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Hidden Gems: Local Businesses & Creatives You Should Know

Every day we have a choice. We can support an up and coming podcaster, try a new family-run restaurant, join a boutique gym started by a local fitness champ or we could keep giving away our money to the handful of giants who already control so much of our commerce. Our daily decisions impact the kind world we live in; if we want a world where small businesses are growing and artists and creatives are thriving then we should support them with our time, money and attention. We’re proud to highlight inspiring creatives and entrepreneurs each week in Hidden Gems series. Check out some of our latest local gem features below.

Jade Caldwell

Credit restoration and education became a passion of mine back in 2019. A friend of mine approached me about starting a business helping people fix their credit. At first, I was skeptical because I had never run a business before let alone help anyone fix their credit. At the time my credit was pretty mediocre as well LOL! Ironically, I was interested in a job with a federal agency and was turned down because I didn’t meet the credit qualification. At that moment I knew that I would never let credit be the reason I would be denied for anything! I hired a large company to help me resolve my credit issues and there was no success. So, I decided to try doing it on my own, I was able to delete the inaccuracies that were plaguing my credit profile. It was at this point I knew I was ready. The feeling of having good credit again was such a high for me, I knew that I wanted others to have this feeling as well. So, I started working on close friends and family, once they were getting consistent results I started posting on social media. Read more>>

Anthony Ware

Firstly, thank you for inviting me to be part of the Voyage Magazine platform. My interest in Magical Entertainment was sparked while serving in the United States Army. A magician came to the military base to entertain the troops, and that experience captured my imagination. I was completely enthrall with what I was seeing on stage. After my tour of duty and Honorable discharge, I discovered the Yogi Magic Shop in downtown Baltimore on Charles St. I enthusiastically enrolled for some magic lessons and from that moment on, magic has been a part of my life and passion for more than twenty-five years. This passion actually started as a hobby for me. I would hang out at the magic shop on weekends. Attend lectures of world-class magicians, purchase their books and CDs. Read more>>

Shequeta Smith

I’m originally from Salisbury, North Carolina. My entertainment career began in college at NC State University, where I was a college representative for Def Jam/Roc-A-Fella records. During college, I began screenwriting as a hobby, and two years after graduating college moved to Los Angeles to pursue it professionally. After moving to Los Angeles, I spent several years perfecting my craft with writing classes, participating in writing programs, and shooting short films – while working in corporate America. My big break came in 2019 when I was selected into Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s screenwriting incubator “Imagine Impact.” During that program, I wrote a big four-quadrant screenplay, “Taking The Throne,” in just eight weeks. Read more>>

Teshia Bailey-Norman

I originally entered the food industry only preparing salads and hosting meal prep for families. When the pandemic hit, I had to adjust, so I transitioned to being a private chef! That may have been the best decision I ever made. Since making the change I’ve started a food truck, and traveled all over to prepare meals for different clients. Read more>>

Parys Wyatt

I officially started my photography in January of 2020. Before then, I had never really had a creative hobby that was visually oriented. I had been in love with clothes for a while, but I never considered my interest a possible career path. I went into my freshman year of college (2015) as an International Studies and French double-major with a minor in Arabic. You could not have told 2015 Parys that she wouldn’t be translating for the UN by 25. However, about 2 years and a few failed courses later, International Studies gets dropped. French remained constant, but the minor got switched around a few times. At one point I was an Art History minor, and some of those courses really cracked my world right open. Granted, I still failed some of them, but they were still interesting! Read more>>

Latoya Stewart

This Goes Out to You LLC was founded in 2019 however, it took us some time to find our center focus to wrap our services around. We initially started out holding community-based events the encouraged holistic wellness through teachings of breathwork, meditation, mindfulness, self-care, affirmations, and grounding techniques. We connected with community vendors to sell their products at the events to further promote self-care and the importance of prioritizing self. We then began to support agencies with their attempts to encourage their employees and client base through affirmations/ guided meditation while striving to be their highest self and the application of acknowledging where they are in the process of their grief and loss while identifying as a woman who has loss her mother while connecting with other woman who have similar experiences. Read more>>

Monica Indigo Sunni-Jones

It is always difficult for me to figure out where to begin the tapestry of life events and subsequent stories. But in a sincere effort to do so here goes: I graduated from high school in Binghamton, NY in 2005 with IB and AP credentials and then from Howard University in 2012 with a B.A. in Mass Communications/Print Online Journalism and minor in Psychology. My son, Josiah was 1.5 years of age at the time I graduated. As a single mother, the pressure to become self-sufficient was intensified. I held various work positions, was laid off for the first time from a nonprofit early childhood care facility, and gained experience enough to know that I may need to start considering alternative routes to secure my financial stability and peace of mind as a mother and a human being. Read more>>

