Meet Apollos Kimbrough
Founder of KimbroAscent, LLC. Apollos helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses by transforming their websites into web magnets that attract customers. His work includes consulting, private coaching, web design, sales funnel marketing, and lead generation strategies.
How It Started
As a teacher, he spent most of his spare time building courses, designing websites, and developing web pages. He studied different design strategies that led him to the world of affiliate marketing. He dove deeper into his studies, learning sales and marketing techniques from the country's best strategists. With this newfound wealth of knowledge, he began sharing this information.
He started consulting other entrepreneurs, designing websites, and incorporating sales funnels and behavioral marketing strategies to increase the average cart value, the profitability of the sales process, and customer follow-up. He has helped entrepreneurs save costs and increase their revenue with a strategic sales process designed to attract customers and solve their individual needs.
Meet Ramona Young
Founder of the Kente Kitchen. A foodie with a mission to feed all kids, eliminate food insecurity, and provide food access to all living in Buncombe County. If you have traveled to Africa or if you have never traveled to Africa, The Kente Kitchen is an opportunity for you to experience something that you will find nowhere around town. All dishes are made with fresh ingredients and can be modified to accommodate vegan and vegetarian diets. She specializes in West African Cuisine.
How it started
Ramona moved back to Asheville and there was nowhere she could go to buy the food that she loves. No restaurant or grocery store sells them, so she started working in festivals with a tent and a two-burner grill so she could share her love of West African food with people and from there she added catering. Now it's time to add a grocery store.
Meet Claude Coleman Jr.
With a successful track record of 35 years of professional experience as a recording, performing, and touring music artist, Claude Coleman can claim a deep knowledge of all facets of the music industry. Drummer for the group Ween with a large discography of work, he has built, owned, and operated several recording studios and worked his entire life in recording and rehearsal studios both domestically and internationally. He also is a professional carpenter/builder, school director, graphic/web designer, teacher, and writer.
How it started
It started because of the owner's experiencing firsthand the issues and desperate need for music practice spaces and working musicians in Asheville. It was non-sensible. In every other music city, these types of facilities are abundant. After searching for properties, they found Rabbit’s Motel. It was then the concepts of a re-imagined soul kitchen and cultural landmark spoke to create a mission of deeper importance and greater dimension. With this reconnection to history, they are also continuing a hundred-year tradition in Asheville of helping to create Black business opportunities, while creating a destination site to foster diversity within the Asheville tourism industry and population.
There are hard times as well
It was difficult for us to be held as prospective buyers when trying to purchase property for the business. This was how we found the old Rabbit's Motel. The sellers were sitting with two cash offers on hand when we looked at the property to purchase. After writing a letter to the original owner's family with our plans to restore it and re-create its purpose of serving the community, they put us under contract ahead of those offers, as if they were waiting for someone like us. We converted it into a music rehearsal studio facility inside of the 1948 historic Black-owned tourist court, the legendary Rabbit’s Motel in Southside, Asheville, NC. It is soon to include a soul food kitchen by chef Clarence Robinson, additional artist studios, and a multi-artist murals project depicting its own history, and the rich history of prosperity within all the lost early Asheville Black communities.
Meet Debra Kiliru
Debra’s passion for nature began as a curious child in Kenya. Her work has centered on environmental education, youth leadership, community wellness, and access to nutritious food. She has developed extensive service-learning programs domestically and internationally. As a nonprofit executive, she collaborated with inspiring people, organizations, universities, and schools to build capacity and deepen the impact. Her research focuses on underutilized plants in Africa while working to ensure land/forest restoration, farmer’s rights, and economic vibrancy. She loves seeds and believes the food we eat and how we source it, will either regenerate or degenerate us and our planet. She’s dedicated to preserving Africa’s botanical legacy by investing in the wellbeing of people and the soil, where food is a catalyst that tells a story.
She recognizes wellness as a lifelong personal journey and is launching a social enterprise focused on a more inclusive pathway to health. She partners with ecological farmers in E. & W. Africa to preserve and elevate climate-resilient heritage crops that boost nutrition, biodiversity, and generational income. Her business creates nutrient-dense, plant-based snacks and other natural products to help achieve your health goals, invigorate your daily life and broaden your cultural cupboard.
How it started
Moving to the US as a teenager she was confronted with the misperceptions of Africa and the wounds of transatlantic slavery. She later co-founded an organization to facilitate healing these divides and bridge people across borders. Simultaneously, she witnessed her dad battle cancer and became deeply invested in holistic & somatic practices. She continues to seek ways to be of service in the world, bring people together and advocate for a healthy planet and society. Debra has two daughters.
