanted to show the world that is just a little bit “better” didn’t have to be hard. We don’t have to be “all in” on clean living. But small changes add up and really matter. Read more>>

Megan Pickle

Anytime I get asked about my start in the industry, I always ask if they want the long or short version. I’ve had lots of twists and turns throughout my career but every step has definitely gotten me to where I am today. Right out of high school I made the decision to attend Paul Mitchell the School St. Louis, having zero clue what I wanted to do or how anything in the industry worked. All I knew was that I loved doing my friend’s hair and had always been a creative person growing up. But shortly after graduating, working in a salon didn’t interest me in the slightest. So I dove into the world of makeup and weddings. I worked with multiple brands including Tarte and Anastasia Beverly Hills and learned SO much during my time with each company. Missing the hair side of things I returned back to the school and spent 3 years working as a service desk coordinator, along with teaching product knowledge and personal development classes. I loved being back in the building that made me fall in love with hair, where it all started. I eventually decided to pursue being back behind the chair and spent time at various salons throughout the city, building my clientele and learning a ton along the way about what owning a business meant. Read more>>

Kali Farrell

I first started with an apprenticeship at a dirty, hole in the wall, tattoo shop in Warrenton MO. I was at this small tattoo shop for a year in a half until I left. The condition of the shop and carelessness of contamination forced me to leave and seek a correct apprenticeship. That same day I left the dirty shop, I went to a slightly larger and more well-known shop in Saint Peters MO. I was taken on as a brand-new apprentice by my favorite to date teacher. I was at this mom-and-pop tattoo shop for another year in half, having to start all over again. I was let go with less than 10 tattoos left to obtain my tattoo license. I tried one more time at a tattoo shop in Troy MO. This shop was the hardest of all apprenticeships. I was given an “old school” apprenticeship this time round. This meant I worked for free 5 days a week, 10+ hours a day, and constantly hazed. I left most nights in tears, however, determined to finally get my license to tattoo. after about 9 months, I finally completed my apprenticeship and got my license. I later on appreciated my last and most frustrating apprenticeship the most for the toughness and sense of pride it gave me. I now have had my license for 4 years and couldn’t be happier. I’ve worked in a few shops since and each one teaches me something new. Read more>>

Darice Swink

I have always been into beauty and fashion, and wanted to create a living from it, but didn’t know if it was possible for me. People would always doubt that career choice, and say that there was not much money in styling hair. But I was determined because I have always followed celebrity hairstylists who made a great living from it. Most importantly, I wanted to make women feel beautiful. There’s a science when it comes to styling hair, and creativity, so I went to beauty school and used my mom and sisters as guinea pigs, I got to practice under great stylists, I asked many questions, and did a ton of research. As I’ve embarked on this journey, I’ve discovered that education in the beauty industry is vital to achieving and maintaining healthy hair, My experience and education allowed me to step out on faith to build my own brand and business. Read more>>

Lauryn Mosby

During my last year of college, I wanted to take as many classes as possible to make sure that I exceeded the graduation requirement, but also fulfilled medical school requirements as well. Between taking 39 credits total my third and final year of college, and working multiple part time jobs, I almost never had time for self care or the money to afford it. After graduating from college in May 2020, I spent about 3 months unemployed so I had a lot of time to really practice self care and start new hobbies. It was then that I began to really brainstorm ideas for self care products that could be used at home that were similar and cheaper than what I use weekly or that I’ve gotten to experience in professional spas. I knew first hand what it felt like to be constantly drained and not have the ability to go to a nail salon, spa, or professional hairstylist every week or two weeks. Read more>>

Morgan Martin

I’ve always felt a desire to express myself with art, but when you’re growing up in the public school system it is hard to do that freely. I was always told that certain areas of focus like math or science were the only way that I could get a good job and make a lot of money, as If making a lot of money is the only thing that matters in life. Of course, it is important to make enough money to be able to support yourself and live, but there are things so much more important in life that are never taught or even discussed in public schools. If I told teachers or peers that I wanted to focus on a career in arts of some sort, they would scoff or look down on me as if I was making a dumb choice. So I ignored that desire and wasted a lot of time trying to figure out what type of non-art career I wanted to pursue. Read more>>

