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.

William Bender | Bicycle Frame Builder

My motivation for starting Bender Bicycle Co. was for the challenge of building a business from the ground up, and creating something that will not only provide a paycheck, but creative fulfillment. ​​With a background in design, and a life long propensity to make and tinker, I started Bender Bicycle Co. with the goal to create functional, purposeful, and beautiful bikes. Read more>>

Michelle Bingham | Designer & Maker

I started my business after the birth of my son. I wanted to keep doing design work and nurture my creative side while also helping my family financially, and being available to my son when he was little. Working from home has allowed me freedom and flexibility to take care of my family and to work when I have the time. As a teen I worked at a Hallmark store for years and had always enjoyed making cards, so I decided I would return to that medium. My dislike of mushy cards and my wonderful humor inspired the honest and to the point wording on most of my creations. Read more>>

Nicole Clements | Northern Colorado Relocation Specialist and Realtor.

The idea came to me when my family and I moved to Colorado in 2014. The housing market was so competitive and I was searching for furnished month-to-month rentals that we could live in temporarily while shopping for our home. I couldn’t find any homes like this anywhere, so I created Colorado Furnished Rentals to help provide for current relocation clients, exactly what we really needed when we moved here. Read more>>

Kathrin Woetzlmayr | Woodworker

What is better than doing what you love, get paid for it and be your own boss? I’ve always loved to craft, I knitted, crochet, sew, then I started to sell my handmade jewelry in LA for a little while and refurbish and resell furniture.
That’s when I found out I like working with wood a lot. It was fun to fix up and re-paint or stain cool furniture pieces but I also wanted to make my own ideas. Read more>>

Kelli Jones | founder

I live in a mountain town and I never understood why people would put cheap tape on their expensive jackets. You see so many people walking around town with scotch tape, duct tape, and I just thought there had to be something more beautiful on the market to add flair or repair our synthetic gear. I researched online and couldn’t find anything beautiful, so I designed Noso Patches in my craft room. I googled adhesives, and messed around with 100’s of combo’s until I came up with the best adhesive patch on the market made specifically for synthetic gear, made of nylon, polyester, and other synthetic materials. Read more>>

Jon Bross | Bass Player & Media Director

We saw a niche that needed to be filled in Southern Colorado. We live in a community rich with meeting & event venues, unprecedented economic growth and increasing tourism. In 2003, we felt the arts, entertainment and specifically bluegrass music were underserved in Southern Colorado. We began a bluegrass ensemble that simply caters to the needs or our clients. Whether it be riding a snowcat with our instruments to a high-mountain ski lodge or curating a show for a specific audience; we created a sustainable band that creates memorable experiences for guests and repeat business for a variety of partners serving Colorado’s hospitality & tourism industries. Read more>>

Micah Reed | Content Creator | Fitness Enthusiast

I always knew how to stay fit even before instagram and before I decided to try and build an image but I didn’t have a reason initially so I just started trying to build clout for the most part. After some time went by, I realized that some people actually make a living creating content. I always had a passion for creating art and making people feel a certain way about my content, so i decided how to monetize it, aka, monetize myself as my own brand. If people wanted to pay to see me create my art and also learn how to develop themselves and get in shape, i figured I would find a way to monetize it. Read more>>

Kim and Kyle Spurlock | Speech-Language Pathologists

We started Out & Out because we felt boxed in by our previous work environment and couldn’t provide speech and language services fully in the way we wanted. We are both big picture thinkers and often knew how we wanted to support the individuals we were working with but had to stick to a prescribed service delivery model. We also found that people often had a very stereotyped idea about what we could provide. We wanted to buck the trend and support people in a way that they wanted and needed but ultimately weren’t getting because of our society’s narrow idea of what speech-language pathologists can provide. Read more>>

Kate Hakala | Dentist and store owner

A main reason that I wanted to start Park Hill Treasures is my passion for repurposing and keeping wonderful items from going into landfills. My business partner, Suzi Chierchie and I realized we have a shared love of “sourcing “ vintage items but it is difficult to find retail booth space for selling in the Denver Metro Area. At first we joked about starting our own store, but it was an idea that wouldn’t go away. Read more>>

Brendan Beale | Wedding & Nature Photographer

My photography business began as a side hustle, simply because people were asking for it. People saw my images in social media, and either wanted to purchase prints or hire me for photoshoots. So I got into the business almost by accident. But once I started doing it, I realized I loved it, and had the potential to do it full time. About a year later, I decided to take the leap and am now doing photography full time. Read more>>

Karina Palmer | Photographer

I wasn’t necessarily looking to start a business at the time, I was a stay at home mom who just loved doing photography. After exclusively shooting for my family and friends, they started recommending me to their family and friends and after that I just started booking sessions more consistently. And bam here we are! Read more>>

Marisa Weyeneth | Artist & Mom

The business side of things came a bit by accident! I started making artwork for people because I have always had a passion for art, and truly enjoy creating things. Friends and family started showing interest in purchasing my pieces, and I was inspired and excited by that. Having just had our second child, I was loving motherhood, but also craving some me time. Creating pieces for people filled that void and also provided some extra spending money. Read more>>

