Starting a business is a commitment and requires dedication, resources and sacrifice. We asked some of the rising stars in our community how they thought through the idea of starting their own businesses.

Bella Rodriguez | Ceo & Founder of Bella’s Dress Closet & Former Miss Dallas Teen 2020

Bella’s Dress Closet is a non-profit organization that I started at the very beginning of COVID in March 2019. I have grown up loving to volunteer and finding different ways to be hands-on in my community. While I love to spend my time volunteering, I also have a love and passion for all things fashion. I wanted to combine my two loves into something that not only I could take ownership in but also all the people in the network I have built over the years. Being in high school and competing in beauty pageants has given me the chance to find girls that would be able to provide dresses for my closet. Read more>>

Nena Brown | Founder/Owner, Brown Baking X3

The seed was planted for our business when I became a new mom and was overwhelmed with returning to the corporate workplace as a working career mom. Everyday I felt a tug of war feeling while trying to satisfy the requirements of my demanding job and trying to be a present mother. Eventually cooking and baking turned out to be therapy for me while I was battling with postpartum anxiety in silence. My kids started to express interest in helping me in the kitchen and I gladly welcomed them to assist me make different recipes. Over time, this became our special bonding time. Read more>>

Collin Martin | Co-owner of Bingo Markets

I’ve always had that entrepreneurial itch! Read more>>

Amber Daniel | Family Photographer

I’ve always had a love for photography. There is something so special about being able to take a moment in time, and make it last forever through a photograph. I mentioned this to my husband one year, and he bought me my first DSLR for Mother’s Day just a few months later. My hobby quickly grew into so much more. I’ve never felt I was “good” or “talented” at something, until I picked up my camera. I was constantly photographing my children, friends and their families, nature, landscapes, anything I could. I jokingly mentioned to my husband one time that I wish I could make money doing what I love. He asked me “why don’t you?”.  Read more>>

Rebeka Halbert | Owner, Halbert Farm

I’ve always wanted to have a farm. It was a childhood dream. I would sit and draw farm plans with all the animals I dreamed of having. I am originally from Hawaii so having a farm there was never possible since land is scarce. I moved to Texas and was able to purchase land in 2013. I love the idea of being my own boss and being in control of my destiny. Owning my own business means I benefit from how much work I put in. I’ve worked in corporate America for most of my career where long hours lined the pockets of companies and executives. Read more>>

Lisa Baronoff | Founder and CEO

Hi, I’m Lisa Baronoff, the proud owner of a beloved Golden Doodle named Stir Fry. My other dog, a Cocker Spaniel named Toffee, was the inspiration for Walkee Paws and sadly crossed over the rainbow bridge last year. As a dog owner in Manhattan, I grew increasingly concerned over the germs, dirt, chemicals, rain, and snow my dogs were coming into contact with while navigating the concrete jungle. At best, all this yuck and muck was tracking dirt into my home. At worst, my dogs were burning their little paws on hot pavement, trekking through uncomfortably cold snow, and potentially ingesting dangerous street chemicals and snow melt by licking their dirty feet. Read more>>

Stacy Grosse | CEO and Founder of Pop Spot

I started Pop Spot because I was struggling with postpartum and a child with colic. I knew I wasn’t going to be a good mom if I stayed home at that time and needed an outlet for myself. With a background in retail, wholesaling and event-planning; i thought a little smarter and not harder and decided to host monthly trunk shows in Midland. West Texas doesn’t have any curated shopping around and this is how Pop Spot was born in 2016. Read more>>

Kristen Ridout | Gracefully Nested – Professional Organizer

Gracefully Nested was created over 2 years ago. Years before that I started in my own home and close friends and family. I always loved helping others within their homes it just took a while for me to find my path and calling. To be completely honest I was really nervous at first. I had a full-time job and was nervous to leave. The job wasn’t the right fit for me but it was apart of the journey. I worked full-time and started my business on the side after work and on the weekends. It is rough being a wife and mom but it was worth it. I built up my clientele. There were referrals were the ones who got my business going. I am so thankful for that. Read more>>

Alexus Morris | Cake Artist

I’ve was never fit to work in corporate America, none of my jobs were actually something worth holding on to, so when I started my own business my feet hit the ground and I never looked back. I knew my cakes and treats were delicious before I left my last job and that was because I was still working and providing my services from my business on the side. Once I was confident with what I was offering I was able to actually take that risk and leave my 8-5 bakery job. Read more>>

