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Denver’s Most Inspiring Stories

The heart of our mission at VoyageDenver is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of the Denver’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with the city’s incredibly deep talent pool. Check out Denver’s rising stars below.

Hannah Zombory

Hi! I’m Hannah, the owner and founder of Wanderlust Thrift. Since I began reselling in 2013, to save for my move from Florida to Colorado, I have grown my side gig into a small business that has saved over 1,000 items from being dumped in a landfill. I also try to use my voice to advocate slow and sustainable living, break the stigma behind mental health, and empower others to follow their dreams.  Read more>>

Alex Capecelatro

founded Josh.ai after having challenging experiences remodeling their own homes. At the time, they didn’t know a lot about smart home technology and were pitched expensive, complicated, and often outdated interfaces. It felt like there had to be a better way. Between device clutter on walls distracting from a home’s design aesthetic along with how they foresaw user interfaces evolving with respect to AI and voice control, they knew there was a need. Read more>>

Chris Stuckey

I was born and raised in Denver. I fell in love with electronic music after being introduced to Skrillex and quickly decided that’s all I wanted to do! I started Djing in high school in 2011 on a computer program called virtual Dj, just for fun because I wanted to make my own mixes to snowboard to. After high school, I moved to Breckenridge to teach snowboarding and ended up doing that for about 8 years! I would spend all my free time after work Djing and eventually I would invite my friends over while I was just playing around and having fun. After a while, I felt confident enough to start playing house parties and then some of the small bars around town. Read more>>

Madeleine Greeson

Let’s be honest here–I have always been a bit of a weirdo. I was the kid who scoured libraries and book shops for historical Viking text and got my hands on as many ‘Olde World Magic’ books as humanly possible.  I used to research Egyptology, the Renaissance, and colonial America to try and absorb as much of our {human} history as possible. I’ve had an addiction to the past and how it is preserved since a very young age. I guess you could say I thought I belonged with the artists, philosophers, and makers of centuries past and not with current society and their obsession with the internet, screens, and scrolling. Read more>>

Jonathon Alexander

Well, let’s see, I was born in California. I’ve always been drawn to art and I was constantly drawing when I was little. Art wasn’t a particularly big thing in my family but I really enjoyed it. It was comforting to me. Not to get too personal but I had pretty bad insomnia as a teenager. I couldn’t sleep so I would just draw all night. I got a lot of practice at it! As an adult, I continued to create art but nothing with any real purpose to it. I think right around 2018 I started to become fascinated with concept art. So, I practiced a lot at digital art and concept art creation but I was never satisfied with it. It was pretty disheartening! Read more>>

Ezri Cisson

I like to think that my hair journey started in 5th grade. I had begged my mom for such a long time to color my hair red. The day she agreed is still one of the best memories I have from my childhood. I now look back fondly on all the evenings spent in her bathroom with a box of smelly hair dye from the grocery store and an old t-shirt stained from years of coloring sessions. I loved my red hair, it was dark and made me so pale, but I felt beautiful. By the time I was in high school I was coloring my own hair. Through those four years of school, it seemed like I had a new hair color every few months. Read more>>

Alejandro Gómez Guillén and Alex Vittal

Sphere Ensemble started in 2011 with a group of friends, all classically trained musicians, who were looking for a different opportunity to perform together in a small group setting. We have evolved over the years into a pioneering classical music group that brings together our classical training with our love of many musical styles. Our first concerts took place in April of 2011. Back then we were a self-conducted group of 13 string players, meaning we didn’t have a conductor guiding things. In that sense, we were all conductors! Read more>>

Julie Gambino

I had an opportunity to recreate my professional self after retiring from a dancing career at the age of 27. I was born and raised a dancer and received my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Western Michigan University. I moved to San Francisco and enjoyed four years on various stages dancing and performing. Throughout those years, I always knew there would be a time that came and I would have to decide, “what’s next?” Having an innate understanding of the body and anatomy, I always had an idea that massage therapy would be a fitting career to transition into. Read more>>

