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Hidden Gems from Marietta & Surrounding Areas

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 gems from Marietta & the surrounding areas.

Jessica McIntee

All praises are unto God. I could not be where I am without the support system containing my family; friends and mentors 🙂 I began styling hair at age 12 and professionally at age 18. After completing my Bachelors and Masters at the University of West Georgia, I received my Cosmetology Instructional license from D’ Most Beauty and Body Institute. Throughout this time, my salon was home-based. After leaving a previous job, I opened a location in Lithia Springs and after some time I officially opened my “brick and mortar” in Austell, GA. Shortly following that move, I was able to open a second location in Orange Park, Fl. Read more>>

Monique Lynn

I developed a passion for fitness when I began teaching aerobics classes to inner-city children at the Boys & Girls Club and at after school programs in my hometown of Baltimore, MD. That passion eventually led me to become a certified Zumba instructor at private gyms. Knowing that I could help make people of all ages excited about being fit and healthy was fulfilling. It also sparked bigger goals for myself and prompted my move to Atlanta after graduating from Morgan State University. Since living here, I became a certified personal trainer and was promoted to Personal Training Director at LA Fitness. After gathering enough experience, I decided to launch my own business – Motivate by Monet LLC. My mission is to help my clients live their best healthy lives through fitness. Read more>>

Melissa Hill

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at the age of 20 while attending college and living out my dream of playing softball. Shortly after the diagnosis, I found my health deteriorating and had to give up playing softball. Although I found myself lost on what was next and wondering what to do with my life; I did have the determination to keep pushing forward and finish college, get married, and have a career. There were many challenges along the way including two major surgeries, the second one leaving me with a permanent ileostomy (no colon). I strive to share some of my challenges with others through a blog and social media outlets. I named it, Ain’t Got No Colon (@aintgotnocolon) – Although the struggle is real, I still like to have fun and enjoy life to the fullest. Today, you can find me and my husband running our medical equipment business together in Villa Rica – which turned ten this year. It was not what either one of us set out to do in our original plan. However, my husband was working for a pharmacist ten years ago who was looking to retire. Read more>>

Jenny Bunny Davis

The journey to becoming a tattoo artist and studio owner came from humble beginnings. I came from a small, Midwestern town to the Atlanta area to finish school, studying art. After I graduated from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA, I came to a fork in the road – go on to grad school or step into the “real world”. As much as I love learning (and still do!), it was a childhood dream of mine to be a tattoo artist since I was ten years old. I chose my childhood pipe dream. I eventually landed an apprenticeship in 2005 with Craig Foster of Skinwerks Tattoo & Design in Carrollton, GA. I then worked for Cap Szumski at Timeless Tattoo in Atlanta, GA, and Reed at Alameda Tattoo in Alameda, CA. My family moved back to Georgia in 2017 and eventually opened my own private studio in Roswell, GA. Read more>>

Rory Grange

Growing up in Jamaica, learning to cook was fundamental for every child. When my father died at the age of ten, this became more of a lifestyle I have to quickly grasp. My mother was a school principal at the time and usually she would be home not too early enough to start dinner. As my older brother takes care of all the other chores around the house, I situated myself in the kitchen and started cooking from then. It wasn’t all great, and I had so many trial and errors. Nevertheless, I made good enough meals to sustain my small family for a night’s dinner. Fast forward to high school, becoming a chef was already my career interest. Therefore studied food and nutrition and later matriculate to the HEART College of Hospitality Services where I was culinary train in Food Preparation and Hospitality. Soon after my professional kitchen experience started. I’ve worked in local Hotels and private catering companies in Jamaica, Club Rio Hotel and Heather’s Catering, just to name a few. Read more>>

Dasharra Bridges

I started singing as a child in my school choir. I always desired to become a singer and songwriter, however growing up and having limited resources as a child stopped me. I grew up and still had the burning desire to make music and this year, I was honored to have the perfect opportunity to explore my gift in music and become one of the first cast on the new TV singing competition on Fox called Alter Ego. Read more>>

