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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.

Natalie Jarmay

I am 24 years old, born and raised in Jupiter FL. I’ve always had a number of passions involving art, fashion, mermaids, and the ocean from a very young age. Blessed to have grown up only 10 minutes from the beach, I’ve always known to live life in a bikini. As I got older, confident & independent women have truly inspired me, so I decided to tastefully tailor swimwear for them! My first long-term job was working as a sales associate and assistant buyer at my local surf shop. From there, I learned a lot about fit, fabrics, style, and more. I now devote my experience and knowledge to growing my business to its full potential. Read more>>

Eboni Burden

I lost my job March 2020 due to covid. In August 2020, I asked my friend if I could do her daughter’s balloon garland for her birthday. I had not touched a balloon a day in my life other than blowing it up by my mouth and throwing them in the floor for a celebration. The struggle was real that night, but after jokingly posting on Facebook, I started getting hits and from that day forward, it has become my main source of income. Many seasons have come where things were very slow, but because I love being able to create and the freedom it gives me to be a mom, I haven’t given up yet. Read more>>

Amyra Crystale

I grew up in Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania with a strong love for all things beauty and fashion . My Professional Beauty Journey Began in October 2014. I stopped going to a 4 year college institution to take a step back and figure out what exactly I wanted to do with my life , I enrolled In beauty school the fall of 2014 mainly because I wanted to learn the ways of the trade for personal upkeep and maintenance only . Little did I know this was the beginning of my beauty and lash artist career. I graduated from Empire Beauty school In July of 2015 and passed my state boards on my first test attempt . Thrilled with this accomplishment I dived into the hair industry . Read more>>

Yakol Whitney

For me my business was born out of hardship. I was working a traditional job in an office setting that was super stressful. Also, I was trying to navigate being a new wife and mom and I was burned out from the commute, going into the office everyday and dropping my baby off with the caregiver. My breaking point was when I suffered a miscarriage. It hurt so bad, but it helped me realize how precious life is. So I made the decision to quit my job and figure out a way to generate income from home. I also had a 5 month old baby who I missed during the day and after having the miscarriage I really wanted to be home with him.  Read more>>

Zavia Empey

I have always loved art and fashion, so when I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in 2013, I used art as a form of therapy. I started making handmade sandals, jewelry and painted on T-shirts. I used YouTube to perfect my craft. Soon after, my friends and family started putting in requests when they saw me wearing my own designs. I started making sandals and jewelry for them and then they told other people and I started getting orders. This was my little side hustle, as I was a high school English teacher during the days, and I would make orders in the evenings and on the weekends.  Read more>>

Brianna Ross

I began my first job at a daycare in the summer of 2010, just before turning 17. At the time, I was pressed to work for anybody to get my own money. Really, just so my parents couldn’t have too much of anything to say about how I spent it. The first 6 years of working were great, not having “real” bills, being a college student and living care-free with steady income was “the life.” Until, big bills, life and real desires start to become clear. By the time I turned 22, I knew the big dreams I really wanted in life were 9 times out of 10 not going to happen with a Bachelor’s degree in African-American studies or even with my Master’s degree in United States history.  Read more>>

Brooksie Hussle

My name’s Brooksie and I started my journey out in Los Angeles, California as a hometown hustler. I grew up in both West Los Angeles and Altadena going back and forth between my mom’s house and my grandparents. I always had drive, determination, and a great spirit, I just didn’t know how I wanted to apply that to the world. I was always well known in LA, so hustling came easy. But I wanted to do a lot more with my life though. So after high school, I left LA to find myself.  Read more>>

Anicea Franklin

I am a Queen by the name of Anicea Franklin. Currently twenty-five years old, I was born and raised on the west side of Chicago in the Austin community. Growing up, I was always active whether it was sports or dancing. Modeling did not come into the picture until 2014, my junior year of highschool. That year I would be featured in two fashion shows back to back, and honestly I was hooked onto the runway ever since. By the time I was a freshman at Illinois State University in 2016, I realized I wanted to style and do print work such as commercial, editorial, and creative. Read more>>

