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Downtown’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 downtown’s gems below.

Tiffany Coles

At a very young age, my mom recalls that, although very shy, I would gather my old toys and express a desire to give them to children I knew who did not have toys of their own. It was then, she says, she knew I was special and began to seek opportunities for me to grow, thrive, and most importantly, break out of my shell. Growing up, I enrolled in various activities and girls’ groups: but one in particular captivated my heart. Since age 12, the UNIQUELY YOU SUMMIT (UYS) has been my second home; unbeknownst to me that it would later become the home of my first career fresh out of undergrad. Attending Philadelphia’s Central High School and Temple University further exposed me to many amazing people and experiences. In my junior year of college, I studied away in California for an entire semester. Before this experience, I managed a former friend who recorded music in my city. Together we’d traveled our area for shows, and I had gone to studios throughout the tristate, but none of this compared to when I got to LA. Read more>>

Paquita Poole

There are three words that sums up my life, “Still I rise!” Courageously Endure was birthed from struggle. While a student at Auburn University, I got pregnant, developed a blood clot, and was forced to move back home. I went from being totally independent to dependent on my mother to care for me, bath me, and assist me walking to and from. But along the journey, I remembered a story I read as a child; it was a book entitled “The Little Engine That Could.” This book is about mindset. It wasn’t talent that got the train over the mountain, but it was mindset. The right mindset–in this instance, a “can do” mindset propelled by the trains motivation and driving tenacity, were essential to its success. I dropped out of college, but I had a “can do” mindset and believed that I could go back and finish, and I did! Although I was a single parent, I had a “can do” mindset that propelled me to strain beyond the normal because I wanted my son to have a future. And it was in the straining, the pressing and the pushing that gave birth to Courageously Endure. The woman I am today is the result of my willingness to push. Read more>>

Christina Faith

Music has consistently been my pulse. I began in my adolescents playing drums and piano, but particularly drums/percussion. In the 3rd grade, Marion High School’s Marching Band Director heard me play the snare drum and was wowed. He walked over to me and requested that I join the high school marching band. Simply picture a little small girl who was a major tomboy carrying and playing this huge snare drum. I learned all of the drum cadence and ensured that the guys would respect me as a drummer. In those days, I was a little aggressive and hotheaded, heck I still am a little. It’s now called passion. I played snare drum on the Marion High School Marching Band from 3rd grade up until grade eleven. I additionally played the drum set for church for many years until going off to college. Read more>>

Elijah Watts

Moved to Nashville, TN in 2019, joined a collective called The Lil Homies which enabled me to start recording and performing my music. We threw our own shows and events around the city. Then I embarked on a solo career, putting out my debut album “Boys Wear Pearls” in February of 2021. Since then, I have been on tour with my group of friends known as the “DADABASE” playing shows across the south while also working on new music, visuals and clothing as well. Read more>>

Allia Dye

My life is like a melting pot and full of experiences from all over. I was born in New York City in the winter of 1988 to Gwendolyn Green and Edwin Moore Jr. People often ask me where I’m from and my response is, I’m a northern southern girl because I’ve had the pleasure to grow up in multiple places. I spent most of my childhood in the south with my mom and oldest sister and would enjoy the summers in New York with my dad. In 2002, I moved to Brooklyn, New York while there, I attended Boys and Girls High School and was a Diamond Dancer in the only southern style marching band in New York SMB (Jackie Robinson Steppers Marching Band). Living in New York City with my dad, bonus mom, and little sister inspired me to continue my education after high school. I began my journey at Norfolk State University where I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Tourism and Hospitality. During my tenure at NSU, I was a member of Xclusive Dance Team, a NSU Cheerleader and I became a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated. Read more>>

Mariah Shanice

The idea for Manifesting Dreams Apparel developed in 2017. This is the year that I decided to take the biggest leap of my life and take a break from my corporate career to follow my dreams. While on this wave of jumping and dream chasing, I wanted to create a brand that had a purpose. One that was more than just a trend or a catchy slogan, but a brand that could help change people’s lives. Being that I was on the journey of Manifesting My Dreams, I was able to incorporate quotes and content that helped me within the brand. It’s safe to say that while I was building a brand to help others, I was also growing and helping myself. MDA started out by only selling merchandise to family and local friends. We later began to gain traction through social media and this is when we realized just how powerful our brand was. No longer was the support just local but now people from all over were really rocking with us. Read more>>

Carl Wright

He is a self-published author, born in Omaha, Nebraska and raised in Decatur, Georgia. He is rooted in writing, which began around the early age of seven. Drawing was his original passion, with his first featured drawing being showcased in the Sesame Street Magazine in 1986. Carl was the only representative selected from the State of Georgia, alongside other entry winners from around the country. Being a jack of many trades, due to his many talents and interests (sports, language arts and music), he ultimately honed in on writing. Years later, Carl is a self-proclaimed child at heart, so here we are! Collin’s Sweet Adventure is his most cherished literary accomplishment, which is a fictional tale about his son, Collin and the adventurous journeys with his friends. What’s more, this book inspired Carl to delve into a variety of literary items. Read more>>

