My business started as a hobby, which I can honestly say it’s my passion. When I was younger I would love to watch YouTube “DIYs” and try to redesign all of my older clothes, just for fun. I never really thought much of it, it was something I was doing in my free time because I enjoyed seeing how I could take an old pair of jeans and completely transform them. While I was in high school I would design/customize clothes for others, but never thought of it as a business, at that point it was just something I was good at doing. As I got older I tried working several jobs, I worked at starbucks twice, and I also worked at dunkin donuts for a few months, neither jobs worked out for me. I had the worst luck when it came to finding a good working environment! My parents gave me the courage I needed to see how unfairly I was being treated on my last job, and I quit. Once I quit I began to put all my energy into my business leading me to where I am today! Continue Reading Meet Ta’Coria Lyons of The Dolly T Custom Boutique
Buzz Magazine Miami
My name is Odette, and I am Cuban.
I came to this country some years ago, with the dream of studying and working.
In my previous life, I was a professor of English and translator at a university. When I got to the US, the entrepreneurial bug bit me.
I have a wonderful family and incredible friends who inspire me to be the best version of myself.
I’m a small town girl. I was born and raised in Crystal River, Florida. After graduation, I took a giant leap and moved to the BIG city of Atlanta, Georgia where I attended Morris Brown College. I was an Accounting major and I had every intention of becoming a CPA until I got to my senior year. Somewhere along the way, I lost the love and zeal for Accounting. However, I am a number’s girl, so I didn’t want to veer too far from Accounting. In 1997, after moving back to Florida, I met a friend who referred me to a Brokerage firm. This was the start of my career in Financial Services. I started at the firm as a Customer Service Representative and ended it after 16 years as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. It was an amazing journey and a great company to work for. But after 16 years, I got the “itch” to go out and start my own business. I wanted a business where I could do some of the same work, but serve a different demographic. I wanted to work with more women and minorities. That lead me to where I am today. I am the Founder and President of AMES Financial Solutions. AMES Financial is a virtual comprehensive financial planning firm. I offer a litany of services, including Cash Flow Management, Retirement Planning, and Risk Management, just to name a few. Although, I am the Founder of my firm, I always say it’s a legacy. I call it a legacy because AMES is an acronym for my deceased grandmothers–Ada, Mary, Elizabeth and Sarah. I am their legacy and I often share stories about their education and how they handled their finances. Continue Reading Meet Reshell Smith of AMES Financial Solutions
Growing up I would always watch YouTube, this is something that I really enjoyed as a kid, and even to this day. When I would watch these YouTuber’s I never really thought that I would try to start a YouTube channel. At a time I started to talk with all of my brother’s about possibly starting a YouTube channel myself, they loved the idea and really pushed me to do it and have been there every step of the way. My mom, April has also been a person who has been by my side this whole time and helps me in anyway possible and supports me all the way. I could not have a better family by my side when trying to start something. When we got the idea together, I thought it would be amazing to start a channel where I went “One on One” with athletes, celebrities, media personalities, influencers and more. When I talk about being “One on One”, it can mean just an interview, on the basketball court, or just something that the interviewee likes to do.
From there I started to put things into reality, I started by filming my whole YouTube preview in Miami, and started to record a couple of my first videos. With one of my brothers David “Mookie” Mariotti being an athlete business manager, it really had helped me a lot, and is still helping to this day. The first two videos that I filmed was a video with Kobi Simmons, and Derrick Jones Jr., and I started to really enjoy this immediately.
From there I have been continuing to build my brand and put out videos on YouTube. This is something that I truly love to do, I love to learn about peoples lives and how they got to the spot they are, and how they do it. Although I love the interviewing, I also like to do vlogs of my life, because sometimes it can be very interesting. Continue Reading Meet Gianni Mariotti of G1ANN1
During my Senior year of college I decided that I wanted to graduate with more than just a degree. I wanted to create something that was totally mine, and so my journey into becoming my own boss began.
