Huami Magazine Atlanta Nov./Dec. 2022

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ATLANTA ® Nov./Dec. 2022 Volume 2 Issue 8
Voice
For Autism

We provide a highly structured atmosphere that fosters supportive, positive, respectful, and well-wounded individuals. Our goal is to provide fun and discipline dance classes that enforces professional behaviors, dance education, technique, accountability to themselves (and others), and an appreciation for pouring back into the community.

@inthekeyofdance @in_the_key_of_dance @inthekeyofdance www.inthekeyofdance.com
Photos by Crush Photography

Yesterday Prepared Me For What’s Next

There Are No If, Ands, Or Buts About It!

A Letter from the Editor

It seemed like only yesterday when the first edition of Huami Magazine was published. In November 2007, a vision given to me by God became my reality. I have shared the story of publishing Huami Magazine, first having a conversation with God, then taking the leap and stepping out faithfully in response to God’s call. Still, I often reflect on the first edition and become reminded of how awesome God is.

What if tomorrow didn’t arrive? All of your plans, hopes and dreams wouldn’t have a street to park on. What if everything that you decided to put off until tomorrow never happened? There would be no reason to save for a rainy day, and you could spare someone the trouble of making promises. What if your last opportunity seemingly expired today? What would you do?

While I was confident in my ability to fulfill the assignment, I admit I didn’t have all the answers initially. Ten years earlier, in 1997, I researched the magazine publishing industry, specifically in the Triad area of North Carolina. I did this to learn more about what is required to publish a magazine, including how to manage a publishing company, etc. Amongst all of the information obtained, I never inquired about how to support my new media company financially. That would eventually pose a problem for me and Huami Magazine.

I’ve been told that I often seem like I do too much. Honestly, I feel like I am not doing enough and I’m a firm believer in knowing that God wouldn’t put anything on me that I couldn’t handle. I sometimes wonder how life would be if I chose to sit idle and accept what it presented to me. I have found that to be very boring. In my opinion, opportunity is a blessing that isn’t afforded to everyone. A challenge to me is an adventure. What is the worst that can happen?

If I do nothing, I fail, and if I try I don’t, but instead learn something new about myself. Relinquish your pride and in return acquire life.

Finances and their availability is vital to the survival of any business. I self-funded operating costs for quite some time, especially in the first few years of existence. However, all of a sudden, things changed. Huami Magazine would enjoy the love and support from unlikely sources, including individuals who never exhibited an interest in the product. Doors would soon open and opportunities flowed. Things were looking up for Mykel Media Company, LLC.

The best advice ever given to me happened when someone told me to make my tomorrow happen today. In doing so I have pressed my way through doors with a key that only hope provided. I have also learned the difference between what God blesses me with and what life can burden me with as well. I compare it to knowing when to be confident and when to be quiet, because someone may get it confused with being arrogant.

As the face and founder of Huami Magazine, I worked hard to spread brand awareness. During this time, there were other challenges I would face, but having the support of the magazine wasn’t one of them. Sales were so good that everything needed to keep our doors open, we received it. God saw something good about Huami Magazine and He made provisions to ensure

Make you tomorrow happen today, but most importantly make it count. Life is but a whisper and we must put ourselves in a position to hear what it is telling us.

The message that I want to remind the readers of Huami Magazine is simple. When God gives you an assignment, He will also make provisions for you to see it through. All that we have to do is show up for the assignment.

L. Watson

Terry L Watson Publisher

www.huamimagazine.com

Editor In Chief

Joy Rogers Writer

Terry L. Watson

Terry L. Watson Writer

Alana Allen - Deputy Editor

Dorjea’ McClammey Writer Monica Montgomery Writer

Writers

Tonya Dixon Terry L. Watson Alana Allen Jeuron Dove

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Tamara Smith

Photographers

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terry.editor@yahoo.com 336-340-7844

HUAMI MAGAZINE is published quarterly by the Mykel Media Company. Any reproduction of any portion of this publication is prohibited without written permission from the publisher prior to doing so. Mykel Media doesn’t accept responsibility for statements made by individuals featured or advertisers. Comments concerning this publication

E-mail at terrywatson@huamimagazine.com

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A Letter From The Editor Terry

The Face of Autism Marcus Boyd

Also Featured

Arielle Middleton

If you are in need of home repair service, she is here to help. Learn more about her journey in business. Hampton Roads, VA

