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.

Ellie Montazeri | Founder, Balthazar & Rose LLC

The most important factor behind the success of this social enterprise (dare I say spiritual enterprise)/mission/brand has been feeling that it is strongly Guided….and then trying to Listen and Surrender to the Guidance. My background is in the non-profit world and I only began this journey of balthazar & rose in my mid-40’s, right after having had my second child, Balthazar. Those are not the best odds considering how much time, energy and focus starting a small business takes. Still, the gentle, progressive Guidance towards the mission was irrefutable: incredible coincidences, Guidance in both meditation and dreams, and a deep level of knowing. Read more>>

Keisha Tarver | Publisher & Editor-In-Chief

I would say my ability to see things as they could be, and not as they are has contributed the most to my success. I’ve had to overcome a lot of challenges and obstacles along the way. If I would’ve taken everything at face value, I would’ve have given up on my dreams, and possibly myself. Read more>>

Kimberly Maevers | Certified Professional Pet Sitter (CPPS) and Critter Loving Capitalist

Extraordinary service. People fail to recognize the level of risk associated with hiring a pet-sitter to come into their home and care for their pets. I encourage my prospective clients to ask LOTS of questions when they begin the hiring process. I encourage them to ask for professional credential, proof of a business license, insurance and bond…and to ask what the “back up plan” is if for some reason the person they hired is unable to perform the pet care tasks they were hired for. Once a client recognizes the difference between a hobby-pet enthusiast and a Professional Pet-Sitter I want them to be at peace with the decision to hire me. I text or email updates after every pet care visit and I leave detailed, written checklists and narratives of each visit as well. We care for a lot of special-needs pets, so it’s vital that my clients understand the experience we had with the pets and if there were any health concerns or issues. Read more>>

Jose Waikit Feng Ng | Film Director

Love, I believe it has been all the love I have experienced in my life during my time being raised in Venezuela, my time visiting my family in China, and finally the time I have spent after I moved to Los Angeles California to pursue my dream of a storyteller. I have to thank all of those people who I have met for years and including for just a couple of minutes. Ever since I was a little kid I would ask too many questions and absorb all the information I can, this helped me to understand the other person better. Ever since I aim to receive love from those people I have met. Then I use that to create a story of the human beings who are trying to live and understand their intention. Read more>>

Shirley Oved | Kids Fashion Brand + a Lifestyle Boutique Owner

An important factor to owning a business is to be persistent. In the past three and a half years, I’ve experienced many highs and many lows, but I always thought about the final destination and didn’t allow obstacles to stop me. Read more>>

Daniel Capellaro | Songwriter/Producer

As a full-time songwriter and producer I am constantly working with talented people who bring a different skillset to the work. It’s acknowledging their skills and how they work with mine that ultimately create the best results in the songs we create. I have been able to form and be a part of various projects and groups that include producers who work in genres like, Pop and Rock but also cross them over with producers who work more in the trailer and composer world. The most important aspects of building a song is the team in which you created that song. It’s also knowing and/or planning for what the release of that song will include and who and how that marketing will best be handled. Read more>>

Nicki Ung | Cookie Artist

The two most important factor behind my cookie business is my family and my customers. I started this business because of my kids. I’ve learned so much about my customers and their stories. Some say it’s just cookies… I say, it’s a story about the person/family that ordered the cookies. I love doing Favorite Things (12 cookies for 12 of their favorite things). For one customer, I made cookies to look like all their favorite modern art pieces. The success of my business? I guess success is pretty subjective. I am certainly not making millions, but I thoroughly enjoy what I do and this is my creative outlet. I tell stories – through cookies. Read more>>

Becca Battoe | Creative & Entrepreneur

The most important factor behind my success, across the board, is my creativity and determination. My drive was born in me – to work like a maniac to achieve my dreams has always been a given. Sometimes, we have to pivot. Sometimes, we have to bend. Sometimes, we even break. But, it’s making the pivot, how you bend, and picking up the pieces when you break… then, having the creativity and determination to put yourself back together and try again. It’s so important to believe in yourself, in your vision, and to never stop moving forward, no matter what obstacles may come your way, or what wrenches are thrown into your gears. Read more>>

