Alex + Chelsea Workman • Explorers

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What's your superpower?                            

AW :: Storytelling. We love to help people discover and communicate their stories, because we believe that everyone has a story and every story is important.

CW :: Brand development/ marketing/ storytelling. I think it's all encompassing. Your brand should be marketed in a way where it tells your story. 

Favorite spot in the Innovation District neighborhood? 

AW :: Cascades is a part of telling Tallahassee’s story and it highlights the rich history, the innovative present, and the exciting future the city has. 

CW :: I'm a fan of Gaines Street. I've loved watching the development, trying the new food establishments, and building new relationships with shop owners, employees and the random people you bump into. 

Why Tallahassee? What has it been like building a business/brand here?

AW/CW ::  Well, we moved here for a job. We found ourselves wondering what we had gotten into and figuring out how we could attempt to love where we live. We started our community project, Aerial Tallahassee, as a creative outlet to begin to learn to love and appreciate where we lived. It wasn’t even about building a brand to begin with, but it went from a small, fun side project, to something bigger than we expected. 

We believe that content is king and consistency is queen. We come from PR and marketing backgrounds and we understand the importance of building a brand, so we were intentional about every step we took in building Aerial Tallahassee.

What makes you want to be an entrepreneur?

AW :: I love starting things. I thrive off the adrenaline of taking a risk and building/creating something. My grandparents were entrepreneurs and their legacy is important to me, so I’ve always had the drive to start things and to see things impact people’s lives, as they had an impact on mine. 

CW ::  I have always been creative, but my strength was always helping creative minds bring their ideas together and make it all make sense. My husband has a new idea every 5 minutes and I have to wrangle him in sometimes, but we are an entrepreneurial team and though I wrangle him in at times, he challenges and encourages me to get outside the box and think of new innovative ideas that can help our brand, and possibly future brands be the best they can be.

Where do you find inspiration?

AW :: Fatherhood changed everything for me. When I held my son for the first time, my life changed in an instant. . He’s 6 months old and even in the short time he’s been alive, something about watching him have the desire to explore and learn about the new things around him is amazing. 

CW :: I think first my family inspires me. I married a very creative extrovert, and over our relationship, he has inspired me with his imagination and his love for people. I never want to get to a place where I stop exploring and stop learning, and I’ve been able to meet and surround myself with people from all different backgrounds, who want to see Tallahassee move forward and become an incredible place to live, work and create. 

What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?

AW :: One piece of advice I would give would be to not only think about your vision and your ideas, but create or have someone help you create a system to help you sustain that vision. You will be able to see problems and fix things faster, if you take the time to break down the process and perfect it. 

CW :: Never stop exploring and creating. One of the things we are intentional about is getting out and exploring, which helps our creativity, but the minute you feel like you've seen it all and you stop learning to love the place you live in, you’ve become like so many people who live in Tallahassee, who only stay in their bubble and never venture out to see the amazing things happening in this city. 

Julia Holly • Designer & Entrepreneur

Superpower: Getting things done and connecting people!

Best Spot in the Neighborhood: Domi Station & Gaines St.

Why Tallahassee: I still consider myself a newbie having lived here for 4 years. So much has changed since I first arrived. Gaines St. Midtown. Market District... A friend of mine, who was serial entrepreneur and is now retired, said Tallahassee reminds him of Austin (TX) in its early days. There are a lot of promising things happening around town. I think it's awesome to watch and also a great opportunity to be a part of building something here.

Why Be an Entrepreneur?:  I think it's something no one expects or plans to be. I believe it has to do with your passion and what your goals are. Or, maybe something that runs in the family?

My father moved his family of 5 from the Philippines to San Francisco. Even with a PhD in Engineering from NC State and 5 years of teaching as a professor he couldn't get a job in his field at the time. Long story short, he went from working at a photo kiosk on Pier 39 to building a multi-million biotech consulting company servicing pharmaceutical giants (i.e. Bayer, Genentech).

If you asked me the same question 10 years ago I wouldn't believe that I had it in me. I guess having kids can change a person. I have a few viable ideas and plan on testing them out while running my design studio.

Finding Inspiration: I find all my inspirational resources through social media. I follow top designers, digital agencies, social media experts, and major tech blogs. Pinterest for visuals. Twitter for all marketing tips. Facebook for tech, design, and business info.

Advice for Other Entrepreneurs: Don't skimp on your design & marketing budget. Find someone you can work well with and who you can trust outside of your personal circle. Your brand can make or break your business.

