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STL INSPIRING 09.06.2022

Chantay Hadley

My business was just a fledgling operation before the events of 2020. As a small indie publishing company, our unique niche that combines legitimate publishing company services with self-publishing power (known to the industry as Hybrid publishing) wasn’t very well known. As families began to lose loved ones, jobs, businesses and hope; Midwest Creations Publishing (MWCP) saw the opportunity at hand – to give every person the ability to tell their story. The opportunity to provide hope, encouragement and uplifting words to so many that suffer, from those that suffer right along with them. This fueled MWCP’s mission statement for 2020-2021. Read more>>

Hailee Smith

Previously, my business was Sunless Tans by Hailee, last December I transitioned into Sunset Skin. I have added facials, chemical peels, and customized skincare regimens. I have had the most amazing time getting to know new clients and helping them achieve the skin they want! I found that during the pandemic I missed seeing my clients. I knew I wanted to help them in more ways than just spray tans. In January I enrolled at Skin Institute! I have never looked back, my clients are my world. It might sound sappy, but I am honored that they trust me with their skin. Read more>>

Kennedi Brown

Herbaura was conceptualized in one of the darkest times of my life. At the time, I was in college pursuing a major I did not enjoy. I was struggling to pass classes, dealing with past trauma, struggling with body dysmorphia, trying to find my purpose, all while feeling like I’d never make it to the mark of the expectations I felt were being placed upon me. I was consumed in sadness and fear to the point where I started to harm myself and neglect my basic needs. Read more>>

Stella Webb

I grew up in poverty on the South Side in St. Louis City in an abusive home. I married young and had children young, but through it all, I was always very spiritual and always knew there was something powerful inside me. I became a minister and missionary young as well, living in various countries in Central America and several states in the U.S. helping others in whatever way that was needed, from washing clothes by hand to lending an ear during difficult times to cooking over an open fire for dozens of people – and I loved it all thoroughly. Read more>>

Tiffanie Toles

Catering To A T LLC was born in October of 2021. Before becoming a limited liability company, our company conducted business in the form of small catering jobs for friends and family, vendor events, and occasional plate sells. Our head chef, Tiffanie Toles, was in college pursuing her Master’s Degree in Engineering Management at Missouri University of Science and Technology. During her time in school, she began selling breakfast, lunch and dinner plates around her school schedule in order to make income to support her educational journey. Read more>>

Elisa Seeger

My son Aidan was diagnosed with ALD – Adrenoleukodystrophy in 2011 – he was just 6 years old. He was in first grade and prior to having some vision problems which led us to the diagnosis he was perfectly healthy. Once he was diagnosed -June 2, 2011 we were on amission to save his life. We went to Univ of Minnesota and then Duke for work up. We opted for Duke and moved our family down to North Carolina from NY. Aidan was admitted and went through chemo and received a bone marrow transplant – the only approved treatment at the time. Read more>>

Cameron Stiles

I started working at 5 years old the first thing I created was Aladdin the movie along the way I also created plenty of dance ,over u see now today . I was on AOL since it was 14mps per second.I was raised in Cali stl most of my life. Traumatic child hood with no father only drug dealers and gangsters and crackhead. My mother abused me wooped me silly and is still today is horrible to me she hates me. Buy 1st grad I was an adult raising siblings at home by myself let myself in out from school. Single parent household no father no real role models. Read more>>

Avonda Anderson

I started Melanated Rich, in 2016. I was always a lover of beauty and fashion. However when I looked around my neighborhood in South St.Louis, all the places for beauty supplies were sold by, made by and created for non people of color. I opened Melanated Rich to change that picture. I wanted to show my people that you can have luxury right here in the neighborhood and buy products made by and for people of color. I also am a published author. I work a book on how to motivate yourself to living free. Read more>>

Colin Munie

It started when one day I was getting my hair and makeup done for a photoshoot I had planned with a close family friend. It was towards fitness/fashion. This was the start of my fitness journey so I wasn’t as “big”. I admired the way it felt being infront of a camera, all glammed up fresh from the salon chair. As I continued to progress in the gym and began to see results I started doing more fitness/underwear shoots in different brands. The results and progress I had seen in my photoshoots pushed me to pursue beginning a modeling career. Ever since I experienced my first photoshoot it allows me to express myself through pictures, let loose and just have fun without a worry. Read more>>

Vesper Alonso

Im a 19 year old tattoo apprentice and visual artist from Lemay. I am an artist above all else, and always have been. Art was my first hyper fixation, and definitely has been the only thing keeping me going at some points. Consuming and creating art has definitely saved me, and now I have the privilege to dedicate my life to my craft. I’ve essentially been on my own since I was 17, and I fought to get this far. My best strength is by far my persistence, I will always keep fighting to get my work out there. Queer, disabled, and trans artists are severely underrepresented in tattooing, especially in STL. Read more>>

