Starting a business is a commitment and requires dedication, resources and sacrifice. We asked some of the rising stars in our community how they thought through the idea of starting their own businesses.

Micky Meyer | Show Me Reptiles

I just really wanted to see change in my industry. I wanted to bring something better to my community. Read more>>

Barbie Ritzman | Beauty Brand Expert | Marketer | Influencer | Editor

Your Resource For All Things BEAUTYful I’ve always had a passion for beauty, especially skincare and aesthetics. The business initially started with a beauty blog as a way to relieve stress from my nearly two-decade career as a marketing director. Read more>>

Alysa Jackson | Owner of Organizing by AJ

During the pandemic, I chose to switch jobs once, which led to getting fired. This was the first time I had been fired from a job, and was at my lowest of lows. After being fired, I decided to do what made me happy and no longer work for big companies or others. I wanted to impact people in their daily life in a more personal way. Read more>>

Mary Ponting | Baker/Owner

I started my bakery in May 2020. Everything was shutting down due to COVID and I thought it would be a good time to start delivering my baked goods so people could still have treats at an uncertain time. Read more>>

Abby Herman | Baker and business owner

I worked in bakeries and restaurants for many years. My work ethic has always been very strong and my desire to do things well is a big part of my personality. I thought with my energy and motivation, I could be more flexible with my time and my product if I started my own baking business. It was a good time for the switch since I started having a family. With my commercial kitchen attached to my home, I was able to work and be with my 3 children. Read more>>

Pete Mizeres | Multi-Business Owner

As a college educated Industrial Engineer working in the manufacturing industry in the 1990’s and early 2000’s I observed a couple things: Read more>>

Cary Morin | Nationally and internationally touring musician

I began playing music in public when I was about 14 years old. It took me many years to figure out that as a musician, I am also a business. I did all of my own show bookings, public relations, etc. for a very long time and then started my own agency, booking other artists as well. Eventually, I was taken on by a larger agency out of Minneapolis and was able to tour my band on a much broader scale. Read more>>

Brittney Hippensteel | Owner & Creative Director

I wanted to start my own business for a few different reasons, but the main catalyst was an unfulfilling job at the time. I’ve always been a creative person. I’m was and still am a full time graphic designer and was working a job in a dark office that was paying the bills but wasn’t giving me the creative outlet I needed. Read more>>

Christopher Johnson | Personal Chef

I had spent several years working in fine dining, including independent restaurants and hotels, and had unintentionally put myself on a track to work on my own. As I knew that I wanted to work for myself, I decided to gain even more experience in Michelin starred kitchens in New York and Chicago to fine tune my skills and to learn more about hospitality. Read more>>

Kris Roufa founder | designer | Founder | Designer At Home With Ray

I have been a designer for all of my career, and have had a boutique agency since 1998. I started as a textile designer in the sports industry, and had been wanting to get back to textiles and surface pattern design. When COVID hit, I lost a handful of my best accounts which presented me with an opportunity to refocus myself. I’ve always toed the line between sports and fashion and feel that they are not mutually exclusive. Read more>>

Pau Martin | Atrevete Owner & Founder

Early 2021, I was working at a farm, and decided to make myself a pair of overalls to work in. I had been looking for something to wear that would reflect my personality, and I wanted to find a pair of loud, yellow overalls. There was a snowy week in which we couldn’t work, and a friend of mine who was a seamstress happened to be visiting me in Colorado. Read more>>

Alex Jackson | Owner, Designer, Sewist, & Dyer

When starting h clothing co, I had one simple question in mind. How do I create and sell the most environmentally and socially friendly clothing possible? From that question came many decisions that many clothing companies would never consider. Read more>>

Seneca Kristjonsdottir | Founding Editor of The Thalweg

To be honest, we have never thought of The Thalweg as starting a business. Dory had just left a career job in book publishing, and I wanted to make a collaborative zine to share the creative work of people who work and live in wild landscapes. Read more>>

Alyssa Pinsker | Influencer/Publicist

I was a schoolteacher for over a decade. I love the pastoral part of teaching, inspiring others, and I love working with young people and especially helping young women. I currently still mentor many college interns. Later I became a writer because after living in Japan as a teacher in the JET Program I would share my stories from Tokyo and people remarked that it gave them joy and transported them there. Read more>>

Wassi Reed | Musician & Artist

My thought process behind starting my own business was strictly win win win. I mean I was literally looking in any direction to be better than any other competition and constantly looking forways to make my brand stand out from others. I never doubt it myself I always believed I could do it. Read more>>

Sean Hannah | Movement Coach and Joint Rehabilitation Specialist

As a career fitness professional, I’ve long known something was deeply flawed about how fitness is promoted in our culture. It’s mainly pushed as an aesthetic pursuit, a way to “look good.” This isn’t just shallow, it’s counterproductive. It turns lots of people off to fitness, especially if they aren’t particularly concerned with their looks. When that doesn’t work, fitness is promoted as healthy, which it certainly is. But there’s a problem there too – if people REALLY cared about their health…we’d all be in shape. The statistics are pretty clear on this one – health just doesn’t motivate people, at least not until it’s almost too late. Read more>>

Caylee Rush | Family Photographe

I had always loved photographing natural landscapes and animals. I thought of it only as a hobby, something that inspired me to explore our world. I had my son in 2017 and I was not able to create for a few years. Having a new baby is very consuming, and honestly they become all you really care to look at for a while! Read more>>

Bryan Bull | Photographer

Although while having a successful career in animal law enforcement, it was having an overall negative impact on myself. I wanted to have a career that was fulfilling but not causing me mental turmoil. After losing my dog, who was my everything, found photography. It was a grounding and meditative release. Read more>>