Meet Lakeisha Lee
Lakeisha is an educator and the owner of Luv-Lee Natural's, LLC. A line that focuses on natural skincare products. She’s been making natural skincare products for years.
How it started
Lakeisha’s daughter suffers from sensitive skin and loves to smell nice. Unfortunately, she can’t use many of the products out there. So she envisioned creating natural products that anyone can use. She developed her plan with 3 things in mind:
1) The products have to be natural.
2) The products have to smell good.
3) The products have to be affordable.
So at the end of 2020, she decided to step out on faith. she invested in herself and something she believes in.
“It is important to me that my products smell amazing but contain no harmful chemicals. It is my goal to keep my products natural and affordable. My hope is to give everyone, especially those with sensitive skin a self-care experience without breaking the bank.” - Lakeisha Lee
Meet Mrs. Naomi Waller
Mrs. Naomi Waller “The “Lifestyle Beautyprenuer” is a licensed Beauty Consultant who “Empowers through the Art Of Beauty”. She is the founder and creator of the Ayoki Styles Beauty collection. An online digital store that provides multiple organic and vegan safe products. While in partnership with her daughter Gei’onie Arie who owns Journey-me-glo, a company that focuses on healthy skin and lifestyle strategies. Her mission is to redirect the concept of beauty through empowerment, education, training, and beauty.
How it started
Ayoki Styles was created in Las Vegas in 2013. Naomi was enrolled in cosmetology school at the time, a struggling student trying to making ends meet. She created Ayoki Styles and advertised it as a mobile hair care business which now has been renamed and re-branded as Ayoki Styles Beauty Collection.
It was a long learning process
"I have been a licensed cosmetologist for 7 years now. When the pandemic came it cause me to change my approach on how I conduct business. I went from being behind the chair to owning a digital online beauty store. I have not been in the salon working, since the pandemic started. In the process of mapping out the plan, I wanted to make sure I integrated the most important elements of my life into my business. I wasn't sure how I was going to do it but an idea turned into a successful beauty business. As of right now, I am still able to influence, teach and share my services while being safe in these times. The pandemic was a blessing in disguise. I never dreamed that my business would bring me so much freedom and fulfillment”- Naomi Waller
Meet Nicole Lee
A loving mother of 3, 20-year veteran salon/managing cosmetologist, Counsel to the Entrepreneurs, self-published author of 9 publications, podcast host of "Spiritual Beings Having Human Experiences " and founder of a 501C-3 social enterprise called Warrior Moms where their mission is to eradicate emotional paralysis among singles who live in poverty.
How it started
While marketing her self-published books, Nicole decided to offer a complimentary counsel session with the purchase of her book. She realized then, that she had a niche, the conversations that ignited during the counseling session made her realize that from the reading of her book, she created higher consciousness. This is how the birth of Counsel to the Entrepreneur, LLC evolved.
What makes your business unique in its field?
Business consulting is the ideal title in my field, I chose “counsel” because it’s more of a personal and therapeutic approach. My expertise is a more holistic and healing approach that ignites the mind, body, and spirit.
There are hard times as well
"Every time my businesses needed to shift, it was always a struggle in thought. Sometimes the idea from the heart isn't the one that will bring in monetary abundance. As an entrepreneur, ideas tend to flow in an abundance from conversations and even in my dreams. The struggle is to seek out what idea is most profitable. Having access to a mentor, coach, positive support, and fruitful resources to figure this out is key to overcoming the struggle." - Nicole Lee
Meet Phyllis Utley / Ani-Kusa Cofitachequi
A Multimedia Artist, Host/Emcee, Facilitator, Racial Equity Consultant, Diversity Institute Coach, Joyologist, Creator of the first Copper Colored Indigenous Elder Super Heroine in the 21st century, Actress, Author, and Abolitionist. Her upcoming book is entitled : " Did You Know ? Asheville's Multi-Cultural Roots." Her literary art is featured in a 2019 public art installation downtown Asheville entitled " Hope Springs Forth Brightly." She has performed at the Asheville Art Museum. Her work will be featured also at the Mint Museum Uptown in Charlotte NC. The Opening of "Silent Streets: Art in the Time of the Pandemic" is on April 17, 2021.
She founded Phyllis Utley Enterprises and is a Ye Iswa First Nations Tribal Citizen with Ancestry in North, South, and Central America. She is a member of the Federation of Aboriginal Nations of the Americas.