Erin Fraundorf

I am originally from Wisconsin and began my journey to orthodontics there as I completed my undergraduate studies at the University Of Wisconsin – La Crosse. There, I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in biology, biochemistry and Spanish with a minor in art. Following college, I moved to Louisville for dental school and received my Doctorate of Dental Medicine at the University of Louisville. After the four years in Louisville, I moved to St Louis to complete my 30 month residency of specialized training in orthodontics. Read more>>

Kelly Adams

First, ya’ll this journey is so magical! I claimed this journey in November 2010. I REALLY DID! Write down your goals, plans, dreams, big ideas and go after them urgently! In 2010, I wrote and claimed that I would be a successful entrepreneur and referenced serving youth (see attached pic)! It took me a lil minute, had to snag that husband first and build our family. Now I am ready to serve something wonderful and amazing to my community! In December, 2020, during the midst of a pandemic and having our children home with us, virtual learning with 5 children and working full time, then at UMSL – The W.A.Y. Center was birthed. W.A.Y. is an acronym for “Watering and Advancing Youth”. Read more>>

Kyla Hurtado

Pretty Face Co. started as a skin care company with the idea of bringing body positive energy to everyone. The idea of feeling worthy in your body and absolutely loving every stage of yourself. Motivated and determined to go against mainstream “beauty standards” Kyla made a company inspired by her own experiences. Skin care has always been a passion and art has always been a hobby but never did she think that both could be combined. In May of 2021, PFCo. was known for skincare with candles as an extra touch of luxury to your skincare routine. Read more>>

Shaelyn Rolf

A little bit of luck, an awful lot of prayer, and a vehement determination to succeed far beyond anyone’s wildest expectations is what got me to where I am now. In 2012 after I finished up at University I moved back home to Saint Louis and lived at my father’s house in South City. I had no clue what I was going to do with my life, and I was working full time as a bartender on the Hill. I had this consistent feeling, a mix of passion with desolation, that pulled at the base of my lungs telling me that I should at least try and pursue music as a career. Read more>>

Vincent E Sargent

In 2002 I was young and really had no general career choices I wanted to pursue other than computers. I worked under a chef named Josh who seen my work ethic but knew I was rough around the edges. Previously I’ve been in some trouble he gave me a book by Chef Jeff Henderson and ignited my passion that gave me the career I have today.Nothing work having will ever be smooth. I invest my own money so definitely that will always be a challenge and really just not ever getting discouraged and remembering why you started but I think that goes for multiple things. Read more>>

Angel Magasano

Growing up in a rural-suburban community south of St. Louis, I was fortunate to have a close and supportive family. My brother, Kenny, and I lived in a small town next door to my maternal grandparents and attended the same school from kindergarten through graduation. As a child, I was a competitive dancer and pageant girl. I credit those activities with my ability to be poised, well spoken, and experienced in showmanship. After graduation, I continued my education at Missouri State University where I served on the Sugar Bear dance squad, a promotional tool for the University. Read more>>

David Taylor

I grew Up in the city of St. Louis, mainly South city. I spent my younger years as a kid in North St. Louis I went to Ashland Elementary off Ashland and Newstead. I was raised by my aunt who was very Religious being a Jehovah’s Witness so at a young age I developed a strong love for God. Due to a mental Illness my mother couldn’t take care of me so my aunt took me and my sister in so that we wouldn’t get lost in the system. It was very hard on my aunt I’m sure trying to raise two extra children on top of her own 5 children.  Read more>>

Natasha Downs

I started my hair journey in high school. I lived in a small town, less than 1000 people, Witt IL. I always had a love for doing hair but it was not until a hair salon came in next door to my house that I really fell in love. I spent time over there watching and learning how fun and exciting of a career I could have. That was when I decided to pursue cosmetology after high school. I graduated high school early in January and started my first day in cosmetology school in March of 2005. Read more>>

Sydnie Rushing

It all started back in 2018. Alton had just won season 3 of the Small Business Revolution tv show and there was a hometown pride simmering in Downtown Alton. A friend of mine who lives in STL was coming across the bridge for a fun day trip to Alton and wanted to know, since I had been living in Alton, what things she should do while she was there. I gave her a great list of things but there wasn’t really a place to shop for clothing. Having been in retail for nearly a decade, shopping is kind of my thing. Read more>>

Connee Williams

I started doing graphic design back in the Myspace days when I was about 12. I started it back up in 2019 for a side hustle and people LOVED my designs so I stuck with it. Now I am a full time graphic designer servicing over 100 clients. I created Studio Brooklyn Elite in June of 2021. I was actually pregnant with our first living baby boy when I started building the business. I do more than just graphic design, hence the word Studio in my name. The Brooklyn comes from my previous pregnancy loss of my micro preemie who survived 2 hours. Read more>>

