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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.

Naina Bhedwar

I have been drawn to food for as long as I can remember. At around the age of 5 or 6, I would stand on a small stool at the right hand of Hanif, the talented cook at the home of my maternal grandparents in Kolkata, on the East coast of India. 40 years on, I still cook some of his recipes. My grandfather would regale me with tales of food he’d enjoyed on his many travels and my paternal grandmother would proudly show me the variety of food she grew in her home garden. The Indo-Persian community on my mother’s side of the family are world-renowned for their all-encompassing love of food! Needless to say, I was immersed from the get go. Admittedly, it took me a little while and a few twists and turns to realize that I wanted food to be not just a passion but a profession. Now that I am finally here, I can’t imagine it any other way. Read more>>

Kayla Daniels

I am currently 20 years old. I am from Savannah GA, I am a rising successful multi-millionaire and entrepreneur! Cosmetology is my passion doing hair has always been my passion starting at a young age, playing in the girls hair at my elementary school and being so happy while doing it. I can truly and honestly say I love what I do. This is only the beginning, and I am trusting God’s plan and purpose he has placed over my life. My goal is to inspire thousands all around the world with my story and leave a beautiful mark on their lives. I would not be where I am today without God by my side prayer family and friends pushing me and my church family at the Embassy Church located in Fleming, GA. Read more>>

Taylor Stephens

When I look back on how this whole food blogging journey started, I realize I was a foodie before the word “foodie” existed. Ever since I was little, my aunts and mentors would always take me out on lunch dates to restaurants I’ve never been before. Cute little cafes and small businesses that really reflected the special time I shared with them. I enjoyed every minute of the experiences and every last bite of my meals. As I got older, I found new loves and interests (like my love for wine) while my love for food continued to grow. I always kept a running list of restaurants I wanted to try at the ready, however, it wasn’t until Instagram came along that I started documenting them visually. It started out small on my personal IG (with my crappy camera phone) and eventually, you never saw photos of me on my page, just plates and plates of food. This is when I decided to make an Instagram account specifically dedicated to local eateries in the area. I started traveling for work soon after The Atlanta Food Bae was created in 2018 and foodie adventures became another layer of the blog.  Read more>>

Chebria Bryant

I spent most of my life people-pleasing, wanting to be accepted and not showing up in the world authentically myself. I used to believe the only way to be a good anything to anybody was defined by how well I served and catered to their needs. In 2019, I probably would’ve told you “this is the worst year of my life.” But, it actually was the year that changed the course of my life. My daughter’s father and I had went through a separation period that year and at first of course I was hurt. I wanted my family together and always dreamt of giving my kids a two-parent household. So I stayed trying to fight for my relationship but during the process, I lost myself. I realized my identity was so tied to the relationship and in being a mom which led to burn out, anxiety, depression, frustration and resentment. I let go of myself physically, emotionally and mentally. My life was on autopilot. I woke up one day and decided I cannot live my life like this and decided to move out. It was during that time of being separated, I started finding myself again.  Read more>>

Khalil Kavon

I started my journey as an entrepreneurship at a very young age! I knew very early that I wanted to change the world in many ways and have my own global enterprise. I would dress up on dress down days at my school and call it “my office attire”. My journey really kicked into motion when I asked my mom & family to purchase me my first computer. I began to turn my school field trips and events into “mini-movies” and I would have a world premiere in our classroom. With the support of my late mother who was my cheerleader she saw that there was a zeal for business opportunity and she began to encourage me to want more out of life. I directed and filmed my first school commercial at the age of 11 which later got picked up to play nationally on channels like BET. From there, it inspired me to push forward and at 13 years old, I began working with Former NBA Player Rick Fox. In addition with working with Rick Fox, I was the Executive Producer for a weekly television show which included me directing, editing and putting together marketing commercials. Read more>>

Tiarra Logan

I am a mother, role model, community organizer and professional cosmetologist. Since I was a young girl, I knew doing hair would be my passion. I grew up with many insecurities surrounding my hair and its texture. I remember being made fun of by the other girls who’s hair texture wasn’t as coarse as mine, and to make matters worse both of my parents had no clue how to style my hair properly. I started learning to braid hair at the age of 9 after watching my aunt braid her clients from her kitchen. Growing up, I remember seeing my father as an entrepreneur and so I knew I too would never work for someone else when I became an adult. My aunt passed away right before I turned ten and that inspired me to start my journey as a young entrepreneur and braider. I would spend my recesses in jr high school braiding all my friend’s hair and it was like I had my own hair shop on the school playground.  Read more>>