J&L Adventurers

Our mission is to provide our readers with budget-friendly travel guides of the top noms, brews, & views in places around the world. We understand that travel time is limited and precious. Therefore, we would like to share our tips & tricks on how to optimize our reader’s activities while staying within budget. We love trip planning and have spent countless hours researching to extract the highest possible value from our vacation budget. We want to share those itineraries with our readers so that they too are able to create amazing memories around the world. Read more>>

Maiya Mindoro

Hello! My name is Maiya and I founded the Denver Girl’s Club. In December 2021, I begin making videos about wanting to make friends in Denver. These blew up and I had no idea there’d be so much interest. I was looking for a group to join and suggest to those commenting on my videos, but ones I found weren’t exactly what I was looking for. So, I made my own. It is a welcoming community made up of women in the area, mostly in their 20s-30s looking for connection. We have events all over the city to meet others and do activities together. Read more>>

Mary Bandimere

The first time I picked up a DSLR was at fifteen years old in a high school photography class. I’ll never forget the weight that camera had to it- like it was meant to be used and used well. I killed my first “heavy” camera after two years and felt the panic wash over me as I realized my art really was something I could not live without. I graduated high school with another camera but feeling that all too familiar panic in my chest. Read more>>

Marissa Spillett

I stepped into entrepreneurship as a self-taught family photographer. Being a Stay-at-Home-Mom of three little ones, I was desperate to find something that would give me a creative outlet, as well as contribute to my family financially. I loved photographing family and children but found a real passion building the business behind the scenes. This was when I jumped headfirst into freelancing! I invested in courses to learn how to become a Virtual Assistant, and eventually a Web Designer. Read more>>

Briana Mendoza

I’ve always loved music, but when I was young, I didn’t have the confidence to go for it. As I grew up and realized that music was what I was meant to do, I started joining my High Schools Choirs and that helped me start performing in front of big crowds. After High School I attended The University of Colorado, Denver majoring in music business. The artists that I was attending classes with were either in the genre of jazz or folk. I couldn’t resonate with the music community around me. Read more>>

Jesus Vasquez Jr.

Growing up in a rough area (south-central LA) I used to get bullied which eventually led into fights at school and around my block. I got beat up in front of what felt like the entire school. I cried to my dad that I wanted to take karate classes to learn how to be better prepared to defend myself the next time this occurs. He agreed to take me if I promised to only use my karate in case of an emergency and not to get revenge. In karate, I would actually punch/hit the kids for real so the sensei recommended to my dad that I try boxing saying “he would be good”. Read more>>

Abby Jones

Since I was little, I LOVED taking pictures! When I was about 8, I remember picking up my mom’s camera on a road trip and just taking pictures of anything and everything! As I got a little older, my cousin and I spent a lot of time getting dressed up and taking pictures in our backyards and all around our neighborhood. Looking back, it seemed more like a phase because I was so young. Because of my age and lack of experience, more of my time and focus went into school and sports because at the time that is what was important! I needed to graduate and go to college. Read more>>

Aubrey Valencia

The Storytellers Project is my sacred purpose, it is the culmination of everything I have ever wanted to be or do, the reason for my experiences with trauma and mental illness, and the transformation that occurred in order for me to live my best life. It is the synthesis of all of my education, work experience, life experience, and activism, that helps others to heal and transform their own lives. The idea for The Storytellers Project came when I was teaching after-school programs in Denver schools.  Read more>>

Justin Park

Me and my friend Tyler were each making pickles, just as a hobby for fun. We both loved making food from scratch and making sure that all of our produce gets put to use. One day at Tyler’s house, when trying his latest batch, we were completely wowed by the depth of flavor of the crunchy pickles, and the beautiful ingredients on display in the jar. It was our “lightbulb moment” aka our pickle epiphany. That’s when we first started talking about the possibility of starting a pickle company. Read more>>

