Phoenix, Arizona, may be a big place, but it is one of the leading cities in the nation for producing small businesses and entrepreneurs.
We love to support local businesses! But how many startups or side hustles do you know that struggle to get the exposure they need to generate profit?
Also, how do you decide which small business to support? How do you know how one cookie baker or t-shirt designer compares to the next when everyone is a newbie and reviews haven’t rolled in yet?
As you may know, National Small Business Week just passed. Lucky for you, I am one of those (obnoxious) people who celebrates these things.
I’m sharing a list of Phoenix based entrepreneurships and local businesses developed and run by people I actually know IRL (people still say that, right?).
Oh, and if you know a local startup business that would like to be featured, have them reach out to me @miss._.aniss!
After reading a library book about medicinal herbs and natural healing as a young teenager, Destiny Hamid became fascinated with how our food can prevent illness and support healing. She thought she’d be able to satisfy this interest by becoming a certified personal trainer. However, this profession was leading to physical burnout due to the strenuous expectations of the fitness world.
“I knew there had to be a balance between fitness, food, and lifestyle,” she recalls. Thus began her research and eventual enrollment into the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN). There, she learned the true definition of holistic health, regarding the importance of keeping harmony in every area of our lifestyles.
Now, at just 22, and recently qualified with an additional hormone health focused certification as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Hamid has established her very own practice: Destined for Wellness (she gets my vote for the play on words).
“My goal is to help people live a healthful life that isn’t fueled by fear of food, or pressure to be fit, but rather a love for healing themselves.” Destiny firmly believes we are all bio-individuals, meaning one body’s needs varies from another. “In a way I think this approach takes away some of the pressure that the media feeds us. Fad diets, the newest workout, miracle product, et cetera.”
So, what’s next on Destined for Wellness’ agenda? Expect live cooking classes, women’s health sessions which primarily focus on hormonal balance and fertility, and even a few published e-books, if the opportunities present themselves. Furthermore, Destiny is a consultant for Beautycounter, a company providing non-toxic skincare and other beauty products. Also, if you were wondering (you were) she promotes the use of essential oil brands like doTerra and Saje.
To book a health coaching session with Destiny, you can contact her via social media @destinedforwellness or her website. Although she prefers to meet up with a client at least once if they live locally, she is able to conduct sessions over apps like Skype or Facetime as well.
Do you remember building blanket forts in your living room as a kid? That was one of my favorite activities growing up.
Well, that’s what Jessica Montoya, mom of three littles, was doing when the epiphany came to her to start AZ Slumber Squad. After scouring ideas on the web, she came across indoor tent and teepee themes. She knew not only would her own kids benefit, but so would the whole family! “It took us 8 months of saving, planning, building, learning to sew, et cetera, but we finally did it…”
Jessica herself designed all three sleepover tent sets, including a “Sweet Dreams” theme featuring donut pillows and banners, “Camo Nights” complete with camouflage tent coverings and “log” pillows, and a “Mermaid Lagoon” that comes with all things iridescent. All sets come with full bedding and décor. The best part is she handles all the setup and tear down!
Applying her own motherly wisdom, Montoya’s policy requires parental guidance. Because we have to say it: there is not an age limit or range, but these are intended for actual children. I know, I’m sorry, I’m just as bummed as you are.
The most traditional package is for a party of 5 at $250. Additional tents are +$50 per tent and fewer than 5 tents are -$40. She also requires a small travel fee for any slumber party location outside 35 miles from zip code 85143, where Jessica is based.
Check out AZ Slumber Squad’s social media pages for promotional deals and discounts. To book a sleepover ensemble, go to www.azslumbersquad.com, call or text (480) 459-3443, or send a private message through Facebook.com/azslumbersquad or @azslumbersquad .
3. Bid Phoenix
When asked why they started an online auction company in the Phoenix area, Andrew Kennedy and Gabriel Harris responded simply: no one should have to pay full price.
By offering brand new or gently used items for resale at a wholesale value, they can do just that. But how do they manage such a deal? It’s rather a unique, niche process. Basically, it requires making contracts with local, well-known retailers to obtain liquidated assets.
Their inventory is currently stocked with a variety of household goods from top brands like Husky, Dyson, Magic Chef and Ryobi, to name a few. From general hardware and hand tools to power equipment and small appliances, and eventually anything and everything, Kennedy and Harris will tell you half the fun is the assortment of products they receive. If it can be categorized under the umbrella of general merchandise, they intend to have it on hand!
Although Bid Phoenix is new to the local community, neither individual is green in the industry. Harris has dual degrees in business and entrepreneurship. Kennedy formerly was the COO of an auction company out east before recently relocating to Phoenix. Additionally, both men have extensive history in and a like-passion for customer service. They thoroughly enjoy making connections and building trust with their buyers. They believe in being as transparent as possible with customers.