Mary-Ellen Long

Sam Flax started his first art supply store in NYC in the 1920s and along with his brothers went on to open shops serving creative communities across the country. His sons Leonard and David opened the Atlanta store in 1973 and over the years moved from Spring Street to Northside to Peachtree. In November of 2018, the difficult decision was proposed to close the Peachtree location, effectively erasing the Sam Flax name from Atlanta. A combination of skyrocketing rent costs and the owner’s growing age, closing the store seemed imminent. Instead, Mary-Ellen Long and Sophia Bowman-Albirt, both decade-plus employees, refused to let such an Atlanta treasure die and offered to buy the store from Mr. Flax, keeping the name and the legacy alive. Mr. Flax agreed and in January 2019, Sam Flax Atlanta officially reopened its doors at its new location. Read more>>

Robert and Anna Moody

There was a small market named Mill Village Market that met a few times around the Whittier Mill Village community and Anna set up as a vendor with her baking business, Bakeology. We participated in two Mill Village Markets and looked forward to the next, but the original organizer was unable to continue the market due to work so we decided we’d take over. While trying to plan one for the Fall, we were attempting to attract more vendors and ran into issues with pinning down a good location in the area so we reached out to our community Facebook group and Amy Mycoskie offered to let us use Round Trip Brewing Company. The brewery was close enough that the original community we were setting up in could engage, but far enough away that we felt the name needed to change to better represent the collection of communities that all converged around our meeting spot so Chattahoochee was our best choice. We made a logo, social media pages, a couple of flyers, and contacted vendors we knew in the area and put together our first market in October of 2021 and have since followed that with a successful holiday Market in December. Read more>>

Nova Hawkins

If you had told me at 15 that one day I would be a touring circus performer, I never would have believed you. Yes, I always loved performing, but I never did gymnastics or ballet or any of the common circus precursors. Instead, when I was in high school, living in Brazil, I went on a mission trip. I was convinced by my friend to join the mission’s circus troupe, and I was given just a day or two to master as many acrobatic group pyramids and skills as I could before being sent out to perform for poor communities all over Paraguay. The performances were untidy and ridiculous, but they were amazing! After that experience, I sought out circus anywhere I could find it until stumbling upon a circus club at the University of Sydney when I was 20. This assortment of acrobats, aerialists, magicians, and flow artists became my family, and I knew I wanted circus to be a big part of my life. Here in Atlanta, I found local circus groups and incredible artists who taught me, encouraged me, and believed in me. I owe all my success to the dedicated people who invested their time and love into me. Read more>>

Mz Ladylox

From a very young age, I have always wanted to be a professional hairstylist. There were a number of other professions that I could have opted for. However, I chose to be a hairstylist as it was something that intrigued me the most. Interestingly, the earliest memory I can recall in this regard is of the time when I was just four years old. I pursued my aspiration and dream of becoming a hairstylist, and therefore, in order to achieve it, I took admission to the hair school. At that period of time, when I joined the hair school, I was around 17 years old. It was approximately 21 years ago when I started to focus on Lox and took it more earnestly. Then for 14 years, I continued as a professional in the corporate sector and provided my premier services over there. Along with that, during this period, I also did hair. Over the past decade, I have been working as a self-employed entrepreneur, and I must admit that whatever I am doing right now, I am certainly enjoying it and having the time of my life. Read more>>

Dereq Clark

I got started in the industry when I went to hair school high school back in my hometown Indianapolis Indiana. I used to do the little girl’s hair on the playground in grade school. I would take their ponytails down and redo them. Lol, I was always playing in someone’s here. My mom let me build a little salon in the basement of our home when I was in hair school and high school. Read more>>

Amy Elizabeth (Smith)

I am a Makeup Artist with 15 years of experience in several professional formats from TV series & promos to commercial print and video production, as well as live performance and celebrity appearances. How it all started: I began my artistic expression at a very young age as both an acrylic and watercolor artist. After graduating college in the health sciences, I longed for another artistic outlet and began doing makeup “on-the-side”. Little did I know that would turn into new love and a career change. In 2005, I started working as a Makeup Artist for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics in New York. That opportunity quickly led to me to a position on Bobbi’s personal appearance team, working side by side with Bobbi herself. That experience not only taught me a wealth of makeup techniques but also about working with women from numerous ethnicities and cultural backgrounds. Read more>>