Megan Jeglum

I was always drawn to photography… as long as I can remember. The thought that people could pick up a machine, take an image and create art was incredible to me. I graduated from the University of Missouri St. Louis in 2013 and in my final year, I was required to sign up for an art-based elective. Photography was an option, and I jumped on it. I couldn’t wait to learn the ins and outs of creating beautiful images… but I was so busy, and it isn’t a quick learning process. I couldn’t devote the time and patience needed to really grasp the technical aspects and it fell to the wayside after finals and thesis papers. As a graduation gift, my godfather gifted me a camera kit. A brand new, beautiful, canon rebel t1 and I immediately annoyed everyone with my sporadic, out-of-focus images of dragonflies and landscapes. After a while, I got busy with work and bills and like most things it became out of sight out of mind. Read more>>

Rikki Techner

I was born in St. Louis in 1987. I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 4, and my neurologist suggested I try sewing as a way to improve my fine motor skills. I fell in love with art and theater, and eventually went on to graduate from Millikin University with a BFA in Theater Technology and Design, with an emphasis in costume design. I explored makeup during college, and upon graduation decided to go into makeup for film and television. I moved to Los Angeles, where I worked in low budget film for 9 years. The hours were long, and eventually, my disability made it difficult to keep up in the 12-14th hour, so I decided to move on. Around the same time, I began making skincare products for personal use and for my wife, who has extremely sensitive skin. I began the process to get my esthetician’s license, which was interrupted (just like everything) in March 2020. I switched gears to study skincare formulation, which could more easily be taught online, and completed several courses with the School of Natural Skincare. Read more>>

Latifah Robinson

Who is Latifah Robinson you might ask. Good question, she was borned and raised in St. Louis, Mo. She has always had a passion to help people even at a young age. Her passion led her to the healthcare field. She started working in the healthcare field in 2009 and loved everything about it but management. After many years of working in the healthcare field, she became burnt out and wanted something different. Latifah wanted to find a different way to help people on her time and stress free. After thinking of many ideas, she came up with My Favorite Scrubs LLC. My Favorite Scrubs has given her the opportunity to help and give back to the healthcare professional. She has been very passionate about her business knowing she’s making a difference in someone’s life. My Favorite Scrubs started as an online store in 2019 and branch off to a brick and mortar in 2021. Read more>>

Ernest Osaghae

I started my company about half a decade ago. I had just graduated from college and was thinking about applying to the FBI school to become an agent. During this period, I was working on getting my CCW (Concealed Carry Weapon) permit. As I was stepping out of the St. Louis county police headquarters in Clayton after just inquiring about the process of getting my CCW permit, I received a call from a law firm. I did not know how they found me but they told me they would like me to complete some specific tasks for them and that if I completed it successfully, I would be sent a check. At this time, it felt like I was being watched. I was skeptical at first but I took a leap of faith and I completed the task and then a check was sent to me. This law firm liked my competence and reliability which led them to continue working with me. This is how my company was birthed. I then went to a few other law firms, telling them what I could do for them. I left my contacts with them to call me if they would like to work with me. All this while, I kept on training myself on different processes that could help their daily operations. From that time till now, it has been a rollercoaster of experiences. Read more>>

Jeff Friesen

Growing up, I loved to cook. Whether it was baking with my grandma, making pasta or Chinese food with my dad, or making pancakes by myself, the kitchen was one of my favorite places to be. I’d never thought of it as a career path until much later in life. Throughout high school and college, I was interested in medicine and planned to go to medical school. After plans changed, and changed again and again, I ended up back in STL and wondering what I really wanted to do with my life. A family member mentioned something about a culinary school in Florence, Italy and just the idea of that possibility opened my eyes and my mind. Ultimately, going to school for 3 years in Italy wasn’t gonna be a good financial decision, although it would’ve been fun and educational. I did find just what I needed in NYC, however. Read more>>

