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Hidden Gems from Norcross

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 Norcross and the surrounding areas.

Alex Otto

Middle school is not an envied time to be alive for anyone, but for me, it’s where my story in photography starts. Braces, acne, and my written-on converse starred in my first portrait sessions. I remember my friends would even send their photos to me to edit on the famous “Picnik” online editor back in the day. I continued my love for photos as I grew up and had a passion for capturing my friends with my simple point and shoot (and as time progressed, my phone) through high school. As a young adult in 2015, I got my first semi-professional camera and brought it EVERYWHERE! There wasn’t a moment where I didn’t carry that Canon Rebel and I loved it. To learn how to shoot in manual, I’d snap portraits of my friends any chance I had and began shooting at my church for the student ministry every Wednesday. While I loved it, I was extremely busy outside of that and wasn’t able to give my photography the time it needed to excel…. Until 2020! 2020 hit with so many unexpected losses, grievances, and pains… but it also had its sweet moments.  Read more>>

LeVita Price

I started selling intimate apparel back in May 2019. I couldn’t find any lingerie store in or near the Metro Atlanta, the only store I knew was Victoria Secret’s, Spencer’s and the Adult Novelty store, which all were too expensive, and I wanted something different. I decided to do some research to start to my own lingerie business, ordered a few pieces from varieties websites. Showcase my pieces at an event, post them on my social media pages and it took off from there. I also offer body contouring and v-steam services. Read more>>

Mona Ahmed

We started off in North Carolina where my father-in-law opened a small restaurant called Ali Baba. We lived there for nine years. Then our family moved to Atlanta, we opened another restaurant called Jerusalem Chef in Alpharetta. We stayed there for three years and thankfully, it’s still running. Besides that, it has already been four years since we started our newest family business- Rozana. This is where we are today, it’s all about food and culture, we love to expose customers to healthier authentic middle eastern dishes. Rozana is the name of a flower in our country, and we wanted a name that can be pronounced by all nationalities. Our family and ancestors loved food and flavors and every generation was in the food business. So here at Rozana, we love to offer both food and culture in a plate. We also involve family into the business as all of my kids help out around here. Our main goal is for our customers to have a unique experience as well as make it affordable so students and families can dine as they please. Read more>>

Seth Watson

After graduating from the University of Florida and moving to GA, I started an event design and production company with a partner. We started slowly and organically to refine our position as a top designer and producer for private events in the southeast. Nearly 18 years later, we were producing about 400 events a year. We perfected lighting, staging, sound, décor, prop fabrication, furniture building, and set design, working with some of the largest companies and organizations in the state. Around 2017, realizing that my current industry was starting to bore me, I began to look into what would next for me. I was very interested in marrying my current profession with my passion for craft spirits and, specifically, whiskey. At that point, I sold my interest in that business to pursue the spirits industry. After spending some time researching Georgia state law surrounding spirit production, it became apparent why there were so few distilleries in the state. Most of the laws on the books were holdovers from prohibition. Read more>>

Aaron Bell

I am 29 years old. I was born in Augusta, Georgia but raised north of Atlanta. I am married to my beautiful wife Kimberly Bell of four years with one child name Zahir Bell. The Idea of Inspirational Anatomy first came to fruition in early March of 2020 when the pandemic hit. Funny story: One day when I used to smoke marijuana, I was in the bedroom at our old duplex apartment playing the game and the idea just hit me lol. I ran out of the room and told my wife we are about to start a clothing line called Inspirational Anatomy! She laughed at first, then she got quiet and said that’s a pretty fire name. I’ve worked for most of my life but when the pandemic hit, it rocked our world. I wanted to make a change because everyone was going through so much in our new unknown world. For a few months, it was just an idea that lingered in our minds trying to adjust to our new world. We started brainstorming logo ideas and finalized it in August of 2020. From there, we decided that we were going to take all our extra income and go all in! We first started to educate ourselves and bought E-commerce courses from various successful businesses like Support black colleges. Read more>>

