We asked some of the city’s hidden gems to tell us about what they feel is the most important factor behind their success.

Brandee Hommerding | Certified Nutrition Therapy Practitioner

There are two things that I find to be important to success – Find other entrepreneurs to collaborate with and continue to learn and grow. The first thing that I find to be important to success is collaborating with other entrepreneurs. Having other entrepreneurs to bounce ideas off of as well as refer to has been surprisingly very important! Entrepreneur life can feel very isolating and require long hours to get things up and running. Collaborating with others that are in the same business space can create not only accountability but also a connection to troubleshoot and brainstorm. I find it equally important to collaborate with others that offer something different than you but that could benefit your network and clientele as well. It can give everyone the opportunity to expand their network, increase brand awareness, and serve others. Read more>>

Heather Montross-Cowan | Co-owner & Operator at Defiance Rafting Company

As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, giving back has always been what motivates me to stretch myself beyond what I thought was possible. That’s why we have built our mission at Defiance Rafting Company around being and doing good. I want our brand to be more than pushing red rafts down the Colorado River (although it’s pretty awesome to be floating through Glenwood Canyon on a warm summer day). What fuels me is to be able to develop our GiveBack program, build new partnerships, and engage our community. Our brand is about creating memories on and off the river and giving every opportunity to expand our River Family. We do this by working towards increasing recreational river access to individuals of all abilities by adaptive programing and by giving back though in-kind donations to organizations that align with our mission as well as with those who are committed to preserving the natural environment from which our livelihood depends. The success of our brand is beyond me and includes the team who I work with everyday by bringing enthusiasm and energy to the outdoor industry. Read more>>

Josiah Trujillo | Independent Recording Artist

I believe that the most important factor behind my brand is never giving up and adapting to the challenges that life brings. Especially last year after being sent home from tour after the pandemic pretty much shut down everything. Although shows are still not really a thing, I have done a few live stream events since then and have been working on hard on getting my home studio where it needs to be so I can put out as much new music as possible. I also believe that another huge important factor behind success is being good to the people that truly support you. Whether its wearing merch, streaming my music, or coming to shows, I always do my best to make them feel as included as much as I can. Read more>>

Mandy Straight | Soulful Interior Designer, Speaker, Neuroplasticity Coach

I attribute the success of my business to making my business about the client, not about myself. To me, the fascinating part of my work is that each job is unique to the people who live in the space. I’m not designing their house for me, I’m looking through their eyes to create the place they come home to where they create moments and memories, The goal is to remind them who they are, what they love in life and how beautiful each moment is – even amid the chaos of the everyday. Any choices I make with my clients are to support that focus. I’m always asking, “How do you want to feel when you walk in the door? What do you want this room to help you do more of? No client is one thing, like modern or traditional, each of us is a rich combination of elements – a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll and probably a good handful of other elements too. I’m not trying to make some design statement for my own vision, my focus is to create homes that remind each client who they are – and who they want to become. Read more>>

Stephanie Thornton Plymale | Chief Executive Director

When I was working as an interior designer, I had a very client-centric brand. My mission was to create spaces that my clients were proud of and excited to come home to. I also differentiated my brand by designing spaces in an affordable way, to ensure a beautiful home could be accessible to everyone. Because I grew up homeless, creating accessible and affordable design is especially important to me! When I purchased Heritage School of Interior Design, I incorporated these same values into the rebranding of the school. The vision of Heritage School of Interior Design is to empower the creativity of aspiring designers with an affordable, quality, hands-on education to achieve personal growth and professional success in the interior design industry. It was essential for me to provide an education that is accessible to anyone interested in design, in a realistic timeframe. Read more>>

Jonah Wisneski | Professional Musician, Singer/Songwriter, Producer, & Musical Director

I think there are several factors that contribute to success in anything, but I think the most important factor in my own success has been embracing the various setbacks and challenges, learning from it, and trying again. Each challenge is its own opportunity for success. Building experience through trial and error has allowed me to analyze my work. find ways to improve it, and learn new skills so I can grow as a musician and be prepared for a variety of situations, all while making me more versatile in my ability. While it may be difficult at times, it’s that experience and approach that keeps me moving forward. I’m not sure you can get there any other way to be honest. You have to enjoy the “hard work” part of it and use it as a tool for finding success in your efforts. Read more>>

Birdie | Massage Therapist, Energy worker & Doula

The most important factor behind the success of my business is the relationships that are built. The clientele I serve lets me into the most intimate and personal parts of their lives. This goes beyond a business relationship. Trust is a must in my practice. I don’t have a business where I serve someone one time and send them along the way but it is a continued relationship and a process we go through together. The better the relationship the better the outcome. I truly care for everyone I come in contact with and want the most benevolent outcome for them. Read more>>

