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Hidden Gems: Local Businesses & Creatives You Should Know

Every day we have a choice. We can support an up and coming podcaster, try a new family-run restaurant, join a boutique gym started by a local fitness champ or we could keep giving away our money to the handful of giants who already control so much of our commerce. Our daily decisions impact the kind world we live in; if we want a world where small businesses are growing and artists and creatives are thriving then we should support them with our time, money and attention. We’re proud to highlight inspiring creatives and entrepreneurs each week in Hidden Gems series. Check out some of our latest local gem features below.

Kirby Beaver

Hey y’all! I have been a licensed REALTOR® since 2014! I am originally from Alabama but enjoyed growing up in the East Valley. I now raise my two boys in the West Valley and love seeing the ever-changing state we live in! I got into real estate to allow me the freedom to raise my boys and be present in their lives all while building my business and servicing my community. There are thousands of agents to choose from, and I felt there was a real need in the Arizona real estate industry to bring a little southern charm to the southwest. This is most likely the largest transaction someone will do in their life. Buying and selling a home shouldn’t be a stressful experience. I wanted to bring a higher level of customer service to my clients so they can truly enjoy the experience, and know they have an advocate in their corner. Read more>>

Paloma Ruelas

My love for photography started with the help of both my mom and my Tia. My Mom would always gift me different cameras and my Tia was the one who always took photos and documented the milestones in our lives, printed them, and added them to albums that we still cherish to this day. As I got older and a camera was always at my fingertips, I eventually became the one to document everything and everyone!  After losing my uncle in 2016, I realized that we didn’t have enough photos of him and it made me realize how important it is to have photos of those I love and how it should be important to everyone else too. When my mom gave me my first DSLR camera in 2019, I started offering photoshoots to my friends and family. Bless their hearts for letting me capture their milestones at the beginning of my journey because I had no idea what I was doing! Read more>>

Dr. Brad Shumway

I was raised in Tempe, Arizona, doing a lot of camping, reading, playing the piano, swimming, playing sports, and teasing my five sisters. I served a two-year volunteer mission for my church in Portugal, then obtained a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University. Next came medical school at Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine. The final leg of my formal education and training came through HonorHealth Scottsdale Osborn Family Medicine Residency. I have a wonderful wife and three children that are more important to me than anything. Family physicians are often considered the “Jack of all trades” in medicine. I take pride in this, and also apply this to the rest of my life in trying to be a well-rounded person. For example, I volunteer as one of the team doctors for Westwood High School’s football team, give service through volunteer church positions, participate in a church choir, enjoy athletics/camping/hiking, play the piano, read a lot, speak Spanish, juggle, like yard work, and enjoy learning about personal finance. Read more>>

Janylle Radden

As long as I can remember, I’ve had a food allergy. The first time I remember having an allergic reaction, I was 5 years old. I’ve been navigating dining out with a food allergy my entire life and it’s not been easy but I’ve gotten used to it. Speaking to managers and servers, asking questions, avoiding eating when there’s any uncertainty, etc. My family and I went to dinner at a Las Vegas restaurant and when I went to order food, I asked the server what I could safely eat with my food allergy and the server stepped away and brought back an allergy menu featuring every dish as well as what allergens were present in each. I had never felt so safe in a restaurant in my life. It was that night that MenuMD was born. We had to make that kind of information and that confident feeling accessible to everyone. I’ve been working hard to collaborate with restaurants all over the country to clearly identify the allergens on their menu as well as the vegan and vegetarian items so that customers can have a simpler, safer dining experience. Read more>>

Daizjele Cox

I’m a jack of all trades some would say with a passion for art. I got into art as a fluke. My son came home from school with an assignment which required the students to draw a president (Chester Arthur); which he wasn’t comfortable with. We did the assignment together (I felt like it was something that he could definitely do) so we sat down and did it together and ever since then I’ve had a passion for creating. Which has turned my passions to painting, drawing, modding, molding hair accessories, making pillows, and of course hosting painting sips. I love creating and I try to do so every day. Ideal hands. Make an ideal mind we were born to make our stamps on this earth so I work daily to fulfill my duty. I also love to cook. Read more>>

Hayden Van Hulzen

I grew up in Chicago, Illinois, and had a very sheltered childhood. My mother was a fear and ego-based parent, abusive, and impossible to please. She divorced my father when I was three and remarried to a man who never considered me one of his own children and treated me as such. I imagine that military school would have made my mother’s parenting seem like a cakewalk. I remember crying in the rain at the bus stop one day because I was afraid to come home and tell my mother that I had received a C on an advanced mathematics test. I had two step-siblings and a half-brother who were all my stepfather’s children, so I was consistently the outcast and they never let me forget it. My mother allowed my step-father and his entire family treat me like the outcast and when my inquisitive young mind wanted to understand why I was made to feel afraid or ashamed for asking. Read more>>