Kimmie Whitman

I have been a personal trainer in the fitness industry for 15 years. Over the years, I began to notice that my clients would work hard with me in the gym but not live a healthy lifestyle outside of the gym. So as I began to tweak my client’s lifestyles outside of training (primarily through their nutrition) I started seeing amazing results. I began to focus a lot more on what my clients were putting in their body. But changing up your nutrition habits can be a daunting task and most would get paralyzed between having a plan and executing it. And because I cared deeply about my clients, I began designing specific meal plans (along with a grocery list) for each client and meeting them at their home after they got back from the grocery store. I would help me wash, chop and prep all of their healthy meals and snacks for the week. And they LOVED it!. Read more>>

Desiree Gray

Growing up in Perry, GA, cleaning and organizing was something that I always had a passion for. I was the youngest and the cleanest of three. Cleaning has always been therapeutic while blocking out some of life’s stressors. I noticed that when I cleaned for others, it brought them the same sense of peace and that’s when the idea hit me—start a cleaning business and get paid to do what I love! This is when Immaculate Touch became established in November 2019. Being able to provide such a simple yet important service allows my clients to spend more time of their day relaxing and decompressing from life’s adventures. Providing others with peace of mind has kept Immaculate Touch going and will continue to thrive. Read more>>

Jaden Ramsey

In June 2018, I started photography with my phone photographing from the bottom of Niagara Falls on a ferry tour. After that, I took photos in parks and trails. In 2019, I wanted to take photography seriously. Fortunately, my father assisted me and my ambitions by buying me my first camera, a Canon 2000D. I started learning about camera settings and composition. Also, I found some inspirations from photographers such as an Australian photographer who goes by the name North Borders and local inspiration from a photographer from Atlanta named Evan Ranft. My family and friends have a big influence on my photography. Ambition, discipline, and patience are paramount to have a full-time career in photography. The photography gigs have come slowly; but similar to what I’ve said, ambition, discipline, and patience are paramount. Anything can happen in six months, a year, or beyond. Read more>>

Arnesha (Akari) Floyd of Poised & Playful boutiqu

I am the owner and CEO of Poised & Playful boutique. I was born and raised in Springfield, Illinois. I always had a desire for nice things but understood that but being the oldest of my siblings, raised by our single mother, I had to go without sometimes so that my younger siblings could get what they needed. I became a mother myself at the age of 14 which fueled my desire to give my child the life I’ve always dreamed of living. I got a job at the Springfield Urban League where I worked for four years before relocating to Georgia. I landed a job at a major insurance company where I worked for over 19 years perfecting the work that I was assigned. In February 2019, now a married mother of four, my corporate job was no longer serving my highest good so I began to look into entrepreneurship. I always knew that owning my own business would be centered around fashion for women, who like myself, enjoy looking nice daily yet still being able to feed her family without needing to second guess a deserving purchase she made for herself. August 31, 2019, Poised & Playful was born!. Read more>>

Rodman Truesdell

Sawzall Doll was born from the tragedy of the Kaotica/Wormreich tour bus crash in April of 2015. The bus crashed while en route to Atlanta, killing three and injuring everyone else on the bus. Paul Truesdell was filling in on bass for Wormreich and did not survive. At the time, Rodman Truesdell and John Paul Robertson were cycling buddies that worked for the same company. Both guys had been in bands as teens but had since moved on and were simply music fans. Rodman’s younger brother Paul had been his best friend and the loss was devastating. As a way of trying to cope, Rodman would start making music again. It did not take long for John Paul to join the yet to be named band as lead guitar with Rodman on drums. The two guys would eventually recruit Joey Chenot, a guitar player, to join as the bassist. The trio wrote and recorded a demo and began playing shows in the Atlanta metro area. Rodman takes a piece of his brother’s music gear on stage with him every time they play a show. Read more>>

Lewis Mahoney

I always loved beards since I was a child seeing my uncle’s dad with them. I just couldn’t wait to get big to grow one so to make a long story short, I got older started growing a beard but many of the products I used made my beard dry or caused a lot of shedding so I started doing my on research and learn that half the crap that was in these products was just chemicals like dam really so I decided to make a natural product with ingredients that work with your hair and skin and it turn out to be a blessing I try it on myself first a few family members my client’s yea I’m also a fitness coach so then I went around talking to a few barber’s and salon shop’s and I’m happy to say I’m in 10 shops at the moment and growing. Read more>>