Lindsey Leite | Executive Chef, Cooking Instructor, Wife, Mom and Friend,

It means failing once, twice, multiple times but always getting up, dusting yourself off and keeping on, keeping on. I live my life by mentally placing myself in a position of success and then just working at it until the mental picture lines up with reality. I always tell my kids, when you give up, you’ve guaranteed you won’t  ucceed.Also, never adopt a victim mentality. You are the boss of you as a dear friend likes to say.Personal responsibility is exactly that, personal.Own your successes and equally own your failures. View them as the opportunity to grow, develop character and improve. An opportunity like that is a gift. Take it. Read more>>

Norris Golberg | Dr. Norris Golberg / Upper Cervical Chiropractor and Wellness Advisor

One word. Relationships. I would not have been able to start my practice from scratch but keep it thriving through COVID, less than 2 years into business without relationships. Now that the community is moving in the right direction with COVID our practice is seeing some major growth, and again I attribute this to relationships I’ve made and continue to make in the community. Our community knows, likes, and trusts me, and that’s something I really cheris. Read more>>

Jamie Lee | Found of The Denver Housewife

My Family. Without my family, my blog probably wouldn’t exist. While I do most of the work my family plays a big role in my blog and without them I wouldn’t have the successful blog that I have today. They are supportive when I need to work, they help behind the scenes with taste testing and various other tasks, and they’re always up for any adventure I present to them. Especially the adventures that take us to a new restaurant or somewhere fun a local play place or amusement park. Read more>>

Kristy Redmon | Pharmacist & Founder of Windy Hill Hemp

At Windy Hill Hemp, our success is owed to our unwillingness to compromise on the quality of our products and our steadfast belief in our brand. Our commitment to excellence has translated into a very loyal customer base and for that, we’re truly grateful. Read more>>

Sonya Roberts | Furniture Upcycling & Refinishing

The most important factor that I find to have enabled the success of my personal brand is becoming a “specialist” in everything that I do. I research and find ways to learn and grow. For both my furniture upcycling hobby and my full time career, I am not afraid of trial and error. I take an agile approach to everything that I do and learn fast to get the best results. I also like to showcase my work even if I am not totally confident about it because feedback is key regardless if I agree with it or not. I love being open to other opinions because at the end of the day, the work that I do will end up somewhere between my own vision and what my audience likes to see. More specifically around my upcycling furniture gig, you will see that I love to expose natural wood grains in my pieces. So with the paint colors I choose along with glimpses of nature, this tends to be my style. Read more>>

Anne Genson | Founder & Executive Director of Sproutin’ Up, Middle School Educator

As a small, local non=profit, the most important factor behind our success is community and relationships. Especially as a non-profit, you have to build a network of supporters who show up to help whenever they can. Sproutin’ Up is only successful because of our volunteers and we take this seriously. Volunteers help with SO much from gardening (planting, prepping, weeding, harvesting) to helping with fundraisers to spreading the word about our programs throughout the community. Not only do we have individuals who volunteer their time to make us successful, we also have so many local businesses who come alongside us to support our efforts. In fact, this year we’re launching a really cool flower delivery program which enlists local businesses to purchase a flower share. With their purchase, we donate a flower share to a local nursing home. This program will teach the youth enrolled in it how to grow, harvest, and style flowers as well as the benefits of philanthropy. Read more>>

Timothy Nimmo | Sculptor

As an artist, I think much of my success has to do with my loathing of the term “branding”. I am not tooth paste, fabric softener, a luxury sedan. My art is me, an extension of my self. “Branding” implies packaging, an attractive facade, and things which are a bit mercenary and calculated. It also implies an attempt to be all things to all people. This is directly at odds with an attempt to discover ones self, achieve clarity of mind, and connect on a personal level with one who views my art. I recall as a young art student standing in the Chicago Art Institute looking at an ancient bust. Oddly, I cannot recall the work but the experience stands out most vividly. I began to question some things about the piece- “Why did he swirl this line about in this fashion?” As I asked the piece spoke to me in only the language fellow artists understand. It would answer back, “See how that arc comes back up this way, and enhances the smile in the eyes? This was someone who had a wry sense of humor… so notice I also did this with forms about the forehead…” This continued for quite some time. Read more>>

Alexandria Nicole | General Contractor & Property Manager

The most important factor in my husband and I’s business is that we serve our community with courtesy, respect and integrity. Read more>>