Follow Julia's story as she builds JH Creative.

Ryan Bonhardt • Educator

Superpower: Establishing relationships/networking. I learned a long time ago that it was all about who you know. And well if you don't know who you want to know then you have to figure out a way to catch their attention and meet them. All of the great connections I've made that have later benefitted me have started by me doing free work. Always provide value first.

Best Spot in the Neighborhood: Grasslands. I'm just waiting for the first batch to be done!

Why Tallahassee: Hmmm that's a good question. For me it was originally because I was here, but now that I've started, I think we are more connected than ever before in history. And because of that, I'm able to work with people from Austin and NYC daily as if I was there working next to them. But I don't have to pay exorbitant prices to live in those places, well NYC especially, Austin is not that bad. Plus I can get more done with less so I still have time to enjoy friends, family and hobbies outside of work. 

Why Be an Entrepreneur?: Freedom. I want the freedom to pursue and work on what I am passionate about and enjoy doing at that time. And I want the freedom to work when I want to.

Finding Inspiration: Another good question. I think there is inspiration all around just depends on what you're looking for. I'm inspired by people that are able to find something they truly love doing and be happy consumed in it. I think that's the ultimate goal. To love the moment.

Advice for Other Entrepreneurs: Don't pursue money. Pursue happiness. Find what you love doing first. Whether you only can work on it for an hour or 30 minutes at a day at the beginning. Build that fire.

Don’t pursue money. Pursue happiness.
— RB

To follow Ryan's story, check out his personal site.

Photography by Amanda Blood.

Amanda Morrison • Hospitality Guru

Superpower: I love connecting people to work together in new ways, so much so that my title has transitioned into Director of Social Connections. I constantly find myself saying "do you know so-and-so? You two HAVE to meet and work together" or "we should team up with this person for this project". The more creative minds at the table, the better. 

Best Spot in the Neighborhood: Definitely Cascades Park.The project was such a monumental accomplishment and a great example of our elected officials and citizens working together to build something we can all be proud of.

Why Tallahassee: I came here in 2001 to attend Florida State and never imagined I would stay. I quickly realized that we are in a place where you can meet people and build relationships faster than you can in any other environment, but on a very personal level. It has been those relationships and friendships that have not only been the base for a successful business, but also for building a place where I truly feel at home. 

Why Be an Entrepreneur?: The ability to feel like I can put my own personal stamp on a project. I have been so fortunate to work for companies like Madison Social that are invested in creating change in our community and have given me the flexibility to try new things and take risks. Having that kind of support behind you makes you feel like anything is possible. 

Finding Inspiration: I take a lot of inspiration from seeing what my colleagues in other parts of the country are doing, and then saying to myself "Why not Tallahassee?" I love taking little brain-breaks to look at event magazines or cooking publications and dreaming of what we can bring here to our own business and community. 

Take risks and push through the failures.
— AM

Follow Amanda's story as her team builds Madison Social. 

Thomas Jackson • Maker

Superpower: My greatest asset is my keen insight into the broad implications of new technologies and leveraging their value to produce tangible results.

Best Spot in the Neighborhood: Cascade Park - quintessentially the perfect park. Growing up in Tallahassee, the city has completely spoiled me with some of the most beautiful parks in the country.  My Father worked at the Dept. of Transportation for over 30 years, and seeing that park in their front yard reminds me of all the hard workers and years of service that go into creating an amazing community.

On Entrepreneurship: The feeling of being in charge of your own destiny never gets old. There are no limits as an entrepreneur to what measures you can take toward leveraging yourself and your business for success. Take a new class, learn a new language, find your inner zen, get creative. The process of learning to create value isn't the easiest, but it's been the most rewarding experience of my life.

Finding Inspiration: Everywhere. The internet will be 26 this year, and I've been taking some serious advantage of its ability to connect me to some of the brightest and most talented people around the world. When I was 13 we moved out to "sticks", and I was mortified, not because of the long drive into town--I actually liked the "country"--but I was afraid we wouldn't have "fast internet." I knew I would be a disadvantage to some of my peers if I didn't have fast access to the internet. Luckily, after 10+ calls to by ISP they realized cable "could be run that far out" and they installed a switch for our neighborhood. With my new blazing speed, even though I lived on a small dirt road, I had access to the world.

Advice for Other Entrepreneurs: Find your limits and then crush them.  You will find success when you begin to be honest with what skills you lack as an entrepreneur and begin systematically taking care of the ones holding you back.  Be willing to put your goals out there and find friends and supporters to help keep you accountable to those goals.  The road of an entrepreneur, while not easy, is littered with potential opportunities for your life. Seize those opportunities one at a time and every once in awhile take a second to remember how far you have come. 

