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Baltimore’s Most Inspiring Stories

The heart of our mission is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our communities. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some incredible artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with the incredible group below. Check out our favorite stories from across the Voyage family.

Victoria Arnone

Growing up, I’ve always been infatuated with anything that has to do with beauty and hair, as I actually come from a long line of family in the profession going all the way back to my great great grandmother. The older I got the more and more it became a passion of mine whether it was dying my hair as a kid or just finding a cute new hairstyle I just loved to go outside of the box and really explore who I was, and as time went on more and more people saw my “eye for style” and began to ask me for advice or to do their hair or makeup to the point where every school dance I became the go-to girl. Read more>>

Temi Adeniji

Innately, I am someone who likes to help people so I started off by helping friends and family plan their events as well as search and source for vendors when they needed help. For as long as I can remember, I was always told that I would make a great planner because of my organization skills, attention to detail, and ability to multitask, but I just did not know where to start. By profession I’m a Civil Engineer so once the pandemic hit in 2020 and I started to work from home, I had a little more free time on my hands so I started working on my business plan. Before I knew it I had a plan in place and no excuse not to pursue this journey. Read more>>

Wanda Campbell

Curly Blessed Fly has been years in the making. It was created from a personal struggle with self-acceptance. In my early twenties, I was diagnosed with Graves Disease. Graves Disease is an immune system disorder of the butterfly-shaped gland in the throat (thyroid). The thyroid overproduces hormones. This disease totally changed how I looked from my hair to my eyes and even my weight. I no longer recognized myself and it took a toll on my self-esteem for more than a decade. Read more>>

Daniel Bucci

One of my business partners, Shawn Flaherty, used to work at Living Classrooms in Fells Point. He ran a fundraising event hitting wooden golf balls into the harbor at a row boat. I (Daniel Bucci) met Shawn a few days later and thought we could make a business out of a water golf concept. Later that year (in 2016), we convinced a company to hire us for their holiday party at Barcocina. They paid us enough money where we were able to purchase some driving range equipment and biodegradable golf balls. We strung together some inner tubes, placed Christmas lights on them, and kayaked them out into the harbor to act as a floating golf targets. Read more>>

Matt Brown, Samantha Gilmore, and Dennis Keruly

The concept of Breakwater Adventures started when we tried to rent jet skis in the middle of the COVID pandemic. There was only one option in the area and they were constantly booked. We realized how limited the options were for people to get on the water that wasn’t on a captained boat. We all grew up in this area and have spent our lives enjoying the water. We wanted to give others that opportunity in a unique way. We built our concept, a business model, and a financial model. We were able to get a meeting with a successful business owner in our area who has become our mentor. We then spent a year scouting various locations until we decided Nabbs Creek Marina was the perfect fit for our concept. Read more>>

Samantha Rodman Whiten

After going to the University of Maryland for my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, I got my license and worked at a group practice for some years before going out on my own as a psychologist in private practice. As marketing for my practice, I started my website, Dr. Psych Mom. People liked my straightforward approach to giving advice and talking about relationships and parenting issues. Read more>>

Carlos Duarte

Well, I started out in high school, around the 10th grade. Arlington County in Virginia offers a DJ and Music Production program free to all of its student’s grades 6-12. Once I started my first mentor, JeffCarr, showed me what I was capable of and how to start my musical path. That’s where DJ StyleS was born. At the age of 16, I was DJing everything from teen dances, soccer tournaments, Skate Nights, and private events for my community. Read more>>

Jennifer Messina

When I was a little girl, I used to dress up in my Halloween costumes and jump on my parent’s coffee table. I danced along with the MTV and VH1 stars performing on TV. As I got older, I was determined to be in every musical, retail, pageant, and talent competition in my small town. In my senior year of high school, I was accepted into the Berklee College of Music in Boston. That was my turning point from a young girl with a musical hobby to wanting to transform my passion into a career. Read more>>

Aareiona Womack

After obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Bowling Green State University last year, I decided to advocate and raise awareness for black mental health. I started creating safe and open spaces to pinpoint issues on certain mental health topics that get a lack of attention and what type of generational impact that has on society. I decided to use my social media platform for an Instagram live series, “talk2metuesdays”. My audience/ followers of everyday people would come together to share different perspectives while connecting mentally on and being vulnerable on a culturally relevant level. Read more>>

Tationia Bowen

I’ve always had an interest in hair, I just always lacked the skill. When I attempted to make my first wig by hand, it took me two days and looked horrible. I cried real tears (but wore it anyway) and promised myself I’d find a way to get better. Skipping ahead to the great part – I purchased a sewing machine and taught myself not only how to use it, but how to make wigs on it. This was the best decision I could have ever made and the perfect move for starting my business (BowDownn Crowns). Read more>>