Phyllis is an Alumni of the Racial Equity Institute, an Economics graduate of Dartmouth College with Graduate Studies at Clemson University. She has been mentored by 2011 Liberian Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gwobee and is an alumnus of the Women, Peace, and Security program at Columbia University in NYC. She is a Heroine of Asheville and Tzedek Social Justice Impact Award Winner and Founder of Saving Our Selves (SOS). Phyllis enjoys forest bathing..taking in the beauty of rainbows, waterfalls, and eating garden-fresh vegetables and fruits, especially blueberries, strawberries, and persimmons. She also has a Hemp Enterprise. You can find her on Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
“In this side of Eternity, I help people Re-Member, Re-Frame, Re-Construct. The world is our stage – at home, at school, at play, at work. Every day we create. We re-create who we really are. I see you. I see you see me. I see you see me seeing you. I see you and me. I see us.” – Phyllis Utley / Ani-Kusa Cofitachequi
Meet Robinette D. Cross
Robinette D. Cross is a native of Richmond, Virginia. She attended Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia where she graduated magna cum laude, with Departmental Honors, and earned a Bachelor of Arts in History with a concentration in Africa. While at Spelman, Robinette benefitted from three study abroad opportunities, studying in Morocco, Britain, and South Africa.
A member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Robinette also serves on several committees that are rooted in community service and education. She is committed to the instruction, education, and upliftment of all humankind and, as global citizens, ensuring all who wish to have access possess the fundamentals needed to be successful in academics and cross-cultural understanding. Her commitment to excellence and community impact is what led to the founding of Cross-Cultural Talks, LLC in 2015 which promotes academic success and cross-cultural understanding. Cross-Cultural Talks has introduced community and business programs to students, educators, and entrepreneurs across the world. The business specializes in Speech, Tutoring, Grant Writing, College Preparation, and international travel for experiential learning. To date, her programs have led more than 100 learners of multiple ages abroad.
Moreover, her efforts to make equitable learning available on a global scale, Robinette is launching the Cross Global Academy of Academic Excellence that will be in multiple countries on the continent of Africa and states in the USA, which will provide virtual learning opportunities for students in urban, rural, and remote areas across the world with instructors globally.
Meet Ashley Tolbert
Ashley received her Master of Arts degree in Forensic Psychology at the University of Houston-Victoria and her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, splitting her undergrad years between Winston-Salem State University and Emmanuel College. She is a Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist (LCAS) and one of the clinicians and artist/creator of From the Ashes Cultural Arts & Counseling, LLC (FTA), a black-owned small business in Asheville, NC who promotes healing, and empowerment through Substance Abuse Counseling, and cultural art and was founded together with her identical twin sister.
She is part of the Black/female/LGBTQIA+ community and hopes to offer her services to diverse groups struggling with substance use/addiction and mental health. Through healing and transformation, her goal is to help people acknowledge, accept, and celebrate their differences.
Their vision is for the African American/diverse communities in our region to experience equity, love, unity, and peace as well as literacy in all aspects of social justice, inequality, and culture. Through personal and collective transformation, the community can celebrate each other and honor our differences.
They aim to address not only the public health crisis of addiction and mental illness but the underlying causes of these diseases in black/diverse communities.
Meet Heather Tolbert
Heather is the co-owner of From the Ashes Cultural Arts & Counseling, LLC (FTA). She is a native of WNC, where she is a Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist (LCAS). She has a BS in Psychology and an MS in Criminal Forensic Studies.
She wants to use her gifts, talents, experiences, education, and authentic self to help others feel empowered to live as their authentic selves. She wants to normalize seeking help.
Her vision is to normalize mental health struggles and addiction and let people know that they are not alone. There is help and support just around the corner.
FTA hopes to give back to black/diverse communities, while also collaborating with other black-owned and non-black substance abuse programs and facilities.
With the individual talents and skills that we bring to the table, we hope to create and sell custom arts/crafts, apparel, and accessories that inspire, celebrate, educate and empower black people, culture, pride, and unity in communities.
"We hope to inspire individuals to not only feel empowered within themselves but to support, uplift and empower others as well. Our goal is to connect people to each other and to celebrate indifference together through social gatherings like paint nights, art exhibits, and more." - Ashley and Heather Tolbert
Meet Chiloh and Asia
A mother-daughter duo, Chiloh Reece and Asia Campbell founded the Luhvoh Livity, LLC. It is an aromatherapy, wellness goodies & lifestyle subscription box to pamper the body and nourish the soul. All products are curated for discerning women who leads a busy life and deserves to be pampered. It is a new way to reward yourself with serenity and vitality and a perfect gift for your loved ones.
How it started
The idea came to Chiloh a few years ago as she was raising her young family. During those early years, she experienced some challenges and made the shift to incorporating natural, soothing, and sensory products into her household. As the primary caregiver, she needed a way to create and experience more balance in their lives.
