We asked some of the city’s hidden gems to tell us about what they feel is the most important factor behind their success.

Jesica Clay | Wedding and Portrait Photographer

The most important factor behind the success of my business and my brand is definitely the consistency I demonstrate in my work and the love and commitment I show to my clients. Being consistent in all aspects of my business is so important to me because I want my clients to know what the exact client experience is that they’re going to get with me. My work itself, of course, requires a huge focus on consistency. I want clients to look at my website, social media, etc., and have a very clear picture of the style of my work. I like my work to look bright and crisp with some good contrast and pop, so the individuals who want this look are the individuals who will choose me as their photographer. Read more>>

Claire Capek | Actor and Model

I think the most important factor behind my success is never giving up. That includes continuous training, and working hard while continuing to push myself out of my comfort zone physically, emotionally, and mentally. It is important to set a goal and once it’s reached continue to master that goal before setting a new one. In both acting and modeling I think it is so important to not give up because you never know when the right opportunity will present itself. Know you are limitless. Read more>>

Kelcee Guyton | Believer of Christ, Woman’s Empowerment Coach and Photographer

I seek to keep God 100% in control of my life and decisions. If I find myself becoming worried or frustrated, I always take step back and ask myself am I trying to control this situation or am I letting the Lord carry the weight. I will not make a next move without asking my father first. Read more>>

Ashley Kay | Entrepreneur

Failure. Without struggle there’s no progress. There has been plenty of times that I just wanted to give up. It’s definitely a challenge every day to be an entrepreneur. Read more>>

Juliana Oliveira | Owner & Principal Designer at Beyond Interior Design

Throughout the years of running an interior design firm, adapting to the ever-growing consumer while going beyond expectations are definitely the most important factors to the success of the brand. We always put our clients first by leading each project to ensure they have a worry-free experience that is executed as flawlessly as possible. Throughout the process, we ensure that our process is fully executed and with our full-service capabilities and vendor relationships we aim to far exceed expectations which heightens the overall design and client satisfaction. Read more>>

Andrea Kyprianou Baum, M.Ed., LPC | Co-Founder Stomping Ground Comedy Theater

I am the co-founder of Improv for Life at Stomping Ground Comedy Theater. Improv for Life are improv programs that have psychosocial, therapeutic, and psychoeducational benefits for various populations. I would say that the single most important factor behind the success of this programming is that the needs of the individuals are understood on a deep level. Experiences are created to encourage learning and a-ha moments based on the unique needs of our students. I pull from my experience and knowledge in psychotherapy and work with highly trained improvisers to create Improv for Life programs. Our programs are always changing as we improvise in the moment to meet the needs of our groups. Read more>>

Fallon Michael | Social Media Strategist & Photographer

For me, it’s sustainability. I am solely sustained by my relationship with The Lord. That being said, self discipline is also vital! I thrive with structure. As a freelancer, I intentionally set aside time to go do my work at coffee shops – knowing I’m much more efficient there than I would be at home. My level of productivity determines my level of “success.” The more I do, the more I learn, the more I grow, the more I become. Read more>>

Margot M Rodriguez | Food Influencer & Recipe Developer

The most important factor behind my success is my strong passion for what I do. Growing up in a Hispanic community, food is a huge part of the culture. Food brings families & friends together, nourishes one another and is passed down from generation to generation. There is always something to learn from it and what better way to learn than bringing people together and sharing each other’s passion. Read more>>

Travis Wackerly | Musician and Owner of FCM Entertainment

I got really good at hiring the right people. I used to look for people with incredible skill to hire because I thought talent was enough to work for our Musician/DJ service company. I’ve learned throughout the years that integrity and a passion to serve our customers well is a much more valuable quality in the real world than just having a musical skill set. I lucked out and found great people to work for FCM Entertainment, like Jared, Brooke, Keeton, Amanda and Cindy who all have a musical skill, but they’re also all around wonderful people who other people like to be around. Read more>>

Chanel Ebanks-Texada | Makeup Artist & Creative

The most important factor behind my success is simply not giving up. Even when things are slow or if I become very occupied with my full time position, I always stay connected to what I love to do. I have never in the past 7 years dropped doing makeup completely. I pray to continue to grow and grow as the years continue to go by. Read more>>

Dr. Michael Oyedokun II | Senior Pastor & Motivational Speaker

The most important factor behind my success and the success of my brand is: HUSTLE and CONSISTENCY. I have always had a desire to be great. I believe my African heritage on my father’s side and my Indian heritage on my mother’s side contributed to this hustle and flow. I believe that if you want something you can achieve it. It may not happen on the first try, but you must continue to keep striving until that door opens. Never give up. Never let anyone tell you what you can’t do. Never let the devil keep you from what God has for you. “If God be for us, who can be against us?” My word is “boldness”. Read more>>