Racquel Honore | Jewelry Designer and Vintage Collector

The most important factor behind my success is I combine my talents and represent my brand authentically. I am not only a vintage collector and curator, I’m a jewelry designer and a stylist. I merge these talents together to create my own unique style and brand. This really resonates with people end it helps that I am very involved in the branch actually make friends with a lot of my customers. I’m a real brand a real designer. Read more>>

K. Broch | Writer & Marketing Manager

I’ve managed to keep many friends from my “past life,” as I like to call it. By that I mean, people who knew me growing up in West Michigan. While I didn’t feel comfortable enough to fully be myself at all times in that environment, I’m constantly told I’m the same girl they knew back then. People are drawn to authenticity, and I’m someone who is unapologetically myself (for the good or bad). Whether it’s in the way I talk, present myself, tell stories, or make people feel, it’s never boring. Only Child Syndrome was created with the purpose of breaking down stereotypes of spoiled, doted on Onlies in the media. My intention has always been to show a darker side of what it really means to grow up alone. I’ve found a way to weaponize my sarcastic dark humor as a means of survival, and if that’s compelling to people or relatable, great. Read more>>

Dr. Erin Cueto | Pharmacist

As a small independent pharmacy we are in a very competitive market against large chain pharmacies and mail order. However we continually succeed and thrive because we offer an experience and level of care that can’t be replicated on a large scale. We embraced our small patient base and strive to give them our best everyday, and in return we enjoy immense loyalty. Customers recognize the value in our service both in their pocketbook and in their physical health. Our entire staff genuinely care for our patients like family, and we pride ourselves on the level of healthcare we provide. Once someone experiences our pharmacy, they can never go back to a chain. Read more>>

Anastasia Hunter | REALTOR®

The most important factor behind the success of my brand is that I am willing to allow my authentic self to be seen and I am extremely transparent. People feel like they know me and believe in me, so they trust me. Good branding shares three core elements – it’s emotional, it’s memorable, and it’s trustworthy. I find that people are attracted to me because they sense warmth and I am approachable. And I mean that in a non-real estate sense. I am a natural storyteller, and I love to share my clients journey to homeownership – if they allow me to :-). Others then see themselves in my clients shoes and it gets them excited about their own journey. In a real estate transaction, I know much of my clients personal information. It’s like a short-term marriage perhaps. I find that we are usually very similar so we end up sharing life stories and by the end of the sale my clients literally become friends and family. Read more>>

Bruce Sargeant and Steve Maylish N/A | Medical Device Development

Our reputation is the most important factor behind our success. Since we’ve been in the business for decades, clients know us and trust us to do right by them. It is also a relationship business and your reputation travels by word of mouth in a small industry, such as medical devices. We started our business five years ago, but were doing this type of work for some time. Since both my partner and I know the industry and have worked in it for so long, people are willing to recommend Fusion Biotec for medical device engineering projects. In addition, we have a core competence in designing diagnostic instruments, which became very important when the pandemic emerged. Read more>>

Dave White | Retail sales of Rollerskates and Skateboards

As a child i rollerskated and the rollerskate is the mother of the skateboard. I worked in the skateroom when i was a little older and learned all about fixing the skates. Repairing wheels, mounting plates grinding wheels replacing bearings, and had a knack for mechanical repairs. I entered competition skating as a young adult and won my local region skating Freestyle and placed 5th in the USA in 1970. Got married in 1970 and started working full time for the city in the same year. I placed 8th in the USA in a higher division in 1971 and skated in the highest caliber Senior men in my last 2 years of competition and turned pro in 74. When you turn pro in rollerskating you start teaching others how to skate and i did the group lessons on Saturday Morning for the beginning, intermediate, and advanced, as well as taught private lessons weekdays from 4 to 7pm and was assistant manager 4 nights a week and Saturday and Sunday matinees. My daughter was born in 1975. Read more>>