As an entrepreneur, the buck always stops with you.
— TJ

Follow Thomas' story as he builds Eighty20

Gabe, Scott, and Saralyn • Craft Brewers

Superpower: Obviously, our superpower needs to be the brewing of innovative, high-quality craft beer, but for this entrepreneurial venture our biggest asset (other than brewing great beer) has been our ability to stay connected and engaged with the Tallahassee and Florida community.

Best Spot in the Neighborhood: Our favorite spot is where we've opened our doors at Garages on Gaines (603 West Gaines Street), but honestly we couldn't have done it without Domi Ventures' support while our facility was built out between Summer 2014 and Spring 2015. 

On Tallahassee: We took our time deliberating where GrassLands would ultimately reside. We chose Tallahassee because, not only was there a desire for more craft beer/breweries, there was a genuine level of support of what we were doing. We did our homework, and Tallahassee has proven to be an awesome choice so far.

Finding Inspiration: It's inspiring to see the work put in by our fellow industry colleagues - from the local level (Proof Brewing, Fermentation Lounge and Momo's Pizza/Brewpub) to the progress made by statewide breweries. The craft beer landscape in Florida is substantially increasing in complexity and notoriety. We're looking forward to continuing that upward trend. 

Advice for Other Entrepreneurs: Do. Your. Homework. Granted, we're not stereotypical entrepreneurs...shooting first and asking questions later. We did a lot of work up front as newbies prior to the point of no return. Your business model, your level of local awareness & support, and your potential for success is correlated with the amount of work you put in prior to taking the proverbial entrepreneurial leap. 

Seeing the passion of others put into their own entrepreneurial endeavors is exceptionally inspiring.
— GG

GrassLands is now open! Follow their story on Facebook. But let's be real. The most important thing you can do is go try their awesome brews!

Vergil Weatherford • Engineer

Superpower: Data-driven or mechanical problem-solving. During my day job as an energy efficiency engineer, that involves a lot of coding and data analysis. Outside of work, my hobbies tend to involve more hands-on solutions.

Best Spot in the Neighborhood: Cascades Park, particularly whilst zipping through it on the single speed I rebuilt from my mom's vintage Bianchi touring bike. There is a little bit of something for everyone at Cascades park, and most people you see are smiling. I feel fortunate that it is a part of my regular commute to Domi Station.

On Tallahassee: I moved here from my hometown of Asheville, NC to be close to my new family-in-law. I love Tallahassee--I am impressed with how she innovates and spawns hipness while keeping her strong southern roots.

Finding Inspiration: My family. I am constantly in awe of how clever and amazing all members of my family are--both immediate and extended, related by blood and marriage. There are quilters and carpenters, musicians and gardeners, hunters and writers, pilots, mountain climbers, engineers, medical professionals, librarians, teachers, comedians. Sometimes I just can't believe the talent and love that surrounds me.

Advice for Other Young Professionals: Don't forget to daydream.  It gives your subconscious a way to communicate to you what's important in life.  Most of my biggest career/life choices and most engaging projects so far have had their start from me just zoning out and imagining things.

What I found here is a thriving capital city with a rich heritage and history but an edgy, modern feel.
— VW

Learn more about Vergil's professional background and the skills he brings to Tallahassee on LinkedIn

Emily Morehouse • Software Engineer

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Superpower: Problem solving.

Best Spot in the Neighborhood: Domi is my second home, but my favorite spot is where I can get an infinite amount of caffeine, beer, and good food: Catalina/Ferm/The Grain. 

On Entrepreneurship: I love building the dreams of startups, knowing one day I'll have that idea that I pour everything into. 

Finding Inspiration: Figuring out how things work. Taking apart the proverbial pen and figuring out how to put it back together.

Advice for Other Entrepreneurs: If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life.

Building a business here has been empowering and energizing.
— EM
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Follow Emily's story as she builds awesome software at Cuttlesoft. You can also browse here personal site here.

Jabari Grayson • Chefpreneur

Superpower: I developed a passion for cooking at an early age, insisting on helping my mother and grandmother when I could.  I attended, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from The Midwest Culinary Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio. Early on in school it was evident that I possessed a natural instinct for culinary cuisine in both taste and smell. For almost seven years as an Executive Chef, Food Service Director, Production Manager, and Entrepreneur,  I have been constantly tweaking and improving my culinary offerings, striving to master all culinary skills and techniques.