Kayla Wilford

In 10th grade, the year 2020, out of nowhere, I came up with the idea of wanting to create an earring business. I wanted to handmade earrings. I told my mother and friends about it and they told me to do it. Here in Baltimore City, we have a program called YouthWork where youth from 14-21 can get summer jobs. Since we were virtual, we just had job coaches and not actual bosses. My job coach’s name was Brian. Brian told us to think of a business idea that has a meaning. I thought that was my moment to create the earring business. My initial idea was to create earrings and have enough attention to reach cancer centers so I can give the patients my earrings to wear. I believed that them wearing my earrings was going to brighten their mood and their life. So, once I got my first check, I went to Micheals the craft store and bought beads, storage for the beads, wire, and tools to make the earrings. Read more>>

Shontice Moore

Our venture started during the COVID pandemic. One of our friends suggested that we do a podcast where we discuss topics that impact marriages. Our goal is to provide positive examples of marriage, especially in the African American community since there is an underrepresentation of these images in everyday life. We wanted to dispel the idea that African Americans do not get married or have healthy, strong marriages. Read more>>

Denzel Mooney

I, Denzel Mooney, now more commonly known as Hollywood Moon am born and raised in Baltimore County. I grew up with a passion for sports and music, with a family who promoted higher education and achievement. I gravitated to basketball as I grew up watching my mom and uncles play the game and developed a decent game playing on programs all over the city. I started off playing at the legendary Bentalou Basketball program in the city under coach Herman (RIP), and that program along with a bunch of other notable teams and coaches groomed me to have a decent career at Western Tech before getting recruited in a summer AAU tournament thanks to coach Richard Epps, who was the head coach at Owings Mills HS at the time. I went on to play at Lincoln University (PA) where I would become a 2x All-CIAA player and score over 1300 points in 4 years from 2008-2012. Read more>>

Sharra Greene

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been a creative in some way. My family was very intentional about allowing me to explore as many extracurricular activities as possible. I tried the whole pageant girl thing (but my fav part was picking out my costumes), I’ve been in several theater and dance programs and at one point, I wanted to be an actress. Then, I went through a phase of writing short novels and wanting to be a writer, but fashion was always keeping my attention no matter what I was doing… even in my novels, I spent so much time describing exactly what my characters were wearing in each scene. I started sketching fashion illustrations around age 4 and I would sell them to my family. They were all for it… always super supportive of wherever my imagination was taking me. I was a great student (until high school lol) but even then, I remember getting distracted recreating what my teachers were wearing in my head. Read more>>

Estéban Whiteside

I always liked looking at art but never felt like it was something I could really do. So, I stayed away from trying. In 2013 I wanted to give my girlfriend (now wife) a gift but I was too broke to buy anything so I decided to paint her favorite pattern on a 9×12 in canvas. She loved it and I also realized I loved to paint. So that Christmas I painted my niece and nephew a few paintings and I was hooked. I started painting every day or at least sketching and after about a yr. of that, I got a museum assistant job at The Phillips Collection in DC. Being around masters work 8 hrs. a day had the most significant impact on my work than anything else. I started developing my style and learning about so many great artists. I did abstract work in the beginning but after the murder of Michael Brown, I decided I would only do work that had meaning to me and marginalized people everywhere. I wanted to start shaming oppressors and building up the oppressed in all my work. And I feel like I have since then. Read more>>

Varshay Jackson

It all started when I used to work for my God Sister Jess Hilarious as her Driver & Road Assistant in 2018. She’s a famous comedian so she traveled the US doing tons of comedy shows. Each venue she was booked at she would have alcoholic beverages in her green room or dressing room. I always loved to experiment with those beverages and make cocktails. I always wanted to make something that taste good as well as looked good. So, I would garnish the drinks or fill the cups with the fruits that were in these rooms. I would make drinks for her as well as her guest. I often got asked if I was a bartender. I literally had no bartending experience whatsoever. Jess then said to me one day “Shay you ever thought about becoming a bartender?” That was the last thing on my mind, but after her and many others said that my drinks taste good it had become a thought in my mind. Read more>>