Phoenix C. Weathers

I started off modeling different fitness photoshoots for associates and friends. I was heavily into CrossFit at the time and training others as a certified personal trainer, so physical fitness was my passion and my life. My focus was also on my career as a Strategic Management Consultant (10+ years), helping small to large corporations solve major problems within IT. The work was (and still is) meaningful and exciting to me, but I wanted to do something that was outside of my comfort zone. I reached out to a local Atlanta modeling company to schedule a photoshoot and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Read more>>

Jersey Mic

Micheal Watkins – born in Trenton, New Jersey then later, moved and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. Since a young age, I’ve been exposed to music and public figures before I even knew it. I first stepped foot in a studio when I lived in Atlantic Highlands. Music has been a major part of my life since that day. In 2009, I finally had my first chance to record and put my music out there. So, a friend of mine named Dayquan (Esco Andretti) from New York, formed a rap group called “New Era”. Read more>>

Anthony Griffin

I started my journey as a Film/Tv actor by way of various background gigs I booked in my early college years. Found out I really liked it, so I continued doing it until I realized I wanted more than just a background role. I used to sit on set and watch different stars prepare before a scene and execute it with ease when they yelled action. So I began to think to myself there’s no reason I’m not able to do that too. For a while after that, I was basically studying acting the way I was studying for school and just was doing both up until my first speaking gig.  Read more>>

Jaha Bowers

I ordered food from one of the competitors one day and the prices were very the drivers was slow and the food was late and cold and while I was searching for a franchise to start I found Time To Eat. I spoke to the owner Desiree Malek and just loved her vision for restaurant deliver and I knew I want to bring that vision to Douglas County.  No it hasn’t. The big competitors make it hard for a small business. Finding the right drivers that fit in with what we are trying to achieve Is also a struggle. Read more>>

Crystal Martin

I started playing drums when I was 13 years old in Church. When I turned 17 I began to receive more opportunities playing drums for multiple internationally known artists throughout my career as I still do Currently. One of them being Atlanta’s own SOS BAND has prepared me for what I’m doing today In my solo career and putting on my own shows and headlining them. The journey has been good and is good to me. There are positives and negatives to it. But that is everywhere you go! Me personally have experienced more good than bad. I am thank you do what I love everyday. Read more>>

Triesta Wiggins

I have been active in the healthcare field since 2004. I graduated from Columbus Technical College 2 days before my high school graduation from George Washington Carver High School in Columbus, GA. I knew I wanted to further my career in healthcare but college is expensive! The balance between working full time, attending classes and simply living and enjoying life was hard! But then I signed up for an Emergency Medical Technician Paramedic program at a trade school and it changed my life. My instructor and mentors were beyond helpful, the course was challenging and affordable.  Read more>>

Ricky Persons

I was born in Birmingham, Alabama and went to Tuskegee University to study engineering. While there I carried out many tasks in finding myself. Be it, study abroad, pledging, as well as music curation. Which led me to DJing when a good friend of mine gifted me a board to do a party for them.. strictly from hearing my collection of music and knowing my taste. Ever since then i have done shows all over Alabama, Atlanta, and now Little Rock where I reside for the time being. Read more>>

Da Foundation Alleyway2Broadway

It all started with just cooling with the bros and listening to music, well on one particular night Casso decided to kick a freestyle and we followed suit. After this it started to become a routine with kicking freestyles until it actually turned into writing, putting thought into the structure of a song. This was step towards developing a music career was essential because we developed a hunger, it made us interested in the craft. From there we kept it moving, we have covered some ground but we still have a ways to go. Read more>>

Joey ZaZa

Joeseph Rodriguez, better known by his stage name “Joey ZaZa”, is a Cuban-American rapper, singer, songwriter, and producer. Born in San Diego, California, Joey was raised in Dallas, Texas. It was during this time he got into the rap/hip-hop culture, accrediting Houston and Atlanta underground rappers as influences. Joey credits his biggest inspiration for doing music as his younger brother, John Rodriguez, who died in December 2018 at the age of 19. “Music was something we both shared, especially our love for R&B. He is my biggest motivator and I couldn’t do this if I didn’t think he was watching.” Read more>>

