Many books on startups and business talk about how there are right and wrong reasons for starting a business. So, we asked a handful of successful founders about their reasons and the thought-process behind starting their business.

Mercie Loftus | Co-Owner/Entrepreneur

The reason why I wanted to start my own business was because back in 2006 I was working in corporate America doing corporate accounting and had a very not so nice director who told me during a One on One meeting that I wouldn’t be advancing in my profession anytime soon because I was 20 years too young and I was a woman… Nowadays people can’t get away with statements like that but at the time it would have been my word against his and since he was very big in the company I knew me reporting it wouldn’t help anything. But right at that moment I knew I needed to do something for myself. Read more>>

Jennifer Dillon | Founder

When I heard about a program in Ohio called Books to the Rescue I loved the idea and thought “How can I get a program like this in Tucson?” The concept of Southern Arizona Book Heroes is to serve first responders, victim advocates, social workers, and child-centric agencies with new books and new plush toys, to distract, comfort, and soothe traumatized children. When my son was three years old we were in a car accident and he was absolutely petrified to get in a vehicle – I thought back to that day and if SABH was around maybe he would not have been so scared if the officer on the scene had given my son a distraction – like a book. Read more>>

Raven Miriah | Artisan

My business started when I moved home from college and I was looking for another outlet of income. I was working a place where we burned candles constantly and everyone was always excited about the scents we would get. We would be ecstatic and indulge in the vibe the aromatherapy would bring, so I thought to myself maybe I could try to create a candle. I knew I wanted to create something that was original that I could share with friends and family that they would enjoy and use in their special spaces. It worked out perfect because I started making them, to learn the process and test my skills. Read more>>

Michelle Berman-Mikel | CEO of Berman Media PD & Creator of the Instagram Power Method

I’ll say this as my primary thought…and then give you all the background behind it below it. “My ultimate point for anyone listening is that you cannot have a back door in entrepreneurship. You will fail. You can’t say, “I’m going to dip my toe in this, and if it works out great, but if not, I’m going to go back to this other thing.You will never commit to 100% growth, nor commit to the things you have to do in order to make it….” I grew up as a competitive athlete and swam all through college (Rutgers University). Upon completion of college became a competitive Crossfit athlete just after finding out my dad had stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma. At the time, I was working in corporate America as a social media director for a public relations firm, but I hated it! Read more>>

Dannielli Marcelino | Registered Nurse | Licensed Esthetician | Laser Technician

My mother, Luzivone Damaceno, who is a licensed Acupuncturist, started the business in 1988 because of her passion for health and wellness. Back then the business was called Acu Chi Mind and Body Center. My mother introduced her clients to the benefits of acupuncture, massage therapy, cupping therapy, moxa therapy, hypnotherapy and other Eastern medical practices. It didn’t take long for the spa’s offerings to gain popularity and demand. Clientele grew rather quickly which meant adding more staff, more services, and more square footage through the years. Lucky for my mother, she had three daughters and a granddaughter to assist (Dannielli, Jeanie, Jana and niece Saharra). Read more>>

Brandy Blackford | Producer of the Arizona Online Wedding Show and Owner of Sweet I Do’s a Phoenix based wedding planning company

Starting a new business is always fraught with questions and anxiety. Will people need/want what I’m trying to sell? Will I be successful? Will I make enough money to continue being my own boss/setting my own rules? In the end, starting the Arizona Online Wedding Show was a business born out of necessity. You see, I am a wedding planner with Sweet I Do’s. In March of 2020 my entire business fell apart. All of my couples were cancelling their weddings and I was left with no current business, no future business and no end in sight. Read more>>

Zach and Sarah Hartke | Coffee Roasters

We’ve loved coffee for a long time. Over the years, we have researched brewing methods, studied roasting techniques, learned the history of coffee, the supply chain and politics of importing, and have visited practically every coffee shop in Arizona. Up until last year, however, the idea of creating a business centered around coffee was a dream- and just a dream. Read more>>

Jon Mark Estes | REALTOR®

I always knew that one day I would end up working for myself, I just never knew what that job would be. When my friends got sales jobs out of high school, I went on to try many different jobs. Through this process of trying so many different things I learned more about myself than I ever would have imagined, and experience so much personal growth. “Enjoy the process & embrace the struggles.” This is a saying I have said to myself many times. Read more>>

Marla Giordano | Owner/Baker

Starting my own business was a leap of faith that I took in the midst of the pandemic. Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to own a cupcake shop. I didn’t realize it would start so young. I am a very innovative, creative, and outgoing person. Working for corporate companies just didn’t work for me because there isn’t a lot of room for your own creative ideas. Read more>>

Brenda Rea | Owner and Founder of Olivespa LLC

I started making my own natural, olive oil based, skin care products for myself, my children and as gifts for friends. This was some 15 years ago and at that time, there were not a lot of options on the market. The gifts were well received and the products worked amazingly well. I decided I wanted to provide this natural alternative to everyone who was looking for one and I had the perfect opportunity to display and sell my products at the Queen Creek Olive Mill which my husband and I own. Read more>>

Jendala Utsch | Metal Artist of Jendala & 501c3 Founder of

There was no thought process behind the starting of my art business which is the beauty of its creation. I am a heavy thinker and it is hard for me to slow down. When I was in the fire academy in 1996 I fell in love with the element of fire, its remarkable beauty and power. I wanted to know fire personally as if it was a long lost friend. I was dazzled by it’s ability to constantly change form and color. I quickly purchased torches so that I could safely play with this element. My community provided me material in recycled cans and sheet metal. Quickly I had an abundance of material to explore fire with. Read more>>

Rhey Orme | Choreographer, Dancer, Teacher, & Founder of Choreo Summit

The thought wasn’t initially to become a business. At first, I was just a kid from Tucson, Az that wanted to become a professional dancer with almost zero know how on how to get there, mind you I had some incredible dance crew mates who served as mentors like Chris McKinney, Matthew Love, John Williams, and Adrian Walker; but stepping into the professional scene was more or less uncharted territory for all of us. Read more>>