Small Business Profiles
Plenty of entrepreneurs like to think of their business as one of a kind, but for Dr. Heather Nelson it might actually be true. Heather owns Heather Nelson Studio in Springfield, Mo. Heather’s unique musical training certainly qualifies her as a piano and vocal teacher, but she primarily works with those suffering from vocal injuries. While her typical clients range from novices to professional vocalists, Heather also provides vocal regimens and techniques to those who have damaged their vocal cords or been diagnosed with nodes or polyps to help them sing again.
Spills are an inevitable part of life for a mom with two toddlers, but Cara Brzezicki of Littleton, Colorado, needed a way to minimize messes after her sixth-month-old son’s favorite game became throwing his sippy cup on the floor.
After trying to no avail to find a product that would prevent her son’s cup from falling, Cara decided to take matters into her own hands. She bought a clamp from a hardware store, drilled a hole in it, attached a cord and hair tie, and the Sippie Clippie was born.
Kateri Gutierrez co-founded Collective Avenue Coffee in Lynwood in 2016 with big dreams of what the business could do for her community. As her business has grown, this commitment to community has become the foundation of Collective Avenue Coffee, from it business structure to its mission and even how its funded its growth.
Ink Link Marketing has a unique approach to boosting the health and wellness of its employees. This includes monthly programs like “fitness-fat Friday,” where staffers are encouraged to come to the office in workout gear, exercise together and reward themselves afterward by visiting a local cupcake shop.
Armed with a cosmetology license, two bachelor’s degrees and a love for organic hair care, Mariatu “Tu” Browne is on a mission to unlock the natural beauty of every client she encounters. She discovered her passion for hair at the early age of nine while braiding hair for her friends and family in her native home in Sierra Leone.
Elizabeth James has a soft spot for small businesses.
“I understand that the small businesses of this country are not only a place to work, but are the culmination of someone's dreams and aspirations,” she says. Elizabeth’s family owned businesses and she attended University of California’s School of Business, so starting her own company seemed like a no-brainer. After garnering a unique expertise in tax and controller services, Elizabeth decided to open up her own bookkeeping and tax prep firm, Rincon Controller and Tax Services, Inc., in 2012 in Carpinteria, Calif.
Elizabeth says, “I realized that small businesses need the services and guidance that are available to larger companies, but often beyond small business' pocket books. Tax and controller services in particular are typically exclusive corporations, and I wanted to change that.”
How did Stepheni Norton, a military veteran, go from active duty, to farmer, to successful entrepreneur over the course of just six years?
In February 2012, Stepheni and her husband Mike, who is also a military veteran, purchased the Wallace D. Dickinson homestead in National City, Calif. When they bought the property, Stepheni was preparing for a 10-month deployment, and after a seemingly harmless tick bite, she was unknowingly experiencing the early symptoms of Lyme disease. After being left untreated for two and a half years, Stepheni was finally diagnosed in 2014.
A few years ago, Rachel Bernier-Green was looking for an outlet from the stress of her intense job at a multinational accounting firm and discovered a passion for baking. It didn’t take long before friends and family were encouraging her to sell her baked goods to the masses. Rachel founded ‘Laine’s Bake Shop, LLC in 2013 using a shared kitchen space, working on the side to get her business off the ground. After a few years of baking part-time, Rachel decided to finally quit her job and start a bake shop full-time with her husband Jaryd.
If not for his love of music, Lloyd Smith wouldn’t have a successful business selling neuroscience research equipment.
Lloyd, who originally had an interest in engineering, dropped out of his undergrad program after just one semester to pursue a career in music. Fortuitously, however, his then-bandmate worked in a neuroscience lab, sparking Lloyd’s interest in brain research, motivating him to return to school for neuroscience and eventually helping him find his new career path.
Candace Combs is a spa owner on a mission, working to heal her customers and make massage more accessible to her community.
“What we do isn’t designed just to relax you, but to physically help you,” Candace said. “People need massage in their lives.”