Rey Sunshine

Being an entertainer from age of 9 to now a 14 years old teenager, I have always had goals of owning my own business. Over the years, my mother has guided me with several Entrepreneurial opportunities from a clothing line to having a podcast. To date, I feel one of my biggest accomplishments has been opening my own studio. Elements Studios in Marietta is a dream come true. I wanted a place where I could be in my element hence the name Elements Studios. Elements Studios encompasses everything about who I am and what I do. Because I sing, dance, act, model, rap, and choreograph. I wanted a space where young children and teens could come to and have fun while training. We have vocal training, acting classes, dance classes, photoshoots, and events, I decided to take my experience and some of my training to help others that have the same desire as myself in the entertainment business. Read more>>

JoVantreis “drjoveezy” Tolliver Russell

It will be ten years in 2022 since I first moved to Atlanta from my hometown: Jackson, MS. It is so hard to believe that it has been that long; however when I look at my life now, it is obvious that transformation and growth happened and is still happening! I was born and raised in Jackson, MS where I learned the art of patience and stewardship as well as spark passion that stemmed in music. After having received my Bachelors in Science from Jackson State University. I moved to Atlanta to continue my education and pursue a Master’s Degree in the Biomedical Science. At the time, I was in pursuit of becoming an optometrist. Little did I know, this decision to move would have so much to unpack pertaining to my transformation and evolution. I switched from Biomedical Science to a Master’s in Organizational Development and Leadership. (one of the best decisions I ever made.) Over the course of the time I spent in school and engaging in new experiences, I realized and decided to follow my passion for creativity, art, community, healing and transformation; launching my business Open Hearts Open Minds Open Mouths LLC. Read more>>

Loryn Denise

In March 2015, my mother passed away from Breast Cancer. I was young and didn’t know what grief was because it was never a topic in my household or even in my community. My way of grieving was honoring my mother in October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month) by creating a hashtag (#SpiritofGW) and doing acts of kindness everyday to spread the love and beautiful spirit of my mother (GW). Fast forward to May 2019, my father was diagnosed with Stage 4 Bladder Cancer. Shortly thereafter in August 2019, he passed away. I quickly was acquainted with grief again because I had no choice but to face it head on. I began seeking about means of unhealthy coping mechanisms such as alcohol to numb the pain I was feeling; however, during the holidays, I recognized that the weight of what I was feeling was too much to bear and started going to therapy. It was through therapy that I learned what grief really was and the tools to manage it not just cope with it. Read more>>

David Mitchell

I began training in martial arts in early 2005. Like a lot of people, I sought it out due to concerns of personal safety and I really liked the challenges it presented. A healthy love of Kung Fu films didn’t hurt either. I focused the majority of my time training Jun Fan Gung Fu/Jeet Kune Do and Filipino Kali with Alan Baker. Besides the combative training, there was something about the philosophy found in Jeet Kune Do that really intrigued me as young man. After a couple of years, you could say the bug really took hold and I started training in Gracie Jiu Jitsu, Silat, and Pekiti Tirisa Kali. I even trained with Combat Hard and attained level 3 ranking in Steve Mosely’s Handgun Combatives program. I’m still adding more things to work on. I just recently started training Shaolin Kenpo to continue the Kung Fu film motif. Around the five years mark I was brought into the instructor training program at Atlanta Martial Arts Center to assist with classes. I eventually graduated up to running the Legacy Jeet Kune Do and Filipino Martial Arts programs. I’m still there and an active instructor at that school. Read more>>

Rachel Forehand

I began playing guitar at the age of eighteen right before going off to college in 2018. I’m a Macon, Georgia born and bred musician/singer/songwriter. I’m still based in Macon where I compose music inspired by the likes of the Allman Brothers Band, Janis Joplin, Johnny Cash, JJ Grey & Mofro, and The Marshall Tucker Band. ​ Growing up, my father, Dwayne Forehand played guitar for over forty years and her drummer uncle, Keith Forehand, played in a band in the 80/90’s called the Lifters–a local favorite who opened up for The Allman Brothers several times. I’ve always been surrounded by music during my life, and as I went through college, I kept practicing and playing. After my sophomore year of college, I transferred to Georgia Southern in Statesboro, GA where I first began playing live shows at a bar called “Cowboys”. I played for hardly nothing on Monday nights until one day I got a call saying someone had called out at another bar down the road “Millhouse”. Read more>>

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