Nick Jones

I have been a skydiver for over 20 years and after that many years, although I still absolutely love it, it is not nearly as exciting as someone’s first time. One of my favorite things to do is see people in the airplane about to do their first skydive. Seeing the excitement and nervousness on their face reinvigorates me and reminds me of why I love doing it. Then when we are all back on the ground safely it’s amazing to hear the same individuals say they can’t wait to do it again. Read more>>

Marelie Jusino

I’m a Puerto Rican living in Denver, Colorado. I started taking pictures just for fun with a digital camera in my high school years and then with my cellphone. Everyone was amazed about what I was able to do with just with my cellphone but I never had enough encouraged to buy a professional camera or take photography classes. I stopped taking pictures when I went to college and concentrate on planning my future and career. Read more>>

Devon Miller

I grew up in Montana and Colorado but didn’t fall in love with photography until I moved to San Francisco 15 years ago. At first, I was in love with the deeper connection it gave me to nature, I was surrounded by so much opportunity to capture the natural beauty around me and I took full advantage. I later fell into a fascination of people and portraits and the dynamics of watching the human interaction with nature. This is when I developed my passion for fine art portraiture. Read more>>

Jae Jordan

I have been a creative all my life, however, I didn’t get into the design world until after my first year graduated from high school. I was going to a traditional university at the time and it just was not for me. I began to question if I should drop out and work full-time. After doing some soul searching and consulting with my family, I decided to get back to focus on my art and pursue a career in a creative industry. That is when I enrolled at the Art Institute of Colorado as a fashion design major.  Read more>>

Robert Heckel

My wife Jennifer and I bought an old vacant building on the West side of Rapid City with really no clue on what we would do with it. With my wife being a former Hairstylist, I asked if she was interested in converting the building into a Salon, um no was her reaction she had been in the industry her whole life and wanted nothing to do with a salon. Well, I had always wanted to design a bar and that is how the idea formed. My background is very diverse. I have done everything from autobody to construction. Read more>>

Ann and Wendy Schott

Wendy and I had worked for the same retail company for over 25 years each. We have always enjoyed crafting and creating. We managed many of the special gifting events in the store where we worked. We are two of 7 children all of us have our own creative style, be it music, mechanics, or creating. Our dad was very innovative creating things that solved problems and our mother was creative/crafty as well. Read more>>

Ana Gonzalez

I’m a single mother of three wonderful daughters. I was born and raised in Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua in Mexico. I began volunteering in my teenage years through different groups I joined at church. And I enjoyed it so much that it became a deep passion of mine that I’ve kept to this day. I raised my daughters volunteering with me and they love it so much that my eldest is now graduating with her master’s degree in Social Work next month.  Read more>>

Megan Matthews

I’ve always been labeled as a “creative type” from a young age, gravitating towards art class, musical performance, creative writing, and constant doodling. This has stuck with me throughout my teenage and well into my adult life. My passion for both music and visual arts drove me toward the concert industry which in turn opened my mind to large-scale immersive installation art. Read more>>

Jess Bean

As many artists, I started young. But my first professional mural was at age 17 in my hometown of East Peoria, IL. After that, I was hooked. I actually went right into murals and still haven’t fully finished my first collection of art on canvas. For the next 18 years, I painted murals in the evenings and on my days off. Until I had two hip reconstructions in 2019 and wasn’t sure if I’d be able to paint murals again. My first public project back was a donated wall in support of our local Planned Parenthood. Read more>> 

Luke Lorick

I was born and raised in South Carolina and grew up going to football games at the University of South Carolina. Of course, there was a tailgating party before each game. Even as a young child I knew that something special happens when you’re tailgating. Later, I ended up attending the University of South Carolina and graduated in 2004 from the Darla Moore School of Business. I continued going to every football game after I graduated until I eventually moved with the company I was working for to Atlanta, GA. Read more>>

Eric Neufeld

After working as a Certified Prosthetist for large clinical prosthetic practices for almost 20 years, I realized there was a problem with the business model. It can be a serious challenge, if not impossible for those with significant physical disabilities like amputation to come to an office or clinic to be seen for their prosthetic management. In 2017 I developed a new model of care by building intentionally designed mobile prosthetic clinics in order to see patients in need of prosthetic services in place, on their terms. This truly patient-centric approach has been received well by the medical community and the practice has grown to cover most of Colorado. Read more>>

