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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.

Ebanie Wilson

I started Fluuter Fashion after the pandemic hit the US. After everything went under lockdown, I wanted to have the advantage of working from home and owning something for myself. I’ve always had a passion for style and beauty, so I decided to open a boutique. Fluuter became an outlet for me creatively and financially during lockdown. I wanted to provide an experience for my customers that reflects my own personal style and is authentic to me. Read more>>

Joey Selan

My brother Ryan and I have been playing music since we were little kids. We grew up playing in our school jazz band and eventually began writing our own music. I went to school at UT Austin where I fell in love with the live music scene. I became more and more passionate about making a career in music and convinced Ryan to move out to Austin once I graduated. That’s when The Lagoons officially formed. We started recording some demos and uploaded them to SoundCloud. We decided to invest and professionally record a few songs at 512 Studio in Austin. This round of songs ended up becoming Gems EP and included our song “California”. “California” started gaining traction in the blog world and via Spotify editorial playlists. Since then, we’ve released two studio EPs, one studio album, and our sophomore album will be dropping on January 7th. Read more>>

Maddie Torres Reyes

I started off baking as a hobby with a friend in high school, we’d make cupcakes for our friend’s birthdays, and soon everyone wanted some cupcakes from us. We wouldn’t make anything special, we just used the box mixes and the frosting from the store, but I think everyone just appreciated that we took the time to make something for them. Once I started college, I was looking for another way to make a little extra money aside from my part time job. Everyone always told me I should sell my cupcakes, and I did. I started off charging very little, still using box mixes and frosting from a can. But then eventually, I started wanting to make stuff from scratch, I started with frosting and then with cake batters. I started doing cakes and other things like cupcake cones, cookies, fudge, etc, along with the cupcakes. Then I started learning how to make different designs and working with different items like fondant. I went by many years taking orders and fitting them in between homework, two jobs, going to class, and having a social life. Read more>>

Angelica Rivera

I am the founder and CEO of the Makeup Vault HTX. I founded The Makeup Vault in 2018 after being in the industry as a makeup artist for two years. During this time, I had worked in many different projects and sectors in the professional makeup industry- including film makeup, commercials, and bridal event makeup. I quickly cultivated a passion for bridal makeup and the feedback I was getting from my bridal clients was overwhelming, to say the least. Shortly after, I knew this was the path I wanted to take and it has been an amazing journey. Read more>>

Prince King

My Airbnb journey started in Dallas in 2018. I was living outside of Downtown at the time but I wanted a place in the heart of Downtown. I was approved for the new apartment but I wasn’t sure how I was going to pay all the rent. It took me about a month to furnish the space and list it on Airbnb. As soon as I published it, I received my first booking in 3 minutes. Right then, I knew I was on to something. Then the bookings kept pouring in. It was tough in the beginning because when guests checked in, I had to find somewhere to stay for that day. Most days I would keep myself busy all day and then stay in the Clubhouse/ Computer room at night. That was my second home since my apartment was rented out everyday. I slept in my car many nights inside my building’s garage until the guest checked out. If I wanted a good night’s sleep, I would rent a Private Room on Airbnb for around $30. I started being booked everyday, so I saved my money and got another unit. I kept saving and scaling up, adding more units. Read more>>

Desiree Wright

I started “playing “ in makeup casually on myself a few years after I graduated college. (Around 2014). I was never one of the lucky ones who knew what they wanted to do at a young age, I got into a relationship after I graduated college and got stuck into the work, home, repeat life. Everything was routined. I mentioned to my boyfriend at the time that I felt stuck and that not knowing my purpose or having a passion for anything was taking its toll on me. Everyday after work, I would watch YouTube videos of people doing their makeup, hair or anything beauty. That was my happy place. That Christmas he had given me my first makeup palette/case. That kind of gave me my push. I begin practicing different looks on myself, my friends and my sister. I would just post myself and the look I did that day on my social media platforms. I got great feedback, So I would do a few looks on myself a week and post them. People would say “do mine !” But I wasn’t confident enough yet. I decided to finally take clients after I felt comfortable with other people’s faces. (Which was about 2 years after. I never thought this would be my career but I ended up loving everything about it. I’ve been doing makeup professionally now for almost 6 years. Read more>>

Alejandro Guerra

I started creating videos back in 2015 on an iPhone 7. I was a broke junior in high school so I used what I had access to. I was creating vlogs and YouTube content just for the fun of it but in that process, I found that I love filmmaking. It allows me to express my creativity and it’s something I can never get tired of learning about. Right after high school, I started an internship at Studio 713 and right off the bat I was thrown into bigger budget video shoots. This showed a whole new side of the business I had never seen because I was used to working with entry-level gear so I was sold on my future career after the first day. After a couple of years of interning there and working temporary jobs, I started working with a real estate investment group being their media guy. Shooting videos, taking photos, recording podcasts, running the livestream, and constantly learning something new about real estate. Read more>>