At their present stage, they aren’t quite ready to conduct full-blown auctions. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t in business! View all items for sale and reach out to them through their Facebook page or Instagram account @bidphx. Cash, card, Square or Venmo are accepted for purchases.
For those of you who grew up in a large family like Candace Tamblingson did, you totally get that 25-30 guests is the norm for get-togethers! Thus, by default, event planning and coordinating are simply second nature for her. Not to mention, she loves it!
Tamblingson coordinated her first wedding in 2010. Weddings were her main focus until about 4 years ago. She was asked to put more birthdays, graduations, and nonprofit events together. She then became inspired to coin the name Legacy AZ Events in honor of her late firstborn son.
Now that she’s organized more themed parties, she acknowledges how rewarding it is to bring a customer’s dream theme to life for them.
However, when asked, Candace admitted the most difficult aspect spread the word about her work in order to build a local following.
As for her top three most frequently asked questions:
- How does pricing work? My pricing is based off what services I am providing the customer.
- Do I provide set up and clean up for an event? That option can be added to any party.
- Am I a full service event planner? I can provide all the vendors to make your event a success. Food, DJ, Event rentals, venue and décor.
In other words, you tell Candace what you want, and she makes it happen within your budget. “I start with having a consultation with each customer to discuss my customer’s vision, event theme and budget. From that consultation I will make an event vision board for them to plan their event.”
Anyone interested in seeing Candace’s work and reading reviews can visit @legacy.az.event.coordinator or her Facebook page. For parties booked between May and July of 2020, she is offering discount packages.
Casey Collins and I attended Grand Canyon University together, years ago, where he played baseball and I took a class about the psychology of baseball for a science credit (no joke). He went on to become an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and started his own personal training company a few years back.
“I’ve always had a passion for positive improvement, and I believe exercising and strength training is an easy way to do that!”
As would be expected, Collins’ desire was to open his own gym. But after dealing with one closed door after another, the idea of taking it to the streets, literally, was born.
That’s right. With an expected grand opening over Memorial Day weekend, That Gym Truck will soon be in a neighborhood near you! The truck will function as a mobile gym that can travel and park anywhere–including a client’s front yard! This could be incredibly game-changing for those who are injured, elderly or unable to leave the house for one reason or another. Can’t make it to the gym? Collins will bring the gym to you. No more excuses.
“My vision is to do group training (teams, companies, et cetera..) and one on one personal training. I believe I will be able to have up to 10 clients at one time, on and off the truck. I have Olympic weight training equipment, dumbbells up to 95lbs, cable machines, lat pull down machine, and two auxiliary racks.”
Like any startup, That Gym Truck has experienced unforeseen bumps in the road of progress. But Collins has taken it all in stride. He’s done his research, too. “The most challenging part has been building the fold out wall. I believe that it is 100% necessary for space, airflow, and [avoiding] congestion.”
Once That Gym Truck is fully operational, a website will accept bookings and payments. Collins will also accept payment through Venmo and Square Space.
To see it to believe it, follow the journey of @that.gym.truck to get the latest updates. Collins would be more than happy to answer any questions you have!
If “jack of all trades” was a legitimate career title, Mitch Alderson would be its owner. His side hustles include both video production and web design. While they may seem like different fields, Mitch discovered clients who required help in one area usually needed help in the other. (Fun fact: Mitch actually developed this blog site!)
So, what’s in a name? “Faraway Southwest was the name of my personal Youtube channel before using the name for my business. I would create short films of weekend adventures and generally experiment with filmmaking techniques. Since 2016, the @farawaysouthwest Instagram page and Youtube channel have been the home for all of my professional projects.”
As far as certifications and degrees go, he may not have a paper to show for it. However, his professional experience speaks for itself. Mitch has been building websites since 2007, and holds a day job in web development. “My filmmaking experience consists of filming live events as a volunteer, as well as many wedding gigs and adventure sport videos.”
In order to fly his camera drone in restricted areas, Alderson earned his Remote Aircraft commercial pilot’s license. He uses Panasonic GH cameras for most projects, and Canon C100’s when in need of something heavy duty. But he states videography is “all in the edit.” Fancy equipment is only part of the creative equation.
While currently laying the foundation for his first podcast, Alderson’s hope for Faraway Southwest is to create more films and collaborate with brands and creators that share his passion for the great outdoors. “Someday I hope to make brand films in a documentary style full time.”
How does one go about booking a videography session or initiating web page construction? “Documentaries and films with a strong central character take the longest to flesh out. Depending on the project, proper planning could take as long as a month in advance.” On the other hand, “web development is all about what you need the site or web app to do.” Once all client requirements are expressed, Mitch can begin coding.
