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Inspiring Stories from Outside the 610

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 rising stars from outside the 610 below.

J. Mel “Melvis” Jarnagin

My wife and I started the business about four years ago after we purchased the property in Seabrook. We found a half-acre property that had a 100yo home and was dual zoned for business, it was perfect. We began by roasting coffee and making cold brew kits, we went to every farmer’s market wo could in the area and started selling our coffee, and worked on building on-line coffee sales as well. Our goal was to build a restaurant and we set about to do that. First, we converted the old greenhouse to a coffee roastery, then we took the old generator/wellhouse and expanded it to create the coffee shop. Through Hurricanes and Pandemics, we persevered and were finally able to open Damn Fine Coffee and Fried Pies in July of 2020. The concept was to make something new and unique, I grew up eating my grandmother’s fried pies and saw that there was virtually nowhere to buy them anymore. And we knew that they would pair perfectly with our fresh roasted coffee. Read more>>

Wanda Stephanow

As I look back over my life and ponder on how I became an influencer, I guess it was really always in the cards for me. One sweet memory comes to mind as my family and I just recently watched some old movies and I must have been around 12 years old, hogging the video camera and sharing “made up sponsored” videos while decorating our Christmas tree. Read More>>


Based in Houston, TX, Carriesa is on the rise as an acclaimed and talented R&B/Soul & EDM Artist, Songwriter, and Producer. Carriesa embarked on her musical voyage of artistic discovery as a youngster, growing up listening to a variety of musicians and genres that have played an influential role in shaping her signature sound. Carriesa seeks to offer something different and unique to her fans by creating and performing original music that she is proud to call their own. Over the years, she has produced an eclectic mix of studio and recordings that are synonymous with her signature sound. She has graduated from MediaTech Institute Houston with a degree in Audio Engineering. Carriesa is an artist who is passionate about using her talents. She grew up in church (mostly as a church musician), and throughout the years, she has used her talents of singing and songwriting to encourage, inspire and uplift others. Appealing to fans worldwide, Carriesa has recorded a wonderful collection of songs that are a testament to the depth and diversity of her creativity and hard work. Read more>>

Chelsea Neille

Golden Hippie Co came from the need of wanting to try something outside the box while wanting to have my own business. At the time, I was going to college and had the idea but never went through with it, back in 2014. After years of being out of college and working in various industries, the idea of starting my own business began to come back to me. I was watching a lot YouTube entrepreneurs channels and something sparked in me to start my own business. I began soul searching into what would I provide, then it hit… Accessories. Fashion Accessories have always made my outfits go from dull to bright and gave me confidence to feel like I could conquer the world, and I wanted to help people reach that feeling. I then began to really soul search and I came up with the theme of the 70s. I’ve always felt a connection to that time period, a lot of movements, fashion, and (real) influencers came from that time period, and the feelings of time period were good vibes, social justice, and thinking outside the box, which I ultimately wanted to incorporate into my brand!. Read more>>

Travion James

Travion James, founder and CEO of Global Security Advancements, was born on March 1, 1988, in Settegast Heights Village, just Northeast of Houston, Texas. Growing up, Travion was surrounded by gun violence, drug dealing, prostitution, and gang activity, so the obstacles he faced was like World War 2 in his eyes. While attending Northforest ISD, Travion was classified as a gifted and talented student and by age eleven, he was awarded the Houston area young scholars award two consecutive years in a row by the local Houston chapter. He was also crowned King of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee while attending Shadydale Elementary. In addition to his awards, he was an all-around athlete, playing sports such as football, baseball and basketball. In 2003, Travion was still performing at the top of his class until he encountered and began engaging with the wrong crowd. He was pressured into proving himself in a society of hard knocks leading him to dropping out of high school and experiencing unfortunate encounters with law enforcement as an adolescent African American male. Read more>>