Keith Van Gels

My name is Keith Van Gels but I created an alter-ego, KaneVanGate38, on YouTube and other social channels. Kane is hockey/beer-league/self obsessed but harmless. This “character” has allowed me to see and do some really cool things in the hockey community. I wouldn’t say there were struggles nor would I saw it was always a smooth ride. For me, it wasn’t even remotely close to being overnight, however, so I’d say it’s taken a lot of patience. No on “Hockey Journey” – a documentary film we produced that coincides with the YouTube channel… Read more>>

Jeffrey Jensen

It all started because of our first Dog Salem. We found him as a puppy running along and on a highway down near Salem Missouri on our way to a camping trip with friends. We were the only car that stopped and scooped him up. We checked with homes around where we found him and no one had ever seen him before, So that is when he immediately became part of our family. Matt was a school teacher at the time and Jeff worked for May Dept Stores. Matt had always wanted to own his own business as his dad did so he was going through many ideas until one day came up with the concept of what our store is now. Read more>>

Kyra Valdez-Shipp

I have been an RN for over 15 years with a diversified background – from being an ICU nurse to working as a healthcare executive for the top health insurance providers in the country. I have always been passionate about self-care and cosmetics however, it wasn’t until a few life events occurred that I felt the calling to make this passion into a business that can serve others. I became pregnant with my daughter in late 2019 and was ecstatic! Shortly thereafter covid hit and the world as we knew it changed. Not only was I becoming a new mom in a covid world, I was also diagnosed with thyroid cancer a year later. Read more>>

Bri Durawski

My career as a graphic designer began through multiple internships and in-house design positions. From brand and web design specialist to senior graphic designer, I’ve gained experience in many aspects of the field. But it always felt as if something was missing. Like I wasn’t reaching my full potential. I had to explore. I injected as much freelance work as possible into my spare time, dreaming of doing it full time one day. Finally, I decided to go for it and Quiet One Creative was born. Born from a burning desire to do things my way, make my own schedule, and be my own boss. Read more>>

Chaim Phenomenon

I don’t look like what I’ve been through. Inasmuch, knowing that where there’s a will there’s a way, I try to focus on positivity and solutions. I grew up in the inner-city of Saint Louis, MO. Music has always been apart of my life, It’s healing for me, and one of my favorite ways to express myself. Growing up as far as music goes I played the drums and sang in the church choir. Also, I played the trumpet and french horn in one of my high school’s orchestra, and performed poems/raps for my family every blue moon.  Read more>>

Dr. Julia Raz

Like many people, the pandemic allowed me to rethink my career path. What started as a hobby and passion, became something bigger than I could ever imagine. As a professor with a Ph.D. in Communication, I worked with thousands of students over the past decade at Santa Monica College and California State University, Long Beach. I am also a mom to a 6-year-old and know how challenging it is to maintain a home with kids. I understand the unique challenges of individuals from different cultures, backgrounds, and economic situations, and work to empower them with confidence in their own voice. Read more>>

Jake Sciales

I was born in raised in Kirkwood and came from a very large Italian-Irish family where great food was an important part of family get-togethers’. My Father, Grandfather and Uncle even owned a local restaurant food distribution company. We grew up eating home cooked meals and I was eager to learn and help. I started cooking at restaurants in college when I was around 20 years old and developed a passion for food. I realized that I wanted to pursue a career in culinary arts instead of finishing college. I moved back to St. Louis and started working at Mazara Bistro in Clayton where I met my wife Sara who was then a server there. Read more>>

Dayne Lewis

My wife Connie, and I have a fashion design, development, and production company, Conjetta Designs. We have been creating amazing apparel and accessories for large and small brands. It was only natural that we would start our own brand. Gyal Bashy is combination of my Jamaican roots and style, and our companies expertise in apparel development. Gyal Bashy is a sustainable, Caribbean inspired fashion brand. The name Gyal Bashy is a Jamaican patio phrase meaning “woman/girl you look amazing”. We wanted a brand that expressed our love of traveling, but is sustainable and not easily forgotten fast fashion. Read more>>

Anthea Winston

Well, I’ve been an artist my entire life. I started drawing as soon as I could hold a crayon. My parents had pics I had drawn all over the place, they’ve always encouraged my art, my siblings too. They all still do. When I was in middle and high school, I used to draw cartoons and charge like $2 per pic. Sometimes, my sister and I would design different things, like jackets, purses and pants. We would either sell them or wear them ourselves. Lol, I guess I thought I was hustling a lil bit. Art, in several different forms, has always been sort of therapeutic for me. It calms me. It focuses me. So, initially, I had not considered art being a business for me as well. Read more>>

Chasmine Blair

I’ve been a Mixologist for over 10 years and recognizing a good combination/mixture is what I do. iPour uDrink LLC started as a way to help friends during the Covid pandemic lockdown in 2020. I knew that bars were closed and restaurants were limited on staff; so, I took my passion for bartending and started to create and deliver mix drinks as a side hustle. My side hustle has since grown into a thriving business that allows us to travel to various cities for vending opportunities. Read more>>

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