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.

Vicky Gouge | President and Design Diva

Lots of failure and relentless dedication to achieve my goals. Read more>>

Devon Hillary | Designer

I definitely think the most important factor is that people see me as authentic. I do not want people thinking I am just starting this brand to make money, my brand will never be about how much money I can possibly make. The most important thing is that my messege is spread and that people honestly buy my clothes and think of how their purchase helped spread awareness and put money towards further research. Read more>>

Veronica Bradley | Owner and Chief Power Tool Operator

Stubbornness. Usually, I would say being stubborn can be a detriment to a person, but launching and sustaining a business like mine during a global pandemic–where we were legally and morally barred from operating at a sustainable volume–stubbornness is what got us through. Failing wasn’t an option, and we were more than determined to keep going, we absolutely refused to consider failing or giving up. Stubbornness kept us fighting, and it’s going to keep us throwing proverbial punches for years. Read more>>

Lauren Pulido | VP of Business Development & Recruitment

I feel that self-motivation is the most important factor to my success throughout the years. Although it is important to have a company that stands behind you and supports you, it starts with your own mindset and the goals you set for yourself. Read more>>

Bleek Blakely | CEO of Poetic City

The driving force behind my work ethic, passion, ambition, and brand is love. Rather the motivation is from my kids, friends, family, or community each person who believes in is helping boosts my brand “Poetic City” to higher heights. I love what I do so much I feel like I do it for free sometimes, if that makes sense. I was blessed with the right pieces of the puzzle to make my brand become a whole body. I’ve recruited over 25 artist all on the strength of love and encouragement. In Poetic City our members carry a loving heart for one another and the brand itself. The levels of empowerment within our organization is through the roof! A group full of Bosses collaborating and building an empire. Honestly so many hearts have touch Poetic City now that the brand is bigger than myself or any of the members. Knowing Poetic City will be the bat symbol for communities to hold onto inspiration within our cities limits. Read more>>

Jennifer Horowitz | Owner of Thistle Hill Estate & Instagram Influencer

I believe the success of Thistle Hill Estate is based on authenticity. We hear from guests that they love that we’re a real farm estate and have preserved the history of its past in an intentional way. The history of our property is what drew us to it in the first place. Preserving that amazing history has become our passion. Now our guests have become a part of its’ history, and that couldn’t make us happier. Read more>>

Linda Eicher | Actor, Master Instructor Ovation Academy of Performing Arts

INTENTIONALITY with courage is the most important factor behind my success as an actor. Being intentional feels like a breath of fresh air. When I am intentional I live on purpose, from ideas to planning, to execution and fruition. And I remember to celebrate and be grateful for every outcome. Being intentional involves being courageous when making choices, knowing the consequences, and facing the fears – doing it anyway!. Read more>>

Kaleigh Kirkpatrick | Founder & Luxury Travel Advisor, The Shameless Tourist, a Virtuoso Member Agency

In my opinion, the most important factors behind my success and brand are boil down to two things: hard work and the constant pursuit of knowledge. At the Shameless Tourist, our core values are being “Shamelessly Responsive, Shamelessly Trendy, and Shamelessly in Tune with the Details.” Responsiveness is absolutely key in any business and although it sounds simple enough, being responsive and working hard to ensure this responsiveness is consistent, has really been a key to my success. The second value “Shamelessly Trendy” actually refers to the constant pursuit of knowledge, I absolutely think it is imperative that we follow the travel trends and continue to learn more about the destinations we sell and that our clients are demanding. Our last core value, “Shamelessly in Tune with the Details” refers again to hard work and attention to detail, which is absolutely imperative in this business!. Read more>>

Camille McCallum | Author and Entrepreneur

The Black Woman on a Mission brand lives and breathes because of the incredible community we’ve built around it. Our community takes the brand beyond its digital presence as they share our brand story with their friends and loved ones. We give our patrons a conversation piece with their Black Woman on a Mission apparel, and they continue to keep the discussion going. By listening and catering to our community we’ve been able to fill their needs, motivate them daily, and inspire them to act toward the causes they care about. Read more>>

Alicia Cunningham | Creative

The most important part of my brand is just being me! People would always give me input and opinions but I stayed true to what I want to do. I stayed true to who I wanted on my shows, to who I wanted to work with. Tune’s World for the world. Read more>>

Andrew Jones | Photographer

There have been several important factors to my success within Goldn Photography. Those factors include: Daily prayer with God, being myself with clients, having fun, and having that burning passion. Let’s be real, not every single day is sunshine and rainbows at Goldn Photography; That’s when I start praying and talking with God, asking for guidance, and thanking him for the good and even the bad. I like to have my photoshoots be a fun time for the client and usually have music blaring and dancing behind the scenes. Having fun and being yourself breaks that “awkwardness” between photos and allows the client to open up and be comfortable as well. Each session is usually a memorable experience for everyone. Finally, you have to have that burning passion to keep going each day. Some days won’t be the best, but you have to keep going, even in the midst of a pandemic and when the world seems to be flipped upside down. You have to strategize your next move and truly enjoy what you do. Make a plan, stick to it, and execute it. Read more>>