Cheww Sifford

Growing up in the 90’s, my brother and I would run around our house with a 20 pound camera on our shoulders. We would create short skits in our basement while playing our favorite CDs in the background to score the films. Embarrassingly – I’m sure our mom has a tape of us making our first music video to “All Star by Smashmouth.” This is where I had my first glimpse of working a camera, using my imagination to direct screenplays & collaborating music with film. In 2008, my friends & I would get together to skateboard around the city. It was only right for us to capture these outings of our skate crew “DHS” on film. Our friend Tommy caught all of the good AND bad stunts we pulled. Eventually, with that footage, I wanted to dive into editing anything that I possibly could. Fast forward to Summer ‘16, my band The Greater Good traveled 33 hours in a van to southern California. It was only right for this to be documented. This is where my work became public to an audience. The film consisted of palm trees, the ocean, studio interviews and my band’s live performances. Along the years following, I would continue to work on small home editing projects, including an AMV for “OvOblivion” by The Greater Good. Read more>>

Kendra Quinn

I’m a passionate writer and social media marketer with a media production background. I studied journalism and mass media right as the social media revolution was happening in the early 2000s. I was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. I grew up in a suburb that neighbors Ferguson. I earned a B.A. in Mass Communication from the University of Missouri, and later attended Webster University and earned an M.A. in Communications Management. During the three years in between college and graduate school, (which occurred two years after the 2008 recession), I worked multiple retail jobs, and took on several unpaid production internships and writing gigs, including one at Nine Network of Public Media. During graduate school, I began freelance writing for St. Louis Magazine, and wrote its Best Dressed 2015 fashion feature. In summer of 2015, a few months after graduation, I thought it was a good idea to pack up my tiny coupe and leave my hometown of St. Louis to start a new life on the West Coast. Read more>>

Alonzo Washington

I started ZoWash Auto Detailing Spa in August of 2019. I began Detailing friends and family vehicles at a low rate in return for Promotional content and video recording of my Detailing processes. After a few months, I began promoting the company on social media which then cause a lot of inquiries about my Detailing service. Shortly after starting the company from my home garage, I began offering mobile detailing services to the St Louis Metro Area where I would detail their vehicles at the clients’ homes or businesses. After 2 years, my business grew into high end detailing and then I began offering paint correction and scratch removal Restoration. When I began Detailing I did not have a background or credible history in automobile Restoration I just had a great passion for the industry which led me into opening a detailing service company. My professional background is in Civil Engineering which I still do full time along with managing ZoWash Auto Detailing Spa part time. Read more>>

Amber Mercedes

My business Lashed By Mercedes was inspired by my love and passion for lashes and beauty. In 2019 I was overworked, stressed, but yet still determined. I decided that I wanted to start a business and quit my job because I wanted to not only become my own boss, but I wanted to serve a purpose for women. When I put on lashes, I feel more confident in myself knowing I look and feel good. Starting a business was very scary at first but starting any new journey can be. I have learned so many things as an entrepreneur, but my biggest lesson was working hard even when I feel down, sad, or overwhelmed. I am the person I am today because I never gave up. I kept promoting and posting my business no matter if I had 5 likes, 20 likes or zero likes. Being determined and praying to God every single day has gotten me where I am today. Also, my supporters and costumers had played a big role in my success as well. Read more>>

Calvin Kinard

I’ve always had a passion for dogs since birth. As a youth, I watched dog shows and training specials. Throughout my adulthood (after college) I began to train in many different areas of dog care. From vet and kennel tech to dog grooming to training, show handler and now dog breeding. I was blessed to be able to study under some of the best veterinarians, breeders, trainers and animal caretakers. My love for dogs continues to grow with each passing year. Read more>>

Jasmina Menkovic and Mirela Karic

Jasmina’s background is in business management/finance and Mirela’s is in the legal field. Their decade long friendship inspired them to join forces and follow their true passion for event planning and holiday decor. Read more>>

1 Comment

  1. SYLVESTER BROWN, JR.

    September 20, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Greetings and congratulations on the launch of VoyageSTL. From the perspective of a former columnist (St. Louis Post-Dispatch and publisher (Take Five Magazine 1987-2003) and current writer with the St. Louis American, I can honestly say I am impressed with your work. Already, it seems to be a refreshing addition to the region’s sometimes stale media landscape. – Good luck with your venture.-Sincerely, Sylvester Brown, Jr.

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