Corey and Amari

Learn more about these young men who launched their lemonade business right in the midst of the Covid pandemic. Chapel Hill, NC

Vivian Brittenum

Learn how she stepped out on faith and built her company. Rock City Staffing Agency. Little Rock, AR

Huami Magazine Cutest Baby Braxton Moore The Pandemic Pivot Danielle Carter Cinnabar Nutrition Tana Jeter Serving Their Community The New Black Collective
NOV./DEC. 2022
CONTENTS 33 10 30 16 6
ATLANTA
On The Cover
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A Voice For Autism

As a young boy, Marcus Boyd was perceived as someone without a voice. Today, Marcus’s voice is heard and recognized on various levels and platforms. “I create and make things from nothing,” he says. The young folks say they got it out of the mud, but for me, I made a rose from concrete,” he says.

While he has Autism, Marcus doesn’t allow his condition to slow him down. Eleven doctors once told him in two states that he was brain dead and would never get an education. Those same doctors said to him that he would never talk or function on his own, that he would never cook or do anything for himself, and would rely on the assistance of a caregiver. Yet Marcus has defied their predictions; Marcus Marcus is a leader, a visionary, a goal-getter, a brand hustler, and an empire grinder.

Marcus says his past was horrific and full of challenges. “I was beaten, bullied, I had my ribs broken, I was peed on and even left for dead. He has lived in 17 foster homes, 16 group homes, 16 mental hospitals, and four inpatient centers. He has been homeless and ate from dumpsters as a means to survive. At his lowest point, Marcus tried to commit suicide, but God had other plans for him.

Marcus says he never imagined that he would become a brand and that others would be interested in his life. He knew he wanted to help change lives and help change the status quo of how people perceive Autism. In doing so, he has become an international, five-time award-winning Autism Activist. He works with governors, mayors, city council members, state senators, organizations, and foundations to produce rights, laws, and benefits for Autistic individuals and families in the United States and around the world. “I am using my testimony as a light to give hope to others who may be going through what I did. I want to bring acceptance, inclusion, awareness, justice, and new opportunities for Autistic families,” he says.

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So, how did Marcus begin? He shares it was during August 2017. He had already been diagnosed with Autism and rapped about his condition in some of his music. The music was fine, but he knew he had to take it to another level. He connected in Atlanta, GA, with Manisha Holiday, who he calls his Godmother. Manisha, a celebrity PR, encouraged Marcus to focus on sharing his story of being Autistic rather than his music. During that time, Marcus’s interest was music. Still, his ability to survive was more important, so he took Manisha’s advice and began using his platform to bring awareness to Autism and individuals infected by it, and the rest is history.

Marcus shares that he could not do all he does without God’s blessing. “With all the blessings God is allowing me to be a part of and do, I give God all the glory and honor. I worship His holy name because He is the reason for this season,” he says. The platform that Marcus is blessed to utilize, he says, is one of the things he loves most. “I love the amazing, incredible people I meet and the stories I hear. Having Autism and speaking up for Autism and the millions of voiceless individuals and their families is priceless. I spent fourteen years of my life being nonverbal and battling other conditions associated with Autism. Now I get to use my voice to help bring real change,” he says.

Being an Autism activist is not easy work, Marcus shares. “There are autism advocates who advocate for their child, family member, or a friend, and those who are actively on the battlefield operating with limited resources. I come from the projects and the ghetto, where grinding is celebrated, and few are educated, and that presents challenges for me.” One of the essential things Marcus has learned is to invest and believe in himself.

Along with God, Marcus acknowledges his grandmother as his greatest source of inspiration. “I couldn’t put a price on what my grandmother has done for me. She looked past my Autism, loved me, and forced me to tap into my own greatness,” he says. Marcus also says that his best friend, Queen Carter, for showing him how to love. He also says that Queen has greatly impacted his brand and cause. He shares other sources of inspiration: Gary Sinatra, Manisha Holiday, Tracy Bumpers, John Mcclung Jr., Minista Todd, Jacquetta Quashie, Tina Bridges, Veronica Tess Myers, Alexander Myers, Jessica Nash, Kathy Taylor, and Dorothy Carr.

As life continues to happen for Marcus, there is no telling what will happen next for him and his brand. In the meantime, Marcus will continue to use his voice and testimony to uplift others and fight for those affected by Autism. He encourages those interested to keep watching and believing in God’s plan.

