Initiative and innovative ideas are common attributes among Brentwood’s leading entrepreneurs.
From Fortune 500 companies to great schools, and from efficient infrastructure to quality housing, a lot goes in to making a community vibrant. Something else that’s often overlooked is just as important: the entrepreneurial spirit.
These are the people with big ideas and dreams who assume all the risk without guarantees. And they are prevalent in Brentwood and Williamson County.
Recently several of them met in Cool Springs at Spark: Lipscomb’s Idea Center to get acquainted and compare notes. Brentwood Lifestyle was there as well. Here’s what we learned about some people around town that you may not have heard of, but should get to know.
Monthly subscription boxes are all the rage, but it can be hard to find one that’s truly healthy. However, Be Zestful subscription boxes from registered dietitian Crystal Rudiger are specially designed to inspire health and wellness. The Texas native first became passionate about wellness during college when she discovered a love of running, which sparked a desire to help others on their wellness journeys. Rudiger started Be Zestful in 2015, with the goal of bringing people an inspired health and wellness box that features a carefully curated blend of foods and products to motivate and energize. The boxes are sent quarterly, and Rudiger handpicks each item, so that subscribers can incorporate the products into their everyday lives. She hopes that the boxes will lift spirits and encourage people to live with zest.
No matter your age, great skincare is essential. Due to the increase of available technology, the world of skincare and beauty is able to make amazing strides, and Shannon Britt seeks to make those strides available to everyone. Novion Devices, which Britt started in 2010, is guided by the mission to change the average consumer’s approach to beauty. They currently work with some of the most prestigious skin care brands to develop devices to pair with certain products so that consumers can add technology to their beauty routines. These devices are now available at Nordstrom, Sephora, QVC, and Macy’s. Most recently, Novion has developed and will be launching “OLURA,” in 2017, which is their new brand of skin care technology and will feature a recently patented toning device, as well as the only FDA certified portable cellulite massager.
Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop
Ever since he was young, Nick Marks has had an entrepreneurial spirit. From his first foray into entrepreneurship (selling signage online), to rehabbing and managing rental properties with his wife, Marks has harbored the desire to create and grow businesses. After relocating to Nashville, Marks was inspired by his love of food and cooking to open Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop. The shop features classic pies like chocolate meringue, apple, and pecan, as well as their signature buttermilk pie. Pies are available in 9-inch and mini 4-inch sizes. Along with his team, Marks bakes these fresh, delicious pies daily, and has even started a program called “Pie it Forward,” which raises money for local organizations and seeks to make a difference in the community.
The phrase “like pulling teeth,” normally has negative connotations, but for Dr. Alec Rice, the phrase is somewhat more literal. As an orthodontist, Dr. Rice seeks to help his patients feel more comfortable and raise their self-esteem by providing excellent oral care. Dr. Rice grew up in a rural agricultural community three hours from Nashville, but his passion for orthodontics led him to relocate after completing his orthodontic residency at Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry, which is one of the top programs in the country. In mid-June he joined Dr. David Kemp at Kemp Orthodontics as a partner. He is an active member of the Franklin and Brentwood communities and, along with Dr. Kemp, supports the Nashville Predators and Tennessee Titans.
Little Bee Designs
For Melissa Harris, entrepreneurship came almost accidentally. After moving to Nashville in 2009, the lack of job opportunities caused Harris to start her own housekeeping business while taking care of her children. While cleaning wasn’t particularly her passion, Harris found that she loved being her own boss. She had started embroidering as a hobby, and soon opened an Etsy shop where she took orders for embroidered baby clothes and hand-painted Christmas ornaments. From this humble beginning she learned to use specialized embroidery software and began selling her designs as digital downloads. After receiving 15,000 orders in less than a year, Harris knew she was on the right path. Now she continues to pursue her passion by writing books on machine embroidery and organizing classes. Harris hopes to help inspire other mothers to achieve a healthy work/life balance.
AJ Media Services LLC
After years working in broadcast video and editing, Alba Gonzalez-Nylander has taken her passion for media services to create AJ Media Services LLC, a specialized video production company. Along with co-founder Jennifer Goldstein-Fitz, Gonzalez-Nylander is committed to creating exceptional videos for a diverse range of projects, including bilingual and multicultural media projects. Since the founding of the company in 2010, this 100 percent women-owned business has worked with clients from Notre Dame to Amazon, and Gonzalez-Nylander has been recognized by multiple organizations including the Telly Video Production Awards, Anna Maria Arias Latina Style Magazine, and the Nashville Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Gonzalez-Nylander continues to grow and refine her business, and working with clients to make sure they have the perfect video.
Bradley’s Curbside Creamery
Like so many other Southerners, Bradley Freeman is passionate about great ice cream. The taste and the experience of old-fashioned, back porch favorites inspired him to create Bradley’s Curbside Creamery. He took his concept a step further by placing his boutique ice cream shop on wheels and capitalizing on the food truck craze that has swept the nation. The result is a brand that drips with nostalgia like a double-scoop cone on a warm summer evening. With ice cream, shakes and floats, the menu is simple and timeless. The selection includes classic and contemporary flavors. And the recipes aren’t pretentious or complicated. “They’re just plain good,” according to the website, BradleysCreamery.com. Freeman’s retro light blue truck is a fixture at local fairs and festivals. Bradley’s Curbside Creamery is also “the cherry on top” of many weddings, corporate and private events. Freeman boasts that his quality treats, pricing and service are hard to beat.