Rashida Hunte

I’m Rashida Hunte 33; born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. By a single parent. I started off in the kitchen at the age 7. Chopping up chicken and almost chopping off half my middle finger. My Mom used to work so my sister Ronelle; started cooking from age 9 through 16, I believe it was. She started this Magnet program and being on the basketball team, her schedule became full. That’s when I really got my start at the age of 13. I liked cooking but I wasn’t too fond of cooking everyday. Read more>>

antawn ross

My Born Name Is Antawn Ross But They Call Me Flow-90. I was born in Providence RI, but reside in Salisbury, Md. The Flow 90 rap name came to exisistent around the time i was living in new jersey. Mind you i was coming from a job interview rapping and thats when i caught someones attention. That young man was samad savage he was like i like how you rap you got that 90s flow & the rest is history. But It all started when i first heard the blue print 2 gift and the curse thats when i fell in love with rap.  Read more>>

Dahiana Labour

I’ve been in love with culinary arts for as long as I can remember. The idea of starting a business sparked after receiving endless compliments on my daily dinner posts. I was working at a call center at the time and decided to start selling meal preps to my coworkers. I would send out a weekly menu and deliver the order straight to their desk on Monday mornings. From there on, I started catering small events and was able to build a portfolio to promote on social media. Read more>>

Tim Willard

After witnessing gang recruitment outside her home, Founder and Executive Director, Grace Hamlin decided she wanted to take action and guide children toward better opportunities. She discovered how to connect with these children by involving them in the rescue and rehabilitation of animals, creating jobs and life skills that today drive the success in the youth lives. “We believe that learning from animals and community leaders: inspires and empowers youth to change their communities through local service and activism, while giving them the opportunity to learn to make positive choices.  Read more>>

Ebony Cue

My journey in beauty and healing started in my younger years as a teenager. I was a happy girl that was very family oriented. I was outgoing and I enjoyed being around people. I participated in padgetts, local events, religious events, extracurricular activities such as track, cheerleading, FBLA, and ROTC. I’ve always enjoyed being a “light” and I would use that as a gift to brighten up anyone’s day. Acne was common amongst young adults, and I had people that were close to me have issues with it.  Read more>>

Dione Mostella

I started selling jewelry in 2011, then I added tshirts to my business and started selling only t-shirts because I’ve always had a thing for fashion I just didn’t know which direction I wanted to go in. So I stopped selling t-shirts and started selling hair and wigs in 2017 until last year I was going back and forth in my mind should I start selling clothes or not because I’ve always wanted to be involved with fashion I just didn’t want to step on any toes because it’s people I’m cool with that sale clothing and I didn’t want them to think I was trying to copy them or anything so I prayed about it and thought long and hard I told myself to follow my dream. So now Million Dolla Hair Diva will be called Million Dolla Diva. We’ll still have wigs in stock Along with cute outfits. Everything is online and we’re hoping one day to get a store front. Read more>>

Maliha B. Rose

I am not just one adjective or noun. I am many things. I CAN do many things. I AM worthy. I know that now and I finally love myself. Growing up, I always wanted to be a model but I never felt pretty enough. My parents stressed the importance of having a good education and being a “good respectful woman.” But I don’t recall a time where I was told “you’re beautiful” by them– they did praise me for being smart though. For society, I was always too skinny or too dark or my teeth weren’t straight enough or I get the “you look ok for a dark skinned girl” remark.  Read more>>

Dante Johnson

Honestly, growing up I realized at an early age that I wanted to be my own boss. The entrepreneur lifestyle hasn’t been easy, but the journey continues! I started my real estate career after graduating college, and my modeling career started after my first photoshoot, that I originally did for fun. But after positive feedback, I decided to take it a step further. Read more>>

Jessica Harris

I am the mom to three mini versions of myself as well as the CEO to both Living Simply Jess, LLC and Ignite UR Glow, LLC. My busy mompreneur hat doesn’t stop there as I am also a 5x published author, podcast host, blogger and more. I love talking to people and motivating them to shift their mindset to a more positive lens versus sulking in negativity. This desire has been there since childhood, but recent events have turned that desire into a roaring flame.  Read more>>