Larry Zahn

I have been a die-hard skateboarder and extreme sports fan since I was 10. I never played traditional sports because my mom told me that tackle football was too dangerous. Being a single mother, I think what that actually translated to was that she could not afford organized sports programs. She actually did me a favor because I became more engrossed with extreme sports like BMX and skateboarding. While I was at the height of my skateboarding, at the age of 15, I started working at a well-known retail store called Van’s California Daze. I built skateboards, sold clothes and shoes, helped with ordering, and eventually became assistant manager at a later age. Circa 1985 we received a ton of new clothing from a brand called Stussy. For whatever reason, I was just so enamored with the branding, look and feel, designs, and quality of the clothing. At my current age, brands have come and gone or changed dramatically, but my love for the clothing and extreme sports industry has not changed… other than I’m getting older and don’t have much business being on a skateboard anymore. Read more>>

Nardin Hermiz

I am originally from Chicago. I graduated with honors from Elmhurst College of Nursing in 2013. When I was in my third year of nursing school, I performed CPR on a victim during church mass. It was that moment that I got hooked to the adrenaline rush of intensive medicine. Since then, I have worked alongside a prestigious team of healthcare providers at Banner University Medical Center’s Trauma and Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit. After many years of ICU nursing, I wanted to find ways to utilize my creative side but in medicine. I shadowed a couple of nurse injectors in the valley and fell in love with the work. Not long after, I decided to open Uptown MediSpa in Arrowhead. It has now blossomed into a beautiful clinic that focuses on beauty, wellness, and women’s health. I work alongside a team of inspiring women who strive to make a positive difference in every client that walks into our doors. Read more>>

Thad Metz

I was fortunate enough to have been able to work on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for 10 years. I began as an entry-level runner and moved up to become an arbitrage clerk shortly after. As a clerk, I fell in love with the adrenaline rushes from fast markets and the intense competition to provide the quickest, most accurate market quotes. After a few years of working for great mentors (bosses), I borrowed money to start my own brokerage group. The other brokerage groups hated me for doing this and wanted to see me fail. I overcame the hostility and was able to pay off my borrowers within my first year. I found a partner and we successfully expanded into new markets. I left the C.M.E. in April 2006 due to 98% of floor-trading volume migrating to Globex, C.M.E.’s online trading platform. I entered the C.M.E. with nothing and left owning a trading membership and a lifetimes-worth of experience. Read m0re>>

Reagan Briggs

I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur, so that’s exactly what I did! Since day 1, I wanted to be my own boss and run my own business. Real estate-wise, I wanted to be in this industry since I was 3 years old. Walking down the Malibu beach with my father, Jack, he commented to me that someone gets the insanely cool job of selling these beachfront properties. Immediately, I knew that is what I wanted to do and I have truly worked my entire life with real estate as the end goal. While in high school, I launched REAMOR Marketing with my twin sister, Morgan Briggs. At the age of 15, we were creating the digital marketing campaigns for many small businesses in Scottsdale and helping them hit record-breaking years in sales! Two years later, I graduated high school a year early, eagerly awaiting working in this industry. I was then able to continue my work with digital marketing in my dream field by becoming a Real Estate Assistant & Director of Marketing for a local, luxury team. Read more>>

Bruno Ielo

Hey! My name is Bruno. I’m a husband and father of two amazing boys, Damian and Dominic. I was in construction for 20 years but always felt like I was wasting my talents doing what I was doing, my talent of talking and connecting to people. I’ve always been a very social person, I love meeting and getting to know people and have always been a fan of the reality show Big Brother. One day I decided I was going to audition for the show as I’ve always played along while watching the show and would always say “I would have done this” or felt like I could read people very well. Season 3 auditions come around and I go for it and absolutely crush my audition! I go through the entire casting process with nobody but my wife knowing about it, my family and friends all found out I was on the show when they released the cast publicly! Read more>>

Mia Hillery

My life’s work is about doing what I love most and sharing the best with the people I love most, which is YOU. As your resident Celebration Expert my “work” leads me on many hospitality adventures, involving all things; events, special projects, food, drinks, travel, and everything therein.  Let’s face it…life can be complete pandemonium. As a Lifestyle Designer, I have created an alternative lifestyle which allows me to live my life on my terms, unapologetically. My main focus is self-care, family, and spirituality.  Through my blog, I share my great experiences for living and maintaining YOUR best life. Read more>>