Chrisma Yeboah

My name is Chrisma Yeboah, I am 15 years old and a hairstylist. My hairstyling business started officially on, November 1st, 2021. DonebyCay, my hair business, started with practicing braiding on Barbie dolls at age 8. My mother was so impressed that she bought me a mannequin head on my 9th birthday, which encouraged me to take hair braiding and styling seriously. During quarantine in 2020, I was put in a circumstance where I had to start braiding my own hair. Read more>>

Ron Sims

I was at home and I asked Ron what was it that he wanted to do for himself that would create generational wealth for our children beside us opening up an assistant living. So he said that he didn’t know I told him to sit down and think about it. The next day he called me while he was at work and said I would like to create a company called BMV. I said “BMV” and what does that stand for? So he said you know how they have DMV well I want to do BMV Baltimore, Maryland, and Virginia. Read more>>

Rossay Notes

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be an entertainer, specifically a singer. I just love the arts and how they can touch anyone no matter who it is. The passion I have to heal with my music is really my motivation. I have my daughter, Dava, and my greatest pusher ever, Devon to assist me in my field whenever I feel no inspiration. I started singing in church and school choirs and then branched off to instrumental music as well where I majored in alto saxophone. Read more>>

Maryjo Mattea

Maryjo Mattea is a busy lady who wears a lot of hats. She is a pop-rock songwriter, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist based in Washington, DC. She is the creative force behind such catchy, pop-sensible earworms as “Delaware,” “A New Normal” and “Wind Me Up.” Her sound has garnered numerous comparisons to rock icons like Alanis Morisette, Liz Phair, and Rilo Kiley. From busking to bar gigs to big club shows, she’s graced many stages and continues to enthrall audiences with her melodic songwriting and captivating voice as a solo artist, and in the bands Dear Daria and Color Palette. Read more>>

M. Priinceton Cromartie

Priince was born in the city of Baltimore at Maryland general hospital effectively raised by a single parent (Stormy McIntosh). Raised in west Baltimore. Graduate of Overlea high school class of ‘09. Priince started as a barber, cutting hair in 2012 building and name for himself through hair care which allowed him to be around celebrities and the industry to learn how it all worked.  In 2016, he started (PriinceTheBrand) which operated as an artist building and management platform to help up-and-coming artist showcase their talents… Read more>>

Deirdra Campbell and Sharonn Mclean

We’re two friends that met through a mutual friend. From the time we were introduced, we immediately clicked. We spoke about our childhood and past experiences. Through those conversations, we always spoke about how we wanted to create a unique and special business that could infuse our love for fine things, cocktails, and classy events. This is how Champagne and Flutes were born. We originally wanted an event rental business, but then Deirdra sent an idea of having an Italian Wine & Champagne truck. Read more>>

Ben Collins

I started tattooing in 2007 under my mentor Brian Michki in Huntington, WV. I opened my original shop in Huntington as well in 2015, Hell Hound Tattoo. In 2018, I moved to Elizabeth City NC, and reopened my shop here in 2021. In 2017, I got my first publication in Road Hawk Magazine to be followed by 2 more publications and featured in that magazine. In 2019, I was featured on Premier Tattoo Care social media, and in 2022, I was featured on Industry Inks social media. Read more>>

Akeem Henry

I grew up in Owings Mills, Maryland. I have always had a strong interest in helping people with their fashion, style, and health. This led me to the path of entrepreneurship at the early age of 14. I launched my first clothing brand, R&R (Riches & Royalty Clothing). I came up with the name R&R because I wanted it to be catchy and relatable to most people. Many individuals are striving to acquire wealth to maintain or attain a comfortable lifestyle, so I wanted to have a brand that speaks to those people. Read more>>

Seris C.

My journey actually begins on Youtube, back in 2006. As a nerdy kid in middle school, I really enjoyed surfing the internet for anime, manga, and video game-related content. One of these days after school, I came across a Youtube channel, known still as Fighting Dreamers Pro, of these adults who would create their own costumes and dress up as fictional characters – cosplayers.  I really enjoyed the skits and the videos they made and was heavily inspired by the costumes that they created. I thought…Read more>>

Mike Kurman

I started taking photos when I was a small child. The idea that I could essentially freeze time and later have a physical record of a moment felt powerful. I took photos by the hundreds. Hundreds of terrible photos, that is. Underexposed, overexposed, blurry, awful composition. You name it, I nailed it. But those were my photos and they are an important part of my growth as a photographer. As a teen, my interest in photography grew exponentially. I sought out classes where I could learn the fundamentals and how to develop my own negatives and transform them into prints. The dark room quickly became my happy place. Read more>>

