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Inspiring Stories from Downtown

The heart of our mission at VoyageHouston is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of the Houston’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool. Check out Downtown’s rising stars below.

Bridgett Badillo

My journey began about a year and a half before graduation. I was finishing my undergrad at the University of Houston and I had managed (with the help of my parents) to handle every semester without taking a single loan. However, that last year was proving to be the most difficult yet. If you knew me then, you’d know that I was always stretching myself too thin. My work cycled through different pairings of data entry, waitressing, overnight clerk, babysitter, and cell phone retailer. This was in addition to a full-time school schedule while also balancing church ministry on the weekends. I knew I was going to need a better solution to support my life and debt-free graduation goals. My mom had been in the mortgage industry for years (still is) and suggested I get my real estate license. Not only would it make an impression on my resume, but I wouldn’t be tearing my hair out trying to pay for school. Read more>>

Kesha Carter

I was adopted out of Dallas, TX and grew up heavy in theatre and the performing arts. I began my comedy career through social media by an absolute accident. Or as I like to see it as Devine appointment. While at work on a layover, I got the crazy idea to buy a random blue wig and scarf to resemble a flight attendant character and I turned on my iPad to record the randomness is coming from my heart about the job I love so much. From that moment, Swanesha was born! She hit the internet and immediately went viral and reaches the hearts of many with relatable comedy on and off the airplane. Read more>>

Alan Michael

The idea came from just doing what came naturally, which is creating and wardrobe styling. I tried every option available that was considered quote on quote “road to success” to other standards but I didn’t pan out for me that way. I had to hit rock bottom to see what my true purpose was then started building from there. Which is to inspire/show a different perspective for the youth and the world by telling stories through style that convey messages of self-empowerment, abstract thoughts, and powerful ideas. At the same time, using the culmination of the past infused with the present. I’m really here to help; rather, it’s providing exceptional clothing selections or bouncing around ideas. Spring 2014 is when I started coming up with how I was going to leave my mark on the world. By writing down all my thoughts and executing everything I wrote down. Read more>>

Kimberly Valentine

I am born and raised. I am a mother to an amazing nine-year-old who keeps me occupied along with my full-time job within the healthcare industry in a supervisor role. I must say I always had a love for fashion at a very young age. I would always get compliments from people saying my clothes were pretty or telling me, “Kimberly, this is something you would wear.” lol. So I said to myself, well, I love fashion and I’m passionate about it let me start a business and enjoy creating. I always wanted to be my own boss and I always told myself I’m going to start a clothing line/boutique. I’m going to do this and that. And in 2018 is when I took that leap of faith and I knew it was the time to start indulging in a few passions of mine. So Kimbella Fashion was underway. Read more>>

Donald Bruce Jackson Jr.

Well, I started in Beaumont, TX, my father Donald Bruce Jackson, Sr he was a minister at Mount Gilead Baptist Church and my mom Pamela Washington was in the Army so I was in a very strict household. The music I could only hear was the gospel in Barry white. Until 2007 when I heard pain buy you a drank, then I decided then I wanted to do music I got his app and everything to try to copy his voice. I was in the choir at church so sing was like second nature to me. I wouldn’t say I am the best but I make beautiful sounds and music out of voice so I stuck to it. I had a lot of struggles in life as well. When I was 15, my mama and dad got a divorce and it really cut my family in half at the time, I was playing football for the Westbrook Bruins butt had to quite my Ten Grade year because of living situations. Read more>>

Hattie Vork

Ever since Jesse and I first met, we talked about our shared desire to run our own business, something we are both passionate about that we can build together. We would analyze different industries and watch Shark Tank every week. When we started dating, we would go on long road trips driving for days through different states brainstorming about different concepts and inventions. Jesse deployed to Afghanistan with the Special Forces National Guard when I was pregnant with our first child. It was tough to be apart, but we would facetime and talk for hours about our future business. We wanted to be aligned to Health & Wellness somehow but mostly. Read more>>

Brennen Thompson

It all started with the love for music at a very young age, my ear for music is a gift from God that was molded by my intermediate family and friends. I would always listen to music for the sounds and feeling it brings, which eventually led to me wanting to put sounds and tunes together to see the feeling it brings out of people. I’ve been DJ’n since 2013. Started in the Baton Rouge, LA area from Southern University to Louisiana State University. From House Parties to Concerts. You name it. I’ve accomplished it. It doesn’t stop there. Next is on a GLOBAL scale. Read more>>

Dorian Aims

My company was inspired back in 2016 and started with photography. I was in Japan for Thanksgiving week on a school trip with Texas Southern University’s Model United Nations team. The opportunity to travel across the world and visit a country with so much history and solemnness sparked a creative side of myself that I had never embraced. I was given the school camera to hold and ended up using it the entire trip. After I got back to Houston, I started shooting landscape and then transitioned to portraits. I practiced with my family and then as I got better I started asking people to model for me. The following summer, I was in El Paso doing research in a Kinesiology lab but ended up focusing on Photoshop and adobe illustrator. It was then that I decided to make my first T-shirt design and debuted it at Arebellion’s Summer Fling Summer Party. I got a lot of dope feedback but I had to go back to school so I took a hiatus. Read more>>

India Young

In 2017, I randomly developed eczema dark spots/patches which caused my skin to become dry, irritated and cracked. All of which made me feel super insecure about showing off my skin. I invested so much money into store-bought products, and the results weren’t worth it. While I found some products to be better than others, they all lacked long-term moisture and actual absorption. So, I began to combine multiple in store ingredients at home to create my own formulations. In no way did I intend to create an actual business from it, until a close friend suggested it. Because of my struggles and this new idea, I wanted to create a brand whose primary focus was moisture. Read more>>

Tanya Roberson

Archangels Aroma & Co. Candle Collection became a reality during the COVID pandemic. It originally was supposed to be a family venture but it didn’t go as planned. I continued to research, order & test materials & was enjoying the satisfaction from the results of the candles. Previously graduating mortuary school, I didn’t anticipate candle making would also be apart of my journey. Practicing and posting my test candles on social media people would inquire if I was selling candles. I would reply I’m just testing candles. As I continued to practice & test; the great feedback made me go for it. Orders was coming in from every angle. I started with no labels just a great product in a jar with sticky labels to differentiate the scents. With great reviews and daily orders, the righteous thing to do was too professionally brand it & keep going. Archangels Aroma & Co. then became a business entity & a reality. Read more>>

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