Katherine Nunez

I started off back in 2010 has a club promoter then while being in the club a lot of people would tell me that I should model that I was very pretty etc. etc., so I got placed in a lot of music videos for a lot of your favorite artists. After modeling and being on the cover of various magazines has my alter ego Kathy Red, I decided to transition into acting. I took classes with a very famous acting coach and started working on urban action films in 2018. My most popular film is Pocket Full of Game it’s on Amazon prime and Tubi. I also got to work on a project called Better Than My Last which is not out yet with lead actor Hassan Johnson from the series The Wire. I also got to host the New York Latino film festival this year which was an amazing experience for me because I got to shed light on how Latinos aren’t seen as much in Hollywood it was nice to be seen and heard in the Latin community. Read more>>

Teddius Williams

I launched Career Connections by T. Williams & Co. in October 2021 offering three services including resume writing, interview training and career consultations. I saw a major need as I serve as the Director, Human Resources in the healthcare industry. I have reviewed countless of resumes and interviewed tons of people over the years and noticed a trend of how poorly resumes were created and how people really are not equipped with proper interviewing skills. Since October, I have helped approximately 40 people with resume writing, interviewing training and career consultations. The beauty of this business is that I can reach people worldwide as all of my services are conducted virtually. Read more>>

Alexis Desarae

I moved to Atlanta from Buffalo, NY in 2018 with big hopes of becoming a well-established wardrobe/fashion stylist. No job, no money, just me and my husband betting on ourselves. I began interning for other stylists and worked my way in the industry through networking and researching as much as I possibly could, really just putting myself out there with other creatives. I remembered in 2019, I was watching a Teyana Taylor video and I thought “damn this wardrobe is amazing, who is the stylist?” So I watched the credits of the video, found out who styled it, and went straight to Instagram to look them up. On a whim, I DM’d the stylist, not really expecting anything, just putting myself out there and riding on faith. To my surprise, they responded and I was in complete shock. I said, “Hey I’m new to Atlanta, I saw your name in the credits, I’d love to intern or assist for you, let me know if you have anything available”. Read more>>

Yannie Tan

I decided to take a gap year from Stanford University in light of the pandemic. Taking remote classes at my dream school did not seem like an ideal option. As a Product Design student, I was excited to collaborate, use the maker space on campus, and create new products and ideas. I ended up quarantining at home for most of the year, spending many hours practicing piano. As a classical pianist and YouTube influencer with 270K subscribers, I spent a lot of time making music videos, crafting album single after single. Of course, my entrepreneurial and creative mind would not stop budging me. At that time, TikTok and podcasts were on the rise. My mind began to race, thinking about all the possibilities that could involve music and sound into the social space. What if I created a platform where my friends, 2000 miles far away from me, could accessibly produce short sound clips and share them with creatives? 15-30 second sound bites of music, comedy, poetry, or even ASMR? Sound bites would be produced with only a click of a button, just as how Snapchat immediately takes pictures. With no official need to publish sound snippets on platforms like Spotify, this new platform idea would allow many more people to attempt creating music and sound. Read more>>

Quar Brown

Beauty in life is knowing what job brings you joy and the passion of pursuing it. My name is Quar Brown and I have been so fortunate to study and pursue what I love in life….and that is to exist as an artist. I graduated from the Art Institute of LA in Santa Monica, California. Transferring from the Art Institute in Atlanta, this decision really was a blessing in disguise. While in California earning my education, I am putting in every effort to be a force within the entertainment industry. This path open doors for me at Capitol Records headquarters in Hollywood to intern for music video director Terry Heller and to get the thumbs up to direct one of my first music videos for amazing female singer Yasmeen for her song “B Alright”. By continually networking and operating in integrity, these personal qualities are essential to my current and future endeavors. Directing music videos remains the first love, I am spreading my joys into photography of different social media influencers, actors and musical artists to planning film projects, books and any other creative ideas I can muster!. Read more>>

Nyannah Brown

I first started making skincare products because growing up, I always had really sensitive skin. I wanted products that smelled good but also gave me the moisture my skin longed for. The first product I made in 2020 when the pandemic hit was body butter. From there, I started making lipgloss, body scrubs and even facial serums. My mother makes the hand-poured candles for my business. Read more>>

Kristen Mason

My wellness journey happened in two phases; the first being mental having been diagnosed with chronic depression at 18, the second being physical having been diagnosed with diabetes at 26. Both times I turned to alternative health options rather than medication. Instead, meditation, yoga, fitness, massage, and healthy nutrition healed my mind and body. I lost 98 pounds in 9 months, no longer struggle with depression, and my lifestyle became my profession. Now, with 14 years under my belt, I help professional athletes, the highly active, those in recovery, and anyone else who is willing to work consistently on their health do just that. Currently, I’m a three-time award-winning bodybuilder, fitness model, published writer, author, interviewer, and wellness guru that has been featured in SHEEN Magazine, Voyage ATL, The Peach Review and NPC online. Read more>>

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