Makesa Stovall | Custom Hat maker

I am a lover of hats and I feel like most hats are so plain! I started buying hats for myself and realizing they needed a little spice to them, I started designing them to add flare and originality. I alway appreciate the aspect of having one of a kind things. Hats are very trendy right now and everyone is looking for a more individualized look these days. Everyone wants to stand out. What better way to stand out by wearing a custom hat! Read more>>

Maggie Hayes | Artist, Jeweler, Musician

Everyone has art inside of them. It sounds cheesy I know, but it’s true. My sister is a genius when it comes to character design and creation. My mother is the most amazing chef and somehow cooks stunningly without quite following a recipe. My brother is absolutely hilarious and claps back with comebacks faster than I can blink. When we nurture creative energy it brings an extra layer of magic to our lives. It’s something automatically there in childhood, but intentional effort as adults is necessary to keep it alive. One way my friends and I have found is through table top role play games (rpgs) like Dungeons and Dragons. Read more>>

DJ Swmpthing | DJ, VP, Artist relations and Program Director for Meet The Plug records and Itsaswmpthing media, state manager for Ohio chapter of fleet DJs

After DJing A-lot of local shows and programing an underground internet radio show for 5 years, I noticed artist were not being educated and/or prepared for a show or to be interviewed. The focus was only on the music and nothing else. There is so much more to an interview other than music. I’ts a chance for the audience to get to know the artist, find out they have things and common and listen to there thoughts and opinions outside the mic. On the other hand i’ts just as important for the artist to really utilize an interview platform to speak on things that are just as important as there music and/or what they create. Read more>>

Allen Lockhart | President/Organizer of Stand Tall Inc.

My God and my family empowered me to start our family business. God has blessed me with a nonprofit business called Stand Tall, Inc. I was raised by two amazing parents that were very supportive and protective. My sister and I were blessed to have parents that loved us and cared for us. We had our family issues, but with a lot of support and encouragement. Unfortunately, growing up I was bullied a lot. My dad spent a lot of his time in the military, so I had to depend on my mom, my sister, and my uncle to provide me with support and protection. Read more>>

ROMA | Creator & Founder

I was born in the great state of Texas but, home for me can be found on the wonderful west coast of Ghana! Growing up in an international household,I was always surrounded by rich culture and tradition. One of the many special things my mother shared with me very early is her love for natural body and self care regimens which she learned from my grandmother. Read more>>

Amy Young | CEO of Lashcity318

I’ve always had a passion for business and saw myself as an entrepreneur. After graduating from Grambling State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management, my passion for business grew stronger. I am a corporate leader that’s my 9-5. I started my business because it clicked for me one day. I was investing my time, development, and energy into someone’s else company. I started my own brand (Lashcity318) April of 2020. Beauty has always been an interest of mines. I like to look and feel good. Lashcity318 was created to provide high quality, affordable product to the everyday woman. We balance alot as women so it’s important to find time to look and feel good. Read more>>

Regina Roberts | Personal Trainer and Owner of Personal Changes Training

What was your thought process behind starting your own business? I first dealt with imposter syndrome a lot. I did not think I could become a personal trainer, I like cookies too much and do not have a “personal trainer body”. It took some time before I realized I was exactly what was needed and by me not offering my services, I was actually doing a disservice to my community.
The fact that I was a foodie, not an athlete made me the perfect trainer for a lot of people who were intimidated with just the thought of diet and exercise all together. Read more>>

Terrell Eskridge | Coach/ Entrepreneur

My thought process was a different process. I started my own business by accident. I coached AAU basketball, and I hated how it was ran so I decided to make my own organization. I came up with a logo and started printing the logo on t-shirts. My next steps was to get the logo on some jerseys for my team but people saw me with the logo tshirt and wanted to buy it. So I slowly started selling them one by one. I went to China for a year and this is where my business took off. I saw how cheap it was to make my own merchandise. So I started buying more in bulk and selling more. Created a website to keep track of all the sales now I’m here. Read more>>

Denise Guel Najera | Baker

Well, I’ve always loved baking and trying out recipes, then tweaking them or getting what I liked from each recipe and making it my own. Watching shows on channel 13 or food network. Jacques Torres, Julia Childs, among so many others would spark that interest in the kitchen for me. Then, few years later I took a few decorating classes with 2 great friends and that was so much fun that I could see myself decorating cakes in the future. Which I did, for family then friends and now for so many awesome customers of mine. Read more>>

Abena Opoku | Executive Director

Abena: We started this nonprofit because working with the mental health population you learn that many of these individuals may be suffering from homelessness and financial instabilities. Working with this population you see that many of them have lost their sense of humanity because of the stigmas and labels that are given to them. Read more>>