Ideas aren’t everything, execution matters greatly, but starting often requires an idea and so we asked folks to think back and tell us the story of how they came up with the idea for their businesses. We’ve highlighted some of our favorite stories below.

Jessica Valant | Physical therapist, Pilates teacher, founder of Momentum Fest

I have been a physical therapist and Pilates teacher for 20 years and noticed a while ago that our industry had no place for gathering where we could simply move together and celebrate. I wanted a festival atmosphere where we could have movement classes and shopping and joy and community and dancing and fun! So my husband and I founded Momentum Fest in 2018. It is held annually in Denver and brings together students and teachers from all different movement backgrounds for an amazing event where ANYONE is welcome!. Read more>>

Sarah Villafranco, MD | Founder + CEO, Osmia

I took a class making soap at a local ranch, and it flipped a switch in my brain. The blend of chemistry and art was fascinating, and the simplicity of the process made me think about all the ingredients we use on our skin every day. After practicing emergency medicine for a decade, I’d seen countless cases of eczema, dermatitis, and other, unexplained rashes. The more research I did, the more I realized how much certain ingredients might be contributing to our skin and health issues, not to mention the environmental impact of those ingredients. After a couple more years of research and product development, I launched Osmia with the intention to help people use healthier ingredients in their daily lives—with much more joy, and much less impact on the planet. Read more>>

Alison Rothman MA CYT | Body-Centered Holistic Coach and Retreat/Group Facilitator

My business was born after decades of personal study, professional training, life’s unfolding with a massive amount of trauma and drama and my eventual landing as a full-time single mom. When I was in my early 20s I found myself in a residential, holistic treatment center for eating disorder recovery. I was already a yoga practitioner and grew up as a dancer so I had a relationship to my body, yet a very dysfunctional one. My stint in this treatment center was the impetus for a lifetime of exploration in the realm of holistic wellness. I learned quickly after unexpectedly becoming a single mother when my son was only a year old, that I needed to put my practices into action in my everyday life. I knew that I needed to explore how to live an embodied life while in the trenches of motherhood, working, grad school, and the day-to-day realities of running a household. There was not a “go on retreat and learn” this was a nitty gritty, in the moment crash course and I hopped on board. Read more>>

Melissa Schroeder | Wedding & Portrait Photographer

Growing up, one of my favorite memories was pulling the photo albums down and looking through them with my sister. We would look back on my parents’ wedding day, family gatherings, birthday parties, and other family memories. We loved listening to the stories surrounding those photos and I’m pretty sure there’s even a picture of us looking at the albums somewhere! It made me realize just how important photos are to freeze a moment in time and truly tell a story. I wanted to be able to do just that for people – provide a memory to treasure for generations and tell a story with my work. I’m so grateful that it’s my job to provide those memories for my clients!. Read more>>

Jamal Skinner | Executive Director of the Cultural Enrichment Center of Fort Collins

Growing up, I reaped the benefits of a Black community center, the Lettig House, that provided daily after school programming. When Black people are together, there can be healing and the fragmented parts of ourselves that have been repressed can begin to be put back in proper context and place. After George Floyd was murdered in May of 2020, it confirmed the great need to create a Black safe space for our young people in Fort Collins. The Cultural Enrichment Center is a place we can start the journey of redefining ourselves and support one another in embracing who we are. Our young people need time and space to peel back the multilayers of our own identity by being in communion with other Black bodies. Read more>>

Madeleine Greeson | Jewelry Designer

Let’s be honest here–I have always been a bit of a weirdo. I was the kid who scoured libraries and book shops for historical Viking text and got my hands on as many ‘Olde World Magic’ books as humanly possible. I used to research Egyptology, the Renaissance, and colonial America to try and absorb as much of our {human} history as possible. I’ve had an addiction to the past and how it is preserved since a very young age. I guess you could say I thought I belonged with the artists, philosophers, and makers of centuries past and not with current society and their obsession with the internet, screens, and scrolling. In addition to my craving for knowledge, I was equally obsessed with fossils and gemstones. Growing up in Oklahoma and Texas I was surrounded by huge, forested areas and sprawling nature preserves full of interesting specimens waiting to be unearthed. Read more>>