Glenna Cush

Several years ago, I was looking for a new fitness routine. A friend was taking Bellydance and suggested I join the class. I immediately scoffed, “Bellydance?” You’ve got to be kidding! Plus size women DON”T Bellydance, was my reply. Thoughts from my childhood flashed in my mind. Being picked last in gym class (AFTER the kid with the wrap-around braces) or hearing the cruel giggles when I attempted a cartwheel–my body was not interested in complying. Read more>>

Luis Chumpitaz

Hello, my name is Luis Chumpitaz Jr. We’re a family-owned business and we deliver home remodeling services. My sister and I got deeply involved in our father’s company in 2021 because we wanted to help our father to set up his company formally. The reason why we decided to get involved in our father’s business, it’s because we wanted to help our father to set up his company formally. Regardless of this, he’s been doing pretty well and he accomplished building a loyal customer base. Read more>>

Ashley Matrangolo

I started out in college working towards an engineering degree. I always had a great ear for music and had a great love for music but one day I was at a house party at my college(UMES) and I was thrown into DJin the party for a sec while the DJ stepped out. I was like “whaaaaattt?!” And did it! And fell in love, but I did stay focused on my degree and met with the campus DJs and DJed a few house parties but never pursued that side of passion. So later down in life, I had a job lined up for me in Florida at Lockheed Martin, I graduated, I got pregnant, I moved to Florida, I moved back home after a year, and was looking for a side hustle that I could use my creative side. Read more>>

Greg Raelson

The beginnings of Celebration Summer can be traced to a message board posting in late 2019 when I (bassist Greg Raelson) sought out members to play a style reminiscent of the late 80’s/early 90’s melodic punk rock I grew up on. Our drummer Glenn Boysko answered the ad, and it turned out we had a mutual friend – his former bandmate, guitarist Dan Hauser. Dan played with Glenn in the DC band Confidence Man and he also plays in notable ska side project The Captivators. We then recruited Nate Falger to assume the duties of singer/guitarist after meeting him. Read more>>

The Neuro Farm

The Neuro Farm is Rebekah Feng, Brian Wolff, Tim Phillips, and Colin Diemer (a.k.a. DreamrD). Rebekah and Brian met in 2010 while studying neuroscience in graduate school at Georgetown. They casually played music together as The Neuro Farm for quite a few years before finding Colin in 2017 and kicking the band into a higher gear and releasing “The Descent” album in 2019. After gigging in DC and Baltimore for a couple of years, Covid hit the scene, and live music shut down. Figuring it was time to work on new material, Tim joined the band and the “Vampyre” album was released in late 2021. Read more>>

Jimi “Haha” Davies

I was born in Maryland in the late 60s and have lived here all of my life. I have played music and created art since I was a child. In the late 80s, I was in a band called 10XBig. We played all of the venues in Baltimore, as well as toured up and down the east coast. I rented a walk-in closet on West Hamilton Alley in Baltimore in the early nineties and started a band called Jimmie’s Chicken Shack in 1993. I started an independent record label called Fowl Records which released and distributed our music as well as many other Maryland and Baltimore bands. J.C.S. signed in 1996 to Elton John’s Rocket Records and eventually on Island/DefJam Records. Read more>>

NAIS

I started writing when I was 12 years old. I started doing poetry, I won a contest and since then my dad started shaping my poems into lyrics. I and his 3 other kids formed a group called “Royal Chaos” and that’s where I started developing as an artist. Over time, I lost touch with music and focused on sports. Once I went to college in 2016, I started becoming active on campus. Entering competitions, doing ciphers, hosting events, and eventually networking with other on-campus artist. Read more>>

Sadatu Hage

BeauT2 Skin started as a way to relieve my personal problems and later became a line that would help others as well. As a child, I grew up with eczema. In colder months, my skin would be itchy, dry, and flaky always. I would get made fun of in school. I vividly remember a teacher in 6th grade asking all the students to hold hands, a total invasion of personal space, and this one kid saying, “I don’t want to hold Sadatu’s hand, it’s so dry and rough”. How embarrassing! Read more>>

3 Comments

  1. Janice Bryant-Baker

    June 30, 2021 at 7:16 pm

    I have enjoyed reading about ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

  2. Darlene Cain

    July 13, 2022 at 5:59 pm

    I love reading the stories and they are very inspiring

  3. Larry Darnell Rhodes Jr

    July 15, 2022 at 12:49 am

    Baltimore MD I’m from there .. I feel maybe I need that culture back in my life .. I’m in Texas and it’s tiring .. I love Bmore it’s my home and will always be

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