Alessandro Varotto | DR.AV SKINCARE FOUNDER

I think that the most important factors behind the success of DRAV Skincare are the quality of the ingredients we use to manufacture our products and the transparency of our practices. We work directly with small farmers from all over the world. Farmers who share our same values, and more specifically they share a passion for quality and sustainability. I think that savvy consumers are increasingly looking for real transparency from brands, and I believe that they appreciate our authenticity. Read more>>

Zina Gleason | Family Law Mediator-Attorney

Honesty and integrity are the most important factors behind my success and the success of my companies, Redefining Divorce and the ZBG Academy. Read more>>

Paulina Aguirre | Paulina Aguirre/ Latin Grammy Singer Songwriter Entrepreneur

I would say caring genuinely about other people makes a big difference. Besides being an artist I run a small boutique music label and a publishing company “Mucho Fruto Music Inc, with Pablo Aguirre. The knowledge and education in music business has helped me to work and learn about music rights, digital marketing and other tools to benefit our work
and the work of other songwriters and composers. Many people think we musicians do not know anything about contracts or money, and in many cases they are right about it, education gave me the tools to negotiate what is fair , Also I mix my efforts with Mujer de Fe foundation and organization for women. I started writing for women and Mujer de Fe a song became an anthem to women in many countries of Latin America. Many women wrote me sharing their experiences of domestic abuse and I felt it was time to work for the others as a social cause , we are in the middle of defining our resource center to be able to serve to as many as possible. Read more>>

Carolyn Bridget Kennedy | Award-Winning Actor & Filmmaker

My “unkillability” and relentlessness. Also, my willingness to say “yes” to new challenges, new roles, and new learning experiences. Read more>>

Taylor Lindsey | Gardener, Urban Farmer, Entrepunuer, Philanthropist

The important factor of my success relies heavily upon two realizations: 1. I am already successful and have been for year being that i have not succum to systems of oppression and 2. that I am not my brand; meaning that many of my endeavors are 100% f.u.b.u. (for us by, us.) When one thing ends, another thing emerges. Community keeps me together. Read more>>

Matan Koplin-Green | Artist / Songwriter / Producer

The people I work with. I’m incredibly grateful to have a supportive management team, label, and bandmate. Surrounding yourself with great people makes everything easy, and makes the whole process much more fun!. Read more>>

Ted Dorsey | Test Prep Tutor & Author

All success in business begins with the passion of the founder. The person who wants to start a chiropractic business believes in body alignment. The dog groomer loves dogs and likes taking care of them. Me? I love education. I love helping people become smarter by increasing their knowledge, problem-solving ability, and confidence. When you have that underlying passion, you’ll do your work with more energy and thoughtfulness. When you do your work that way, you will end up with happy clients. When you have happy clients, you will have a successful brand and business!. Read more>>

Jasna Barisic | Visual Artist

Art is my inner need, natural and essential. It is the most important factor that has influenced my career, I am true to myself and despite all inevitable difficulties, I never give up and I treat myself and my work honestly. Another important factor is travelling as an endless source of my inspiration and experience. At numerous international exhibitions during my career, I have met various artists with whom I was studying and building myself, and that has made me a truly happy person. Continuous work, research and the authenticity of my work are also very important to my career. Read more>>

Nosizwe Moleah | Pastry Chef

Connection. I’ve learned growing up that connecting with others and being present with love is the best way to build genuine relationships (aka a business). Everyone wants to be seen, paid attention to and respected. If you can master this, you can be very successful in life. Asking someone how they’re doing can go a long way. I always want to make sure when dealing with a client to give them my full attention. This way trust is built, I can fully understand their request and come back with a beautiful product for them. It’s all about connection. Read more>>

