We asked some of the city’s rising stars to reflect on what made a difference in their journey. We asked them to tell us about what they think the most important factor has been behind their success.

Tim King | Caterer/Private Chef/Event Chef

My main factor for my success would have to be my formal culinary training. I’ve learned from some of the most creative and talented chefs on the east coast. But the success of my brand comes from my own blend of seasonings that gives my dishes its own unique and distinctive flavor and appeal Read more>>

Dr. ET Dr. Edith Trevino | Professional Educational Consultant and Keynote

When it comes to the factor to my success and the success of my brand, I have to rely on not just one factor, but two. One factor is trust, and the other one is building relationships. For me, these two factors are crucial. We can’t build relationships without trust. When I think of trust, I focus on five important elements. Read more>>

Samantha Isabell Gay

The most important factor in my success is authenticity – even when my content and business experiences haven’t satisfied prescribed “boxes” or “binary” expectations. My work is true to my inspiration and opens doors for conversation; it also challenges colonized notions of what spaces women of color “should” occupy. Working and creating with authentic intention has led to growth, partnership, and deep learning. I’ve been fortunate to build bridges, create and collaborate with people from all around the world. Read more>>

Jenn Worley | Co-founder / Chief Creative Officer

Having launched the first single service facial concept in 2013, we’ve invested a lot of energy in developing our brand mission and building an out-of-this-world team. We knew that the single most important thing needed to build a strong brand and differentiate us from the traditional models was to have a unique concept and a strong brand voice. Our initial concept and mission are still the pillars of our business today (8 years later!). Read more>>

Trenice Brinkley | Founder, Two Queens Media & Soigne`+Swank Magazine™

The most important factor behind Soigne`+Swank Magazine’s success is our purpose, message, and our team. Soigne’ + Swank Magazine™ is a digital publication that curates black excellence in business, entertainment, lifestyle, careers, and fashion. Dedicated to honoring our ancestors and inspiring the black and indigenous culture, this magazine is committed to sharing and highlighting powerful thought-provoking stories, journeys of failure to success, and empowering all things black excellence from around the world. Read more>>

Nikki Whitt Belch | Owner and Lead Photographer

This is a great question! Honestly, failure. I dont think this business would have gotten as far as it did without going through failure. I know alot of people are scared of failure, which is understandable. However, failure made me work harder, and it helped me figure out systems to create a more telling and thought out plan. Without those failures, I dont think I would have tried as hard as I did and currently still do. Any time that I failed at something, like a launch of a new type of photo session–it just made me sit down and think more about the why and how. When I came back from that fail, my new launches were big successes. Read more>>

Adrian Faubel | Family Photographer

I think the biggest factor in the success of my business is that I keep it client-based or client-centric. I always hold my client at the center of all decision making. I like to ask myself the question, “If I was in my client shoes, what would my preference be as far as communication, deliverables, and overall experience?” Read more>>

Kara Warren | Photographer & Owner of Kara Warren Photography

Running your own business is not an easy feat. And not just running a business, but doing so in a manner that develops a successful, unique brand is even more difficult. So what is the secret to success? To think we have ever arrived at end of this question is naive, but there is one attribute I have found paramount to cultivate success– integrity: to be true to yourself, your values, and your word. In the words of the American Poet, E.E. Cummings, “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” Read more>>

Epifanio Lopez | Artist and Tattooist

The things I try to do as an artist and tattooist are staying true to myself and realize not everyone will like or love what I put out. I feel that’s brings success to my brand EPIPENINK Read more>>

Tracey Parson | Author | Entrepreneur | Motivational Speaker | Inventor

The biggest factor in my journey to success is self-acceptance. Once I accepted myself- flaws and all-I got out of my own way and could see what I needed to do in order to move forward. Read more>>