Malcolm Alston

My story started in 2011 when I was a pre-initiate into my fraternity named Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, incorporated. I joined the org because I liked what they were about. They stood for brotherhood and helping the community, etc. but as I joined, I saw that I held a passion for something more specific that they didn’t all seem to hold. I stayed a passionate worker inside of my organization from the very beginning in 2011 when I was a pre-initiate, to when I crossed and became an official member in 2012, all the way up until I graduated in the winter of 2015. Once I graduated from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania where my chapter is located, decided to move on from my fraternity and do my own thing. I wasn’t sure what “doing my own thing” was for a few years, but I knew that it was something different from what I was experiencing inside of my fraternity. Read more>>

Cydney Stephens

Growing up I’ve always had a love for all things health /beauty related and a strong curiosity of how the human body works, how dose everything function internally?! I wanted to know the literal ins and outs of what we all are made of. As I got older, The curiosity had become an obsession so I had to figure out ” How can I make this curiosity a career??”  In my late teens early twenties, I was going to school for Kinesiology / Athletic Training, halfway through my program I randomly started to feel a little empty and had all of a sudden lost interest in what I was going to school for. I had realized I love healing and helping others in need but my thoughts and daydreams kept bringing back to the beauty industry. Coincidentally, I had just found out what an Esthetician was and what they do. I wasn’t happy and withdrew for school. Read more>>

Christopher Pela

I’m Christopher Pela of Studio Pela, and we are an architectural firm located here in Phoenix Arizona. We love designing for the desert landscape in particular, though we come from a broad background of projects – nationally and internationally. For the past 12-or-so years I have been in Tucson – first studying architecture at the University of Arizona, after which I was fortunate to work with the wonderful team at Rick Joy Architects, for over 7 years. In 2020 I came home to Phoenix in order to open Studio Pela. I was born and raised here in Phoenix, though I spent many years as a child in the frigid northern extremities of Wisconsin as well. The desert feels like home and inspires Studio Pela’s work. Read more>>

Rich Brecklin

I never thought I would have left my dream job, and end up where I am today. I had always wanted to be a police officer, and I did just that. I was hired by the Peoria (IL) Police Department in 2005. I worked in patrol for most of my time and as a field training officer. I eventually moved over to Violent Crimes Investigations.  While I loved my career, I always wanted to do my own thing. I had obtained my real estate license, but I did not do much with it. However, I took a deeper look at what I could create in real estate, and still be able to help others. I then decided I would walk away from a six-figure income, and go all-in with real estate. When I made this decision, we just had daughter number 2, and my wife stays home. I thrive on pressure and big goals. I left the PD in July of 2018. I sold 34 homes that year. Read more>>

Christopher LaPrath

At six years old, I began to see the dead, and my life would never be the same. My story began in the 1960s when I was living in a haunted house in northern Idaho. The living and the dead haunted that house. But our story starts with the dead. I was six years old. I was walking by our living room picture window in the home we recently moved to. An old farmhouse near a lake and far away enough from others that they wouldn’t hear my father screaming. The lake lay to the west. I could see it sparkling as the sun bounced off it like millions of diamonds and stretched almost as far as the eye could see. I could see the Green Monarchs, giant mountains that fell straight down into the lake in the far distance.  Then I saw my grandfather sitting in the front yard in a rocking chair. He had a light around him. He was framed against the mountains, with this aura about him, his goodness soaking into the fading light. Read more>>

Maya Mishol

My name is Maya Mishol, I’m a mother of 3 and an Interior Designer. I originally from Israel and recently I moved here, to Chandler Arizona with my family. I started my career as chemist until I decided to make a change in my life and start doing what I really love – to design spaces, and on 2017 I opened MAYA DESIGN LLC that specialize in residentials remodeling.  I took the accuracy, irritation, and organization skills from chemistry into the design world, and along with my experience, creative and education I can help my clients fulfill their goals.  I take each client through a collaborative process where I determine the project scope of work and budget, design their home, supervise the construction, installing furnishings and coordinate everything in between. Every project has its own personality according to my client’s needs and lifestyle. Read more>>

Dynastie Williams and Alexis Medina

We are a sister duo and have always wanted to put ourselves in a position which allows us to be boss. We like making people smile and during COVID we took heart to knowing people couldn’t celebrate special events so this idea helped us be most involved in our community. We have the skills both individually and combined to make sure that we get things done well and in timely matter and desire to pass this business down to our three children combined. Read more>>

