Small Business Profiles
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.”
Miami-based entrepreneur Vivian Machado is blowing by the competition with her popular performance modification services for Ford, Chevy and Dodge trucks.
Small business owners Todd and Michelle Trotter are cleaning up Milwaukee’s buildings—and in the process extending a helping hand to its people.
Small business owner Christin Evans is writing the next chapter for two historic bookstores.
David Arena is a small business owner who proves the road less traveled may sometimes be the road to success.
“I am not the most talented business owner out there, but I worked hard to get where I am,” said David.