Deciding to start a business is an unusual decision. It’s often considered irrational and yet for many it’s the best decision they’ve ever made. So we asked folks to think back to when they were starting their businesses and to tell us about their decision making process.

Kiona & Chris Wagner | Owners

We were both employed at the same company for a number of years and enjoyed the work that we did, but unfortunately, job security became a concern and we wanted to be proactive instead of reactive. During that time, Chris decided to start a small garden in our backyard. Unbeknownst to us, we soon found ourselves waking up early to garden before work and rushing home to harvest before bed. Before we knew it, we were growing more food than our little family could consume, so we started bundling up carrots, celery and kale with nice notes and giving them away to neighbors and co-workers. The process of growing food from a tiny seed brought us so much enjoyment that we soon started thinking of ways to grow food on a larger scale. Our original plan was to stay in South Florida and simply find a nice couple of acres to start our vegetable farm while continuing to work full-time. Long story short, the price for a single acre was beyond our budget and after searching for two years for the right property without success, we decided to rethink the “look” of our ideal location. Read more>>

Amanda Gonzalez | Healthcare Marketing Consultant

I didn’t expect that I would start my own business at this stage in my career, but the COVID crisis presented the opportunity and I decided to go for it. I believe it’s important to move while others stand still. Read more>>

Sunaina Misra | Founder

I didn’t study art or art history. Therefore, when I started working in the industry, I never had a definitive role. I had the opportunity to work in multiple departments / teams duirng my time at art driven startups. This gave me the opportunity to work on communications, artist on boarding and understand how difficult it is for every single artist to stand out. Later, I worked as the manager of a privately owned contemporary art museum, where my interation with artists, collectors and professionals from the art world increased. Artiste Culture is an outcome of all my learnings from the last eight years spent in multiple art disciples, demographics and engagements with artists from across the world. I wanted to create a project that not only helps collectors but equally focusses on helping artists in achieving their goals. We tailor the strategy for every artist because I strongly believe that every artist has a distinct path and a beuaitul story that deserves the right resources and infrastructure. My vision is make sure that the story of each artist I work with is narrated the beautifully to the collectors and enthusiasts. Read more>>

Sisther Pravia | Bruja & Tarot Reader

I work very hard! And for others, my 9-5 was my life. So I knew if I use all that same energy on my own creative venture I can be successful too. Read more>>

Barbara Gobbi | Marketing & Branding Strategist

I was sitting in a cubicle, working in corporate America, bored out of my mind. I knew there was so much more that I could be doing to help other business owners besides just the one that I was working for. I believe that when you have a talent or a skill that it’s your duty to share it with others to make the world a better place. Even if you’re only changing one life. But I wasn’t changing lives at my 9-5 corporate job. It was 2011 and the peak of the recession. I was watching more and more small businesses closing their doors. And so I set off to start my own marketing consulting agency to help them keep their doors open. Read more>>

Lawrence Phillips | Founder & CEO

My thought process behind starting my business was to be able to address two pain points that I experienced while traveling around the world to 30+ countries and all 7 continents (including Antarctica) back in 2015. They were two pain points that are still very relevant today. They don’t just apply to me but other black travelers as well. First, as a black traveler, I was nervous going to certain countries because I was not sure how locals in a destination would treat me based on the color of my skin. There were no resources that I could find that would tell me how racism was in a particular county and how people would respond to my blackness. Secondly, it took an absorbent amount of time to research each destination. Because I was traveling to so many countries back to back, this pain point became clear. I constantly had to use multiple websites to figure out what to do, where to eat, where to party etc. There was no platform that could provide a consolidated overview of a city. Read more>>

Jamie Jo Johnson | Foundress

Opening my own business was something the just felt right to my soul. I spent a lot of years working for other people and had also owned and operated several small businesses. Through those experiences, I learned valuable lessons and discovered that I am most happy, and most successful, when I am the one at the helm. I knew that a movement studio would allow me to call on many of the skills I had developed in previous roles. It is a business model that I was very familiar with and an industry I felt capable of navigating. Additionally, having worked for several years in human rights and the non-profit arena, it was also very important to me that my offering be of benefit to my community and serve needs that were not already being met. This is why the studio houses a non-profit under its umbrella, with the mission of bringing yoga and movement to underserved communities. Beyond being free to make my own choices about the direction of my offerings, I also wanted to be the architect of how I spent my time on a daily basis. Read more>>