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Southern Atlanta’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 Southern Atlanta’s gems below.

Daniel Stabler

In the early 2000’s I was taking a lot of pictures of bands and musicians, hoping to one day tour the world working for a music magazine or some giant band’s personal photographer. I quickly learned punk bands have no money (duh, right?), so I hung up my dreams of working for Spin Magazine and did what almost every photographer does – shot some weddings. Unfortunately at the time, my work ethic sucked and the industry was pretty competitive. Thankfully another business opportunity popped out of nowhere, and I and a friend started a poker league, Freeroll Atlanta, that I ran for 14 years. Around my mid 30’s, with a wife and house, I grew tired of working in bars every night and figured it was about time to put my ancient skills back to work. An old friend from the music scene had moved back to Atlanta to sell real estate and asked if I would shoot some photos for him. I guess he liked them because he spread my name around his brokerage and I started getting lots of phone calls for listing photos. Read more>>

Elise Rose

Beauty Is The Beast, Inc is a non-profit organization that was started in 2019. I decided to introduce my struggles with lipo-lymphedema through photography. In March of 2019, I put together a photoshoot here in Atlanta the would reveal my coming out and the start of BITB. Several of the participants traveled from out of state to be a part of this moment with me. Read more>>

C.René Washington

I’m a life coach for women, particularly women in midlife transition. I’m deeply passionate about women freeing themselves to focus on and prioritize dreams and desires that have been long suppressed after years of taking care of other people’s priorities. The seeds of creating this work I love began in Atlanta back in the nineties when I began attending the phenomenal conference for Black women, African American Women On Tour (AAWOT). That’s where I saw pre-Oprah Iyanla Vinzant, Patricia Russell-McCloud, Les Brown, Maya Angelou, George Fraser, Jewel Diamond Taylor, Bertice Berry, and more!Living in Birmingham, AL…traveling to the ATL frequently became my Wakanda escape before even knew there was a Wakanda. I felt freer there and able to revel fully in my Blackness. I seriously considered moving there, but then my first niece was born and became ALL in Aunty. I settled for it being my second home. Friends who here teased me about knowing more about what was going on in the city than they did. Read more>>

Myya Jackson

Growing up, my mother would make these sweet potato pies and peach cobblers for holidays. She would ask me to help, I would roll dough, imprint the dough, cut peaches, beat the sweet potato filling, and of course be her taste tester. As I got older, I would make the pies and peach cobblers for the family myself. My mother started my interest in baking without me even realizing it. I went off to college in 2009 to go into the sciences. I had my mindset that I would be a doctor. If you went to college, you understand that you learn independence when moving away for college and that’s what I did. I started cooking for myself more and more and found myself baking more as well. I would try new things and have my friends try them, still not realizing the love I had for it. It was just a hobby. So it’s safe to say I am self-taught. I graduated with a bachelor of science degree from Dillard University and moved back home to Atlanta to “take a break”, I got pregnant. So I got a certification in Phlebotomy and start working as a phlebotomist and then it hit me, I wanted to bake more. Read more>>

Ballarie Smith

My household hasn’t always been the best environment. Both my parents were on drugs. My grandmother raised my sisters and I. I experienced a lot of trauma in my childhood. I’ve been molested, hospitalized, beaten, & become a mom at 15. I was forced to be a provider now because I’m also a mom. I dropped out of high school in 10th grade. Life at home as a 15 years old was extremely tough & boring. So I decided to go back to school and get my high school diploma. They wasn’t allowing me to enroll because I had missed 113 days out of the school year! I begged & pleaded and we made an agreement. Once I was back in school, I worked hard and attended night classes to make up. I graduated high school in the top 10, on the principal’s list and also with a scholarship. After high school, I went to Everest college for Pharmacy tech! Completed the program and was pregnant now with my 2nd child. Read more>>