Paul Carroll

I grew in Dublin Ireland and emigrated to Australia when I was Twenty, I worked in the Process Piping industry which allowed me to travel extensively around the world…I always had a love for the music of Ireland and have performed in many countries …it was during a performance in Melbourne Australia where I met my wife who is from Boston. We moved back to the USA and settled in New Hampshire and raised our family…I had a 25-year career with the Gillette Company as Facilities Manager…after I retired my eldest daughter Melissa was diagnosed with a terminal cancer (Ewings Sarcoma) she was an artist living in Brooklyn at the time. After I retired, I was part of the Golf and Music Tours to Ireland and Scotland as an entertainer performing in the pubs etc. it was on one of these trips in Ireland and Scotland that I met Debbie and Jack Waitkus and they invited us out to Arizona where they live…we are still settled in Arizona. Read more>>

Carol Farabee

I was born February 9, 1950, in Lakeland, Florida. My brother Richard was born December 11, 1948. The rest of the 6 siblings were born from 1951 to 1965. There were 8 of us and being number 2 of that group was always interesting. We moved around a lot and I believe that is what made me ‘resilient.’ We did not know much about what store-bought was but I do remember Mom was always there. She was the light on the candle that kept us together in clean clothes and food on the table. There was not always a lot of food but we made sure the little ones were fed first. I remember eating onion sandwiches and if you have never had a pork and bean sandwich, try it. It did not matter to me where we lived as long as they had a library. That was my true home. I loved reading and my mom would ask why I read books with small letters. The summer I was 13 I summarized Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations. Loved that book and it is still relevant today. When I teach business classes and government contracts, I always refer to that book. Read more>>

Joseph O’Connell

I am the founder of Creative Machines and its artistic director. Over 26 years I have developed a gender- and race-diverse staff of 30 designers, engineers, architects, fabricators, and project managers – all united by a shared vision of creativity, enthusiasm, and respect. We own an amazing 8-acre facility rooted in a unique community and we create permanent art that is loved all over the world. Couples have gotten married at our Bike Church, Texas Rising, and Chinook Arc. Schools have adopted our sculpture, Toby, as their mascot. Ballroom Luminoso and Bike Church have drawn such crowds that parks have been built around them. We have created approximately 50 public art projects and many of these have won “Best Of…” designations. Read more>>

August O’neal

Where do I begin, picture this, Columbus 1975… I’ve always wanted to be a superstar. I saw the Blues Brothers movie and knew I was supposed to be an entertainer. My friends and family will tell you,” August always said she was going to be famous” and I haven’t stopped trying yet. I’m a single mom, my son is 10, and is very much an introvert. I wonder what side of the family he gets that from because it is not mine! I’m 46, born and raised in Columbus, Ohio via a suburb called Westerville. I now currently reside in Phoenix and I travel all over the world trying to make people forget their problems for 15 to 20 minutes. I am an Adidas fanatic. Read more>>

Austin LaRue Baker

I was first exposed to Photography through an elective film class in Jr High, and have always valued how it taught me to take effective photos. Even though I wasn’t super serious at the time, I enjoyed it a lot. Later, in high school, I returned to film as digital photography hadn’t completely taken off yet which in hindsight, I was grateful for. With digital, you can see what you’re doing, and you can edit after the fact, it is more straight forward, with film, there is no second take and you have to learn how to get the result with setting up, you have to understand the actual workings of the camera and the setting, exposures, light, speed of aperture, etc. which honed in my skill sets far beyond if I were just taking stills. My short attention span soon moved from film onto my love of wildlife. After high school I found myself traveling all around the state and falling in love with the Arizona wildlife. Read more>> 

Kaylie Miller

My photography journey began back in 2017 when I started offering photo sessions to friends and family in my hometown. While also having a full-time job and being in university at that time, I didn’t think too much about it, but absolutely loved being behind the camera and meeting so many amazing people throughout the process. In 2019 I got to photograph my first elopement ever and instantly fell in love with that niche of photography… I mean I became obsessed! Learning so much about the wedding industry and getting to perfect my craft became my passion and I knew instantly this is what I wanted to do: help brides and grooms feel confident and supported on their wedding day. I always knew I wanted to work towards a creative career and when this opportunity was presented to me you bet, I jumped right on it! Read more>>

