Ready to Join the Start-Up Boom? Tips and Tricks from the Neighborhood


Denise Kinsley

– VOL. 14

If you have ever caught the bug to become your own boss, you know it can be an intimidating process. But navigating the business landscape as a newbie can also be thrilling. Let’s face it, stepping outside of your comfort zone is absolutely crucial if you want to reach your highest potential.

So once a brilliant business idea sparks, how do we set out on the epic journey? We recently caught up with four entrepreneurs in the neighborhood and asked them for some advice.

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Andrew Merriweather connects with customers and neighbors at recent Small Business Wednesday pop up at the Arcade in Kansas City.

Andrew Meriwether, Hefe Design Shop 

Kansas City 

Inspired to launch his custom embroidery and print shop during art school, Andrew says he caught the entrepreneurship bug before he’d evne completed his studies.  “I got about halfway through and knew I needed to do something with the skills I was learning,” he says.

Andrew suggests entrepreneurs find what they love, pursue it, and never look back. “Just make sure you’ve done an adequate amount of [market] research in the field you’re pursuing.” It also helps that he finds his business part of a greater community, with a boost from neighborhood events. “The Arcade Project has been a wonderful addition. It gives me a professional area to meet clients and engage clients daily.”

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A fellow KC neighbor, Halle Lang followed her passion, starting a photography business capture weddings and personal portraits. 

Halle Lang, Made by Halle

Kansas City

It all started with intuition, says Halle, who believes she was born to be both an artist and an entrepreneur. Lang feels that “art is born in attention” and by paying attention to her intuition she realized that it made sense to work on the thing she knew and loved best: photography. Her Kansas City-based business, Made by Halle, is all about creating stories through photography. Recently, she was able to show off some of her art during the soft launch of Venn’s Small Business Wednesdays. “I can’t wait to call those clients my friends someday soon!” When she’s not capturing moments or taking portraits of couples in love, Lang teaches other creatives to “bring life back to their work.”

Here’s some golden advice from Lang: “Give yourself permission to trust yourself. Trust yourself enough that if anything goes wrong, you are confident in your responsibility to find a solution, even if you don’t know what the right answer is at the time. Trust yourself enough to let you roam free. You deserve that!” 

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Julianna Jimenez, in orange above, launched a bouquet making business in the middle of the pandemic. With the support of Venn, she recently hosted a bouquet making workshop in Downtown LA.

Julianna Jimenez, El Amor Eterno 

Los Angeles

As the owner of her own flower design studio in DTLA, Julianna recommends that entrepreneurs start where they are and grow from there. In her experience, the key is to just get started–even if you don’t have any experience in the business world. 

“I read books and watched plenty of videos but over time, it has been the experience of making arrangement after arrangement that has made me a better florist,” says Jimenez, who was inspired to launch her business during the pandemic. She said she found herself with lots of free time “and a lack of joy for what I was doing in the height of the pandemic,” and so with the support from her friends and family, she decided to make the courageous move to start something new from scratch, often finding new clients through the Life at Venn App. 

“I realized flowers were something that had always brought me joy. I have always loved to go to the flower market downtown and purchase flowers for my home or as a gift. One day I went, bought flowers, made arrangements, and posted them to a newly created Instagram. As time went on, orders kept coming in and they haven’t stopped since.”

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Sivian Terem channeled her loving of baking into thriving and inclusive small business. Pictured in pink above, she teaches neighbors in Tel Aviv how to make her favorite sweet treats.

Sivan Terem, Cookie Chef 

Tel Aviv

Sivan Terem teaches vegan cooking and baking, offering private classes and a variety of workshops. She also reaches her audience with a recipe blog, a culinary tour, and a podcast. It was the combination of her passions for teaching, vegan cooking, and baking that got her started on the road to success.

As a Venn Neighbor, Sivan describes starting out by “doing some workshops at my apartment with my neighbors, I gained more experience, and some of them became clients!”

Sivan recommends learning everything you can about marketing—and plan your budget accordingly. If you need to hire someone that can help you market your business effectively, then do so. It’s worth the expense and will save you a lot of time so you can focus on your product or service.