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Buckhead’s Hidden Gems

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 Buckhead’s gems below.

Jeffery Vallier

My walkthrough fashion started as wanting to pursue a degree in fashion at Clark Atlanta University. Quickly redirecting my attention to business, I knew that fashion was still apart of who I was and am. Participating in several fashion shows as a model and behind the scenes, I knew that fashion was where I wanted to be. Walking in major Atlanta fashion shows such as Atlanta Fashion Week, I wanted more in fashion. I interned for a celebrity stylist for two years, where I learned a lot. I branched off into my own lane of fashion, becoming a Personal Wardrobe Stylist and extending my talents to Personal Shopping. Read more>>

Acie McMillan

I was born and raised on the west side of Detroit. I grew up in a single0parent home and was the oldest of three. I watched my mother work multiple jobs just to try and provide for us. Like many other kids growing up in urban communities across the country, I had to deal with many of life’s hardships. After becoming homeless, my family and I moved to Trenton, New Jersey. I was a smart kid but it didn’t take long for me to become a product of my environment. Before long, I started gang banging. That led to me selling drugs and eventually being incarcerated. After a while, I realized that if I didn’t get my act together, I probably wouldn’t live very long. I finished high school and then went on to attend Michigan State University. Once I got to Michigan State, it didn’t take long for me to realize that I wasn’t as prepared as some of the other students. I also knew that I couldn’t use it as a crutch. I had to work hard my whole life and this time was no different. As I went on the journey of my collegiate career, things started looking brighter. I learned and grew a lot. My academic success made me popular in my neighborhood. People started to tell me how much I motivated them to do better. Read more>>

Cat William

I’m an at-home chef and recipe developer. I absolutely love food and sharing recipes that are easy, delicious, and creative. Food & cooking is the medium I use to spread positivity, good vibes, and connect with others. How I got started, I can’t even take the credit; God lead me here! I use to think everybody could cook because I grew up eating delicious foods every day! I come from a line of excellent cooks! My Grandma is a natural-born chef; she worked in a kitchen as a cook serving her community for decades. My PawPaw, rest his soul, was a GRILL Master! Every time he fired up the grill, the neighborhood would smell like delicious BBQ, and everybody who lived in town would come running. Growing up in a family that loves to cook has most definitely shaped my passion for cooking and my love for tasty eats. I started cooking when I was nine years old. The very first dish that I made was Spaghetti. It wasn’t good, but that didn’t stop me from trying, and I kept getting better! In my adult life, it became evident that I had a skill. That I had a passion for this! Close friends would reach out to me for recipes and cooking tips, and I enjoyed sharing. Read more>>

Emma Schroeder

I am the Founder and Luxury Travel Consultant at Major Traveler, an affiliate of Epperly Travel. I founded Major Traveler out of a passion for travel and a desire to inspire, equip and empower clients to travel. I graduated college with a degree in Marketing and quickly jumped into the agency world. I loved the fast-paced nature of the industry but slowly realized a desk job was not fulfilling my soul. My mom is a flight attendant with Delta and growing up. We would travel the world together. As I got older, I began to take advantage and the roles reversed – I was now begging her to travel with me! I started to plan big trips for us to Italy, Prague, Vienna, London, and beyond. I knew I had a passion for travel, but I also uncovered expertise in planning travel. When I first began to consider a career as a Travel Advisor, I found that there were all of these preset itineraries on Pinterest and Google that created confusion around what was truly the best in travel. How are honeymooners supposed to choose between the “Top 50 Best Honeymoon Resorts” when every single list is different? And where did they get these lists anyways? The more I developed an ideal travel consultancy in my head, the more I knew that this is what I was meant to do with my life. Read more>>

Kimberly McDonald

I began my career in fine jewelry as a curator of private high jewelry collections. At that time, no one was really doing this in an organized manner the way I was. I worked with private individuals to acquire stones, redesign gifted and inherited pieces, and acquire important jewelry for their collection. Over the years that I did this, I became acquainted with some very well-known jewelers at that time while also exploring my own taste level and style as a designer. Very often I would conceptualize/design a piece that a client wanted to purchase but I would pass the design off to an already established designer in order to give my client the best value for their purchase. One day my best friend, now business partner, suggested to me that I try my hand at my own collection. I hadn’t really given it that much thought but once she planted the seed, I decided to go for it. I have always been attracted to and drawn to organic stones and natural materials. One of my first loves was the material we referred to as agate. I decided that if I was going to create my own collection, I would want to work with these unique stones and others such as geodes, opals, and various other materials that were less traditional or had not been used at all in “fine jewelry.” Read more>>

Marcedes Bell

My journey started off very interesting I came to Atlanta from Kansas City, Mo in 2019 to push my women clothing line Say Couture. I came here looking to give everything I had to offer with a twist from being from the north. Entering my second year of business, I felt I need a change and looking for my “big break.” I just knew it would come if I moved to Atlanta I was destined to go in the direction I’ve been waiting for. After months of not having a full-time job, I ran out of money for my clothing line. I even picked up modeling in search to find a stylist who could help me with my brand. One day at my friends’ house, he asked if I knew of anyone who could clean houses. I was actually just thinking like here’s an opportunity to earn money. So my other friend and I joked saying I had a cleaning business and boom he said can you come on Monday we just fired our cleaning lady. I honestly jumped onto the opportunity and next Monday I showed up ready to clean. In 2019 I continued cleaning for about 3-4 clients gaining them from word to mouth which helped with bills and for pleasure. I took my money and went home I started doubting myself like I didn’t understand my purpose because I couldn’t find a job, had to shut down my clothing brand and I just felt so lost. Read more>>

Casey Diggs

A Little bit about me First comes first, I am the child of Wallace and Tichina Diggs. I have one younger brother named Andre and a younger sister Gracie. I was born in Germany, where my father served in the military but moved to Tampa at the age of two and that’s where I was raised at around the rest of my family. Having my own business today is not a shock because it ran in my family. My grandparents on both my mom and dad’s side had their own business and my uncles and aunties all were straight hustlers. So again, it’s no shock that the business mindset was passed down to me. However, being the type of child I was growing with having problems focusing and paying attention in school and stuff of that nature, I do sometimes look back and smile at myself on how I turn my life around. Although I had an issue with paying attention in school, one thing I always had was a very creative mind. I use to love playing the sims growing up, designing and creating the houses and people. When myspace and stuff were out, I always use to create my friends and Facebook myspace page designs everything. Read more>>

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