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The Pandemic Pivot

Her birth name is Nundiah-Danielle Edwards, of which Nundiah means “Challenger”. Yet, her friends and family call her Danielle.

Born in Brooklyn, NY, to West African Liberian parents, Danielle shares that her mother was a strong woman who engrained confidence and strength in her. Her father was a highly educated man and taught Danielle that acquiring a good education was the key to her success.

“At an early age, I have always been a high achiever,” Danielle says. “I graduated high school at 16 and a half years old and went straight to college. At just 17 years of age, I received a scholarship to attend Berkeley College and received two degrees; an Associates in Paralegal Studies and a Bachelors in International Business & Business Administration. At 23, I earned my Masters of Business Administration in Management from American Intercontinental University, all while being a mother to my two small children.”

Today, Danielle is the founder and CEO of The New Body Project, Inc. The New Body Project is Brooklyn’s first and only “All Women’s” Fitness Bootcamp. Her studio specializes in High-Intensity Interval Training by providing weight training, strength training, cardio, nutrition guidance, and mindset coaching. Additionally, Danielle offers a membership-based program.

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Photo Provided by Eurila Cave

“I truly believe that once a woman puts herself first and declares she is taking her body back, all possibilities can be created,” Danielle says. “At The New Body Project, we want women (and individuals who identify as) to understand the importance of self-care and prioritizing their needs. Many women play an important role in the lives of others, and our needs must be met to provide sustainable care.”

The New Body Project staff works with women from all backgrounds, occupations, lifestyles, and fitness levels. Once a member, Danielle says their clients have the opportunity to be a part of a community that genuinely cares about their well-being. “Our members are held accountable for attending classes, maintaining their streak in one of our many fitness challenges, and achieving their fitness goals.

As a savvy entrepreneur, Danielle also has her hands in another business. She is the founder and CEO of Atrium82, an intimate gathering space designed for Danielle’s community members to host various events. These include micro-events, micro weddings, commercials, movies, micro-bar/bat mitzvahs, engagements, birthday parties, bridal showers, pop-up shops, theater rehearsals, not-forprofit conferences, fitness, and yoga classes. “Our mission is to empower the community by providing an affordable space where people can gather and enjoy,” Danielle says,

Atrium82, Danielle says, believes in the power of community. A portion of all bookings are applied to their partners at The Ghana Desk Project. “We are committed to helping the underserved child in Africa receive a desk built by carpenters from their village, which provides seating for students to attend school.”

How did Danielle get started in business? In 2009, she was laid off from her banking job. As a result, she became depressed and gained 20 lbs from stress and motherhood. Despite having a strong educational background, she says it was nearly impossible for her to find work. “I no longer wanted to be in a mindset of doubt and discouragement, so I declared to lose weight and find a career that would allow me to be a mother to my children,” she says.

Soon Danielle stumbled upon an advertisement for a fitness representative at a small studio. “In my mind, I thought it was ridiculous to apply because I was overweight. Jokingly, I applied and thought nothing of it,” she says. “Little did I know that clicking a button would transform my life forever.”

She interviewed and was hired as Director of Membership Services and Development. She learned all there was to know about building a fitness business and training classes, and only after a year of employment she was informed the company was shutting down. That news encouraged Danielle to start her own business; but how would she do it? She had no money saved, yet with the help of members in her community of Brooklyn, she raised $3000 and The New Body Project was born.

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Photo by Richard Chen Floral and Decor by Miarama Delph-Clarke of Couture Events

Atrium82 was birthed as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic. During 2020, Danielle was forced to shut down with no clear reopening plan. Beatdown, depressed and broken, she was unsure of what her future looked like. “The one thing I was sure of was that I couldn’t let my space sit idle for long, and I decided to transform my fitness studio into a small gathering space,” she says.

“In both my fitness business and event business, I meet so many dynamic people everyday that I would be remiss by not sharing that as one of the top things that I love about what I do,” she says. Additionally, she shares that her family is the most important reason she goes as hard as she does.

Some of Danielle’s challenges in business include the uncertainty of the economy and the Covid 19 pandemic. “I overcame economic uncertainty by simply starting my own company, and just when I thought that was the answer to all my problems, the entire world was forced to shut down. I’ve overcome the pandemic by pivoting my business,” she says.