One day while hanging out with my best friend, I was expressing to her how frustrating it was to find a particular lounge wear outfit that fit my body type. Half jokingly, she encouraged me to create my own company, so I did. Some Sugar Some Spice, LLC was birthed. Once celebrating my graduation from college was over, I jumped into my business head first. However, as life would have it, not only was I birthing my business, I would also be giving birth to a handsome son, as I would soon find out. Although I was excited, the reality of being a recent graduate with high dreams and goals almost immediately set in. I thought, “how am I gonna run a business while juggling being a mother?”. My hunger for entrepreneurship and the consistent encouragement from my support system would not let me get down about it. I decided to blog my way through it and Melanin Mom Boss was born.
Melanin Mom Boss was created as an outlet for me to be able to share my experiences as business owner, mother, and woman. This endeavor has also allowed me to connect with a community of mom bosses who encourage and support each other.
Continue Reading Meet Morgan Applewhite of Some Sugar Some Spice + Melanin Mom Boss
My story in a nutshell: when I was six months old, my father tried to kill me; he broke my leg and my arm and I was taken away from my family. I was put in traction for six months, and, during the most vulnerable part of my childhood–when I needed human warmth and comfort the most–I received none.
I was adopted by wonderful people who provided all the love I needed. However, the psychological damage to myself (and to my self esteem) had devastating consequences for the following twenty years of my life.
And, although I was never in trouble with the law, and miraculously never got involved in drugs, I did end up abusing alcohol and grew into an angry, defiant, and rebellious young man. I hated school, I was filled with rage and emotions I didn’t understand, and, of course, I was a loner.
My salvation was delivered through my love for animals. As a ranch hand, I got to work with all types of animals that taught me about trust and patience. Later on, I became a dog groomer, learning a new skill for calm. I was finally ready to recognize and accept opportunities,
Most people can only guess at the moment when their life path changed. I, however, know the exact day my life completely turned around. It was my 30th birthday, January 17th, 2019. On that pivotal day, a friend had invited me to come along to a live taping of a well-known local podcast. Among the other guests enjoying this show were the hosts of Orlando’s celebrated web series KISS MY ART, the artist Marla E and gallerist Boris Douglas Garbe. At one point during the program, questions were fielded from the audience, and, when I got my chance to speak, not only did I feel comfortable and happy, I discovered that I was actually funny and got some laughs from the audience.
Marla E and Boris approached me after the show, convinced that I would be a successful podcast host. Those two worked to make a start for me–Marla, my great advocate, having convinced Boris to produce a podcast for me that would be tailored to my unique talents and that would catapult me into the Orlando arts scene. That’s how THE EXPERIENCE WITH CHRIS FIO was born! Continue Reading Meet Chris Fio of The Experience with Chris Fio
I started my business at 13 years old. I licensed L Khanna Productions, LLC at 17 but by that time I had already served over 30 clients with my videography and media marketing services. At 18 years old, I am grateful for the steps throughout my life that got me here. I went to a local public middle school that was audition only. But it wasn’t like anything you would expect a public school to provide. It had green screens, professional equipments, a fully equipped TV studio, even its own radio show that broadcasted locally. These assets gave me the confidence to start using my talents for organizations. Some of my first clients were nationally-recognized non-profit organizations that turned into private clients and most recently a very promising entrepreneur.
Continue Reading Meet Lillian Khanna of L Khanna Productions
Medina, a native of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, majored in audiovisual communications at the University of Puerto Rico, and later completed his Master of Fine Arts in directing for the film at the Savannah College of Art and Design. In 2013 he collaborated as director of photography for an Axe commercial that was awarded the Silver Lion at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, and since then has directed multiple award-winning short films and commercials for brands including Coca-Cola, T-Mobile and Medalla Light.
Cotarelo, born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, studied architecture at the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico and after made the transition to working in the cinematic world. She started her career in the production department and later on moved to focus on production design. Since then, she has been working in everything from music videos, commercials, narrative films and documentaries.
