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Midtown’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 Midtown’s gems below.

Crystal Smart

I started off with The Mocha Luxe Collection, a Clothing Boutique, in 2017 with the idea of a Cosmetic Line in the works. As years went by, I began to unravel my plan of a Cosmetic Line. Luxe Cosmetics XO unraveled officially in June 2021. This has been one of my greatest creations yet. I have so many plans and ideas to input into this Cosmetic Line. The website has launched and you can now Check out Products at Luxecosmetics.shop!. Read more>>

Haiting Fu

I was born and raised in China. I have always been interested in art since I was a kid. My love for animation started in middle school when I began to realize the beauty of animation in The Lion King. When I grew older, I started falling in love with anime, including Attack on Titan, Gintama, Fate Zero, etc. I doodled whenever I got a chance, even on the textbooks in class. My parents didn’t want my talent to go wasted. They supported me to go to art school, although they do not know much about animation. To fulfill my dream of becoming an animator, in 2013, I went to SCAD for an MFA degree in animation. I learned how to do animation both on paper and on animation programs, such as Toon Boom Harmony and Maya. Besides that, I also got a chance to go to Lacoste, France for a summer quarter. It is a small village in a breathtaking natural environment. I practiced my watercolor painting in a drawing class taught by Prof. Brown. It was one of the best experiences of my life. Read more>>

Victor Ledbetter and Ron Griffin

Date night turned into entrepreneurship. Ron and I love candles and have been avid collectors over the last few years. From Home Goods to high-end candles online, we were constantly buying and burning candles between our two homes. Prior to Covid, I traveled extensively during the week and would constantly burned candles on Fridays and the remainder of the weekend. During the course of the pandemic locked in the house, we started running out of the closet full of candles. We had taken a candle-making class probably a year prior and decided as one of our weekly date nights, we would explore making candles. We started making them every week and randomly gave them to friends for gifts (birthdays, housewarming, etc.). People kept asking if we were going to start selling them because they loved the scents. We didn’t want to start selling them at first because it was a hobby plus we knew a few other people that made and sold them that we purchased from, in addition to having day jobs and knowing that eventually, I would go back on the road, we continued to decline the opportunity. Read more>>

Dy Moultrie

I’ve always been interested in fashion from my early YouTube days. Teflon Apparel started off as just a hat/accessories line in the beginning stages. Very quickly, I realized that I shouldn’t limit myself to only hats. I had the funding to back a full Streetwear line, so why not? Streetwear then expanded to hookahs. My love for hookah made me decided to make it a business. Every time I partake in hookah, I’m posting on social media. That means each time, I could be promoting my brand. So it only makes sense to add hookahs to my brand. Living in Atlanta is so inspirational. Everywhere you look, someone is doing something, starting a business, running a business. I did not have this type of motivation growing up. I’m from a small town in South Carolina where the only businesses that were around were brick and mortar that would come and go and not be so successful. There’s a hustle in Atlanta that I love, and I’m proud to say I’m a part of that now. Read more>>

Tara Ghei

Prior to launching Romp + Tumble, I worked as a finance leader for multiple fortune 500 companies including WestRock, BlackRock and Ford Motor Company. Both my husband and I have always had demanding careers. When my youngest son was four (he is now six), I came out of what I call the “baby haze” and realized that our family was just on go all the time. We weren’t taking the time to step back and prioritize. We certainly weren’t living healthy lifestyles and we were just exhausted. I soon realized that many of my colleagues, particularly working parents were feeling much the same and that’s when I knew we needed to create new consumption models to make life easier for busy parents. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I was going to do something. There was a point during this time that I was getting rid of my kid’s baby clothes to send to a friend. I remember looking around and being shocked at the waste. There were so many clothes – many of which had been worn just a handful of times between two kids. Read more>>

Taylor Link

I started performing when I was thirteen years old in my hometown of West Hartford, Connecticut. My mom was a singer, so the gravitation towards singing happened naturally. I went on to attend The Hartt School, which is the music conservatory of the University of Hartford for Classical Voice Performance (Opera). Studying and singing opera was an incredible experience. I studied Italian in a small little town in Italy and German in Weimar, Germany, and I met people from all different countries and cultures that I would never have met in any other circumstance. However, singing opera left me feeling burnt and unfulfilled. When I moved to Atlanta to get my Master’s from SCAD Atlanta, I became inspired by the talent in the local music scene here and in Nashville. It was then that I began to write my own music and I found that the process was cathartic for me and fulfilling in a way that opera had never been able to come close to. Read more>>

Denise Reed

My interest in performing arts started at the tiny age of three which was when I started dance. I went on to dance for about ten years, three or so of them spent competing around the east coast. I’ve always loved being on stage and performing (a typical Aries) and so that lead me to participating in the musicals and traveling performance groups in high school. While I enjoyed acting on stage, I saw it at the time as more of a hobby than a career. I went along to pursue a college degree with my love of performing on the back burner. However, in my last year or so, I did my very first short film as part of a school project and I absolutely fell in LOVE with acting on camera! I started skipping classes to head into the city for auditions and I couldn’t wait to graduate so I could pursue acting full time. Since then, I’ve been acting, modeling commercially and filmmaking here in NYC. Read more>>

Brian Worley

I moved to Los Angeles as a film major and eventually fell into the event industry really by mistake. I had no idea that you could make a career out of throwing parties. I was working at Banana Republic and a customer that I was helping produced events. I always needed additional income and started working for him as well. I fell in love with the creativity of producing and designing events and realized that it was an extension of what I was hoping to do within the entertainment industry, we just worked with a different set of vendors. I got a great job working with a big production company and one of my first assignments was to help design the first Harry Potter movie premiere party in NYC. It was one of the coolest events I had worked on and I was hooked. Over the years, I worked my way up in the industry, became an expert of sorts, was asked to speak at conference and even hosted a few TV shows where I was the event/wedding expert. I moved to Atlanta a little over four years ago and still enjoying the process and creativity that comes with creating events that last only a few hours and then it is done. Read more>>

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