The heart of our mission at VoyageDallas 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 Dallas-Fort Worth area’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool. Check out the rising stars of North Dallas below.
Dr. Erica Simmons
I am from the South Memphis, TN, the only child of Eric Dwayne Simmons and Shirlaine Denise Merriweather (formerly Simmons). I grew up in the church around music. My entire family on my father’s side sang and both parents played several instruments. My mother was the organist for our church, a position I would later inherit at the age of 12. Both of my parents played saxophone as well as composed their own songs. I wrote my first song at the age of 8, and I always thought I would be a commercial artist. However, I was told that I could not “sing.” That is to say, I could not sing “black music” because my voice was not suited for the demanding belting of the gospel or RnB. Thus, I grew up most of my childhood believing I could not sing. It was not until I was in middle school that I saw my choir teacher who was a black woman. She had such a beautiful operatic voice and I was mesmerized. I did not know black people could sing opera. I remembered reading about Marian Anderson as a child in my grandmother’s encyclopedia, but to see one in-person was mind-blowing. Read more>>
I started doing photography when I was in high school. I loved learning from my high school instructor, Ms. Luter, who challenged my creativity. I started doing some senior portraits and small things for friends up until I graduated high school. I went to school at the University of Arkansas where my professional photography took a backseat and my iPhone photography was the front runner. No matter where I traveled or who I was with, I was still wanting to take pictures of it all. After graduation, I decided to move to Los Angeles, I had never been, but decided this is where I wanted to start my “adulthood” (at the age of 22, LOL). When I first moved to LA, I worked as a waitress for a year while acting (no, you won’t see me anywhere, I was livin’ that Extra Acting life). After a year, a Personal Assisting job fell in my lap, which I dove right into and stayed for three years. Itching to be closer to home and my boyfriend back in Dallas, I made the treck back to Dallas in the late summer of 2018. Read more>>
I started my company in October 2017. In the prior two months leading up to me making the decision to go ahead and go with it, I was at work not even thinking about it. I know sounds crazy but I never wanted to be a business owner. It is not something I desired. I always thought I would lead a career-styled working life, however the Lord has other plans. He literally put it on my heart and in my mind to start making my own hair products. I had already been tired of using store-bought products that claimed to be natural hair products that did this and that, only to get bad results. So I decided I would start just making my own for myself. Then the spirit moved me and moved me, I couldn’t sleep or think about anything else but making products. Not only making them but making them to help other people. So I thought I’d love to give people a healthier alternative to their hair care products especially if they have been having problems like me. Read more>>
Bookies Bites came about around 2016. I didn’t have a name yet but a good friend of mine helped me with a vision. I knew I loved to cook and was kind of a natural at it. My dad was a chef and one of my favorite uncles is one of the greatest cooks I know. Anytime spent with them, I would pay attention and learn. Eventually, I would always make different dishes for myself and my kids then bring the leftovers to work. At one point, my friend stated I should sell these leftovers to our co-workers. I didn’t think people would buy them, but I went ahead and took her advice anyway. One day of me selling food at work turned into people asking me when will I be cooking again or can I come to cook for them directly. Before I knew it, people were asking me to host brunch and anniversary dinners for them. That’s when I knew I had to take it more serious. 2019 I came up with the name and I started to put myself out there more and have had the opportunity to be a vendor at some great pop-up shops, traveling out of state to cook for people and even asked to provide a dessert table for a wedding. Read more>>
I started in real estate at the age of 19 during the Great Recession. I am very fortunate to family and friends that have always told me I could do anything I set my mind to. My friend’s dad was a builder, and after attending an open house with them, I thought to myself “This is so fun, I could do this”. There began my search into real estate classes. Didn’t take me long to get the required classes done and then I was off to the races. I started with a great little boutique brokerage in Deep Ellum called Modtown Realty. They really taught me how to run a business and helped me fall even more in love with real estate. Much of my business was apartment locating in the beginning but grew into more and more selling. My mom was licensed a year or so after I was, and we have always partnered together. Read more>>
My story is a unique one in how I got my start. I’m a self-taught graphic designer at heart. I was always into drawing and designing while growing up, always showing off my designs at school. During that time, I met someone who introduced me to Photoshop which is where my first passion began. Over the years, I learned as much as I could about design work. Eventually, I went to college to get a degree in Graphic Design, but I never finished. During college, I met someone who was really into fitness and we hit it off very well. So well in fact that we decided we needed to pursue a youtube career in fitness. With his social “front man” extroverted skills and my “behind the scenes” techie knowledge in design and learning video production, the channel grew to over 700k subscribers with daily / weekly views hitting 100k per new video posted (4-5x a week). During that time, we gained clothing and supplement sponsorships traveling all over the states and internationally. Read more>>