Camille Shoemaker | Chef & Owner, Lady in the Wild

I’ve been in the food industry for over a decade, its all I know. I knew I wanted to be a pastry chef from the 5th grade and I pursued that dream when I went to Johnson and Wales University in Denver to pursue my B.A. in Baking and Pastry Arts and Food Service Management. I really never looked back from there and knew I wanted to soak up as much as I could from the industry in hopes of having my own business one day…Read more>>

 Sara Griffin, MS, RDN, CNSC | Nutrition Support Dietitian & Educator

I moved to Denver for a dietetic internship. I was re-entering the dietetics world after almost two years working in and managing restaurants. I was very nervous about the clinical aspect of my internship. I had to spend at least 8 weeks in a hospital, caring for patients. I was terrified. I certainly did not excel in this portion of my internship, but I learned many valuable lessons. Read more>>

Shannon Konyndyk | Bookstore Owner and Founder

It really was my husband that pushed me to look into leasing options for a bookstore. I have always wanted to own a bookstore since I was very small, and never thought it would really happen. One day in April I was contemplating life and my, then, current job and wistfully wishing I could open a shop and that is when my husband encouraged me to look into this business idea seriously. Read more>>

Tony Aug | Co-Founder and CEO

Generally speaking, we take an entrepreneurial approach to everything. Whether that’s creating companies or companies inside of companies or pitching corporates to hire us, the bias is to solving hard problems through the creation of something new. Read more>>

Paul Lukes | Creative Director/Principal

We are a husband-wife duo and it just made sense with writing and design being two things that so naturally fit together. We both have a shared passion in music as well, specifically hip hop and so having an outlet where we could offer our skills to other creatives was just something that made perfect sense. Read more>>

Noelle Scolieri, M.S. CCC-SLP | Speech-Language Pathologist specializing in Pediatrics and Teletherapy & Mentor

My goal in starting ANSLP2B was to document my journey throughout graduate school as a future Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP), and now being an SLP and having gone through the process, to share information and tips for future SLPs and current graduate students. Each time I create a product or content for my social media pages, I usually have one thing in mind: what do I wish someone had told me when I was in their shoes? My page is full of all the resources that I wish I had as an SLP to be. My desire is to encourage, inspire and support current graduate students during their journey. Read more>>

Jon and Aften Turner | Owners of Woods2Table

The short answer is – we didn’t set out to start a business. I’m sure we’ve all heard the expression, “do something that you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” That expression always felt like a cliche to us. We both worked day jobs and were quite accustomed to the 9 to 5 corporate life. In our free time, we escaped to the outdoors at every opportunity. On nights and weekends, you’d find us in the woods or on the water. Whether it crawls, walks, runs, Read more>>

Lorna Schlegel | Herbalist/ tea specialist

I’m a firm believer that we’re only here for a short while, and we may as well make the very most of it while we still can. I really fully immerse myself in anything and everything that suits my fancy. Needless to say, I wanted to create a business that the sole purpose and goal was to help heal the body to its natural state through herbs. I truly believe that herbal medicine helps the body return to its natural balance. Read more>>

Greg Query | Campground Owner and Outdoor Lover

I’ve been in my family’s business since I was 23 years old. Over time, I eventually became President, CEO and majority stockholder of the family business running it in a moral and ethical manner for 33 years. However, the family business (insurance) wasn’t what I wanted to do in my life, but it did provide a good living for my family. My true passion was to go into Forestry and Wildlife Management. Back in the early 80’s jobs in this field were in short supply. So I reluctantly changed my major from Forestry to Business. Read more>>

Jason Kane | Entrepreneur & Financial Services Associate

I was at a music event back in July of 2021 and when looking at the event details I noticed the clear bag policy the venue was implementing. They were requiring all clear bags however they made an exception for hydration packs since there was none readily available at the time. I didn’t think anything of it at the moment and went on to enjoy the event with my standard hydration pack in tow. Read more>>

Kayla King | Nutrition Coach & CEO of MyMeal

My goal was always to get a corporate job out of college and work my way up the chain. That’s what my mom did thus that’s what I felt I needed to do. Read more>>

Phantomstone | Versatile Metal band from Colorado

We have all been muscicians for a long time, so doing what we love comes rather naturally. Read more>>

Megan Marino & Michael Mayes | Musicians (primarily opera singers)

Between us, we have been coming to Creede for about 20 years. Michael’s parents had retired there, and we would often spend the holidays with them, as well as off time in between opera gigs. Read more>>

Alex Pozhar | IT entrepreneur

It’s a brave and a hard thing to do It takes a long time But it’s worth it Read more>> 

Adam Frank, PhD | Student-Centered Educator, School Principal, Author, Speaker, Consultant, Change Facilitator

Currently, I am principal at Palmer Ridge High School in Monument, Colorado and have no intention of leaving public education. However, after publishing my first book with Teachers College Press out of Columbia University, I’ve begun to provide speaking, professional development, and consulting services to school districts, teams, and conferences. I started a 2-minute leadership podcast called EdExpression, which I post on my Twitter account at @DrAdamFrank and @EdExpression and on LinkedIn. Read more>>

Mick Daniel | Executive Director at SLV GO!

San Luis Valley Great Outdoors (SLV GO!) is a 501c3 Nonprofit Corporation operating down here in the San Luis Valley. I had been engaged with the community work that helped form the Master plan in 2013, but my wife had an opportunity in Oregon that we couldn’t pass up. I took the risk of moving up without a job and though it has worked out really well for my wife I could just never find the the position that I was really invested in. Read more>>

Edward Tyndall | Filmmaker, Writer and Academic

I started making documentaries films when I was twenty six, and it was very difficult trying to figure out how to monetize my passion. Ultimately I realized that working as a creative in a university system was an amazing way to make films on my terms while still making a living. Read more>>