Keatta Jerry

For as long as I can remember, I have suffered from low self-esteem, the lack of self-love and always giving of myself to others. A Jill of many trades but not quite sure what my true purpose was. In 2011, God blessed me with a beautiful, strong and smart daughter who is my one and only! It’s amazing how once God gives you the opportunity to bare a child, it automatically transitions you to become someone better. It was then that I knew the taking showers in the dark, the crying out of frustration on how I looked and the trash-talking of self had to stop. I now had a responsibility to be a light for my princess. In 2013, I decided to do something to honor my motherhood, to step into my creativity for my sanity and to promote something that was a struggle for me. I launched my own small business called Sundaiinspired. The name was a no-brainer because my daughter’s name is Sundai and she is my everlasting inspiration. Sundaiinspired is a catalyst for women to express themselves creatively and fashionably! We design cutting-edge handmade earrings in order to captivate the attention of women as they continue to pursue true confidence, uniqueness, boldness and fabulouness!. Read more>>

Kendall Robinson

Ever since I can remember, I have always loved art. I remember being around the age where adults start asking children what they wanted to be when they grow up and my first answer was an artist. Unfortunately, due to the ignorance and skepticism surrounding the art field, I was pushed to explore a profession that was more stable. I honestly think that because I did well in school and was interested in the human body, I was pushed to pursue medicine. I was fully convinced that I was going to be a surgeon up until I applied to Howard University as an African American studies major on a Pre-Med track. I arrived at Howard during freshman orientation week and saw that the art department was having an informational meeting which resulted in me changing my major to painting that same week. While I was a painting major, I still pursued medical school until August of 2019 (sophomore year) when I decided to pursue art full time. Read more>>

Suzanne Powell

I started My business after I Conquered breast cancer six years ago. After having a double masectomy, I didn’t feel like I was beautiful anymore so after I stopped feeling sorry for myself and realized the beauty of being a survivor, I started sharing my story of being a Warrior princess through wearing the biggest statement necklace to cover what I didn’t have anymore (breast). So that when my business Pink Purpose Collection was born. I wanted women who wear my jewelry to feel Empowered and they can Conquer any storm while looking FLY doing it. Read more>>

Kiara Ross

I’ve always wanted to be a part of the entertainment industry. I first got my start in college. I started college as a theatre major, though I graduated with a degree in public relations. I went from acting in theatrical plays to interning for PR agencies, radio stations and network studios across the country. I’ve also been a volunteer for the Atlanta film festival at one point. I currently work as a production assistant at Tyler Perry Studios. I think what helped me get to this point is definitely a strong work ethic but honestly, an even stronger network. I really do have some amazing friends and have met some amazing people on this journey. Read more>>

Alex Moises

I have always believed that every beginning is in the mind… Mentally creating what you want to achieve and where you want to go, I consider that it is the key to success of any person. You should set small, short-term goals that allow you to achieve the bigger goals. This dream began when I was 19 years old when I left my country and family behind to travel to Atlanta to study English. A difficult decision, but with my suitcase full of dreams and challenges to fulfill. I came to this country with immense desires, wanting to grow professionally, and of course supporting my family. Due to life circumstances and some personal reasons, I had to go out into the world to defend myself, I started cleaning houses four days a week, and at the same time, working in an ice cream parlor, I had to leave my English course to be able to support myself, literally it was: “Eat or study”. Read more>>

Clara Potts

I always thought I would become a nurse but as I got older, I was starting to realize that Hair is what I enjoyed doing. I remember I was 15 years old and I would do my sister’s and mom’s hair and let them be my models. Braiding is what I would practice doing all the time. I started getting clients from them seeing my mom and sister hair which became my first business at 15 and I would do hair every weekend to make money to help my mom and buy things I needed for school that I did not want to ask my mom to buy because she was a single mom of seven kids. Once I decided that hair was what I wanted to do then I decided to go to hair school to learn more and become a professional Hairstyles. I moved to Georgia a year after graduating from Cosmetology school. Read more>>

Janel Howze

Diamond Effect by JNichole, LLC was brought to life in 2018. During this time I was working a full-time job. I didn’t have thousands of dollars or a lot of resources. I literally started my business with LESS than $250. I used what I had around me. I had a vision and I wasn’t going to let what I DIDN’T have stop me. I just wasn’t — Running a business while working a full-time job was very difficult, I’ll admit. I had to remind myself, “sometimes you must do what you HAVE to do until you can do what you WANT to do”. I made a lot of sacrifices while starting my business. I missed out on a lot of fun and cut out unnecessary spending. In the beginning stages of my business, I had no days off. I was working at my 9-5, 5 days a week and the two days I had off was dedicated to my business. It wasn’t easy but I knew it was going to take a lot of work to get my brand to where I wanted it to be. Read more>>

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