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Sandy Springs’ 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 Sansy Springs’ gems below.

Brooke Butterworth

I’m a female writer, director, and actress. I started in 2011 back in Tennessee acting local indie films. When I picked up a camera, I knew I loved to create so I started directing my own films with actors from Knoxville and Maryville, TN. I started acting professionally and modeling in 2016 with Heyman Talent Agency at first. I got my Film degree in 2017 after directing over 50 short films and acting in over 40 films, 20 plays, and one feature film. I then decided to make my own media company in 2018 which started as videography and media content creation. In 2018 I also started Acting United – an online acting community! In 2020 I shut my media company down when the world shut down and moved to focusing on Acting United! We do play readings, give daily encouragement to artists, and are producing our first film. We would love to have you join our acting community at @actingunited on Instagram. We do merch giveaways and are building a community to lift you up! We love to give shoutouts as well. DM us to join play readings and our discord chat! Big things are planned for the future. Read more>>

Brandie Brancheau

I graduated from Paul Mitchell the School Tampa. I moved back to Detroit, MI. Shortly after and started working at a blow dry bar where an established MUA was working. I asked if I could assist her and she said yes! I started to assist her on a local magazine and other freelance sets. She moved to another state a few months later, and her clients started contacting me. Everything snowballed from there. I slowly made connections and started perfecting my craft. I worked in and managed salons in Detroit and Pittsburgh for five years. But right before Covid-19, I moved to Atlanta. I feel like quarantine forced us all to stop and focus. That’s when B.Wild makeup was born. I invested into building a new kit, logo, LLC, business cards and continuing education. One year later, I just opened a salon suite and have booked over 73 Brides in 2021! B.Wild is off to a great start. Read more>>

Jermal McCoy

I started my life after ball journey in 2001 when my basketball career ended. I was injured playing basketball in Japan and found that once my body failed, I had to figure out a better way to make a living and find a new passion. However, as we have discovered the passions we have are never new, they just transform into different forms of service for others. I had to find a way to address the depression, lack of a support network, career, and community service that I used to have. This is where God gave me the insight to not only figure out supports for myself but for other athletes who will at some point go through what I was going through. The LAB was born at that point and actually took several years to become a full non-profit organization. Now we serve hundreds of former athletes and athletes and plug them into a network of professionals who understand the process of transitioning from participating in sports to the workforce. Read more>>

Kaleb Mitchell

A native to Louisiana, Kaleb Mitchell moved to Atlanta in 2016 to pursue his acting career in film, television and theatre. Since then, he and his partner Tina Mitchell have started Mitchell Media Team, a media company primarily working on weddings, actor reels and promo for small businesses. He recounts the turbulence in the acting community at the top of the pandemic. “My wife and I had no income and no creative outlet at the start of lockdown. Theatres were closed and film/tv was difficult to navigate with all of the abrupt changes. So we took our savings and bought a camera and started our company.” Right now, you can find Kaleb Mitchell on IG @mitchellmediateam and @kalebdmitchell where you can find his upcoming web series and short films. Read more>>

Branda Peterson

I began Alpharetta Housewives LLC during the pandemic as a way to provide exposure and visibility for local businesses that had temporarily closed their doors. As I began to spread the word of what local businesses offered i.e., take-out, delivery services, etc., I then started to create an opportunity to access localized deals with each partnered business. The Alpharetta Housewives club members can save at local spas, boutiques, restaurants and attend our exclusive events. Local businesses such as LifeHope Healing Medspa, Contour Club, BODYBAR Pilates, Rise & Wine, Carson’s Kitchen and Ocean & Acre are only a few of 50+ businesses that have teamed up with Alpharetta Housewives to offer discounted pricing and specials to our members. My overall mission was to raise awareness of what Alpharetta has to offer. I then expanded to partnering with businesses in Roswell, Johns Creek, Milton, Cumming, Buckhead, Atlanta and more. Now that I have created this trending concept, It has quickly bridged the gap between our community and the businesses within it. Read more>>

Kirklyn Malone

I started out as a dancer and knew that professional dance was going to be my career path after college. I did, however, have a backup plan since I knew the career span of a dancer’s life is usually pretty short. From growing up in the dance field, makeup was always something I enjoyed and came to be pretty good at from all the years of practice. I decided that once dance took more of a backseat role in my life, I would pursue a career in makeup. I wasn’t too sure what exactly I wanted to do with makeup yet, but I knew that It would be a career I would enjoy and could utilize my talent well. After one contract of professionally dancing for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, I decided that it wasn’t the lifestyle I wanted for myself over the next half-decade. It was at this time that I began thinking of what I wanted a career in long-term. Before I had left for my dance contract, I had my eyebrows microbladed so that I could have a low-maintenance beauty routine and could spend my days on the beach instead of filling in my eyebrows. I became so fascinated with microblading and how just a simple procedure lifted my confidence so much. When I was mindlessly scrolling through Instagram one day on the ship, I came across a post that my microblading artist was teaching/certifying other women in the art a month after my contract was over, and I immediately signed up. Read more>> 

A. Richard Martinez

It’s a great idea to look back now and again, to see where you’ve come from and how you’ve moved to where you are now. The how it started and how it’s currently going, I can easily identify the differences between the past and the present. Sometimes I get questioned about how long I’ve been doing the jobs I do. As I approach my 1-year anniversary of taking the plunge into the world of being self-employed, I thought it would be a great idea to look back. I used to work for big businesses. I used to work for big businesses. After graduating from Georgia State University, my first IT job was at AT&T, then worked for several other large corporations, including KDDI America, PCCW, and Verizon, almost always working in Telecom. Somewhere along that road I diversified and began working for software companies, including Airwatch/VMWare and B2M. Shortly thereafter, I changed focus again and began working in Data Center as Head of Sales for Telehouse. I had a short stint as the owner of a small calling card company called MTS and marketed my product in the country of the Republic of Panama. Read more>>

Juanita Bellavance

I embraced my art journey in 1998 after having decided to leave my elementary music education career. I became ignited about art as a career when I met a muralist who said she would tell me everything about how to get started with a decorative wall finishes business.  I immediately became immersed in a constant stream of learning and work. In 2000 some of my work done in a Home Depot Expo home was featured in Atlanta Magazine.  In 2008 the wall finish industry changed and I began teaching both art and music as enrichment classes after school at local Montessori Schools. That is when I became serious about learning fine art and now have transitioned fully as a professional working artist. Read more>>

Charlotte Williamson

In 2001, I went to the University of Fl to pursue a degree in dance. I wanted to be a Rockette & dance on Broadway. After participating in the program for 2 years, I felt as though something was missing in my training so I started my own student dance group, called Extreme Dance Company (delightfully it still exists today). This didn’t please the dance faculty at UF since I was doing this instead of participating in their projects. That Fall, I presented my group choreography for the faculty & they hated it. They told me that I wasn’t an artist and that I should stop creating. I was better suited for recital directing.  Obviously, that was a huge blow to my confidence but determined to prove them wrong, I kept creating, eventually changing schools and attending UGA. 1 year later, my choreography was selected to represent UGA at the American College Dance Festival, where it was received rave reviews by Wendy Perron of Dance Magazine, Steve Rooks of the Ailey Company, & Ann Reinking, Fosse protégé, and was selected to perform at the Gala that evening. To make it sweeter, the UF faculty heard it all.  Read more>>

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