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.

Cortney Smith | Chef & Owner

Gather is strongly rooted in supporting our community. In the start of my career as an entrepreneur a mentor game me this advice: “Whatever you do, however you can, always say yes to your community.” That meant whenever we can give our support with donations, volunteering and participating in community events we say “YES!!”. This has helped up build more than a traditional customer base. We have worked really hard building our community first and letting that help build our business. It’s really important to establish trust in our relationships and once we can do that the rest follows. Our base calls themselves the “Gather Family” and we really are one big crazy family. We’ve introduced people who have become best friends, co-workers, couples and more. Read more>>

Casey Ross | Co Owner, Senior Broom Pusher

Easy, these three things sum it up. It’s our partners, employees and consistency in product. I’m very fortunate to have some long time friends that we started this company with. Our employees have become family and that has been a huge part of our success. We couldn’t do something like this on our own and were just grateful to be on an incredible journey with an amazing team! We have a lot of pride in our spirits and a lot of respect for our people. Read more>>

Jason Friday | Co-Founder & CMO

By far the most important factor in our success is sustainability which admittedly has become a bit of a buzzword these days. However, its benefits are undeniable, especially for startups like ourselves. While most companies are referring only to environmental sustainability, we believe environmental sustainability when combined with sustainable business practices are the most pivotal factors in short and long-term success that any business can adopt. What do I mean by that? We believe that when something is sustainable in business, it means that your requirements for existence continue to be at a level which you can meet over time. Too often, businesses fail within the first five years because they grow too fast, hire too many people, or take on too much debt. Their requirements for existence get too large, they can’t handle it, and they cease to exist. That’s why from the start, my business partner, Sam and I put every decision, every tiny purchase under the metaphorical microscope. Read more>>

Erin Rist | Owner & Lead Designer

People crave being in community with other people. This craving for “community” can be with family and friends but is also with humanity as whole. How good does it feel to rock out to an epic concert in community with thousands of other fans? How fulfilling is it to experience live theatre in community with hundreds of other art lovers? How soul-feeding is it to fund a non profit’s mission at a fundraiser event with a room full of other community do-gooders? Gather Event Marketing’s mission is to bring people together in community to build powerful brands. How a person experiences your brand and how the community of your brand makes them feel makes all of the difference. It is because of this intention behind our marketing campaigns and events that we are successful. Read more>>

Lindsay Miner | Therapist/Counselor, MA, LPCC

Two things are different about the way I do therapy: 1. I am relatable/normal to talk to and 2. I don’t see anxiety as “mental illness.” I don’t think it’s a “pathology” that anyone should be ashamed of. In fact, it’s a wonderfully communicative tool. I’ll explain further. 1. I am relatable/normal: a lot of clients arrive to their first session and feel frustrated by past experiences with therapists, where they felt like they couldn’t relate to the provider. I’ve heard clients say past therapists have used a “therapist-y voice” that makes the client feel like they’re not talking to a real human that understands them. I’ve heard clients say they’ve been in appointments where the therapist doesn’t seem like they’re listening (!), it’s like they “zone out”. I’ve heard clients say they’ve been in appointments where the therapist doesn’t respond to ANYTHING, and instead they just stare at the client in silence. Read more>>

Cristi Bundukamara | Founder of Mentally STRONG

Even though I have 20 years of professional mental health experience and I am a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, I attribute my success to my real life experiences. Life is filled with joy and pain, in varying degrees for different people. I have had my share of both and recognize that people are immensely resilient. My story began when my husband and I, after having two children, wanted to give back and adopted five children from the foster care system in Miami Dade County, Florida. Tragedy struck when one of our children died in a drowning accident. We weren’t able to fully grieve before finding out that our biological son, Reggie, had a rare neurodegenerative terminal condition, which we later found out that my husband and daughter also have it. While dealing with this news, I juggled my professional career, endless hospital appointments, and numerous therapy programs. Meanwhile, the adopted siblings began manifesting their deep seated pain and suffering of their past. Read more>>

Vince Coleman | Leatherworker and Owner

The most important factor behind our business’ success is the unwavering customer support, followed closely by our quality of products. We want each and every guest to experience the absolute best customer service that we can provide. Weather it be communication on an order, bespoke/couture items, or even how to care for their new purchase, we want to ensure that they are absolutely stoked on their purchase. Secondly would be our quality of leather goods. We use American Bison leather exclusively. It’s 30-40% greater in strength than cowhide. Combined with our double saddle stitch done by hand, we provide unparalleled quality of leather products. Also, ALL of our hand stitched items are backed with a lifetime guarantee on the stitching. In the 6 years we have been crafting leather accessories, we have yet to have a single item returned for repair or replacement. Read more>>

Nolan Bouchillon | Professional Organizer

In one word: connection. I like to connect with my clients on a personal basis as my job as a professional organizer is extremely invasive. People let me into their homes and often feel a lot of shame and guilt either for their consumption, lack of organization, or fear that they are failing because their home life seems chaotic. With a background in nursing, I find it extremely important to connect with my clients on a deeper level and understand what their “big picture” life looks and feels like. Are they a mom of four and constantly prioritizing little people’s needs over their own? Are they an extremely successful attorney who spends most of their time in the office? Or are they just so overwhelmed that they need someone to create a to-do list for them so they can feel in control again? My job isn’t just about organizing a space, it’s about human connection, understanding my client’s needs and goals, and helping them feel more in control within their four walls. Read more>>

Amber Harman | Feelin a Little Philly Owner

The most important factor in my success is definitely my staff. I have the most amazing managers and team members. They all work so hard and truly care about growing the business. I took over Phillys after my aunt retired in 2019. It was one of the scariest times. If I failed, I ruin everything she built. There was(is) alot of pressure. And I was pregnant at the time, knowing I’d be taking maternity leave half way through the year was also really nerve wracking. My entire staff rallied around me, and got through the summer without me so I could be home with both of my kids. And they even managed to increase sales! Then I returned and a couple months later Covid happened. And still my crew stuck it out during those really, really difficult times with me. I am just so fortunate to have each and every one of them. To not have to worry about staffing issues and to know I can trust them and they have my back is the biggest blessing ever. I’d be nowhere without them. Read more>>

Alazie | Hip-Hop Rap Artist

The most important factor behind my success so far is the fact that I have a strong support system. I have people in my family that go to every show to show love and support. I also have friends and fans that do the same. I am going to do my best regardless of who is in my corner. Read more>>

Sara Studzinski | Cosmetic Tattoo Artist

Definitely a strong will to keep going through the good and the bad. When I make up my mind that I’m going to do something, nothing can really get in my way. Part of that may have to do with an anxious perfectionism, which is actually something I struggle to find balance with in my life, but I think the majority of it is blind optimism and telling myself it’s meant to work out. I like to think the Law of Attraction was in play when I started my path to becoming a small business owner. Read more>>

Colin Ferro | Director Of Operations

At Epic Experience the most important factor behind our success is the people we care for. We are a small non profit based out of Colorado but our impact is by showing up and being there for the adult cancer community. Our mission is to empower adult cancer survivors and thrivers beyond cancer. Our pinnacle program is bringing adult cancer thrivers to a week long adventure camp in which people can feel empowered physically and emotionally beyond a cancer diagnosis. I quickly learned our impact and how we achieve that starts much earlier. Show up, we just need to show up because for many they do not have the support at home in which they can have someone that they can talk to and share their cancer story. We are a family run non profit that does not want anyone to feel they have to go through cancer alone. Our compassion and caring of that is our biggest success. Read more>>