After years of working in the Audiovisual Industry, Medina and Cotarelo moved to Miami, where they continue to collaborate as artists. Together they created Érase una vez (Once upon a time) a film collective of storytellers. Here Xavi operates as writer/director, cinematographer and editor and Maria manages production, art department and other departments as needed.
Last year, Xavi was chosen as the first Cinematic Resident from Oolite Arts, where he obtained a grant to make our first feature film titled Sunnyland. At the moment we are shooting principal photography and we plan to have a final cut of the film by the end of summer. Continue Reading Meet Xavier Medina of Érase Una Vez
In 2006, at the age of 24, I was diagnosed with Kidney Failure. I had to start dialysis immediately in the summer of 2008 because my kidney functions rapidly decreased. Being on dialysis at such a young age was no joke. I remember, at one point, all my hair fell out. I suffered a seizure and a stroke. I battled with potassium, protein and low iron issues over the years. My skin was dark and bumpy. I was tiny as a toothpick. I was doing dialysis at home peritoneal dialysis. I was trained on how to connect and disconnect myself from the machine every day. I had to do dialysis for nine hours, every single night, for over three years.
In 2011, I was at my mother’s house, searching craigslist for furniture for my new apartment. My mother made a comment (that I thought was silly at that time) to post on craigslist for my need for a kidney transplant. I had to think about it for a while and I knew the only way to get my mother off my back about it was to post the ad. Within 24 hours of posting on craigslist, I received an email from a local news station. I was skeptical at first, but I decided to reply back when I was able to confirm that the information within the reporter’s signature was legit. Next thing I knew, the news station was in my living room, filming my story about my need for a kidney transplant. People from all over the world sent me emails wanting to donate and/or telling me their health stories as well. I was doing countless interviews, even filming for a show that aired on Oprah Winfrey’s Network, called “Lost and Found” That is when I knew that this was more than just me needing to be saved. I had to be a voice for others as well. I would continue the fight long after I received a new kidney.
Within numerous emails that I received, which happened to be close to a thousand, a young lady by the name of Stephanie Grant reached out to me and for some reason, her email really stood out to me. It was like I could feel her good spirit as I was reading her email. I invited her to do a news interview with me, not knowing she would be the one to donate to me. Five months later, on December 13, 2011 I received the gift of life. Stephanie Grant donated her kidney to me, a complete stranger at that time, and gave me a second chance at life. I have been dialysis free since then and I thank God for her! She is an amazing person! We keep in touch a lot. After our transplant surgery, she moved back to her home town in Springfield, IL. We take turns visiting each other almost every year.
A few years later, after my kidney transplant, I found out that I was pregnant. All of those years went by and I was always told that I would never be able to have kids. Well, they were proven wrong! I gave birth to my very first child, Ke’ Niya, my preemie princess on October 6, 2017. She was born at 25 weeks and four days old. I was suddenly diagnosed with HELLP and had to have an emergency c – section. It was all new to me, but I was just so happy to be a mother at the age of 34 (2 months before I turned 35).
The NICU was a whole other world for my family and I. Just when I thought I had been through it myself and knew everything medically, my daughter had common preemie issues. My baby girl was a fighter. She went from weighing 1 pound 7 oz to 6 pounds within four months of being in the NICU. She was everything to us! Both my parents were finally grandparents and my sister/my only sibling, finally an aunt. Ke’ Niya was born on my sister’s birthday.
Unfortunately, our lives changed forever in the blink of an eye. Just two days before our Ke’ Niya was due to be discharged and come home to us, tragedy struck and she passed away in the NICU. My life has never been the same since. I had plans for Ke’ Niya, we all did!
Continue Reading Meet Selina Hodge of Ke’Niya Speaks Foundation, Inc.
I started off with a group of friends that attended college at FIU we were inspired to hosting a event for our pairs which we did and was very successful at it
After college we decided to keep the momentum going and created a brand called LOTUS .
Lotus is not just an event but more of a lifestyle, whereas we host carnival events , charity events , travel retreats ,fitness events etc
We are happy for the continued support and growth. Continue Reading Meet Shawn of Evolution Plus