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East Atlanta’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 East Atlanta’s gems below.

Jessica McCall

I grew up as an all-around athlete – I’ve danced, ran track, & participated in intramural basketball and football. I would say my passion for fitness really started in middle school. I immediately fell in love with the sport of track and field at a young age and knew right away that I wanted to be a hurdler. Read more>>

Erika Clater

I started my natural hair journey *unknowingly* in 2016. The reason why I say unknowingly is because I literally just stopped getting perms and did not realize it until my next hair appointment, My besite stylist asked me “When is the last time you permed your hair. Read more>>

Sharmon Monagan

Growing up, I had a very happy, carefree childhood. I lived in the suburbs with my parents, Mr. & Mrs. Sherman and Beatrice Swinney. We were not rich but solidly middle class. I had no want for anything. By the time I reached high school, unlike many of my classmates, I had no idea what specific career path I wanted to explore. However, I did know I wanted to be a good wife and mother. That was the most important thing to me! Read more>>

Zay Explicit

I couldn’t really fathom why things didn’t always work out for me, but I kept persisting. No matter what came my way, it what seemed to break me down… I never stopped writing. I never quit. Writing songs was my therapy. It kept me going. I began writing when I was eight years old. Read more>>

LaVonna Jackson

I completed my undergraduate studies at Clayton State University earning a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Human Services and my graduate studies at Mercer University earning a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I have worked as a mental health clinician for non-profit organizations. Read more>>

Christian Ortiz

I always knew I wanted to use my talents to make a living. I’ve always been entrepreneurial. I faced many challenges in which I had to overcome in my life since I was a child, however I jump without fear and learn from experience and failure so I knew that when I got to the place I wanted to be. Read more>>

Brandon Greere

It was a gift that was handed down to me from my mother she always wanted to be a Fashion Designer she just didn’t get the support she needed so she gave up and when she found out that it was something I was very serious about being a Designer she was excited and very supporting fast forward. Read more>>

Kendra-Nicole Cray

I started fashion blogging during my freshman year of college as CollegeGirlKendra. As a newbie to the blogger world, I eagerly sought out to find my own little corner of the internet where I could share my style while also growing my college fashion/marketing portfolio. Read more>>

Azariah Michelle

I actually started with Graphic Design and Web Design back in 06′ my freshman days of high school. Editing classmates pictures creating layouts on myspace was where I found my creativity. I believe that same year my Dad gave me one of his cameras to shoot and play around with because he does photography as well. Read more>>

Audrey Maloof

I originally attended school in Mongomery, Alabama, to play soccer and study sports management. It was there where I realized that my true passion lay in public service. I soon returned home to Georgia and enrolled in Georgia State University. During my time there, I worked full time while also maintaining a full-time class load. Read more>>

Jah Richard

It all started in 2013 when I made the decision to leave my small hometown, family and high school where I was in dual enrollment (taking college courses as well as high school to obtain a two-year associate) to move to Atlanta and figure it all out. Read more>>

Saqunna and Jaqunna Trottie

We were at a point in our lives where we felt like we were not being fulfilled. Every year we were going in the same circular living and not getting any results. We knew we always wanted to help people but we lacked the knowledge of getting started and that was very frustrating. Read more>>

Bernard Ayala

I am a photographer, father, husband, brother and a friend. Photography started for me as a hobby nine years ago when my son was born. I spent all of my time photographing my newborn. Over time I have turned this passion into a professional career, but I feel like I’ve been a photographer my entire life. Read more>>

DeMarcus Beckham

I am a Middle Georgia-based social activist and organizer, I was born and raised in small-town Zebulon, Georgia. I currently work as the Executive Director for Reach to Impact Group in Macon, Georgia, a Board member of Macon Pride and Recently named the Southern Field organizer for Georgia Equality. Read more>>

A.E. Charles

I was born in Atlanta, Georgia. I grew up in Stone Mountain which is a suburb 30 minutes outside of Atlanta. Since I was a child I loved creative writing and wrote many short stories. I started writing poetry in the 8th grade for a school project. Throughout middle school and high school. Read more>>

Alesia Huff

I am a native of a small town called Greenville, Alabama and moved to Atlanta in 2006 for my corporate career in the airline industry. I later welcomed a bouncing baby boy into the world and decided to complete my Bachelor’s Degree in Business and immediately entered graduate school. Read more>>

Julie Shaer

Life is better when you’re laughing – which is my mantra and my story. Hello. I’m Julie Shaer- co-owner of Sketchworks Comedy theatre based in Atlanta, GA. I am an Actor, Comedian, Voice Actor/Coach, Producer, Director, Wife, Mother and a wannabe professional tap dancer. Read more>>

Jennifer West

My path has been a wild one. I’ve always been an artist at heart and that’s manifested itself in multiple ways over the years. As I child and teenager I expressed myself through fine art – drawing, painting, and creating tangible things. In college, I studied graphic design as I was told that the life of a painter would be too difficult. Read more>>

Nia Cox

My whole life, I have grown up seeing my mom, aunts, grandmother and cousins making beautiful gifts and decorations. I just knew I wanted to get into this kind of business; first I wanted to be an interior designer but since the summer of 2014 I fell in love making gift baskets, making centerpieces and other things for people. Read more>>

Blaine-Omarae Green

My story starts in Toronto Canada. I was born there and lived there until I was about 13, after which my mother picked me and my sisters up and moved us down to Atlanta. My mother was a choir director and my father was an artist and musician so I always had a background in music. Read more>>

MoRa The One

I was born and raised in OKC, OK. I grew up in a single-parent home my mom was in home braider my father was absent but I knew him and of him he’s a musician he has a band who plays with. I guess this life was just in me. I’m a Hairstylist/Artist I moved to Atlanta in Nov. Read more>>

Courtney Calloway

I found my interest in hair as a kid. My dad’s brother, who has been my biggest influence and mentor, had been doing hair for years and had owned salons in Atlanta and I wanted to be like him when I was young. I found myself playing with dolls and trying to style their hair. Read more>>

Lorelei Chrystalilly and Violet Chazney

2011 was a year of big changes for us. Let’s say… metamorphoses of sorts. We moved to the city from the suburbs. Atlanta felt so alive! Honestly, it was buzzing. With the move came new inspirations, and new friends. At the time both of us were interning with a well-curated online market. Read more>>

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