Emily Green

When I was a little girl, I knew I always had a passion for anything involving artistry and beauty. In primary through elementary school, It started off with me trying to enter in art shows for school contests, drawing portraits, teaching myself the color wheel and how to shade. But around that age, you start to think “well, what do I really want to be when I get older?” So, around that time, I never knew how I could make a career out of being an just an artist at that age. I just knew that I had a burning passion for something! Some of you don’t know, but many of you that have booked with me do. I was adopted by two of the most amazing women EVER! If you’ve ever scheduled any appointments with me, I know most of y’all have seen my parents walking through the halls, asking my clients if they’d like a water or helping me wash brushes in between each client. Growing up, they’ve always taught me to believe in myself and put my mind to whatever I wanted to do. My parents have always let me express myself & explore my creativity very early on in life! So, anything you could name, I tried to do! I’ve always been a project type of person. Read more>>

Monica Peynado

As with many small businesses in 2020, Well Lit Candles was born during the Covid-19 pandemic. I was looking for a way to maintain my own mental and spiritual wellness as so many unprecedented events were happening in such a small period of time. My love for scented candles and a rejuvenated spiritual walk with God led me to start my own candle business. I want to share with others the newfound wellness I found during this stressful time through my candle-making and intentional time with God. As a business owner, I hope to help others achieve their desired level of wellness through the calmness of a lit candle and spiritual inspiration. I think the name of the business has the most meaning that many people may not even realize. “Well Lit” actually takes on three different meanings: 1. The most obvious is that every candle lover respects a candle that is well lit. 2. When separating the two words, we have well and lit. Read more>>

Jessica Mitchell

I’ve always been the simple girl; lashes, mascara, lip gloss. In 2017, I bought my first bottle of Maybelline FIT. And the rest is history. I started practicing on myself and a few friends here and there. I watched numerous of YouTube videos, staying up late at night, perfecting my craft. Read more>>

Richard Cox

I got started with my audio/video venture back in 2002 when I was in the military and studying broadcasting on the collegiate level. While in college, I was introduced to recording voiceovers and audio editing on tape machines for radio commercials. In the event of studying broadcasting, I got deployed to Iraq – OIF/OEF operations serving in the U.S. Army. While overseas, my roommate at the time saw me playing around with a music loop-based software at the time called “MAGIX” Music Maker and he suggested that I try out a music creation DAW called, Propellerheads “Reason” (v2.5). After playing around with it, I also discovered the art of recording vocals and started learning Steinberg “Cubase” and I was hooked to the art of audio recording! LOL, About three months later I had a full-blown studio in Iraq providing a “make-shift” recording studio for aspiring artists over there in Iraq, S/o to all my battle buddies over there that was apart, specifically C-Dash and PUGG, yall know who you are LOL! Fast-forward to 2006, after coming back to home soil from Iraq. Read more>>

Jon Ashcraft

I am a pastor at a local church in Pasadena. I moved here in March of 2015 from Arkansas. Greater Houston has more people than the entire state of Arkansas, so it was a big change for us. Our oldest daughter had just graduated high school, our son was entering his senior year, and our youngest two daughters were 15 and 14. It was a big change at a significant time in our lives. We moved, because this opportunity opened up and we wanted to be where we could make the biggest impact for as many people as possible. Our lives have always been about serving and loving people, helping them develop into the full potential of their lives and purpose. This seemed to be an excellent place for that dream to come true because there are so many people we have the opportunity to serve. We pastor CT Church in Pasadena. CT stands for Community Transformation. And that’s our desire. That because our church and our people are here, that we are able to help others experience the fullness of their potential. Read more>>

Fred Floyd, Jr of Bob

I guess you could say I got my start at birth, because I am the 3rd generation working in our business. My grandpa started Bob’s Truck Care in 1975, and I have never known life without it. I come from a family of entrepreneurs, and self-employment is what I’ve known most of my life. I started out working in our families Hallmark Store’s and Christian Bookstores, that we owned through most of the 90’s and into the early 2000’s. When we closed our retail stores in 2004, the auto repair shop is the only thing that lasted once the dust settled. At that time I went to work for various companies in order to support my wife who was completing her degree at the time. In all I spent about 11 years outside of the family business until I returned in early 2015. At that time I had been working as an operator at one of the local refineries, and we went on strike, so my dad put me to work so I could make ends meet. After about a month of being back with my family, I felt that this is where I needed to be, so I never went back to the plant. Read more>>

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