Gina Vandewater | Model, Makeup Artist, & CEO – High Class Creatives

Throughout the duration of my modeling career, I always found interest within the creative community. I attended fashion shows, photoshoots, events, and more, meeting numerous individuals who were talented within their own arts and careers. I saw agencies for models, maybe a platform or two for both models and photographers, but never a substantial functioning company for all like minded creatives. I knew there needed to be something new to bring to the table in the Denver community, and so began the construction of how I could make a beneficial difference. Read more>>

Baylee Chapo | Influencer Marketing Maven

I wanted to improve the way people used and viewed influencer marketing. I thought it needed to be more aligning, and less promotional. Does this brand even align with this influencer, or is it just to get some publicity off of the influencers social media pages? I began to rethink how pairings were made, and how products were talked about by influencers. How could I help brands utilize influencer marketing, while allowing creators to maintain total honesty? Read more>>

Becky Clabaugh | Life Coach & Book Yourself Solid®? Licensed Pro

Covid triggered my thought process to start my own business. I have an invisible health challenge called Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (lim-FAN-je-o-LI-o-MI-o-ma-TO-sis). It is a rare lung disease that usually strikes women during the prime of their lives. By the grace of God, I manage just fine compared to many women who have this disease. The thought of dealing with an uncertain pandemic attacking my respiratory system felt like a cattle prod striking my nervous system. Every time I thought about it or heard something about it I would get triggered emotionally and it felt hopeless. So, I decided to do something productive with my circumstance instead. Read more>>

Ivy Rios | Event Designer

There was never an actual plan for a business to come out of what I do. I started decorating as a hobby, it was my stress-relief. My passion for wood work started at a young age. My father is a carpenter and I grew up learning as he created beautiful masterpieces. This woke my passion for creativity and designing unique pieces. As I got older, I got busier with nursing school, but would still try to take the time to learn from my dad. Read more>>

Sarah Cochran | Artist, Etsy Shop Owner, and Custom Branding Designer

When I started my business (which at the time was an Etsy shop with a totally different name and items I don’t even offer anymore), it started the way I think a lot of small businesses start: at the dining room table with a computer open and the idea, “hey, I can make _____, why don’t I try to sell it?” (for me, it was art). So truth be told, I didn’t have much of a thought process when I started. It was spur of the moment, a teenager with an impulse, and a leap. Not a leap of faith, because I wasn’t risking anything then and honestly I had no idea if I would even continue, but a leap nevertheless. Fast forward six years, Read more>>

Virginia Rodriguez | Licensed Manicurist

I’ve always had an Entrepreneur spirit. So I always knew I would be owning my business. I like to have a balance in home life and working life. So with knowing this about myself I knew I would have the advantage of being able to do so if I were disciplined enough to make it happen on my own. Read more>>

Cassandra Sutton | Portrait Photographer

I realized at a young age you have two choices. You can build up someone else’s dream or you can build your own. I decided I had too many creative ideas flowing through my brain that I could not let go to waste. Another inspiration about having my own business is the ability to be in control. If I’m in control I know I can make whatever I want happen for myself. The best part about that is no one can ever take that away from me, it’s mine. I have always had an interest in photography ever since I was in elementary school. I remember I bought a hot pink digital camera in the 4th grade and I took photos of any and everything. Read more>>

Selena Rodriguez | Lifestyle and Portrait Photographer

I have always loved photography whether it was landscape, animals, or people. Back in 2018 I found out I was pregnant with my now 3-year-old son. I have always enjoyed having my picture taken, and I decided to get my maternity photos done. The session was very stiff and very posed and even awkward at times. One of the poses was very “prom like” and it just didn’t feel natural to me. When I received my gallery, I was disappointed with the photos and how they turned out. Being such a special time in someone’s life, I wanted to have these memories forever to look back on. Read more>>

Nick Sheridan | Construction Project Manager and Entrepreneur

So back when I was about 12 or 13 I started my own small landscaping company. As part of my weekly chores I would cut the lawn and tidy up mulch beds, trim trees etc (my parents ran a tight ship). As time went on and neighbors continued to drive by, occasionally they would stop and ask if I was interested in cutting their lawn or laying down mulch. Fast forward a few years and I turned the operation into a small business that had 25+ weekly lawns in addition to other paid landscaping gigs. I was even able to hire a few friends! It wasn’t till much later that I realized how much I enjoyed being an entrepreneur. Read more>>

RosaLara| Lara | Art Bakery

I think that like everything in life I need a process, I start working in the pastry from the most basic, this branch is something complex and takes time and a lot of effort to manage it, I have been since 1999 developing and trying to learn and improve day by day, I think that from the first time I decorate a cake I felt excited to continue in this branch, why I fall in love with pastry! Read more>>

Taylor Hillberry | Owner/Graphic Designer

52native began as an idea over the 2020 quarantine in my spare bedroom. We wanted our local restaurants and business to be able to offer great merch from a local vendor with no minimum purchase required in order to ease the strain of closures and limited capacities. Since then we have moved into a store front in Erie where we offer on site embroidery, printing, and graphic design services.\ Read more>>

Roger Hernandez | Commercial Real Estate Broker

In 2019 I was let go from the company that I had helped build over 10 years. I was faced with a new reality, which was, what do I do next? For me the realization that I had helped so many companies be successful and had nothing to show for it was very eye opening. I then started on a journey which helped me realize that no company really valued what I did for them. Once I realized that, starting my own business and making my own future was the next best step for me and my family. Read more>>