Eren Bozbulut

There were so many things I always wanted to do. I prefer to proceed step by step. I studied graphic design at university. After making a career in the advertising industry for a few years and receiving awards, I started to do photography in addition. My photos have been published in many global magazines in a few years. For about three years, I have been fulfilling my childhood dream in the music industry. Currently, I still continue in three different art branches. I guess my secret is that I love doing art so much. Read more>>

REV WYN

While I’ve been making up songs since childhood, I finally found my voice when the darkness of early quarantine afforded me the opportunity to hole up with my synths, drum machine, and a 4-track tape recorder for weeks. Adopting a streamlined production method, I performed each track live into the 4 track in complete takes, then manipulated the tape machine to print the final tracks – no computer editing. A wonderfully bizarre magnum opus emerged – the 19 track “Total Abandon” LP. The eternal struggle between shadow and idealized self, the fickle ego, psychedelic mysticism, and the heavens and hells of human relationships…it plays like a movie from top to bottom. I steadily released singles with accompanying visual art throughout 2020-2021, teaching myself graphic design and video editing to create music videos, culminating in release of the full “Total Abandon” LP in October 2021. Read more>>

Rebekah de la Fontaine

I’ve been interested in photography for as long as I can remember. My mom bought me my first camera for Christmas when I was still a teenager and I used to photograph everything with it! I never thought it could be a career until I got older. And then I just decided to go for it! My friend asked me to photograph her wedding and I fell in love with weddings after that! Since then, I have niched down to specialized in smaller, intimate weddings and elopements. Read more>>

Ted Work

I was born in San Diego California and moved to AZ when I was a few months old. I went to Aztec elementary, Basis Scottsdale middle school, Saguaro Highschool, and finally ASU, first for physics, then switched to computer science. In Middle school, I began my love affair with performing music and that continued up through college where I was a member of the Arizona State Sun Devil Marching Band (in the front ensemble in the fall season and drum-set for basketball games in the winter season). I graduated from college in 2019. I love computers but became fairly disillusioned at doing that kind of job day in, day out. I grew up as a huge fan of comedy, and I have many creative hobbies, music being the biggest one. Doing a soul-crushing job just wasn’t in the cards for me. Once the covid lockdown took effect, I started recording a podcast with my father, who is a dentist in the Scottsdale area. After about 10 episodes of making “The Dentalworks Podcast”, he remarked that I could turn recording podcasts into a business. Read more>>

Cade Sconfienza

I first fell in love with filmmaking after coming across one of Sam Kolder’s travel videos in my freshman year of high school. It was at that moment that I first decided I wanted to travel and create with a camera in my hands. About halfway through my junior year, the world was put on lockdown due to the pandemic. I finally had some time on my hands to learn more and put more time into my developing passion. When the lockdowns were lifted, you’d never see me somewhere without my cameras. During the summer and end of my senior year, I started taking grad pictures, filming for local restaurants, and even working with the professional waterman Zane Schweitzer. Before leaving for school, I worked with Zane as much as I could creating content for him and his sponsor Starboard. After showing them what I could do, Zane was able to get me working with Starboard. Present-day I am a student at Grand Canyon University. There’s not much filming I can do but I have continued to work with Starboard as an editor. Living in the desert is much different than island life but I’m still doing what I can to grow and expand my skills. Read more>>

En’Rico Ray

My name is En’Rico Ray and I’m a US Army veteran, photographer, and business owner. I planned to live overseas as a vlogger and Youtuber so I figured I’d better learn some camera skills. I purchased a DSLR camera from a guy on Facebook Marketplace. I asked him if he’d plug me in with local events or shoots so I could practice. Turns out he was very active in the area and put me on to many events where I could hone my skills. I began a partnership with Memphiss Kidd’s Infokusmedia company and Passe Tape, the latter of which is a collective of photographers and videographers in the area. I came on board as a BTS cameraman which stands for ‘behind the scenes’. My job was to get B Roll and behind-the-scenes content for the artists. I eventually started my Instagram page ‘enricofoto’ where I could post my work. Read more>>

Nathan McWhirter

It all started when I was personal training and I discovered that 9/10 of my clients, no matter the age or physical condition, needed corrective exercises for tight hip flexors, forward head posture, and lower back pain (all symptoms of excessive sitting). “Don’t take Advil because you have a rock in your shoe, instead take the rock out”. To me, Standing Desks seemed like a good way to get the rock out of people’s shoes. Most workspaces today are horrible for posture, energy, and our mental state. This is a big problem considering most people spend 70-80% of their waking lives there. That’s why I’m on a mission to convert all modern workspaces into areas that promote health, productivity, and well-being. Read more>>