No creative project is the same, so the best way to get in touch is by email, Contact@farawaysouthwest.com. But feel free to check out his sites to get an idea of style and to see reviews!
Last October, stay-at-home wife Sarah Garvey decided to fry up some “bacon and egg” sugar cookies for a breakfast themed family dinner. Spoiler alert: they were a big hit. A business was therefore launched.
What the Food Network and YouTube didn’t teach her, she learned from good ol’ trial and error. “I’m the type of person that likes to follow an exact recipe and have things very precise and that’s what baking is all about.”
Although she has made cakes and macarons (I personally fangirl over her macarons, if that’s even possible), decorated sugar cookies are her mastered specialty right now. For her, watching others melt over her beautiful AND tasty cookie creations is a big plus.
And talk about a science!
First of all, mastering the right icing consistency has not been a cakewalk (pun definitely intended). Apparently, there are three different types of royal icing, and neither one is achieved by any specific measurement.
Then there’s the baking and decorating process. “A set of cookies will take me usually between 2-3 days. The first day I bake and cool the cookies, make and color the icing and usually do the base layer of icing. The royal icing will dry hard but usually needs to dry over night before it’s hard enough for me to do detail work without making indents in the icing.”
As for the future of the business, Sarah intends to keep it small. “It currently takes over my kitchen and dining room 3-5 days out of the week…I don’t want to get so busy with other customers that I have to turn away family or friends.”
Fortunately, however, Garvey plans on hosting cookie decorating classes and sharing her tips @sweet.succulent.treats for the rest of us to glean from.
To order from Sweet Succulent Treats for any occasion (she recently made Mother’s Day and Teacher Appreciation cookie gift packs), head to her social accounts and take a look at her availability. Her pricing is more than reasonable and you really can’t argue with the homemade taste.
I’ve known Kayla Lane Peterson for a decade now, watching her blossom from young girl to womanhood. Like any self-proclaimed big sister, I could never be more proud and supportive of her accomplishments. But in this case, I’ll let her tell her own story.
Why did you start this business?
“I was a broke first year college student and Christmas was coming around and I had no gifts for my family. I watched my grandma cross-stitch these beautiful pieces for each of the grandchildren, and so I learned stitching from her…but I wanted stitching with more freedom and artistic flair, so I turned to embroidery with my basic stitching knowledge. Soon I had a few wearable pieces that I was proud of and posted on my personal account [and] got so much support from my friends and family followers. I took the plunge and started an embroidery Instagram account. All that to say that my small business upstart was not intentional, but looking back I can see the purpose in the work.”
What are your specialties? What new projects do you want to start creating?
“Old School Threads handmade products have included custom designed key chains and brooches, upcycled t-shirts, hats, shoes, and sweaters, embellished dresses and backpacks, custom order hoops, a decorated lab coat, and a hand-stitched doll. There are also some printed products based on original Old School Threads designs which include a line of original stickers and a line of hand-designed t-shirts. I want to dive into more wearable art. I want to try my hand (literally) at embroidering patches…upcycle jeans and skirts and more dresses. Basically, I want to embellish all the fun clothing and expand my business from smaller projects to bigger, quality pieces!”
What do you love about running your own business? What has been difficult thus far?
“I love the flexibility of small business (I did not say it was easy, but I did say that I love it). I love designing from inspiration that I find in friends, nature, literature, and the truth in the Word of God. The most difficult aspect, by far, has been juggling all of life and kick starting a new business. I am studying Education with the dream of becoming a teacher. Therefore, everything of business and marketing and design is from personal experience and learning as I go.”
How does it work? What frequently asked questions do you get?
“My shop is not always open for custom orders, time slots can be reserved… Embroidery takes a lot of devoted time, so I try to express that to each customer and follower before and as I work. Since each piece is so custom, I like to work one-on-one with each customer. I am available and open for custom orders at different times depending on scheduling, [which] can be tracked by following @heyoldschoolthreads where the openings will be updated. The customer has full designing freedom and I converse frequently during the design process sending proofs of the final design before the stitching process even begins. Also, if you do not live in local Arizona, any [embroidered] t-shirt, hat, shoes, backpack, etc., can either be shipped to me or purchased by me here and added to the cost.”
Can you share your most rewarding experience so far?
“Every like, follow, and purchase is a reward for a small business owner. The most unreal and rewarding experience [was the feature] on the Hallmark Channel! The director of the Home & Family TV morning show [contacted me] for a segment they were doing on embroidered shoes. They used two pictures of two different pairs of shoes that I stitched. To be contacted and featured on live TV! I still cannot believe that happened!”
Etsy shop: heyoldschoolthreads
I hope you all enjoyed reading about my friends’ local businesses here in the Phoenix metropolitan area. With friends like these, I may never shop at a regular store ever again!