Running a thriving business takes drive, determination, and a whole lot of hustle! We’re spotlighting seven savvy entrepreneurs whose immense success proves how a little belief and a big leap of faith can land you a leading role in your own life. Looking to recalibrate your career path? Let their accomplishments be your compass.
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HOMETOWN FLOWER CO.
CO-FOUNDER AND CEO
MY BUSINESS: Hometown Flower Co. is a sustainably-minded flower truck and pop-up floral design studio on Long Island, NY. We are mission-driven and work exclusively with locally-grown seasonal flowers. We offer all types of services from a flower delivery subscription in our signature “Flowers in a Bag” packaging, to floral design for special events, weddings, flower bars, workshops, and much more.
IN THE BEGINNING: I am a third-generation florist but never really had a connection to flowers until I started to learn about the Slow Flowers movement and its mission to help people form a connection to flowers that are grown locally. I became enamored with the idea of letting Mother Nature call the shots and found it creatively liberating to not be in complete control over what flowers we work with. I started using floral design as a form of stress relief and creative expression to detach from my career in marketing. That hobby grew into what Hometown Flower Co. is today.
Photography by Erica Schroeder
SECRET TO MY SUCCESS: We are guided by the fact that we are doing something more than just selling a product. We are part of a movement to help make a lasting, positive impact in the world, so every decision we make goes back to that purpose. We challenge ourselves to think creatively about how we can introduce the concept of local flowers to people without coming across too preachy. Things like our flower truck, our packaging, and our workshops are ways for people to form a connection to local flowers without even realizing it.
NYC, Wilmington, DE/Los Angeles, CA
JANEL TANNA FILMS
ACTRESS + PRODUCERPSYCHIATRY DELAWARE PSYCHIATRIC
MD, CHIEF RESIDENT
MY BUSINESS: In the arts, I am mostly an actress. I strive to express and feel the truth in performance. When I produce or help produce, I tend to select or create films with an importance of difficult social issues that might affect different people depending on the circumstances—things many people might be able to relate to in some way. In medicine, I use both my training in psychiatry and life experiences to also connect to the human condition in each unique person, while working with people to help them function at their optimum.
IN THE BEGINNING: I’ve had a big imagination since childhood, and always loved to act out tons of different characters. Creation of character drives me—understanding or creating the life of someone that might seem different on the surface, but finding the similarities that can connect you. As a young girl, I was also a gymnast, and was always interested in health and helping others. When I put my mind to it, I found a great liking for the sciences, so I eventually went to medical school. For filmmaking, my goal was to help express and create from a female perspective in my own way.
SECRET TO MY SUCCESS: Always dream as well as act; act on something as well as dream. Don’t fall into the trap of letting preconceived barriers define what you “should or should not” be doing. We all do sometimes but snap out of it and don’t listen; that is how you can achieve what you know deep down you are capable of.
Actress/model: Janel Tanna @janeltanna
PR for Janel Tanna: Ivonne Camacho @AbsolutModerne
Photographer: Vikram Pathak @vikrampathak
Stylist: Violetta Malakh @violettamalakh
Makeup: Leyda using makeup by Chanel, @leydabeauty, @chanelofficial
Hair: Jose Chavarria using Oribe, @josechavarria_, @oribe
Dress: dur doux
Florida, Los Angeles, and Anchorage, Alaska
BBC STUDIOS/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL
“LIFE BELOW ZERO”
MY CAREER: I am the production supervisor of “Life Below Zero” shows, so I’m responsible for the daily operations of the shows. Everything that has to do with how we shoot the show falls in my purview. That includes our field crew, cameras, outdoor and personal equipment, scheduling, insurance, payroll, inventory, logistics (which in Alaska, keeps you on your toes in itself–think small prop planes, ski planes, float planes, helicopters, snow machines, ATVs, etc.), and then tracking and managing all the costs it takes to get the job done. In essence, we are the support system for the creative team that goes into the field and captures the beauty of Alaska and tells the stories of the people who live off the land there.