Weston Smith

I’m a synth-pop musician creating music for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been interested in fantasy, so I try to incorporate that into my writing. I also always touch on mental health struggles and really listen to how I’m feeling when I’m recording new songs. I think the music reflects how I’m feeling at the time. Read more>>

Kelley Hollie

My father was in the Air Force and I was raised overseas growing up primarily in Greece, Japan, and England. We left the USA when I was 2 years old and came back just before 7th grade. My parents always instilled in us a love for learning and to do well academically. My mother was instrumental in instilling a love of adventure and stepping outside of my comfort zone as a child. I did Girl Scouts, loved backpacking and camping, participated in choir, and loved to read and write. My mom, in particular, was really supportive of all of my interests and told me constantly that I could do whatever I wanted to do. I graduated high school and went to a private college out of state. After finishing my undergraduate degree, I stayed another year to complete my master’s degree in Social Work. Following graduation, I moved to the UK to work in child protection. I stayed in the UK for nearly 9 years working, traveling, and enjoying life. Read more>>

Sarah Ellery

Diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2009, I realized how unprepared I was for any kind of news like hearing, “you have breast cancer”! Starting my breast cancer journey, I had no idea where to turn, who to talk to, what to plan, or where to seek advice. It was then that I felt there should be a bag of hope for women entering this same journey. After about a year, my family and I decided it was time to venture out and help other women with the knowledge I had gained. My Hope Bag received a philanthropic grant from Royal Neighbors of America and started the trek to helping and serving other women. From the beginning, when visiting with a bag requester, we first encourage her to talk about what she is going through. During that time, our ears are keen to hear of some of her personal needs. From there, we are able to help her with benevolence, groceries, care for her children while she is at a treatment, car rides to and from treatment, and many other items she may disclose. Read more>>

Eric Winfield

Born on the east coast moved to Phoenix in 2003 to rebuild my life after defeating the stronghold of addiction. Once I started to rebuild my life, I realized that I needed a hobby. I began to experiment with photography, found a mentor, and eventually started my photography business in 2007. A few years ago, I decided I wanted to tell my story, so I began to put on paper how I rebuilt my life after rising from rock bottom. I decided to title it LifeStruction. Today I speak on different platforms, I do my best to motivate and inspire others who are overcoming addiction, low self-esteem, depression, domestic abuse, and more. I also have a weekly podcast available on Spotify and iTunes Podcast, titled LifeStruction With Eric. Read more>>

Jennifer Imes

After high school, I attended Washington State University and finished with a degree in communications with an emphasis in advertising. During my four years there, a roommate introduced me to her MAC cosmetic collection and I was hooked. I began teaching myself makeup and different techniques, YouTube was still in its infancy then (did I just age myself?) so there wasn’t a lot of resources for me other than magazines and tv. I moved back home after graduating and shortly after decided to start hair school. My dream after hair school was to go to Cinema Makeup School in California, but after graduating I found myself pregnant with my first child. Because of this, my path diverted and I started working at MAC in my hometown. This is where I truly honed my craft and learned the skills, I needed to really build my business.  Read more>>

David Amsellem

I have been drawing from a very young age. I found myself drawing with pencil on paper or ink on paper for as long as I can remember. Over the past several decades I have been painting with watercolor and it has been pure joy. I have had the benefit of meeting, collaborating, rubbing elbows, and befriending so many artists in my community of different experiences, opposed ideas, contrasting backgrounds, and individual stories. I consider myself especially lucky to be a part of this spectacular artist environment. Sharing my art experience with people of all kinds and unrelated backgrounds but with a similar passion of creating with watercolor has been immensely beneficial and encourages me to look at things differently, to constantly question my process and what I want out of a painting. I feel completely respected and supported as an artist in this environment that encouraged me to try new things, to learn and grow, to continue to produce good work, and most importantly, to eventually find my own process. I am so happy to have found my pathway through a vibrant and rich art community here in Arizona. Read more>>

Dalal Abdouni

In 2008 I graduated in Lebanon with a teaching degree, I met my ex-husband (who was born and raised in Toledo, OH) in Lebanon in my hometown Sultan Yacoub. We got married and I moved back with him to Ohio. Looking forward to living the American Dream, and building a family; it didn’t go quite as planned! The first challenge moving to the States was getting familiar with the food here and the quality of the food; I had my first microwaveable pizza on the plane on our way from Chicago to DTW, I threw up! In a matter of months, I met many people from my hometown from Sultan Yaacoub who had moved to Toledo, OH years and years ago, built a family and some are even retired. That was my second challenge, not the retirement part (lol), more the community, I had a very hard time fitting in, it was almost a vetting process with any group I meet or event I go to. Read more>>

