Ideas aren’t everything, execution matters greatly, but starting often requires an idea and so we asked folks to think back and tell us the story of how they came up with the idea for their businesses. We’ve highlighted some of our favorite stories below.

Benoit Burt | Home & Office Handyman

I was running my own business for a decade in a completely different field that was shut down by the pandemic. Initially I actually tried applying many places to keep myself afloat but couldn’t land anything. Being the entrepreneur type I started brainstorming something new. I leaned into other skills I had that were more of a hobby for a long time. I quickly realized that those skills are in high demand, even during a pandemic. APEX PROJECTS Home and Office was born. The best part is the fulfillment you get after completing a project and seeing how happy your client is. I now have a small team and we specialize in assembly, mounting, install and repairs. Read more>>

Ae Lopez | AZ Beauty and Lifestyle Artist

My business was cultivated by the idea that you don’t always have to fit into a category and you don’t have to be only one thing. I felt like creating my own category for what my business was going to be and the environment I wanted to create. I knew a lot of my passion stemmed from wanted to be a part of enhancing peoples features and making them beautiful. I love to say that I came from the beauty industry, but what my business has evolved into is a body artist. I always say I am a body artist that focuses on enhancing all types of beauty in all types of ways. Read more>>

Judith Amiel-Bendheim | Ceramics and Jewelry Artist

Working as a pharmacist for many years, I always was looking for a pastime or hobby which would be a big shift from my regular “routine job”. Being a pharmacist, you need to be very meticulous, precise and accurate. Working in a stressful situation was also a factor in looking for a pastime which would be relaxing and satisfy my creative urge. I felt creative when I entered the ceramic studio or working at my jeweler’s table. Read more>>

Julie Smyth | Owner of Jack Del Fuego

I’ve always been an adventurer at heart with a passion for food. During a trip to Mexico to visit my in-laws, I spent hours in the kitchen with my mother-in-law learning how to cook her delicious dishes. She taught me how to make her homemade tomatillo salsa which eventually became known as my Verde Furioso hot sauce. I became so inspired by my mother-in-law’s authentic cooking and soaked in every minute of the experience. Read more>>

Stephanie Campbell | Operations Director

Several years ago i had rescued a very emaciated English Mastiff. I feel in love with the breed. Shortly after he passed away i fostered then adopted a pair of great danes. I saw the obstacles that owners and shelters faced with finding homes for the giants and i wanted to help. There are limited resources for the large and giant breed dogs and many of them never make it out of the shelters. My co founder and I wanted to make a difference so we decided to start our own rescue and The Big Mutt Network Inc was born! Read more>>

Kyle Miller | Designer, Model, Artist

Well, there is a metaphor about having to think outside the box. So since a kid, I have been one of those people who always solve problems and just approach things or situations at different lights. So fast forward to the year 2013, this metaphor is just always subconsciously in my mind. As I approach my years in high school, I always knew I had a real passion for clothing/fashion and art those were my favorite things at the time & I just remember my brain sending me messages to take my craft serious, it was so god sent because I already have the talent it’s just a matter of making them come to life. Read more>>

Diane Myers | Biscuits Bandana Co.

Four years ago my youngest of three kids went off to college. For the first time in 30 years of being a stay at home Mom I felt a bit lost as to what the next part of my journey would be. I took sewing classes in high school and it was one of the only things I excelled in. Throughout my life I continued to sew making gifts for my friends and family. One of my favorite things to make was burp clothes for newborn babies. One day as I was sewing I thought, “This could be cute for our new puppy Biscuit as a scarf!” I shared Biscuit’s picture in her new handmade bandana with some friends and my social media. Everyone commented that the bandanas were really cute and suggested I sell them. Read more>>

Get Dirty | Niki Schulz & Drew Corbo

Our photographer, Niki, was taking photos on all of our travels through nature and we thought they turned out amazing. We thought about how cool it would be to travel the world to take pictures of the things we love and share them with everyone, and figured it couldn’t hurt to give it a try. Outside of our love for nature we both share a love of baseball, and that’s how Get Dirty got its name. “If my uniform doesn’t get dirty, I haven’t done anything in the baseball game. -Rickey Henderson”. This quote stuck out to us because it felt like the perfect description of spending time outdoors. If we didn’t get dirty, have we done anything? Read more>>

Donnie and Danielle Atkinson | Founders/Owners

Over the past 10 or so years, before starting our business, we would use our vacation and time off from our day jobs to go camping. We’ve been on camping trips all over the Western United States from the Grand Canyon here in Arizona to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. While on these camping trips, we witnessed other campers experiencing some of the common challenges that come with camping (e.g. getting to the campsite after dark, forgetting important gear, realizing your gear is broken only after getting to the campsite, etc.) and that got us thinking about ways to help mitigate some of those challenges with a new business. Read more>>