Casey Wojtalewicz | Co-Founder & CEO, Canyon Coffee

To the extent that I am responsible for the success of Canyon — for our success is truly a team effort with multiple, complementary skillsets — I credit three virtues I’ve held prominent for the last decade: patience, persistence and perseverance. Together, these three P’s define a mindset and approach I find as critical to my success today as when we started Canyon Coffee in 2016, my success as a musician before that, and as a community organizer before that. Patience, because I believe the quickest way for a business to fail is to grow too fast, and because the universe operates on its own timeline. Persistence, which invokes an amount of grit, because you’ll need it in the face of the myriad failures, let-downs, setbacks and “No thank you’s” you encounter along the way. Perseverance, which is a constant reminder to stay focused, remember your goals, and carry a sense of optimism at the vision of achieving success. Read more>>

Casey Wojtalewicz | Co-Founder & CEO, Canyon Coffee

To the extent that I am responsible for the success of Canyon — for our success is truly a team effort with multiple, complementary skillsets — I credit three virtues I’ve held prominent for the last decade: patience, persistence and perseverance. Together, these three P’s define a mindset and approach I find as critical to my success today as when we started Canyon Coffee in 2016, my success as a musician before that, and as a community organizer before that. Patience, because I believe the quickest way for a business to fail is to grow too fast, and because the universe operates on its own timeline. Persistence, which invokes an amount of grit, because you’ll need it in the face of the myriad failures, let-downs, setbacks and “No thank you’s” you encounter along the way. Perseverance, which is a constant reminder to stay focused, remember your goals, and carry a sense of optimism at the vision of achieving success. Read more>>

Cassidy Murphy | Co-Founder of Good Boy Records & Artist Manager

Besides the obvious working hard and believing in my abilities, the most important factor behind my success is the support of my friends. Though Good Boy functions as a record label, it feels so much bigger than that. We have so many talented friends surrounding us and helping out with all the intricate details of what goes into an artist project. The collective couldn’t function without every hand on deck. I think the group of us recognizes that our own success equates to everyone’s success and with that we are all so willing to work hard for one another. Read more>>

FEARLESS | Christian Hip Hop Artist

The most important factor behind the success of my brand is God. He’s the one who’s given me the name FEARLESS. Because He saw in me, the courage that I didn’t see within myself, to carry out His. mission. He’s also given me the health, the strength, the abilities, the gifts, the talents, the ideas, and most important, the compassion to reach the masses through my music ministry. Without Him, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do as an artist. And my brand wouldn’t be as successful as it is today. Read more>>

Emily Elkin | Cellist

I think the most important thing for me throughout my career has been to simply not give up. I’ve heard many “no’s” and had many gigs fall through that I was sure were set in stone….and in times like that it can be so easy to think that that’s the end, or that maybe it was time to pivot career wise… But 100% of the time those low points have led to the biggest jobs/opportunities of my career. It is so important to have faith in your abilities and believe in your skill….because if you do others will as well. Read more>>

Justine Osilla | Enology Student & Upcoming Filipina Winemaker

I started my short format blog HEYJAYROSÉ on Instagram with a very clear mission. I wanted to create a space where I can make wine more approachable, share my journey in becoming the first Filipina winemaker, and show the not so glamorous lifestyle of winemaking. Most importantly, I wanted to inspire the youth, women, and people of color to take up space in this industry. Staying true to this mission is what made me successful. Read more>>

Monique Lawton | Healthy Chocolatier

My customers and the social media community I interact with, are my number 1 priority. As long as I make every decision from a place of how I can serve and serve better, we are all winners. I believe that a loyal following comes from the putting the very best quality products out there, with the very best ingredients and doing so with the attitude of “how can I serve these people to the utmost best of my abilities”. Read more>>

Sarah Keyser | Pop/Rock Artist & Songwriter

I think the most important factor behind my success is balance and transparency. As a musician I often forget to take time to focus on other activities that don’t involve practicing or songwriting. Finding balance between different aspects of my life is challenging at times, but I’ve found that working on my mental and physical health has also helped me grow in my own creative space. Being a songwriter impacts how we as writers connect with the world and the people around us. We want to be able to share our own experiences with people through music. This involves self reflection and growth on a personal level. I believe that writing songs about my own struggles with mental health has and will continue to be a key part of my success. I hope to keep pursuing this journey of self reflection by being transparent in my songwriting. Read more>>