Brandi Stottern

Hi there, my name’s Brandi and I am proud to say that I’m a Realtor with The Alpha Realty Team and Keller Williams Southern Arizona. It’s such an honor to be a part of a team that not only puts their clients’ needs first but also has such passion for the community that surrounds all of us. I have found a passion for Luxury Real Estate and remarkable architectural design. I bring over 15 years of executive management and leadership experience to The Alpha Team. I have managed and operated multiple high producing and successful dental practices from the young age of 15 until 2 years ago when I decided to change careers. Changing my career to Real Estate was the best decision I’ve ever made not only for me but for my family. I have a loving husband who supports my dreams and three beautiful children. You can count on me to always check the finite details during your home purchase or selling process. I understand large-scale business transactions and will provide a truly unfair advantage for you when it comes to all things Real Estate. Read more>>

Jen Summers

I started working in the lingerie industry back east in Richmond, VA in 2007, working part-time retail for a newly launched small bra fitting boutique. What I thought would be just a part-time sales job, turned into the first steps of my dream job. I fell in love with the how empowering it is to help women find their confidence through properly fitting pieces of lingerie and was completely sold on what I needed in my job to feel fulfilled and happy. Every day was different and since the industry is constantly evolving, each day brought new problems to solve which I thrived on. Flash forward to 2017, I began managing a newly opened boutique here in Phoenix, AZ. I had rediscovered my passion for helping and supporting women and was certain I was exactly where I was supposed to be. When the opportunity arose to purchase the business in 2019, there was no question – I was doing it. As we approach our two-year anniversary, thriving through what has been nothing short of the most insane two years yet, I can honestly say I’m lucky enough to be partnered alongside my brilliant mother, Margie DeHaan, growing and changing the industry one Story at a time! Read more>>

Sindica Monique

Recently, I relocated to Scottsdale, AZ in July 2021, and loving it! I discovered the love of hair around 14 years old. I started cutting my own hair and eventually got bold enough to start playing with color. I was very risky when it came to styles. I envisioned styles, then attempted to execute them. Honestly, some were terrible(lol) Yet, many were trendsetters. At least, I would like to believe they were. I experimented in High school on a few of my friends. I was self-taught. Yet, they trusted me to cut and style their hair. Many would call it a gift! They loved my styles. I really started to tap into the Hair industry at 30 years of age. It was revealed to me that this was my lane. I hadn’t thought of myself as being a hairstylist as a professional career until a friend of mine suggested I go to cosmetology school. Read more>>

Sanny Lai

I’ve always enjoyed baking growing up and would continue to make homemade treats whenever I had the time between school and my day job. When I started my full-time career after college, I needed a hobby to fill my afternoons and started with calligraphy. After a couple years of lettering on paper, I started seeing videos of cookie decorating and lettering on cookies. I gave it a try and started enjoying lettering and decorating on food I could eat. The best part of cookie decorating is that it combines my interest in baking with my love for calligraphy lettering. I’ve spent the last 2 years continuing to improve my skill set and I am currently known for my freehand work (I never use projectors) and my flavors (I develop my own recipes and offer multiple flavors of sugar cookies). Now, I am currently an IT Audit Manager by day, and a Cookier by night. I am getting married later this year to my college sweetheart, and we have 3 large dogs we enjoy spending all of our free time with. Read more>>

Krystal Koons

In June of 2011, Krystal Koons and her daughter Kaileigh Koons-Nall were cleaning out their closets when they had the idea of starting Teens’ Closet, a place where they could get these new or like new clothing into the hands of teens who really needed them. They transformed a small walk-in closet into Teens’ Closet. Teens (girls and guys) ages 13-19 may shop for free every other month. Many of the teens are in foster homes; some are homeless; and all are in financial need, receiving free or reduced breakfasts and lunches. The news spread quickly and the number of volunteers and teens visiting TC increased rapidly. Each year the teens are asked to write goals and volunteers discuss them each time they visit the closet. Volunteers continuously hear stories of how teens’ self-confidence increased; many securing jobs; making better friends and better choices. In 2012, they outgrew the space and moved into a small home donated by a community member. Read more>>