IN THE BEGINNING: I actually fell into the TV industry when I moved to LA. My brother was in film and television in NY and had done a couple jobs in LA, and just reached out to give them my info as a production assistant should they need it. [I worked] a day or two, here and there. One of those companies was looking for someone to answer phones, get coffee, etc.–and I got a shot! The people on that team were/are my most valued mentors; they taught me more than I could have imagined. The pace of TV, the skillset, mindset, and work ethic needed to be in production all fit with my personality and interests pretty much immediately. But working in Alaska became kind of a niche for me—the landscape, content and people who you come across are especially remarkable.
SECRET TO MY SUCCESS: Don’t panic, and don’t take it personally!
CO-FOUNDER AND CEO
MY BUSINESS: Access79 is challenging traditional fine jewelry retail experiences, which are geared toward men buying women’s jewelry as gifts and overlook the nuanced needs of the main wearer of fine jewelry—women. Our mission is to help women feel confident and educated in their choices, including how and where they shop for fine jewelry. Founded and led by female, AAPI luxury industry veterans, Access79 is a tech-enabled marketplace and try-before-you-buy service that introduces women to ethically sourced and produced fine jewelry pieces created by independent, small-batch designers and craftspeople who prioritize uniqueness of design with everyday versatility.
IN THE BEGINNING: I wanted to flip the antiquated, intimidating, and inequitable experience of luxury shopping on its head. Traditional luxury brands reserve the privilege of shopping from home for the uber-wealthy, who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars with the brand. Access79 is democratizing the jewelry-buying experience by giving all women the opportunity to try pieces at home before committing. We partnered with 11 female physician-scientist clients, many of whom were and still are on the frontlines of the pandemic, to design a limited-edition S-C-I-E-N-C-E necklace. The goal of the campaign is to celebrate the win of science above all else in the last 18 months and to give our community a way to show their belief in science.
SECRET TO MY SUCCESS: I practice risk-taking. I take risks on a daily basis, but I don’t think of risk as an all or nothing, now or never proposition. You need to consciously decide to take risks and should start by taking small risks and then, as you get comfortable, take bigger and bigger ones.
Monroe Township, NJ
NEWS 12 NETWORKS
MY CAREER: I currently anchor the morning news show for News 12 New Jersey. I also cover education stories, highlighting some of the amazing programs that our Jersey schools offer. I also get to have a little fun on our “Road Trip: Close to Home” series, which highlights fun places and activities for the entire family to visit in New Jersey.
IN THE BEGINNING: Both of my parents worked in television production. I grew up on the set of “All My Children.” You could say that TV production is in my blood! In college at Boston University, I fell in love with news and the rush of being able to tell stories that could help change a person’s life.
SECRET TO MY SUCCESS: Determination, being a team player, always willing to try something new, never accepting “no,” and being able to exist on a few hours of sleep!
Los Angeles, CA
ROCK & ROLL CANDLE CO.
MY BUSINESS: I am the founder of Rock & Roll Candle Co., which are scents inspired by your favorite songs. We are handmade, hand-poured coconut wax candles crafted to aromatically connect your sight and smell with music to your ears.
IN THE BEGINNING: In the midst of my 10+ year career of producing concerts (arenas, amphitheaters, and stadiums) in So Cal, plus touring with Lady Gaga (the last two years), I had an idea to connect iconic songs with scented candles. How had this not been done before?! Alas, Rock & Roll Candle Co. was conceived.
SECRET TO MY SUCCESS: Our candles are unique and appeal to not only candle-lovers but also music lovers. Not to mention, having a strong background in music really helps. These candles are the amalgamate of my life.
KARA MARIE Mack
KATU (ABC PORTLAND)
MY CAREER: I am the television host of “Afternoon Live” on ABC in Portland every day at 2pm. As a versatile broadcaster, I bring my past experiences of feature, entertainment, and sports reporting to a lifestyle show that covers it all. I love that I have a job that allows me to meet and share the passions of all people, raise awareness and compassion, and be a positive light every afternoon.
IN THE BEGINNING: When I was a very young girl, I watched our local Portland lifestyle shows, and it built a deep passion to want to be the person to bring a smile and heartfelt stories to those at home. This is a dream come true.
SECRET TO MY SUCCESS: Grit, faith, curiosity, and just a true love for people keeps me grounded and working hard to do the very best I can daily. I have four kids, so it’s a balancing act, but I am so very grateful to have incredible support from my parents and friends. Waking up feeling blessed and excited to tackle every day helps conquer (usually!) the many stresses and complications thrown my way.
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