Rachel Autumn | Founder of Pause Play Wellness

Choosing to trust and bet on myself is by far the most important factor behind the success of my brand. In the process of developing Pause Play Wellness, I really had to lean into my intuition and faith in God and myself. I truly felt organically led to this idea but I was totally unsure about how to execute it in the beginning. We were in the thick of a pandemic, my income had been compromised, and I was healing from an injury. If I had not been doing the work to cultivate trust in myself and tune into my inner compass, I would have completely missed the signs, the vision, and the call to action. I was able to see it through because of this trust that I cannot fail. That no matter what, this opportunity would bring forth a lesson, a blessing, or both. And that it did. I have learned so much in this process and feel immensely guided, protected, and blessed. I am thankful to being doing this work especially in a time as transformational as now. Read more>>

Gabrielle & Shanna Meit & Sciara | 27 Travels

We feel that one of the reasons that our brand is so successful is that we are extremely passionate about what we do! We love creating using imagery and videography, and we feel like it’s so important for ourselves, as well as other people in the LGBTQ + to be out in the world representing! We always feel that if your passionate about what you do, success will follow!. Read more>>

Amber Boyd | Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

The most important factor behind my success is AUTHENTICITY! I noticed that as I sauntered through other spaces within the therapy field, there was a lot of code-switching that I had to do in order to protect myself and to appear professional based on other people’s standards. When I realized that I was the most authentic version of myself when I was with my clients, being vulnerable and supporting them to have space to also be vulnerable, I knew that I did not want to walk the line of one foot in and one foot out. Going into private practice, as I have conversations with folx about mental health, and move about the world, I am very much myself in all of those spaces and thus far, I have been successful and it feels good to not only do it but to support my clients in healing through their own authenticity (hence the name of my practice Healing Through Authenticity). Read more>>

Michelle Padilla | Radio Podcaster/ Advocator

The most important factor behind the success of my brand is the name. why I started the my brand. The name The Awareness Show is about different causes and events . When I named the Show The Awareness show I got diagnosed with a rare disease called 22q11 its like Dow Syndrome. No new about this rare disease so I wanted people to be more aware of the disease/syndrome. Read more>>


James Hernandez Alcoholic in Recovery Trying To.Positively Impact Lives

I haven’t quit. My entire life I have always up and quit once the going got tough or I faced any sort of adversity. It is often mentioned that you will hear “No” 1000 times more than “yes” when you start a new business. I have found this so true and that it is often a test. A test of your drive and will.
If you truly believe in what you are doing and the purpose behind it, you will not allow a couple “No’s” to stop you, and eventually some of those people will come back asking for a chance back in. Read more>>

Miles Soboroff | Co-Founder of Zab’s Datil Pepper Hot Sauce

MS: The most important factor behind our early success is the Datil Pepper. Our business is built around this rare pepper with unique history, heat and flavor. Not to say the rest of the work hasn’t also been critical to give us a chance at success, but the most important thing for us has been finding something that actually adds value and enjoyment to peoples’ lives, even in a very small way. This pepper is a local legend in St. Augustine, Florida, but largely unknown elsewhere, so we just wanted to share something that made us happy and made our meals better. PM: I think we also as a group of three founders all work great together as a team. Everyone knows their role and areas of expertise and it’s really lead to great team cohesion. Read more>>


The most important factor behind my success was not to compare yourself to others, be you and keep positive even through tough challenges come your way. It was important to show my values, dignity, and self discipline as a woman to portray that in the brand. We wanted our community to feel strongly accepted and valued, and most importantly finding their confidence and love in beauty once again. I believe in being true to yourself. That’s the most beautiful beauty you will have that will empower others to accept ones self. Read more>>