Though she has faced some adversity along her journey, she also admits that she wouldn’t change how things have happened. “While you’re in the moment, it may feel like the end of the world but trust and believe that every failure, every obstacle, and the low moments are what builds you and your business. When I thought I had lost The New Body Project, I ended up birthing another company in Atrium82. Who would’ve thought the hardship of the pandemic would make me the CEO of two companies? Because of these obstacles, I have been blessed to share my story on ABC, Good Morning America, Entrepreneur Magazine and other platforms. There is power in a dynamic story, and that doesn’t come without struggle.,” she shares.

Danielle’s advice to others who may follow in her footsteps is to believe in yourself. “God gave you an idea for a reason. Don’t fall victim to sharing your visions with those who can’t see or understand them. It’s not their vision, it’s yours.”

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The New Body Project 82 6th Ave - Brooklyn, NY 11217 www.thenewbodyproject.com Atrium 82 82 6th Ave - Brooklyn, NY 11217 www.atrium82.com
Photo by Daniel Lopez h
Floral and Decor by Miarama Delph-Clarke of Couture Events
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Action is a necessary component required to bring change to a community. The type of action to which others who desire change will respond to. The kind of action that addresses the concerns and problems of a community and produces solutions that improve living conditions. Such an organization exists, and is answering the call for change.

Based in Houston, TX, The New Black Collective was developed by four high school friends; Ebony Joiner, Shaquala Warren, Kevin Thomas, and Jasmine Bledsoe. With each member reigning from Waco, TX, they share a variety of degrees and certifications from HBCUs to Ivy Leagues. Another member, DeAundra Moore, serves as Program Manager and is passionate about empowering and supporting others through direct community interaction.

Launched in 2019, The New Black Collective is a nonprofit organization that services the minority community through community outreach programs. The idea was born out of a need each member was aware of. They also genuinely wanted to give children and adults something positive to look up to.

Led by Jasmine, who believes in giving back and enriching her community, The New Black Collective operates under the mission to implement community initiatives that improve access to education, investments, opportunity, and sustainable services. “I learned that surrounding myself with people who can help me is like being surrounded by tangible Godliness,” Jasmine says. The group offers curated programs that are free to the community. They also host annual events, including a Back 2 School Drive and Coats N’ Cocoa, and collaborate with other organizations and businesses in Waco, and Waco ISD.

What motivates the group as a whole? They say, “God and people. Our love for God has inspired us to love people aloud. Our people inspire us so much. Knowing that we come from a strong people who have built so many things from the ground up is an inspiration. The tenacity and perseverance of those that have come before us will always be true inspirations. They did, we can.”

Like any other startup, The New Black Collective has endured its share of trial and error. One challenge they shared was that learning what works for them as a business and what doesn’t serve them has been pivotal in their journey. They were able to overcome such challenges through mentorship and counsel. “We believe one does not know everything. So we talk to people that know a little bit more than we do and apply what we’ve learned,” they said.

Moving forward, the plan for The New Black Collective is to be a legacy of labor and love. They also hope to expand and build sustainable and forward-thinking programs. To learn more about the program and to find ways on how to get involved with their programs, please visit their website.

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“To amplify the quality of life in our community, promote culture, and education; through community intitiatives and partnerships with other organizations.”
www.thenewblackcollective.com h

Led by Jasmine, who believes in giving back and enriching her community, The New Black Collective operates under the mission to implement community initiatives that improve access to education, investments, opportunity, and sustainable services. “I learned that surrounding myself with people who can help me is like being surrounded by tangible Godliness,” Jasmine says. The group offers curated programs that are free to the community. They also host annual events, including a Back 2 School Drive and Coats N’ Cocoa, and collaborate with other organizations and businesses in Waco, and Waco ISD.

What motivates the group as a whole? They say, “God and people. Our love for God has inspired us to love people aloud. Our people inspire us so much. Knowing that we come from a strong people who have built so many things from the ground up is an inspiration. The tenacity and perseverance of those that have come before us will always be true inspirations. They did, we can.”

Like any other startup, The New Black Collective has endured its share of trial and error. One challenge they shared was that learning what works for them as a business and what doesn’t serve them has been pivotal in their journey. They were able to overcome such challenges through mentorship and counsel. “We believe one does not know everything. So we talk to people that know a little bit more than we do and apply what we’ve learned,” they said.

Moving forward, the plan for The New Black Collective is to be a legacy of labor and love. They also hope to expand and build sustainable and forward-thinking programs. To learn more about the program and to find ways on how to get involved with their programs, please visit their website.