Keneisha Edie

My story I started braiding at 12 years old in an African hair salon. Went to school for business and criminal justice but always came back to braiding hair. I love meeting new people. Love seeing my client feel and look good when their hair is finish. So I made the decision four years to braid full time and it was best decision I’ve made because I love what I do. Read more>>

 

Breitani Turner

My professional background is actually in education. I dabbled with photography here and there when I was younger but it was really nothing serious, just photos of myself, friends or family. After I signed with my Mother Agency, I decided I needed to upgrade my camera equipment for auditions but I often found myself wanting to continue creating videos and photos even after my audition was complete. I started coming up with themes for photoshoots and short video clips and began shooting videos of other talents from my agency as a hobby. I fell in love with the art of photography during this time. I decided that it’d be great if I could turn this into a business and here I am 3 years later. Read more>>

Randi Crawford

Hair has literally always been a part of my life, it just took me a while to realize that was my passion. I started off playing in doll’s hair around the age of six. From then, I began to do my mom’s friend’s daughter’s hair. In high school, I eventually made it a business. I attended Alabama State University for college, 2014-2018, while there, I did hair the entire time. & graduated with a chemistry major/ math minor. I would always say this was my “side hustle”, not knowing that this was my real passion. Upon Graduation, I decided I did not want to move back to my hometown of Chicago, Illinois, but I’d rather stay somewhere in the south. That’s how I ended up in Atlanta, GA. Since moving here, it has been nothing but blessings. I started focusing more on my passion and perfecting my craft. I’ve had the opportunity to work on set with NIKE and do some styles for Toya Johnson & Dayy Bella. Read more>>

Tavon Hanner

If there’s one thing that I can say has helped me the most with my journey, I would say willpower. Being born with an infinite amount of positive belief in myself has been my greatest asset. I was born on a Thursday in Manhattan hospital. I lived with my biological family in white plains for some of my early years. Soon before kindergarten, I would move to Jersey City, NJ with my foster parents where I would grow into the man I am today. I always had a love for creativity, when I was younger I would make funny skits with my friends and film them. We even would make music and remix songs from our favorite artists like Drake, J Cole and Lil Wayne. Then record the songs with our cellphones, haha. I’m also big into drawing, growing up I would make 1000s of sketches of characters/heroes that I thought were cool like sonic, Spiderman, Naruto and plenty others. Color them, cut them out and play with them.  Read more>>

Skyla Jenkins

Skyla started her lingerie brand HUDSON|NEWKIRK in January 2020. She obtained her private label, has over 20 signed models across the United States; two of which are partnered brand ambassadors and an Executive Coordinator to assist with streamlining tasks for the brand. All of this she obtained in less than a year. The business is named after two very stylish & insightful women, Skyla’s maternal great grandmother & paternal grandmother. (Emma Hudson & Rosa Newkirk). From the stories she has been told they were impressive women in their own right. So, their last names were so fitting for her company as a reflection of who she is and a way to pay homage to them.  Read more>>

Johnyce Jackson

Grew up on the west side of Detroit. Started singing when I was two years old and never stopped. I grew up in a physically and mentally abusive home. My mother raised five children on her own while being married to my father. Music saved my life. It has carried me through abuse and mental illness. I’ve sung behind many stars and have been on many stages. After graduating high school, I committed 100% to my music career. I’ve released singles and an EP. Read more>>

Reesey Brewton

I got my start back in about March/April of 2019. It was coming up on Mother’s Day and I decided that I wanted to surprise about ten special mothers in my life that made an impact on me. I was making a list of everything that I wanted to include in the boxes and I wanted to make something special. I looked around my room and saw a few small candles and realized that I probably could try my hand at making them and I did. I went out and purchased supplies and made a few random candles in different scents and different vessels. I gave the boxes out and the feedback I received gave me the push to dig deeper and really learn about how to make them safely and properly and now here we are today. The Mother’s Day boxes were special to me because I wanted to make the individuals feel like they were seen, to let them know that someone was thinking of them, and to let them know they were doing a great job despite how they felt. It’s something I’ve done every year in business so far and I hope to continue for many more years. Read more>>

Alice Jackson

Alice’s journey began in a small town in the housing projects of Decatur, Georgia. As a young girl, her aspiration was to become a nurse and find a way to help others. She became a teen mom at the age of 16. She felt that her dreams were shattered but against all odds, she pursued her passion to achieve her goals. She always had an inner strength of leadership although she didn’t have many examples around her. Her desire and determination led her to where she is today. Alice Jackson has unparalleled expertise in the field of human potential, personal development, leadership, and conflict resolution industry. She brings a rich background with over 20 years of working in higher education. Alice Jackson is a transformational leader and expert facilitator with a passion for delivering life-changing professional development training. Her expertise is sought after by peers, clients, and companies because of her knowledge-building strategy. Read more>>

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