Aeron Reinhardt

I bought my first SLR camera for a high school photography class. Just for fun, I never thought it would become a career. In 2010 I landed my first photography job. I remember seeing the ad and thinking, “They’ll never hire me.” I applied anyway, and got the job! I was taking photos of children and families in the studio. This quickly led me into photographing events, and sports. A friend asked me if I would like to start photographing weddings, and I was skeptical. She was persistent, the company she was working for really needed another second shooter. I gave in. I shot my first wedding, and was hooked! I had so much fun! I now make a living as a wedding photographer. It’s the best job ever! Read more>>

Joey Blunk

I started playing trumpet in fifth grade. Funny enough, I almost quit band after the first year, but thankfully my parents convinced me to stick it out for one more year. In sixth grade, I joined jazz band, and after that, I was hooked. I still remember playing my first solo on “Jammin’ with Charlie.” I know it wasn’t anything remarkable, but it lit a fire for me that has continued to burn to this day. Read more>>

Aaron Chavez

I’ve always loved the idea of recording videos. Growing up, I use to always watch Mad TV and would think, how cool would it be to write sketch comedy? That’s when I bought my first camera in early 2018, with the idea in mind to create videos for YouTube.  Early 2019, a buddy of mine came up to me asking for pictures for his bday. I wasn’t into photography yet and thought this dude is crazy, I don’t know what I’m doing. We went downtown and spent the whole day taking pics with different outfit changes and it was so much fun. I immediately was hooked! Since then, I’ve set out to find my niche trying different types of styles, and concepts. My favorite styles are street, fashion, lifestyle, and boudoir. Read more>>

Aubrey Sweet

Before living in Colorado, I grew up in small-town Astoria Oregon. I had a very small group of friends, VERY strict and toxic parents, and I didn’t have much of a social life. I ended up getting married to my high school sweetheart then jumped to Colorado…things ended up not so great after 2 years of abuse, I ended up homeless living in my car and had to work my way up from there alone. I started cosplaying and after just one convention I began receiving invites to even more. Some people invited me to just hang, giving me an extra badge, they had and others invited me to collab whether it was helping them with a panel, at their booth, or even just tagging along for photoshoots, Read more>>

Eric O’Link

I have been awed by air travel for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, going to the airport was exciting, although I was almost never the one getting on a plane. The airport experience was fascinating: huge spaces, high ceilings, big windows, and everywhere the movement of traffic, airplanes, and people. I started traveling by air once or twice a year in high school, often to or through Denver, and my infatuation reached new heights. I considered becoming a commercial pilot, but something about the idea of being away from home and family regularly didn’t feel quite right.  Read more>>

Carissa Hurt

My story–and my business’s tasty cookies–have deep Belgian roots. With Belgian ancestry on both sides of my family tree, I grew up surrounded by rich traditions, but richest of all was our family’s lukken cookie recipe. Lukken are crispy, buttery, Belgian waffle cookies with a delightful hint of whiskey flavor, pressed thin on a hot iron. My great-great-grandmother, Flavie Dewaele, emigrated from Belgium with the original recipe, making her cookies one by one with an iron heated over a wood stove. We still use Flavie’s recipe today and I have fond memories of gathering in my grandparent’s home each November to produce thousands of Belgian cookies to gift to our family and friends for the holidays.   Read more>>

Josh Latham

I grew up singing constantly. I was in all kinds of choirs and musicals and eventually started writing my own songs in high school. A couple years ago I decided to take up music production and haven’t stopped since!  I also grew up in an animal family. I spent a lot of my childhood helping my grandpa in his vet clinic and helping my grandma on her horse farm. I’ve been training animals most of my life, and I continue to do so today. I run a local dog training business that specializes in bringing high-quality training at a much more affordable rate than typical good dog training. Read more>>

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