Samantha Washburn | Wedding and Birth

Consistency and growth. I feel like I am always learning and always growing. Being consistent in all aspects of my brand and business. I think having the mind set of always knowing I can do better, I can be better; has been a key factor in the success of my brand. I also think that having an open mind and being the most personable person I can be around my clients has helped out a lot. I look at my clients as friends and I want to be able to have great conversations with them. Read more>>

Martina Brugnoni | Owner & CEO, Uptown Marketing

Quality Over Quantity! Often times in business we are pushed so hard to sell, sell, sell! While sales is crucial, I believe that a steady stream of quality business is more valuable than taking on clients in large quantity. With a smaller number of clients, we can focus more on nurturing relationships and providing the best service possible to each agent. Plus, this mantra results in a happier, healthier team!. Read more>>

Danielle D. Smith | Award Winning Author and Filmmaker, Instructor at Ohio Media School, Writing Coach, Founder of Movement, Don’t Be Quiet

The most important factor behind my success is service. I truly enjoy and love serving people, helping people realize their potential, helping people realize they are not stuck in their trauma. I truly love people and seeing people happy! For me it is realizing that my brand is first understanding my purpose, then I was able to realize what my brand is. Read more>>

Alesia Anderson | Food Blogger

The most important factor behind my success is staying true to myself. As cliché as that sounds, it’s nothing but facts. There are so many other amazing and talented food bloggers and I love it; so many Black and POC foodies are out here showcasing their creativity. My content is what it is and my audience of loyal HUNGRAYYGANG supporters see that. It’s authentically me and that’s how I’ve been able to build and retain an engaging following. They see my vision, the consistency and all the other things that go into crafting my brand. Along with staying true to self, I’d say simply having fun with it is important too. I never lose sight of the fun aspect of this whole thing because that’s what my why is rooted in. Read more>>

Jill Lanyon | Travel Advisor- Hi Ho Vacations

REFERRALS! Like any small business, having clients, friends and family refer me to their friends and family is huge! Positive reviews, word of mouth and the use of my Social Media pages has gotten me to where I am today! It also helps that I work for an amazing award winning agency, Hi Ho Vacations, who is recognized for the work their planners do! Great service means repeat clients!. Read more>>

Rashelle Whiteharris | Founder, Women’s Collective Box

I truly believe that Women’s Collective has had so much success because we have a sisterhood that is invested in our mission. We have been able to grow solely on word of mouth so far because our community loves to share our brand and products with people they know. Read more>>



Jon Chapman | Creative Partner

Support It seems like a once word answer is reductive, but for a long time I’ve wanted to attribute any success I get to my support. I wouldn’t be anywhere without that support and I can’t thank each them enough for being in my corner and hiring me to draw and think for a living. Our company, Preuve is 80% referral business and we couldn’t be more excited about that. Read more>>

Lane Farr | Pastor/Licensed Texas Realtor ” Putting Faith back into Real Estate”

would have to answer this question with a very simple but powerful statement. My Faith in God has been the single most important factor behind my success in life and in business. My Faith in God has been crucial to the “Success of my brand” and the building of my Real Estate business and my client referral base. I truly believe when I started For The Father Realty Group I knew the decided factor on us being successful would rely on our Faith in God and trusting His word to be true and His blessings will come to those whom have Faith. Read more>>

Melina Molina | Photography

I think the most distinguishing factor of my brand has been my style and aesthetic. I have always had a very specific vision and throughout the years I’ve managed to hone my craft and maintain it. To me, this is important when identifying a brand. Read more>>

Laura Fedock | Fashion Stylist & Personal Shopper

As a fashion stylist and personal shopper with my business Life-STYLE by Laura, I know 100% that honesty is the foundation of my career. My fashion journey began at Nordstrom NorthPark in Dallas, as I was the first stylist based in designer. All four years I was with Nordstrom, I was 100% commission. I had over 90 extremely loyal clients, and none of them knew I was solely commission based. I value building the relationship with my clients and always give honest advice when styling looks. If I’m helping a client with dress shopping, and the $2000 dress isn’t the best item for her, but a $200 dress was, I told her. After all, women are very emotional when we shop. The whole experience is retail therapy for a reason. So if I am dishonest (or pushing her to buy something more expensive…because SO many people working in retail do this), my client will get home, talk herself out of the $2000 dress and feel mislead. Read more>>