As she began that journey, she began to receive support from like-minded women. Asia and Chiloh have crafted, shared, and sold some creations at an expo and at birthday parties over the years.
Fast-forward to December 2020 during the pandemic, her daughter was selected as a participant at a Youth Entrepreneurship event where she would create, sell products, and pitch to the community. The event was a success and gave them the realization that the time is now, and the world is waiting for their creations.
Meet Millicent and Daulton
Founders of Tayse of Di Islands LLC, Millicent is a Jamaican native that moved to the mountains of WNC in 2009. Daulton was born and raised in Hilton Head Island SC and met Millicent 3 years ago, after moving to the City of Asheville. Their love was quickly fueled by their passion for cooking, particularly delicious authentic island fare.
How it started
Unable to find an example of their beloved cuisine in Asheville, Millicent and Daulton began to explore ways so they could cater to those who desired fresh high-quality, authentic island fare. Brought together by their passion for cooking, Tayse of Di Islands LLC was born. Millicent and Daulton are so excited to share their family food tradition with you and everyone in Buncombe County and possibly the whole country.
Meet Sapphire and Pearl
Sapphire De'Bellott and Pearl De'Bellott are the CEOs and organizers of Stella Stellar Network, LLC. They have over 8 years of youth engagement and advocacy. Both Sapphire and Pearl served as Americorps members to volunteer in their communities and they have continued their early childhood education to become qualified. The De'Bellott Sisters have provided childcare for Private families, Corporations, and centered equity and justice organizations.
Sapphire is a young professional woman who believes, in order to empower people; one must be educated. In May 2017, She received her Associates in Arts from AB-Tech Community College. Additionally, She has over eight years of experience in intergenerational circles learning from peers and elders. These relationships enhanced her ability to build sustainable partnerships. Her passion is to create a cultural environment for youth.
Pearl is a passionate entrepreneur who is dedicated to educating youth on health and wellness within her community. Pearl focuses on providing healthy meals and options for every child by working closely with local nutritionists and food banks. Pearl De'Bellott is currently attending ABTech to receive her Associates in Arts in Business and Marketing. She plans to use her knowledge to expand and grow Stella Stellar Network, LLC.
How it started
Due to Covid-19, many child services were discontinued. This has socially impacted children and parents who go to work. We notice that high-quality and affordable childcare is desperately needed for Western Carolina families. Sapphire and Pearl De'Bellott, have developed an idea to create a safe and authentic environment. This space offers youth to be educational and culturally engaged. These services provide parents with peace of mind and affordable childcare services.
Throughout his entire life, art and creativity have played an important and formative role for him. His earliest education came at an art magnet school during his elementary years. It was there that he started exploring every creative outlet he could. He was a sponge.
At the age of 20, he was given a small opportunity to work nights in a small print house's billing department. He took that job and turned it into a print and design career that he has navigated for 15 years and counting. He was that same sponge. He learned pre-press and design techniques, and soon after that, he was making flyers for shows his friends promoted.
In 2008, the financial crisis struck, and like most small businesses, the company he worked for wasn’t immune. They closed their doors that October, and he jumped around as a sort of hired design and pre-press gun for some years. In February of 2014, he moved from his home in Fort Lauderdale, FL, to Asheville, NC. That first year in Asheville, he refocused his creative efforts to becoming a better graphic artist and discovered his passion for photography. In 2015, his wife bought him his first Panasonic camera for Christmas. After getting over some initial apprehension and intimidation, he hasn’t looked back.
While his design work finds its identity in a type-focused, minimalist discipline, his photography allows him to explore many other avenues he's interested in. Landscape and nature. Street photography. Concert and portraiture work. Abandoned photography. He truly loves it all.
That great love is what led him to start Show And Tale Creative. Here, he hopes to explore all of the different creative avenues that interest him while inspiring and lifting some truly amazing people.
Meet Kim Moore
Kim is an independent consultant/business owner and sells Paparazzi jewelry. Kim spends her time between Asheville and SC. Kim has 3 children, one son, one daughter, and one step-daughter. She has her MSW and is a social worker by profession, which she has almost 30 years of experience working with children and families.
How it started
Kim had been a faithful patron for the Paparazzi jewelry products for almost 3 years before deciding to join the Paparazzi Family. She really enjoys all the support from other Paparazzi consultants/business owners as when they greet each other it often starts with “Hey Papa-Sis or Papa-Bro” and almost immediately followed by sharing of ideas and new information. Kim wants to now bond with people on a fashion sense and assists them to find their beauty inside and out through accessories and fashion through Paparazzi.