A.C Green

After doing 8 years in prison and coming home in February 2012 I noticed that the style of dress was different. When I went to prison Jay Z had my peers and I in button-up shirts, but now most people are wearing what they call designer clothing. I also noticed that the so-called designer that people was wearing was fake. How did I know it was fake? Well because one clear giveaway was if you really had on a thousand-dollar outfit you would not be standing on the bus stop waiting on the bus. Me considering myself a real and stand-up person I would have been obligated to wear the real and not the fake, so instead I decided not to do neither or because playing that game would only have led me back to prison trying to live a lifestyle, I could not afford at the time legally. Read more>>

Tyla Cornelius

A little about me, I am 24 years old I graduated from Clarion University back in December of 2020. I have a degree in communications and a minor in speech communications. In my free time, I do enjoy singing, shopping, eating, and spending time with my loved ones. Back in 2017 of December, the most tragic thing happened to me. I lost my mother to cancer. That was the most awful thing, I was a sophomore in college trying to finish out my last two years, while also trying to process the fact that I lost my mother. With me being 4 out of 5 siblings I felt like everyone was depending on me to finish strong. I eventually did but the road wasn’t easy. Read more>>

Cyn Gomez

My name Cyn Gomez, I am a nineteen-year-old, first-generation, second-year student at UC Berkeley, studying Social Welfare with minors in Race and the Law & Spanish. My pronouns are they/them/theirs or he/him/his and identify as nonbinary and transmasculine. In the past I’ve worked as an election poll worker, Berkeley Student Cooperative House President, a student worker at UC Berkeley, ASUC Cheif Advisor on QT+ Wellness, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Director for the non-profit organization for the Tangible Movement. I enjoy reading and public speaking, discussing the importance of mental health, human rights, and social justice. I’m a very social person and enjoy spending time with family, friends, and learning more about others. Read more>>

Bobbett Plummer

Venna by Ms. Nookie, a pheromone-infused bath and body line came about due to its in alignment with my online sex and relationship radio talk show Natral’s Nook. which airs Wednesdays 11-1 am on, an online radio station which caters primarily to the Caribbean Diaspora. As a certified relationship coach, I understand the power of pheromones. They enhance confidence and attraction. Pheromones are used in my bath soaks (for men and women) and massage oils, and my customers rave about how they feel when using them. I also have teas, coffee scrubs and yoni steams for those self-love days that help enhance our lives. This journey has been nothing but rewarding. Read more>>

Pariah Sinclair

I started at Towson University by helping out and organizing the semester drag shows. Seeing the queens backstage and how they prepared to get on stage inspired me to be a performer myself. After that, I got my name out there by doing competitions and tip spots at shows. The last five years I have been hustling producing and hosting my shows all around Baltimore and the DMV. Read more>>

Gunel Alisgandarli

It all started in year 2000 when me and my family traveled to America. We lived there for a year; I was 10 years old then. Being able to experience life and education in USA, I promised myself that I will study, live and prosper in USA. I felt that I belonged in here. But unfortunately, due to some circumstances, my wish did not realize very soon. I finished my bachelor’s degree In Azerbaijan and then started to work in my native country as an education manager of a global company. But I couldn’t forget my dream about living in USA. Of course, I already had a good career and an education in my native country but I couldn’t give up on my dream on living in USA. So, I seized an opportunity and moved to USA sacrificing what I gained till my 31 years. Read more>>

Prisca Bejjani

Libertas Fashion Show was born out of a dream for a slavery-free world. Libertas Home is a nonprofit in Northern Virginia that raises awareness about child abuse and trafficking and plans to build a safe home for survivors as well. Two of our board members happen to have been models, so a fashion show was almost naturally a choice for a fundraiser! We were tired of hearing the stories of traffickers who found their victims by promising them modeling work, and sick to hear that sex traffickers in our area target mostly girls of color. We decided to turn that on its head by using funds from the fashion show to support survivors of trafficking! A model agency director in the area, Harley Morgan, is also passionate about keeping his models safe, so we got to work with him for the show, too!! Read more>>