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“I learned that surrounding myself with people who can help me is like being surrounded by tangible Godliness.”
Jasmine Bledsoe President
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Sunshine Home Improvement, LLC

It’s common knowledge that black women can wear many hats, but can they all do it with a smile? Arielle “Sunshine” Middleton is proof positive that yes-we-can. She has a full-time military career and manages other skilled positions as a landscaper, carpenter, and artisan. Her most important job is as a single mother of five-year-old twins. In March of 2022, she formally launched Sunshine Home Improvement LLC. Arielle’s new company combines her love for people, her skill as a carpenter, and her artistry to create affordable design dreams for her clients.

“My reasons for getting into this were purely personal and selfish,” Arielle explains. “I’ve always been a very thrifty person. I try to do everything on a budget. I decided I wanted some new furniture pieces and home décor, but everything at these stores is so expensive. Even the marked-down and clearance items are still ridiculous. I’m like, ‘This isn’t a sale!’” she laughs.

As needs must, Arielle discovered thrift stores. “I found some gorgeous pieces for cheap. Even the not-so-beautiful items had the potential to become special with a little TLC. Usually, I could restore or upcycle items for little or nothing, and I enjoyed the work.”

Arielle’s passion for décor and restoring furniture was an outlet, so she took every opportunity to practice it. “After I finished my projects, I started doing things for my friends. When they would move, buy a new home, or want a change, and I would hear them say they needed a coffee table or a nightstand, I would think, ‘I can do that.’ So, I would find a five-dollar table, restore it and give it as a gift.” To her surprise, people loved her work.

After a year of impressing her friends with her ability to restore and transform items into something extraordinary, Arielle’s friends encouraged her to take the next step. “I had been doing my little transformations for friends for about a year when they were like, ‘Girl, you should make this a business.’ The thought had occurred to me, but my reality at the time was that I had a full-time job in the military, and I was a single mom with twins. I figured starting a business was a pipe dream way down the road,” Arielle explained. Then the pressures of life happened.

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It’s no secret that our service men and women deal with highly stressful situations daily. Arielle has traveled the world with the military and has seen her fair share. When her future was uncertain, she turned to crafts as her outlet. “As I continued to think about it, there was a lot to consider. I was having trouble with my job. I didn’t know where my military career was going, and I was finding the craft work as a form of release,” says Arielle. “It turned into a mental health thing. Painting and crafting helped me stay balanced and sane. The feeling I got from sitting and painting was like talking to a counselor. It became my therapy.”

In effect, Arielle turned something basic, and a fun hobby into something she believed was life-saving. “Standing on the other side, I decided to launch the business as a birthday gift to myself.” Not wanting to jump into the deep end right away, Arielle decided to start small, but thanks to social media, her business grew overnight.

“I thought I would start with getting a few business cards printed to see if people were interested, but a couple of TikToks later, I’m getting clients from across the DMV (D.C., Maryland, and Virginia). Next, my friends all got together and sent me to the Black Business Expo. As a result, I’ve just signed my first major contract with a brokerage design firm Red Door Realty.” Arielle will be designing and building custom closets and pantries for million-dollar homes.

The amazing thing about Arielle’s story is that she had never picked up a hammer before joining the military. “One of my many jobs in my military career was as a combat engineer. It was the first time I had picked a hammer or a saw. As an engineer, I became familiar with woodworking, concrete, and building design, because my group’s job was to build schools from the ground up. So, when I started doing the small projects, my muscle memory kicked in, and I realized I actually knew what I was doing. I could actually do this.”

With newfound confidence, Arielle went out and “thrifted” some tools, dusted off her building skills, and began her journey as a carpenter. Her skills as a designer and artist came from where most great gifts and traits stem… her mother. “I got my natural ability to paint and design from my mother. She studied art, and I learned a lot from watching and being around her. My natural talent for art and design and my skills as a builder have made this an easy process.”

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Although Arielle’s original purpose for discovering her talent was selfish, it has become a passionate desire to help people who don’t have much money to spend on décor or home renovations. “My mom used her artistic talent to build a business as a nail art designer. She owned her salon for over twenty years. Plus, she had an eye for beautiful things. She could put together amazing combinations. So as a kid, I grew up in the high-end stores as she purchased the odds and ends that brought her visions to life. As an adult, I go into these same stores, and I’m like, I’m not paying that much for that!” Arielle laughs. “I decided I’m going to go over here and get the old table that the person originally bought at the highend store and make it live again.”