Mia Gorrell | Storyteller & Photographer

I came up with this idea, Tangles of a Mother, several years ago when I had three little ones. I was inspired by Humans of New York, and I thought it would be so wonderful to create a space where mothers could share their stories and experiences with one another. There isn’t currently a space for that, and I wanted mothers to be seen and heard. I really wanted to dive deep and talk about the hard things so we could come together as a community and not feel so alone. Read more>>

Cori McCallister | Educator + Founder of Meliorist Co.

Meliorist Co. started with a conversation I had with my students over a Zoom call when the pandemic hit. We had just hit this beautiful, magical stride in our class where students were giving input into the class in terms of what assignments looked like, what we were learning, how we were doing so, etc. During our call one student asked me, “Hey Mac do you think this (COVID) is going to change education?” and without a doubt I said yes. A follow up question by another student was, “What if we were able to get in front of it because you should teach teachers.” Another voice chimed in and said, “You are the most human teacher I have ever had and I only want to go through this weird time with you, because I feel safe.” And that is when Meliorist Co. took off!. Read more>>

Amelia Macy | Dove Whisperer & Student

I have raised poultry for over a decade now and a few years ago, I began to brainstorm about how to actually turn my passion into a functioning business while serving the community around me. Angel Releases was born from this desire to marry a hobby, entrepreneurship, and service, everything that excites me rolled into one endeavor. Today, I continue to enjoy every aspect of Angel Releases, from raising my doves to flying them for others. Truly, the best part of managing a business is being able to fulfil these passions about every day. Read more>>

Cassie aka ‘Sassie’ Constanzo | Owner

I started photography in college as a side hustle doing the typical senior portraits for local families but it did not go great for me. Portrait photography requires so many different elements to take into consideration for that perfect picture. You are trying to create a perfect moment in time for your client. You want your subject to feel comfortable enough to be vulnerable and authentic while posed in an attractive (most of the time uncomfortable) manner, the light to be even and warm, all while calculating the optimal camera settings to capture that moment just right. While some people do this all naturally so well, I was not one. You could visibly see how uncomfortable all my clients were in my pictures. They were confused, half talking, posed awkwardly – but the lighting was perfect! Even though my camera settings made a “good image” by theory, it wasn’t pretty to look at. So when they didn’t like they way they looked, they didn’t like my pictures which meant they didn’t like my art. So I stopped. For probably 10 years. Read more>>

Karolina Villagrana | Karolina- Educator

I would like to reframe this question as to how I came up for idea of supporting my community. With the pandemic, a lot had shifted really fast, especially schools. In the spring of 2020, we saw all learning move virtual. This impacted our communities on resources that we depend on and access to simply learn. As our Southwest community was especially impacted per the pandemic, our youth needed alternative programming and resources as schools were previously meeting this need. As an educator, I also recognized how vital early education influences the trajectory of our students’ academic success and the need to socialize with their peers. Thus, there were two goals I was trying to accomplish during the early onset of the pandemic: 1) Ensuring our students were still able to engage with learning live 2) Be able to interact with their peers, while staying safe. Thus, this led to “Books in the Park, Libros en en El Parque.” Our Southwest community is rich in language, so I wanted to make sure we honor this by being inclusive of our bilingual kids. Read more>>

Marcus Robinson | Cyclist and BBQ Pitmaster

Our decision was truly unconventional. Most entrepenuaers seem to have had that “ah ha” moment of discovery or innovation but mine was born out of pain. When George Floyd was murdered and the nation and the world began to protest not just George but all injustice for the Black, Indigenous and People of Color(BIPOC) globally and ths is where my path began. As a long time cyclist who had a bike before I bought my first car after college, cycling and then racing came fairly easy for me. I didn’t win every time but I had a blast it was my escape, it was. vehicle that could take me anywhere, discovering new things and places I’ve never seen, it was freedom. Read more>>