Best Spot in the Neighborhood: My favorite spots in the neighborhood are The Plant and Art Alley, which is under construction.

Why Tallahassee: I was transferred to Tallahassee in 2011 while working as an Executive Chef for the French Food Service Management Company Sodexo. I love Tallahassee! In early 2013, despite having opportunities elsewhere, I made the biggest decision of my life thus far, and decided to start Kubano!. Tallahassee is great for walking, talking, cultural and social exchanges, and I hope... to start new concepts in business!

On Entrepreneurship: My father always suggested to "Be Your Own Boss." The opportunity presented itself, and I seized it. I had a vision, thought it through,  knew where I wanted it to go,  and how I wanted to get there.

Great businesses persevere and maneuver past obstacles toward achieving their goals. We hope and strive to be a great business.
— JG

To try Jabari's Cuban cuisine, swing by Kubano! at the SW corner of Gaines and Railroad. 

Patrick Breslend • Inventor

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Superpower: I can mold complex geometric designs or solve tough problems while trying to fall asleep. This normally turns into interesting dreams that seem to spark great ideas. 

Best Spot in the Neighborhood: While Domi has become a second home lately, I still think my favorite spot in the area is the Tallahassee Rock Gym. The rock gym is one of those places you find a lot of engineers, all there to relax and solve new routes. You may walk in with a mountain of stress, but even before reaching the top of your first climb the stress is already forgotten. 

On Entrepreneurship: I learned early on that everything around me was built, designed, and created by someone who was skilled in that area of expertise. If I learn something then I can create something. The trick is to have a broad skill set so your creations are unique. I believe an entrepreneur carries a toolbox of skills and has the ability to produce things that others find valuable.

Finding Inspiration: My inspiration comes from simply reading about, or meeting, interesting people who do amazing things. I analyze them and try to understand what that person has been exposed to that led them to create such amazing work. Sometimes I catch myself trying to think like them and, usually, I am able to come up with an idea that inspires my own work.     

The city is growing and new areas are popping up everywhere. All of the growth is really inspiring and helps keep me motivated to grow myself.
— PB
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Follow Patrick's story as he launches Optimal Bagging, home of the world's fastest trash bag.

Barbara Wescott • Startup Founder

Superpower: A visual mind for fixing things. I like the challenge of taking something that isn’t working, and mull it over in my mind until I find a way to make it work. 

Best Spot in the Neighborhood: It’s Domi. I love being surrounded by people who have that same type of drive to solve a problem or create something new.

On Entrepreneurship: I have an inventor’s spirit…and once I latch on to a good idea, I’m driven to see it happen.

Finding Inspiration: From everyone around me. I love people, and it’s always amazing the collective amount of help and wisdom that comes from just listening to those around you.

I’ve learned to work extremely hard, be good to people, and be honest… and good things will happen.”
— BW

Follow Barbara as she launches and scales PointCatcher, a universal rewards network.

Amber Smith • Engineer

Superpower: Networking. I can talk to anyone! Love making connections and learning about the interests of others.

Best Spot in the Neighborhood: Nefetari's is a hidden gem in that area. Walking in makes you feel like you're walking into an Egyptian royal palace, and they also have amazing vegan/vegetarian soul food dishes. 

On Entrepreneurship: Working for big companies has not fulfilled my passion. I have a thirst to grow everyday at my own pace by my own means and being an entrepreneur gives me that freedom.

Finding Inspiration: My inspiration is definitely my mother. Growing up, and still to this day, she is my hero. I really just want to continue to make her proud. 

Why Tallahassee: When I first moved to Tallahassee my freshman year I honestly dreaded it, but fast forward to my senior year and I have seen so much growth that I'm considering staying longer after graduation because I see potential and opportunities growing here everyday. 

I love the night life in the Gaines St. area. It’s cool to show off that area when alumni or friends come to visit. It shows how modern and hip Tallahassee is becoming.
— AS

Follow Amber's story on LinkedIn. 

Enrique Morgan • Designer

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Superpower: Branding

Best Spot in the Neighborhood: Domi. I'm able to work and play there.

Finding Inspiration: The best inspiration is produced by walking the city with my camera.

Why Tallahassee: I feel like Tallahassee chose me. Didn't think I'd move south of Georgia until I received an opportunity to become a UI designer for TAU.

The community is full of friendly people who are willing to help when you are in need. Everyone here has something great to offer.
— EM

Follow Enrique's Story on Dribbble and EnriqueMorgan.com.