Maddison Baumann

My name is Maddison Baumann. I am 26 years old and have been working out & lifting weights consistently for about 7 years now. It has become one of my biggest hobbies/passions over the years and has even developed into my career! I graduated in 2018 from the University of Wisconsin La-Crosse with a degree in Exercise Sports Science and Nutrition. During that time, I worked at multiple gyms and taught a variety of HIIT and group classes. Since graduating I have continued my education to become a Certified Personal Trainer through NASM, which is what I currently do for work today. I am also a Certified Nutritionist/Nutrition Coach through ISSA! In my spare time, I enjoy training for and competing in natural bodybuilding competitions and recently earned the title of an OCB and Natty Revolution Figure Pro. I started my own business because I want to share my heart, knowledge, and passion for health and fitness in order to help others in any way I can with their own personal fitness journeys. Read more>>

Jorge Mariscal Valle

I was fortunate enough to begin my video production career in college. I worked as a studio tech for KAET PBS 8 where I got to fully experience working on both local and national broadcast shows. I was a film student at ASU. On weekends I would work on any student film set that needed a pair of hands.  After graduation, I got a job at the Phoenix New Times. This is when I started to get into photography. Photography was something I got into as a hobby and now I love it as much as I do video work. I photographed countless events while working at the New Times.  I continue to work in this field today and I’m grateful for the opportunities that still present themselves. I still have many goals I would like to achieve. I hope to keep creating. Read more>>

Olivia Herrera

I went to Cortiva Institute in December, right after I graduated from high school in May. I graduated from Cortive sometime in July. I started my career at a Franchise company for 6 months. I didn’t like it so I decided to quit. I found another smaller massage company to work at. I was suppose to learn how to start up & manage my business there. After two months, I failed. So I started to work for a family owned massage company. With them I did learn the in & out of a company. The couple taught me as much as they could. When they could. I stayed with them almost three years. After the coronavisus pandemic happened. We had to shut down since we were not considered “essential workers”. Once the shut down was over we were let go. Then I got a message from the wife of the family owned business. She asked me if I would like to come back but this time start up my own business & rent a room with them. I was absolutely nervous but excited so I said yes. They helped me create my LLC & everything else you need to do for a massage business. Read more>>

Amber Wilson

I am a small town Kentucky girl, raised on a strong work ethic and humble beginnings (my business name represents my roots, Maddox Lane, is the combo of the two streets I was born on, Cedar Lane & Maddox Road). In our home, food was symbolic with love and we were fortunate to develop an appreciation for ingredients, being that we raised many of them, from our beef to our strawberries, and lots of greens in between. Food & wellness is a passion that became my business, but it was never part of my original “plan”. I attended Arizona State University WP Carey School of Business, graduating with a degree in Global Leadership with a finance emphasis and a very different idea of what my future would look like. Through the twists of life, I found myself in Los Angeles working under a celeb nutritionist. I started as her assistant and personal chef and quickly created opportunities for myself by bringing ideas to the table with a plan and the drive to see them to fruition. Eventually, I was overseeing all business operations, and within my first year working with her, we created a popular plant-based delivered cleanse program, that I am incredibly proud of my mark on. Read more>>

Peyton Tyree

Since I was little, I had always dreamt of going to Disneyland or Disneyworld. However, it wasn’t quite in my family’s budget so it remained as just a dream. . When I got older, I realized that there had to be some other way(s) to bring magic to the families who were like mine. Just as my family didn’t have the financial resources or monetary means to experience the extravagant theme parks, I knew that they also wanted to experience some of that fairytale magic. That’s when I started researching about princess parties and character entertainment companies. I knew this was meant for me so I started my business Splendid Princess Parties. Now I am able to make other kid’s dreams come true at an affordable price for them and for their family. It truly is an absolute pleasure to see the children’s faces light up when they see their favorite character show up at their special birthday party or a holiday visit.! At that special moment, I get to witness all that fairytale magic come to life!. Read more>>

Julie Alejandro

I grew up in Michigan with my mom and sisters having tea parties with beautiful antique teacups from my mother’s collection. When I grew older I started collecting teacups and having tea parties for friends. After moving to Arizona I shared my love of tea with my children (daughter and son). I started having tea parties for my daughter and her friends and also started a monthly tea party with my women’s church group. From there, I decided to share my love of parties with women of all ages from young girls and up. About 5 years ago I started The Tea Hostess. I originally started doing parties where I brought the food and tea/pink lemonade along with dress-up accessories and games. I was also doing rentals. During COVID I stopped the in person parties and and offered only rentals. My business has grown to only rentals and I love helping create beautiful memories for birthday parties and bridal and baby showers. Right now I have a lovely select of over 200 beautiful teacups, 2-Tier and 3-Tier Server Stands, Teapots, luncheon china plates, tea napkins and silverware. Read more>>

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