Saihba Ali | Licensed Professional Counselor, Marriage and Family Therapist, Parental Alienation Expert, EMDR trained

Sincere Intention. My quest to pursue a career as a mental health professional was born out of a sheer dearth of bilingual counselors in the communities around me. I saw a need and the change-maker in me spurred me to find avenues to make a difference. We are all unique in the gifts of the specific qualities that we possess – qualities and capabilities that may not show up on the standardized testing protocols. Over the years, I have realized that I have good instincts and insight into individual or systemic problems faced by people. I do not find myself restricted or limited by my own subjective perceptions. Read more>>

Tiffany Carmona | Owner of The Drink Fairy LLC

I feel that the most important factor behind the success of my brand is the consistency we have shown since the start of our business. When you show people how above and beyond you go no matter how big the event, they trust in your business/brand enough to book you or refer your business. Read more>>

Mel Brown McGinnis | Attorney, Author, Poet & Motivational Speaker

The most important factor behind my success is being intentional. I believe that success is intentional, and you have to do it on purpose! Success doesn’t just fall out of the sky. You have to work for it. Success at anything in life requires you to take the time to seek out your passion and your purpose, set your goals, identify your path, and commit to executing your plan. A dream without a plan is just that, a dream. I’ve been so fortunate in my life to be blessed with many, many talents, and I love sharing the gifts that I’ve been given to inspire others. Seven years ago, I was at a crossroads, and I can remember not really knowing what to do with my life. Read more>>

Marissa Hornsby | Online Boutique Owner

Honestly I feel as though there are two factors. Passion and consistency. The passion I have, it sparks my creativity and actually makes me happy. The 3 a.m. mornings that I can’t sleep because I have so many ideas flowing or need to hand-pick styles for an upcoming collection. The days that go by with not a sale only inquiries, and I start to doubt my branding decisions. Those times are when my passion for House of Noelle comes into play. I pray, I brainstorm and more often than not, I recover and succeed. Though last, consistency also has played a major part in some of the few success from House of Noelle. Social media is the way of the world, and I always want to ensure that the world knows House of Noelle. Read more>>

Eliana Roseberry | Artist, Custom Painted Furniture & Cabinets

I work on every piece of furniture as if it’s the most important, the most precious and the only piece I’ve ever painted To me if it’s not good enough to be in my home, it’s not good enough to go to yours. Read more>>

Jessica Badillo | Founder of De Luna oils/Herbalist

I believe the most important factor behind my success is having balance and surrounding myself with positivity. Just like in life there needs to be a balance for everything to run smoothly. It isn’t healthy to just work, work, work. It’s about personal health and well-being and taking time to enjoy the simple things in life. De Luna is all natural steam distilled essential oil products. All products are pure with no synthetic fragrance. I make everything myself from growing and steam distilling the herbs. It’s a long process but I love it and it’s definitely my passion. Read more>>

Amanda Hueneke | Curator of Custom Promotional and Marketing Items

We have been very blessed and humbled to experience great feedback around our young brand at Hello Imprint; and we’re most excited about the fact that our brand brings smiles to faces. At the root of why we do what we do, is that our goal is to make people feel valued and special by providing an experience that isn’t just about promotional products- our genuine drive is to curate creative hellos and experiences for our buyers that leave their recipients feeling valued in each and every encounter. I use a consultative approach when helping select and curate products for my buyers- I aim to present products that will match their goals but also leave the end recipients with the understanding that my clients took time, and put effort into selecting a gift and experience for them. Read more>>

Katie Phillips | Hair stylist & Small Business Owner

The most important factor behind my success is client satisfaction and retention. This has been one of the strongest areas of focus since I started my career and that focus is how I’ve managed to build such a large clientele and how I’ve attained success. Behind client satisfaction are three main factors that I believe have contributed to client retention: customer service, talent, and work ethic. Customer service is first because I have made that my highest priority. I make every effort to accommodate my clients and their schedules. They know that I will always do my best to get them in. Read more>>

Chavalia Dunlap-Mwamba | Perfumer & Owner

Personalization and being personable is definitely key for myself and business. People want to connect to an actual person, and that allows for brand connection. I like to interact with those who support my brand and are following the progress. I allow them into behind-the-scenes activity, take the time to explain the approach to my packaging and even answer inquiries regarding specific products. It allows for a true connection, which in turn equates to a better interest to sales conversion ratio. Read more>>