Maria Allison

I am the 3rd of 7 children 4 sisters and 2 brothers. I grew up in Baltimore with little money but big dreams. If you can dream you definitely can achieve. I have 2 daughters and 7 grandkids. When I was growing up, I had 3 career paths, I wanted to be a Police Officer (Officer Friendly), a Chef, and a Lawyer. Well, I have completed 2 of those occupations. I joined the Baltimore City Police Officer after graduation in July 27, 1987, and retired with honors in 2010, but before I retired I, graduated from Culinary School -my second love in 2009 (Baltimore International College). I have not embarked on the last one becoming a Lawyer. I also graduated from Baltimore Women’s Entrepreneurs of Baltimore in 2003 which lead me to starting my own catering business “Ria” subsequently leading me to buy a Food Truck in 2010. I’ve had my food truck for 12 yrs. now and when I first put it on the road, I had to return to work and become a parent again. Family circumstance led me to take care of my grandkids. Read more>>

Miracle Kendall

My love for photography first started around the age of 7 when I found an old camera in a drawer of the house I grew up in, I remember being immediately entranced by it. While the camera did pique my interest, for a while after that I was still more focused on painting and drawing. It wasn’t until my sophomore more year of high school that I fell back in and permanently in love with photography! I was able to take a film photography class at school and just knew that this is where I wanted to focus my craft, I did film photography for the rest of high school, and then when I graduated, I started to focus more on digital. Film will always have my heart but I love to be able to develop my own film which without an in-home studio/darkroom can be a little challenging. Since being back in school at MICA I’ve been able to go back to my roots (film) and start developing again as well as still shooting digital! Now that I have access to more facilities. Read more>>

Kanika Feaster

I am a wife, mother to a beautifully loving 4-year-old daughter, and career executive. Like many ambitious women, I have a side hustle that I am very passionate about. Which brings me to my love of entertainment. From a young girl, I’ve always been on stages performing. From dancing to modeling, public speaking to winner of local pageants, dramatic reading, and dance competitions. I’ve acted in plays, musicals, and movies. I’ve had the opportunity to produce and host talk and music entertainment tv shows that have aired on local and regional tv networks and radio. My fondness for music has opened up a new chapter of creative expression. Ironically my husband is a professional sound engineer, musician, and music producer. In both meeting him and working with him on various music projects, I started my first band. I had no idea this would have prepared me for where I am today as a singer, songwriter, and lead frontwoman of Pop/Rock band The Upstarter. Read more>>

Mashawn Robertson

I first got the acting bug in 7th grade. I would sign up for school plays all the time. I watched I Love Lucy and Martin every day like it was homework. I didn’t want to be a comedian I just wanted to laugh and tell stories because I didn’t grow up with my parents. I wanted to be a part of stories that involved family, love, and laughter. Laughing was both my medicine and defense mechanism. Acting started as my therapy and then I just fell in love. Read more>>

Jalisa Hardy

I was born into dysfunction and chaos. I had to learn early on that in the midst of chaos, abuse, and trauma to function in the dysfunction. I managed to excel in school, in organizations, church, jobs, building businesses, and more all while maintaining dysfunctional relationships with intimate partners, family, and friends. I was able to compartmentalize and disassociate from the dysfunction. It’s as if I were two different people in one body. Some knew the dysfunctional version of me, others knew the high functioning achiever, and very few knew both. It took until I was grown to realize what was going on. I decided to take responsibility for my life, reconciling these two parts of myself. I started going to therapy in college which was a taboo in my family. Read more>>

Sierra Middleton

My vision for becoming an entrepreneur came to me as I was in my first commercial. it was in 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia for a Kickstarter campaign where I served proudly as A staff writer for Gaye magazine. At that moment I decided to perfect my professionalism acting as A sole proprietor to my first business devoted to women in the LGBT community for body contouring, Sarah’s daughter LLC. Originally, from South Carolina I found myself relocating to Baltimore to pursue more open-minded clientele to incorporate health care to the many notches on my belt by being right around the corner from Washington, DC. (After A failed relationship) pre-pandemic: I, Sierra Middleton, gained overnight motivation to train in various in 1 on 1 workshop classes for lash extension, vacuum therapy, V steams, teeth whitening, and organic facials to add onto services offered. Read more>>

Andrea Klhoe

Greetings my Caribbean beauties (as I affectionately tell the women who read and follow me) My name is Andrea Klhoe I am originally from Puerto Rico, in addition to the roles as mother, daughter, friend, I also work as a Sexual Educator, Sex & Life Coach, Family, and Couple Therapist. I am also the founder of Movimiento Aprende Amarte which arose from the need I observed for women to love, know and respect themselves physically and emotionally. Always grateful to those who discovered me and believed in me, who have not released me to this day. Mrs. Veronica Duran with whom currently, in addition to being friends, we created an organization “Juntas Brillamos Mas” which seeks to highlight the Hispanic women of the DMV. Read more>>