Believing that having a beautiful and comfortable home shouldn’t have to cost a fortune, Arielle began to respond to what others were saying. “I kept hearing about how expensive it was to do simple renovations or interior designs. I started asking, what are these people charging? Some of these prices out here are ridiculous. My main focus in launching the business was to provide people with affordable options for getting the home of their dreams.”

Arielle’s resourcefulness and desire to deliver dreams on a dime pushed her to find quality materials at a discounted rate so she could pass those saving on to her clients.

“I discovered ways to get discounted wood and paint. I upcycle furniture so clients have nice pieces without having to go and pay the new prices. I go to home sales, where people have gutted their old kitchens and put in new stuff. I repurpose the old stuff into a new laundry room for someone else at a fourth of the cost. Giving customers these options to help them achieve their goals without breaking the bank is what I’m all about.”

Since launching the business, Arielle has been busy, but there were obstacles. “It’s one thing to do the work. I love when I finish a project, and the homeowner sees it for the first time. It makes the long nights worthwhile. My biggest issue was understanding the business side of things.” At thirty-three years old and fifteen of those years spent in the military, Arielle didn’t have much exposure to what it takes to build a business.

“Getting my LLC and all that paperwork done correctly was a struggle. It was such a struggle because I had no clue what I was doing. I thought all I had to do was go online, file paperwork, and pay a fee. Thankfully I had recently hired an accountant who reached out to me the day before an important deadline and told me everything I needed to do in less than twenty-four hours. Now that was stressful,” Arielle explained. “I didn’t have anyone to talk me through those critical parts. I wish I’d had a mentor to help explain what needed to be done. Thankfully I could get everything done before I faced any penalties.”

As Sunshine Home Improvement continues to grow, it remains small and personable. “When people call, they talk to me. I mow the lawns and hang the pictures. I work with contractors for larger jobs, but for the most part, it’s all me,” Arielle said.

The future is bright for Arielle. In five years, she will retire from the military, and Sunshine Home Improvement will be her focus. In the meantime, Arielle plans to continue to do what she can to help people create dreams on a dime.

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Arielle Middleton Sunshine Home Improvement www.designedbyshi.com
h

Rock City Staffing Agency, LLC

Vivian Brittenum is the owner of Rock City Staffing Agency. Based in Little Rock, AR, her company is a locally owned and operated professional staffing and recruiting agency. Vivian says her team is dedicated to providing their clients with top-notch service, industry-leading solutions, and skilled talent. “At Rock City, we take great pride and purpose in what we do. That’s why we always seek to outperform client expectations. We cover many staffing situations, including temporary, temp-to-perm, contract, and direct hire. We specialize in placing administrative, information technology, customer service, warehouse, and light manufacturing,” she says.

Vivian is a native of Forrest City, AR, but has called central Arkansas home for the past 28 years. She is a divorced mother of two fantastic children, Miracle, 21, and Praylyn, 19. She acquired her MBA with an emphasis in Information Technology and an MS in Management and Leadership with an emphasis in Project Management from Webster University. She also obtained her BS in Management Information Systems from Park University with a minor in Human Resources.

Some additional certifications she holds include a nationally Certified Public Manager as well as a Certified Arkansas Governmental Manager from UA Little Rock. She is a Certified Woman Entrepreneur from Cornell University, a graduate of Leadership Greater Little Rock, past Chairman of Auditing Committee for Southern Gas Federal Credit Union, past Diversity and Inclusion committee member for the City of Little Rock, Commissioner for the City of Jacksonville, past-chairman of the Board of Adjustment, and past chairman of the Planning Commission and a graduate of the Rock It! Lab Accelerator Program.

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“At Rock City, we take great pride and purpose in what we do. That’s why we always seek to outperform client expectations.”

Vivian shares how her faith in God has shaped her life from the very beginning. “I am so grateful to God for choosing me for such a time as this. Life for me began in Forrest City. My parents were teenagers when I was born. My mom, Barbara Paulette, was a senior in high school. My father, Leon Jones, Sr. was attending college in another city. In a sense, my mom and I grew up together. She raised me and my two sisters, Tracy and Tajuan in a strict Pentecostal household. We were in the church from sun-up until sundown at least four days a week. That is where my faith began and where I learned to trust and believe in God. My mom and dad worked hard to provide for my sisters and me. Mom worked for a time in factories making garments and televisions before she decided that was not the life she wanted for herself or her daughters. She decided to further her education and became a CNA, became certified in early childhood education, and worked as a transport driver before settling down in the classroom. That’s where I got my inquisitive mind and my love of learning. My dad, Pat Haggins, has owned and operated a well-respected construction business for over forty years. My father, Leon Jones, Sr has been self-employed for 48 years. They both stepped out on faith, took a chance on themselves, worked hard, and are now reaping the benefits of following God’s path. That’s where I inherited my entrepreneurial spirit.,” she shares.