Tiara M. Tucker

Before I even knew what passion meant, I now realize that at a very young age I had a passion for communicating, advocacy, networking, and empowerment that has carried over into adulthood. When I was a little girl, I would dream of being a businesswoman with my own desk and briefcase. I would even pull up a chair and use my dresser as my desk because I loved the thought of a desk until I finally got my first one. I also loved to speak and represent my classmates and school. Now, decades later, I can say that many of my dreams and visualizations as a young child growing up in Kankakee, IL have manifested. I can now proudly say that my big dreaming and hard work is paying off. As a result of not giving up on my dreams or myself, I am a sought-after PR and communications strategist; international speaker; communications and speaking coach; community, social justice and mental health advocate; and the visionary founder of Tiara PR Network, LLC and Speak That! Movement, Inc. Read more>>

Taylor and Toya

Taylor & Toya are two Houston professional women that indulge in “Sophisticated Ratchetivity”. Their main purpose in starting The HeauxBag Podcast was to share their stories of being successful healthcare professionals while still retaining their authentic selves when it comes to participating in the “Hot Girl culture”. Many people often frown upon & find it difficult, but they manage to do both unproblematically. The podcast focuses its unbiased and often unpopular viewpoints on various types of relationship situations that mainly revolve around romance, family, & friendships. These 30 somethings want the culture to know it’s okay to live life as one sees fit, but please take caution by avoiding some of the misguided mistakes they’ve made along the way. Read more>>

Alina Urrutia

Honestly, I was afraid to step out on my own. I was working at Dillard’s as a manager/full timer, and I just realized one day that I needed to start my career and do what I love. It took me a while to get where I am at today but I believe if I didn’t have those stepping stones in life I wouldn’t know how far I could make it. I would always work an extra job and then at the salon for myself as a part timer. It wasn’t until I got married and my husband told me I should go on my own. So I finally made that decision to just do it. It wasn’t easy and it’s still scary at time. But now I decanted myself doing lash extensions, lash lifts, body waxing, and recently started brow lamination. I also have promoted my own lash strips and working on my own online website for that. I am not yet where I want to be but I’m not stopping until I get there. Read more>>

Kevin Anderson

Before we became a business, Sadie was dealing with some health issues. Her fur was coarse, she had hives all over, smelled like an old bag of Fritos, and she was always itching. In a desperate attempt to fix these issues before giving her an allergy pill or injection, we switched her to homemade raw meals. Within that month, she was brand new! Fast forward some time, my girlfriend and I, and all 3 dogs, were watching a documentary on the pet food industry. By the end of that documentary, it dawned on me there was a gap in the industry for pet food made using strictly whole foods, and no artificial supplements. We also knew there were more dogs like Sadie, and owners wanting to find a wholesome alternative to dry foods. And that night, Sadie’s Select was born! We are self funded, and have worked night and day to make sure our “Pack” is always fed. You can find us in local farmer’s markets, doing deliveries around Houston and surrounding areas, we’re in some local stores, and we even ship! If you need a healthy alternative, or even just some treats or toppers for your beloved pets’ meals, we got you covered!. Read more>>

Shaniese Ruffin

Discover Your Best Self started from a desire to fill a need in the community for women to have a place to come together, share their stores, learn and take something tangible they could use. This community was formed by creating activations in a form of a summit for women. These were successful if you look at it from the perspective of people attended, they bought tickets, learned and came back wanting more. But in my eyes, it was not a far enough reach, and I couldn’t do it alone. I wanted more with less footwork. During this time in my life, like many people who choose to change how they impact the world, I had been through personal relationship turmoil, defeat, restart of a career, loss of confidence, a new baby and now a divorce on the horizon. All I wanted was a safe space for people, not just women, to have a way to share experiences so we have a way to learn from those stories. Read more>>

Kleisha Brown

Poetry was my first art form. The desire to illustrate what I was writing and thinking because I was uncomfortable speaking. Turning my poetry into visual art was naturally my choice of expression.
So looking through my artworks is equivalent to turning the pages of my mind. My dreams, sometimes intrusive thoughts, my nightmares, my rants, fantasies and realities. I paint them all. I explore them. Conquering new perspectives and taking my collectors along for the ride. In 2016, I participated in my very first art showcase. Today my work can be seen in local interactive museums and various cities across the country. Read more>>