Indira Imani

I am a genre-bending R&B / Soul recording artist and songwriter from Washington, D.C. I started singing at church at the age of 5 and grew into loving it more; At the age of 16, I started pursuing it as a career. Since childhood music has been paramount in my life, growing in a musically eclectic household, fed my musical interests. The diverse musical exposure in my youth is evident in my work. I graduated from Berklee College of Music in 2015 with a Masters’s in Music Business Marketing, which led to me becoming an independent artist in 2016. My style of music has been described as soulful, unique, and edgy with influences from R&B, Hip Hop, Gospel, and Soul Music. I bring a combination of poetic lyrics with amazing complimentary instrumentals. My vivid storytelling abilities through my lyrics and smooth distinct vocals put you in a place to see every detail of my life and the inspirations that have helped me create my style of music. Read more>>

Phillip Herring

My journey starts in Prince Georges County Maryland, my love for the arts was developed in Suitland high school while I was in the visual and performing arts program, theater. After acting for four years, I wanted to go for college for Film with a minor in photography. I was accepted in The Art institute of Washington. There I learned the skills for photography and video production. After graduating I worked for a few local video companies in Washington DC but soon after I went into business for myself freelancing for companies around the city. Commercials and events is my practice today. Read more>>

Fulya Yuksel Bekiroglu

I was born in Tekirdag / TURKEY, completed my Master’s degree at Istanbul Bilgi University in Marketing after my Bachelor’s education. I continued marketing and corporate communication duties in different companies in the transition to my professional life. After I won the Green Card Lottery, my husband and I decided to move to the US. My passion for jewelry design, which I started as a hobby during my high school years, continued afterwards concurrently with my business life, and it still carries on since 2001. So, I decided to turn this beloved hobby to a job, while I was spending all day at home during the pandemic in the late October of 2020 in Baltimore. Today, Fulliaa has taken an American twist and puts the harmony of varieties of the nation in designs. Read more>>

Lauren Bell and Jenn Walker

My partner Jenn & I have been friends since middle school. We went to nursing school together and have spent the last 10 years working as RNs in the hospital setting. We both went on to get our masters to become NPs. Working in the ICU and emergency room during the pandemic while going to grad school made us both realize that as much as we had a place in our heart for helping people in acute care, we were ready to give back to people in a more creative (and less stressful) way. We started Good To Glow Aesthetics in January of 2022 to empower our clients while achieving refreshed and rejuvenated results. Read more>>

Ayesha Burns

Well where would I start I have always been a diehard animal lover and always one of my own to since I was a little girl some things that I’ve always desire such as this I’ve never really told anyone I’ve always been pressure to be something that someone else wanted me to be like my mother my grandmother and my grandfather or anyone who said you should be like this so this is pretty much how we started I was in the healthcare field Covid came the pandemic shut everything down I lost all my healthcare jobs I was already breeding as a hobby because I love animals and then turn into something very very very very very big and although it’s not big to most people like where I started at and where I am now I know it’s big and it’s going to be even bigger Amish it’s gonna take time consistency patients a lot of love and a lot of crying but we got started in a mix of in the midst of the pandemic I literally with our back against the walls with no money and just animals and God met me there. Read more>>

Anna Sellheim

I’ve been drawing my entire life. I started using art and comics as a coping mechanism for PTSD and undiagnosed rapid cycle bipolar disorder in elementary school. To this day, my creative practice is my most important form of self-care. I am from Washington DC, so I was lucky enough able to attend Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Duke Ellington is the second-best art magnet high school in the country. I studied visual art 4 hours a day in addition to a normal high school curriculum. I also started doing comics in my free time in my sketchbooks. I dropped in and out of fine art programs in college. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life, so I had no idea what to get my degree in. I went to 5 different colleges and was matriculated in 3 of them. I’d go to a college, miss studying art, and get into a fine art program. Read more>>

Whitney Sherman

In my large family, I was known to be “the artist” and I loved that role! I grew up in northeastern New Jersey where I could see Manhattan from the top of our street and where my father and grandfather worked and where my grandmother had lived as a teenager. We always went into the city to get our school clothes each year and my father brought home the best bagels! Neither of my parents were artists but they were creative and supportive of us. They loved to design and make our Halloween costumes each year. My family was known for them and our local newspaper photographed us for an article. Because I love to make things, I naturally gravitated to studying art in college, yet by that time, I had become aware of design and applied to study that although drawing was always part of what I did. Early on I made a decision to major in photography all while learning design through my college friends. Read more>>