After getting married and moving to the central Arkansas area, Vivian knew this was where she could flourish. The big city lights, highways, fast cars, and endless opportunities, she says, it was time for her to walk in the calling God has on her life.

Vivian says her job isn’t about just having a source of income or building generational wealth for her family. “I have a God-given passion for helping others, so placing someone in a job offers me a sense of personal fulfillment and professional growth. I am so blessed to wake up every morning with the opportunity and be a blessing to someone else.”

When her youngest graduated high school, she felt God telling me that now was her time. Finally, on September 14, 2021, God spoke to me and said now is the time! I stepped out on faith, drove to my job, and resigned in the parking lot! I knew it was now or never. I chose my NOW! I came home and incorporated Rock City Staffing Agency and have not looked back,” she explains.

Without any doubt, Vivian is sure she is walking in the plan God has for her because He gave her the idea to open a staffing agency and the name of the business. “I did not know much about the staffing and recruiting world, nor did I have any savings to fund a business. All I had was faith and trust in God,” she shares. A week after opening her business, Vivian was blessed with a $1000 small business grant. Still, she didn’t know where to begin or how to open a staffing and recruiting agency, but she says God provided everything needed to get her company going. “I don’t have a choice but to be successful,” she says.

Now fully operational, Rock City Staffing LLC has positioned itself as a premier staffing agency. Vivian’s advice to others who may follow in her footsteps is to pray, pray, and pray some more. “Keep God at the forefront. Do your research. Find good mentors. Go for it!”

Moving forward, she hopes to continue to follow God’s plan. “Rock City Staffing Agency is just the beginning. There is so much more that’s going to be birthed from this. We are going to use this platform to do the Kingdom’s work,” she shares. To learn more about Vivian Brittenum and Rock City Staffing Agency, please visit their website.

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Vivian Brittenum
Rock City Staffing Agency LLC www.rockcitystaffing.com

Cinnabar Nutrition

Today, Tana is the owner of Cinnabar Nutrition, located in Milwaukee at Bayshore Mall. She started her business under the name of Simply Tasteful Nutrition in May 2020. “It was a way to re-engage with clients, family, and friends through baking. As I became more focused on my own health, I took my love for baking rum cakes to healthier options for baked goods, primarily donuts,” she says. As a result of needing to change her business name, Cinnabar Nutrition was born.

Tana says Cinnabar is a gemstone that represents health, wealth, healing, and personal transformation in the community around you.

Cinnabar Nutrition officially began in January 2021 as a Satellite Nutrition club. While working as Juvenile Probation officer supervisor during the week, Tana baked on Friday nights and delivered her goods on Saturday mornings. On October fifteenth, 2021, Cinnabar Nutrition opened its doors to the public.

Some of the products Tana offers are healthy shakes and smoothies, and teas.. “ We offer healthy plant-based protein meal replacement shakes, healthy energy drinks and protein baked goods. When trying one of our shakes, think about having your favorite ice cream any time of day. It’s a healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner,” she says. She also offers healthy drinks, collagen drinks, refreshers, and non-caffeinated drinks.

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Tana says what she loves most about her company is being able to restore her faith in her community. “Working in a tough field of Juvenile Justice for 27 years was heavy. Within two days of opening, it felt like weight was lifted from my shoulders,” she shares. “Being able to meet new people daily, smile, laugh, and form positive relationships has been a blessing. The connections and bonds created are real.”

Her own personal transformation journey has had a huge impact on Tana’s life. She says that she has developed the ability to shift her mindset from negative to positive during difficult times and find the good in every situation. Tana is also inspired by the women in her family. “I come from a long line of strong, independent women who support one another, encourage growth, and always find a way when it seems like a solution isn’t possible. There is always a solution!”

She says that her mother and my daughter both inspire her. Tana’s mother has her own floral business. Tana says she is one of the greatest examples of what it looks like to never quit. Her daughter is a full-time student and working a full-time business. Tana says seeing her passion and commitment keeps her going.

