It takes a lot more than an idea to build a business, but there can’t be a business without the idea. So we asked folks who’ve built wonderful businesses to tell us about how they came up with the idea in the first place.

Jen Hitchings | Artist, Owner of Studio Associate, Career Services Director at CalArts

The idea for Studio Associate essentially started when I was in undergrad at SUNY Purchase – as broad as this sounds, I knew I wanted to bring together a network of prolific, dedicated artists to realize a common goal: to elevate everyone’s creative careers in an equitable, democratic manner. I’ve always been an organizer, volunteering to put on art and music shows in unconventional spaces. Building community is really at the core of this desire. After years of managing and co-directing contemporary and artist-run galleries in NY, I wanted to start my own venture non-exclusively representing artists who were making amazing work but were not yet represented. Read more>>

J. Morrison | Artist and creator

HOMOCATS were created in 2010 with a zine entitled “Fight the Power”. Bush had ended his presidency and Obama had recently become elected. It was also pre-gay marriage in the US and before the Affordable Care Act passed so there was a lot of activism from the past 8 years of a Republican administration. Being an avid cat lover and a political artist, the idea was to combine the popularity of the feline with using social commentary through a physical publication. Read more>>

Conrad DeMasi | Co-Founder, CEO

In college, I found myself cooking the same things over and over again. Anytime I would go to learn a new recipe online, I would find a) inauthentic recipes that b) never turned out like the picture and c) drove me crazy because I had to scroll through their entire life-story before getting to a recipe that was also filled with ads. Read more>>

Meaghan Gould | CEO + Founder of Meaghie Jane

Meaghie Jane was a high school nickname. It developed into an alter ego, and ultimately my own brand. The concept and idea of this business comes from a place that wants to shamelessly incorporate cannabis into the social/corporate scene. I’ve always had a connection to cannabis and want the world to see it through my lens. I am going to help remedy the outdated stigma through elegantly elevated experiences and trendsetting content. I’m reworking the “lazy stoner” stereotype and adding class to cannabis. Read more>>

Coach Uwem Ward | Founder and Lead Mindset Recovery Coach

Several years ago, I was like most people, and I assumed “recovery” was for drug addicts and alcoholics. I entered the recovery world because I was struggling to control my anger as my husband revealed his struggles with sexual integrity and pornography addiction. I was a stay at home mom and started to see my internal struggles seeping out in how I interacted with my children. So I heard that recovery groups could be a safe place to just talk. So I went. And God healed our marriage, his struggles and mine. But after stepping into leadership, Read more>>

Wyatt Chapman | Founder and CEO of VeraVia Health and Wellness

As the CEO and Founder of VeraVia Health and Wellness, I have learned to embody VeraVia’s comprehensive mind, body, and spirit approach to health. My work experience has taught me the importance of discovering the relationship among one’s internal elements (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual) and mastering them to achieve the highest self, allowing for true success and an optimal life experience. Read more>>

Maddy Doane | CEO of A sustainable clothing brand

I’ve always been environmentally driven. I found the idea of recycling clothes compelling; the fact that a complete stranger could discover a newfound love for a discarded piece of clothing. I wanted to take that idea one step further. What if I could curate an audience that loved shopping sustainably but also had an appreciation for exclusive fashion? I employed my determination and taught myself how to sew, and used my artistic vision to make designs that had never been thought of before. Read more>>