William McCray has endured several hardships throughout his life, but when he lost his mother to health issues when she was only 34 years old, he decided to dedicate his life to helping people transform their mind and bodies. He founded Will Power Fitness Gym on a philosophy that if you help people dig deep to discover their true reason for wanting to change, it can create a lifelasting impression. This is a story about perseverance and staying true to your principals against all odds.
Like 30 percent of American men under 5'8 in height, Steven Mazur and Eric Huang have always had a difficult time finding clothes that fit them properly. So, they took matters into their own hands and decided to do something about it. After lots of research, a successful IndieGoGo campaign and a trip to the Shark Tank, Ash and Erie is now the industry leader in "smaller guys" apparel. This is story about necessity truly being the mother of invention.
Roderica and Francina James have always been passionate about real estate, hospitality and design. So, when they bought the historic 1870 Italianate style Cochrane House, they knew they had something special. Fast forward 10 years, and the James sisters own and operate one of most rare and unique luxury bed and breakfasts in Detroit. This is a story about family, culture and staying true to your core values.
Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta were graduate students in architecture school in 2010 when the earthquake hit in Haiti. Looking at the types of supplies that were being shipped in, they noticed that lighting supplies were not being distributed in volume. Typically, after a disaster occurs, the lights go out, so they thought that a lightweight rechargeable light would add a lot of safety and comfort to those affected, and LuminAID was born. This is story about compassion and finding a solution to a real-world problem.
Gary Bredow and Jenny Feterovich have always been entrepreneurs, both fascinated with film production and storytelling. Born and raised in the former Soviet Union, Jenny immigrated to the US with her family as a teenager, and Gary from the small farming community of Carleton, Michigan. When this unlikely duo discussed the concept for START UP over a BBQ lunch, there was no turning back, and they decided to chase this dream with everything they had. START UP Season 8 ushers in its landmark 100th episode by sharing their own Start Up story. Meet the family and crew, and learn about the joys and challenges that come with producing a national television series for 8 consecutive seasons.
Kevin Lehoe graduated in 2014 with a mechanical engineering degree and quickly found himself working behind a desk. Passionate about product design, Kevin realized that the thing that bothered him the most about sitting at a desk all day were the wheels on his office chair. Questioning why traditional office furniture tends to be uncomfortable, clunky, and lacking proper design and function (like the chair wheels), he founded The Office Oasis with the goal of bringing new life to outdated office essentials. This is a story about inventiveness and finding new solutions for old problems.
Yelitsa Jean-Charles never had a doll that looked like her growing up. The one time her parents gave her a black doll, she burst into tears because she thought that it wasn't the "pretty one". Since then, Yelitsa has made it her goal to make sure that no other children feel the way she did about her own appearance growing up, so during her junior year at Rhode Island School of Design, she created Healthy Roots Dolls, a toy company that creates dolls and storybooks that empower young girls and represent the beauty of our diversity. This is a story about empowerment, self-love and raw ambition.
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