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Inspiring Stories from San Tan Valley

The heart of our mission at VoyagePhoenix is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of the Greater Phoenix area’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool. Check out inspiring stories from San Tan Valley and surrounding areas below.

Denise Karis

Click Bloom started as an art project in the Spring of 2019. I would create these flat lay photos using a vintage camera and fresh florals. After I got a handful of requests to start selling prints, I opened an Etsy shop and started offering my prints there. That same season, I did another series of double exposure images taken on a film camera of cactus in Phoenix and added those to my print collection. From there, I started designing enamel pins and adding fun little gift ideas and in February of 2020, we launched joined the team of Farm Night vendors at Agritopia in Gilbert and launched Click Bloom as a pop up shop! Since the pandemic though, we’ve had to hang out on Etsy but we hope to rejoin farm nights this fall! Read more>>

Courtney Burnett

Having a disability (learning disability) myself and the struggles I had in school impacted and shaped my choice in careers. I started working in a local head start program. I did that for many years after my daughter’s birth and diagnosis (Cerebral Palsy). I started seeking out more information about speech development. Through my research, I decided to go back to school and become an SLPA (speech and language Pathology Assistant). I worked at a local school district for my first five years as an SLPA; in 2014, I decided to go into home health and work with children and adults three years old through adulthood. I have a chance to work with the kids and adults and partner with their families to give ongoing support and resources. Little Champions was born in 2014, and it’s been an exciting journey! Read more>>

Denise Karis

I’ve been a photographer for over a decade now. In April of 2019, I was styling some photos for Instagram and I ended up using a vintage camera with some pressed flowers for a flat lay photo. I loved the effect so much that the next day I tried it with fresh flowers and the idea evolved and I named my new art project “Click Bloom.” Over the next few weeks, I collected over twenty vintage cameras and then started getting requests to sell art prints. Read more>>

Alejandra Duarte

I started ten years ago when I enrolled myself into Avalon School of Cosmetology in Mesa, AZ. My original plan was to do hair but as I was there, I started to lean towards Make Up, both SFX (Special Effects) and Glam. While I was in school, I joined a MAC Cosmetics makeup course and got certified as A MUA (Make Up Artist). My career in hair never took off but it did as A MUA, slowly but it took off. Read more>>

Peggy Butters

Skippy’s was one of the first restaurants to open in queen creek back in 2004-2005. We offered breakfast, lunch and dinner and that was perfect for all the ranchers and workers back in the day… The current owners bought it in 2007 if I remember right. Tom Estabrook and his wife Joanne (aka Jo) owned a little cafe up north and when they came in, they brought some amazing food ideas with them as well as wonderful breakfast. Read more>>

Marissa Nystrom

My story starts back to December of 2015. We were struggling financially and I was barely bringing home anything from my full time job to cover daycare costs, so I did what my husband I thought made sense and I resigned. It was a scary time. I had spent six years at that company and had no idea what the future held. I had no intention of starting a business, that is for sure! My sister-in-law had let me borrow her Cricut machine. Read more>>

Crystal Looker

I have always enjoyed baking for my family and friends. My love for baking actually started 17 years ago when my husband purchased me my very first KitchenAid mixer. I started out baking lots of pies and cookies for family gatherings and once we had children, my love for cake decorating began. I loved watching all of the baking shows that came on the Food Network. Ron Ben-Israel and Duff Goldman were a huge inspiration to me. Read more>>

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