Isabella Radovan

I got my first job at 16 working at a clothing boutique and that is where I learned so much and fell in love with fashion and the retail industry. From there I started working at Apparel markets learning the wholesale side. I then went to college at Texas A&M University in College Station. I worked at a store called Charli, where my plan was to be a fashion buyer at Neiman Marcus but then decided to take a different route. After graduating college I worked for large retail companies such as Kendra Scott and Athleta to name a few. During this time, I started to work in the tv industry covering sports, and in 2020 when covid hit the sports industry was making cuts and had there was nothing to cover since there were no games. I was not sure what I was going to do but I knew I always wanted to have my own online clothing store and I was slowly working on opening one during my downtime before the covid hit. So my mom said to me why don’t you use this time to start the store. Read more>>

Asada Lloyd

Honestly, ideas after ideas are always going through my head. For about a year I contemplated with myself on what I wanted my profession to be. Working for a company was a great stepping stone for me but I wanted to be the individual to own the company. Then, I finally stumbled across Cavitation body sculpting…and I knew that’s what I wanted to do immediately. So I changed my mindset, and executed a plan. Ever since then, I’ve been building and growing. With any new business, of course, comes obstacles. But I am committed to the journey. And I highly recommend to anyone else who is; committed to bettering themselves, passionate about anything, and business minded to follow that dream. Read more>>

Evangelyn Reyes

As a kid, I had always loved drawing and sketching. It was my escape from my chaotic home life so art has always been a part of who I am. In April of 2013, I had a friend contact me that a reality TV personality (who happened to be on a current hit show) was coming to town and needed someone to do her makeup. I had always done friends’ makeup, but had no training on how to conduct a professional makeup artist application on someone at all. Of course, I said yes. Did her makeup and she loved it! My partner encouraged me to attend make up school and start my own freelance business. In 2014 I attended Celebrity Make Up Artist Priscilla Ono’s Make up course (based in Los Angeles, CA) and learned so much from her. She is amazing and so talented. A month after completion I filed the paperwork to begin my own Make up freelance business called “Dust My Face”. The term “Dust” came from my friends and I being young homeless transgender girls on the streets who eventually all lived together in a one bedroom apartment with a drag queen a little older than us that took us in. We would do our makeup for a night out and it would be like “ohhh, she’s DUSSSSTED” lol. Here we are 7 years later and I’ve traveled all over for work including Hollywood, Ca and New York. Read more>>

Jamie Simon

I’m a Houston Barber & Product Developer. The Beginning..There was a barbershop about 20 yards from the home I grew up in. Seeing people getting their haircut and paying attention to how happy they were vs how they went in. Sparked my interest. I was around 15yrs old. It was like magic. After getting many haircuts from my grandfather, who was not a barber. I asked him. Can I borrow his clippers.. He looked at me and asked, what was I going to do. Cut my own hair of course. I wasn’t a barber either. I started practicing on anyone that would sit in the folding chair under the carport. I called it my barber chair. My professional journey started in 2011. After working a host of dead-end jobs. And still cutting a little hair is my leisure. I realized a good haircut, listening to people talk about their day. experiences and life lessons helped boost one’s self-esteem. Although, each person had their own issues. It helped me to form a vision of the “barber life” I wanted. Read more>>

Alexa Glasser

My creativity stemmed from my childhood. I always loved writing, drawing, painting and creating. I grew up in the era of beauty gurus, YouTube and the launch of beauty blenders so as you would imagine, I took to loving make up and creating different looks right away. I was the girl in high school who would get up two hours early before school so that I could make sure I had enough time to blend my eyeshadow just right. I loved make up early on and it was always something I really enjoyed playing around with. In 2016 I took a job at a cosmetics counter for Nordstrom and that’s really where I got my start for practicing on people other than myself. It was during my time there that I had the opportunity to work with so many different skin tones, eye/face shapes and skin textures. Read more>>

Jonathan Troen

I spent 20 years in the entertainment business in Los Angeles. I was living the life of my dreams, interviewing the biggest stars in the world, except I wasn’t happy. And I couldn’t figure why. I went on a search to see what was happening, and I discovered I wasn’t alone. There were a lot of people who were massively “successful” on the outside, but not so happy on the inside. This is when I really started studying. Studying people, studying myself, studying success and what it really means. Read more>>

Ebony Stevenson

After graduating high school in 2018, I wanted to do more with my time until I went to college. I worked at a retail store and I would always say a few kind words to the women customers I engaged with at check out. I wanted each of them to walk out the store with a smile on their face. One weekend I started to brainstorm things women use on a daily basis and take to the store with them. My final idea was lipgloss, so I created my own lipgloss line, Relicious Lips. It is now been three full years of having my own brand. I am where I am today because I continued to grow my social media platform to promote and market. Read more>>

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