Ana Arriaga

As far back as I can remember, I have been a fiend for sugar. As a child, I would sneak peanut butter baking morsels from the kitchen while my parents were sound asleep. It just made my Saturday morning cartoons even more enjoyable. I’m the youngest of three, with two older brothers who were my best friends and absolutely my whole world. They supported me in everything I did and believed in me. My parents were more than any child could hope for. They loved us unconditionally and stressed the importance of education, being good to others, and above all – family comes first. We did not have much growing up, but we always had each other. Growing up in a Hispanic household, my family would welcome everyone with a beautiful and abundant spread of food. You always felt invited and significant, and that has shaped my approach to not only my business but life in general. For me, baking became not only an expression of my art but an extension of what I know as love and joy to give to others. The real reward of anything I bake is making someone else happy. Read more>>

Kanika Paige

I am the owner of my very own makeup artistry, Pretti with Purpose by Kanika. I started my makeup journey back in 2018 which was a year In which I overcame a few obstacles. Those obstacles pushed me into a gift I never really knew I had and gave me a purpose to be consistent and to see my vision through, which was to make women all around the world feel beautiful and to know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s image. Throughout me teaching myself all of the ends and outs of makeup and how to apply products properly, spending numerous of hours watching other makeup artist’s videos, I decided it was time I stepped out on faith and birth out the gift God had given me. I started off in my home practicing on my siblings, cousins, and close friends. By the middle of 2018, I began to gain confidence in my craft and started to take my first set of clients. The entire year of 2019, I kept pushing and believing in myself, mainly focusing on growing my business, gaining knowledge, and perfecting my craft. Read more>>

Micah Almond

Art has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My father was a great artist long before I picked up a pencil. Growing up, I watched him create hundreds of abstract paintings, so naturally I followed in his footsteps. As I got older, my infatuation grew to find out more art techniques, styles, and ideals. Throughout high school, I enrolled in various art camps and enrolled to The Art Institute of Atlanta earning a BFA in Media Arts and Animation. After graduating, I began to freelance with various start-up companies in the metro Atlanta. Throughout my freelancing journey, I have learned a tremendous amount about building and growing a company. After the passing of my father in June 14th, 2020, I decided to brand myself and grow my brand as an artist in his honor. My artist’s name is “Uncle Mike.” The name derives from a catchy childhood nickname from family and young adult experiences I try to share through my pieces. Read more>>

LaTresha Ellis

My story began over six years ago when I decided to come up with a solution to ease wash day tension in my home. I have three little girls with lots of hair and wash day at my house was truly a nightmare. The girls would argue and bicker about whose turn it was to go first, they would kick, scream and cry. I would have to struggle through the hair wash process all while trying to comfort the unlucky child who was reluctantly chosen to go first. It would cause so much negative energy in our home and create tension that would last the remainder of the day. I could never find a way to ease their discomfort and anxiety. By the time we were done, everyone in the house was frustrated, including my husband. My husband and I knew that something about this needed to change, so we began to seek to understand why this experience was so traumatic for our girls. Read more>>

Beat Burner

I am Beat Burner. My real name is Calvin Watson. I reside on the SouthSide of Atlanta. I started doing music in private school. I became a part of the choir. I left private where I would become a part of a band and play the trombone. YeArs later I would start doing music with a program called fruity loops daw program. In my early high school years, I was making beats every day with super producer MP 808. I was 15 and He was 14. I achieve my first major placement with MP808. We got a track placed with T Pain. I have placements with T Pain, Benzino, Bandit Gang Marco, Yummy Pearl, Lotto Savage, The Outlaws, Slime Sito, Nappy Boy Ent, and many more. Read more>>

Elijah McCall

I’ve always been someone who likes to be active and have fun. My wife, Marissa, and I enjoy having people over and hosting events at our home. I was always brainstorming ways that we could make money outside of our full time jobs. One day my wife mentioned starting a mobile Nerf war business. After pondering on the idea, I thought it was great. Our son enjoyed Nerf and I was sure there were even more kids and adults that enjoyed it too. We could provide people with affordable entertainment without the hassle and headache of them having to plan and keep people engaged. The best part of it all is that we would be mobile and the customer does not have to leave the comfort of their home or event location; we worry about the entertainment and they can focus on having fun and enjoying themselves. After holding onto the idea and running it by a great friend of mine, Victory Phillips, Hot Shot Combat was born. Read more>>

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