Sasha Allen

i am Sasha A – Heeeeyyyy and I am an actor. Atlanta is what I call my current home away from home but my story starts in the biggest little city that I hold dear to my heart─ Camden, New Jersey. I didn’t start off with having access to resources that allowed me to fully express my creativity but I also felt as though I had something special to share with the world. Throughout my life, I was always told that I am funny and there is something special about me. It wasn’t until I got to college that I was able to really tap into my creative side which is where I was introduced to improvisation and the theater.  Read more>>

Abiye Fubara

I started my musical journey at a young age playing drums and just 5 years old. Growing up in the church I was surrounded by music. I gained an interest in music production at around 10 years old making beats on my parents Yamaha keyboard workstation and saving the beats on floppy disk. Around 13 after seeing me make beats on my moms old desktop, my uncle who was already deep in the music business gifted me my first laptop where I began to create beats and grow my craft. Read more>>

Enjoli Lauderdale

Enjoli Lauderdale, (better known as ‘Enji’ to her close friends and family) is a product of her colorful environment. Born and raised in sunny California, she studied acting in NYC and survived the grit of the big city. Enji has her Bachelor’s degree in business and now resides in Atlanta, GA, where she began her current—and most important chapter as a mother. Throughout her life, Enjoli has experienced heartache in the form of familial loss. Read more>>

Lailaa Brookings

I started off doing skits with a group of friends from high school. I absolutely enjoy healing people through comedy. This road has been everything but smooth. There have been numerous obstacles but the greatest one has been developing and maintaining the strength and courage to keep going. It’s been a long road but I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m most known for my role as “Kayla” in Bobby Huntley’s film Le Vie Magnefique De Charlie which you can find on Amazon Prime and Tubi. Read more>>

Melanie Guzman

I have always had a love for photography ever since I was a little kid. I would explore new places and capture those moments on my digital and disposable camera. When I was in college, I took an introductory photography class and had to create a portfolio for the course. I had a friend who had a professional camera at the time and we would go around and shoot for my class. My passion for modeling began to blossom and we would shoot separately for fun. After several shoots with my friend, I had a photographer contact me through Instagram wanting to collaborate and it snowballed from there. Read more>>

Sabra Lucas

I am a mom of 5, an author, a personal trainer, a nutrition coach, a waitress, a girlfriend and an active woman who literally just can’t sit still. I was raised on a plant based diet, but never questioned the why behind it. For us, it was just how things were. It was our lifestyle. (And it still is!) When I became pregnant with my first child is when I started really digging into the why behind my healthy upbringing. I quickly started learning that the fountain youth is more in how we take care of our bodies than finding a secret fountain of magical water. Although, water is part of it. *big grin”.  Read more>>

Tarsha Campbell

Thank you for the privilege to share. I’m always excited when I can do so, with hopes it will inspire and empower others! Please allow me first to introduce myself. My name is Tarsha Campbell. I’m an author of eight popular books and a book publisher. I also serve humanity as a certified empowerment coach and speaker. I love what I do! As an entrepreneur, my story and journey started many years ago when my husband and I decided to have our first child.  Read more>>

Ty’Heim Clark

I moved to ATL in 2016 to help my mother get to and from her doctors’ appointments. I got a job teaching private Pre-K at Carol’s Daughter Learning Center (where my career started and I found my second mom). I stayed with them for two years and during those two years I was promoted to Assistant Director then a certified Director. I wanted to know the corporate world of childcare so I applied and accepted an Assistant Director position with Rainbow Childcare Center (now KinderCare). Read more>>

Brandon Cunningham

Originally from the crazy environment of Omaha, NE. I spent the early years of my life dodging the drug and gang life that Omaha only presents to you if you are not a talented athlete and thank god is was. So I spent a lot time at practice, games and of course chasing the girls (laughing out loud) which kept out of harms way of the drugs and gang life living to see pass 18 years. By the age of 12/13 I’ve seen way more than I should have and I was cool on seeing more going forward so I asked my mom to move to Atlanta with my dad for High School and still to this day I am grateful she said “YES”.  Read more>>

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