We asked some of the city’s rising stars about why they think they have been so successful and we’ve shared their responses below.

Aaron Aguilar | Owner, Fabricator, Pyrographer

At its most basic, I provide custom gifts that people can give their loved ones or items that commemorate a special occasion. But I think that what I really do is capture moments of time and the relationships that are formed between people. With every piece that I do, I try and think about the importance that it carries for both the giver and the receiver of the gift. I try to make each piece of work as special as I can because I know that it is more than a gift, it is a representation of the love that people have for one another. Read more>>

Zeke Jeremiah | CEO/Founder

I think that the most important factor behind our success as a brand is the love, respect and hardwork we put into this, and countless others we encounter. We are huge on making others feel valued and appreciated. As a Production Company, UTS is adamant about proving great customer service to all actors and crewmembers and business clients. We are very relatable and have fun onset while also keeping the professional dameanor. With that, none of the success comes without mentioning some key people that has helped in making sure we are a thriving brand during this building process. Amber Natasha, who is our CFO (Chief Financial Officer/ Producer , Edward Antonio, as our Composer/Producer, Kathleen Smith, as our Head writer/Producer and lastly Cecilia Brush, who has been a wonderful Consultant. They keep this train running and I am elated about the work that has been done so far and looking forward to many more. Read more>>

Laura Lewis | Head Honcho, The LaLaPow Agency

I consider the most important factor behind my own success as well as the success of my brand, The LaLaPow Agency, is the ability to tune in to what lights individuals up–and to create the “spark” as well as the matrix that will optimally amplify another’s brand and to make it stand out above the rest. I named my company “LaLaPow” in order to be obvious that we bring energy to the party! Creativity runs deep within my team, as well as a pervasive high-level skill to come together and create a unique and highly effective plan that delivers that “pow” and “fireworks” to help our customers–which include small to mid-size business owners, both local and national–achieve the level of success they desire. Their success is our success! As an aside, one of the biggest compliments we receive is when we are referred to as our customer’s “secret weapon” in their industry. Essentially we are a boutique full-service digital marketing agency. And we make things happen. Read more>>

Valerie Bloodgood | Modella Gallery Founding Member

The most important factor behind the success of Modella Gallery is the relationships and networking with our board, the community leaders, visitors, students at Oklahoma State University and persons living in the area interested in seeing the benefits of having a part in community art. Read more>>

Dr. Candice Bledsoe | Executive Director of Action Research Center

My hard work ethic and creativity and innovation are the most important factors behind my success. These components are very much a part of who I am. As someone who examines gaps within education and organizations, I look for new innovative ways to address problems. My creativity and hard work ethic help me to produce different, fresh, and new strategies to support women and students of color. Read more>>

David Soames | Co-Owner & Creative Director at The Shop

A lead can come from anywhere. And while this might be total common sense, it’s extremely easy to lose sight of – especially when you’re trying to start a business for the very first time. Your next-door neighbor. Your sister’s ex-boyfriend. That dude you played soccer against back in middle school. Your current client’s mother-in-law’s friend. That mom who takes her kids to the same park as you every Saturday morning. The commissioner of your fantasy football league. A lead can truly come from anywhere. So be nice. Work hard. Listen. Make great work. And check your ego at the door. After all, you never know when you might run into someone who knows someone who knows someone who needs your help. Read more>>

Adrian Gooden | Commercial Photographer

Being authentic. As a photographer, there’s a certain personality people expect you to have – especially when you pretty much photograph everything from weddings, to grads, to engagements and maternity photos. Alot of times early on I had to remind myself that I’m a human and not some corporate robot, and that it was okay for me to just be friends with my clients instead of shaping every conversation with them to be as professional as possible. This was especially helpful in my commercial work as many of my clients often told me it was refreshing to have just a cool person on set that was professional, could do the work, but also not be uptight and have fun. Being authentic is so important as an entrepreneur because that’s why you started. I started my own business so I could be myself and create income from it the same way large corporations do. Artists and creatives, especially, should have authenticity at the forefront of their business. It not only makes your work more enjoyable, but it could also be a huge reason why your clients choose you. Read more>>