King Shinobe

Hi, I’m King Shinobe and I’m an artist, community activist, and canibus advocate. Growing up in Camden is like most inner cities, you make the best of what you have, you survive, and you pray for a better tomorrow. Crime and poverty are the main influences for my city. I came from a time where it was better to be great at being bad than it was to be average at being good. Looking back at my early teen years I think that made me want to get out of my area and explore more places similar to my own. The thirst for knowledge and passion to discover myself helped shape the artist I am today. I’ve done almost anything you can think of as a youth and I’m blessed to be here to tell my story. I realized that to become successful it starts within yourself you really have to trust who you are as a person and believe in your abilities! The turning point for me was moving to Baltimore and having my first daughter. I started looking at the world from the view of a protector and not just a survivor. Read more>>

Tanieka Scott-Black

Growing up I was plus-sized and as in adult I was plus-sized. I was a very confident and would always speak greatness into myself. In 2009 I got married and I hired a photographer to capture my big day, well to my surprise he brought a team with him to capture all aspects of the day. Being plus size you have to know your angles, and I feel like I knew mines really well however when you through more than one camera in the mix it becomes a little more challenging. I received my wedding album in December 2009 and out of almost 800 pictures I didn’t like any of myself. The candid shots really showed me how big I was. In my mind I was like “who is she, I don’t know this lady.” In my true plus-sized ways, I was determined to start me diet on January 1, 2010 yep the good ole New Year Resolution diet. For It would have been January 2 because my sister-in-law would have a big seafood dinner every New Year’s Day. Read more>>

Tash Waller

Hey Hey Everyone! I’m Natasha also known as Tash better known as Chef Preddie. One person with three names and three different personalities but all with the same vision: To become the BEST CHEF I can be and serve my community. I was born in Bladensburg, Maryland, a town in Prince Georges County, Maryland. Growing up, I would come home from school to watch Rachael Ray whip up delicious and interesting meals in under 30 minutes. She would be on my screen smiling, mis en place ready, and an energetic attitude that caught all of the viewers’ attention. I wanted to be like her. So, I did just that. I would go into my grandmother’s kitchen and pretend. Smiling at my microwave as my producer counted down 3-2-1. Mis en place ready (pan, water, North Carolina pink hot dogs, bushs baked beans), I was ready to share this gourmet meal. I was in the 1st grade, lol. Bladensburg High School is where I started my official cooking journey. Read more>>

Mariana Ayamel

My cosmetology journey began in 2011 while attending Gaithersburg High School (Gaithersburg, MD). I was enrolled as a Cosmetology student under the guidance of the late Angela Johnson. While in school, I worked in a hair salon/barbershop as a Shampoo Assistant.  As time passed and I was approaching the completion of my class, the stylist I was assisting explained that I could not be licensed and work as her assistant. The news was very frightened to me as I was still in high school and didn’t believe I was ready to be on my own. During my senior year, in September of 2014, I sat for my State Board Exam and passed on my first attempt. Shortly after, I was hired as a part-time stylist at JCPenny Salon. I was employed at the salon for approximately a year until I graduated high school. I continued my academic endeavors and went on to attend Morgan State University (MSU) (Baltimore, MD) studying Business Administration. While attending MSU, I worked at a local salon named Salon P, however, the majority of my experience took place within my dorm room. The word spread fast and soon I was known as the stylist around campus. I spent countless days and late nights servicing clients. Read more>>

Yulia Semchenko

I was born and raised in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. I design and make clothing and accessories from a traditional handwoven fabric called ikat. My business is called Yul d’UZ. Yulduz means star in Uzbek.  The story of Yul d’Uz started in Kyiv in 2015 where my husband was working for an international organization. I brought back to Ukraine a blend of cotton and silk ikat material from a trip home to Samarkand. I had long wanted to design a modern fashion look with the traditional colors and patterns of Central Asia ikat, so I found a great seamstress in Kyiv who understood my passion and designed two jackets, a summer dress, shorts, and a shirt from a blend of silk and cotton ikat.  My ikat pieces immediately caught people’s attention and relatives, friends, and even strangers on the streets in Kyiv stopped me and asked me about my jackets. I soon had relatives and friends from Austria to Colorado wearing ikat jackets. I slowly began thinking about the idea of developing a business model. Read more>>

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