As the future happens for Tana, she hopes that both health and fitness can be provided to the community under one roof. Tana says this will help further educate others on the importance of nutrition, along with their fitness journey.

As of November first, Cinnabar has teamed up with five other women to further grow and support the community within Cinnabar’s Results Center. To learn more about Cinnabar Nutrition, please visit their website. h

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Nutrition 262-362-1483
Cinnabar
Cinnabarnutrition@gmail.com
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Braxton Moore

& King’s Lemonade LLC

There’s always a good time to drink lemonade; fortunately, a young group of inspiring entrepreneurs in Durham, NC, has made it their business to quench the thirst of lemonade drinkers.

Founded in October 2020, King’s Lemonade LLC is a siblingowned and operated business led by Corey Jr. and Ami. They also share ownership with their older sister, Jada Lyons-O’Kelly. With the support of their mother, Erica, and other family members, the duo has created over 25 delicious flavors of freshly squeezed homemade lemonades. Erica is the formal operator of the business and describes herself as the “Momager” and “Queen”.

So how do they make it happen? Corey is responsible for squeezing lemons, cutting fruit, creating new recipes, assisting with purchasing supplies, loading and unloading supplies, and serving as a cashier at events. Amir is responsible for the same duties as Corey; however, he is also the spokesman.

Initially, the idea of the business came about while Corey and Amir were at home during the Covid 19 pandemic. During this time, everyone was bored and just tired of doing the same routine, day after day. Like most families, the pandemic required most families to resort to a life of isolation. In some cases, the pandemic even added a financial strain on their budgets. Erica’s family experienced both. “The pandemic changed how we moved, so we collectively decided to think of various ways to generate additional income. We came up with various ideas, and finally, the boys decided they wanted to have a lemonade stand. I encouraged them to expand their thoughts, think bigger, and even start an entire lemonade business. With the support of their father, Corey Sr., everyone agreed. Next, we needed to create a name for the business. Everyone threw out various ideas for names but none really stuck. Finally, Corey Jr. blurted out “King’s Lemonade!” I asked him why he chose that name and he said “because I’m a king, momma!” That’s how King’s Lemonade was birthed,” Erica says.

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King’s Lemonade currently has over 25 flavors of delicious, freshly squeezed homemade lemonades in various sizes. Some of their most popular ones are Strawberry Lemonade, Pineapple Lemonade, Blue Raspberry Lemonade, Strawberry Lemonade, Very Berry Lemonade, and their classic Original Lemonade. King’s Lemonade can be purchased online, year round, and they also deliver locally within a twenty-five-mile radius of Chapel Hill, NC, for an additional fee. At various locations, King’s Lemonade can also be found around the Triangle and Triad areas.

Owning a business has been an enjoyable experience for both Erica and her two sons. She shares, “I truly enjoy learning with my children. I didn’t go to school for business. I actually went to school for Criminal Justice. Teaching my kids how to provide for themselves for the future is very important to me. They now have the opportunity to continue to build and grow their business and brand and provide job opportunities for others.”

Amir shares that working with family is easily the greatest challenge he has faced in his young business career. “No one knows how to support you like your family, but no one knows how to push your buttons like family also. Working with my mother and brother has proven to be stressful, and I’d be lying if I say if I haven’t thought about waving the white flag at one time, but after seeing how well-received our products are, I can firmly say that I believe in what I do.”

Erica says she is inspired by her children and the support of her community for their business. Corey Jr. says the positive feedback from the customers also inspires him. Amir says, “While revenue is a great inspiration, an even bigger inspiration is what I can hopefully tell the people that see what I do and are either encouraged in entrepreneurship themselves, or to support small businesses like mine.”

Erica, Amir, and Corey encourage anyone who may follow in their footsteps to be unafraid. Amir’s message is to embrace struggle and loss and, while doing so, continue to swing on. “There are days where our product doesn’t sell as well as we had hoped, and it can get discouraging. Never give up, swing on. Sometimes a closed door can open another window. Another window will open for you soon enough.”

Moving forward, Erica says her plans for both of her children’s businesses are to continue to assist them with making each better. “We would love to see King’s Lemonade in various stores and online,” she says. With persistence and good flavors available, the sky’s the limit for King’s Lemonade.

To learn more about them, please visit their website. www.kingslemonade.shop

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