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The Most Inspiring Stories in Utah

The heart of our mission is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our communities. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some incredible artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with the incredible group below. Check out our favorite stories from across the Voyage family.

Paul Marsh

The inspiration for a go-anywhere officiant service was born when a former student asked me to “marry them.” At the time I had just retired from Humboldt State University, now Cal-Poly Humboldt, as a Recreation and Tourism Management professor, and the Outdoor Adventure Leadership specialist. The wedding photographer, also a former student of mine, told me that what I did was a really unique, meaningful and beautiful ceremony. That I “had” to be an officiant. So, Weddings In The Wild began in 2015 to provide the service of a professional go-anywhere wedding officiant. The universe gave me nuggies until I saw the light and said yes to using my gift of creating and performing ceremonies that capture the intent and emotion of the moment. Read more>>

Paige Tingey

I have always had two sides of me – one side loving sports while being outdoors, the other side loving art and creating meaningful things. I have bounced around in my passions, from playing soccer and running track to being a dance major in college and loving to paint. I felt like I was interested in everything so it was hard to focus on something specific. When I was 24, my partner and I had just gotten married and were moving to San Francisco to work in Tech. I’d always liked taking photos but could never afford a nice camera so it was an exciting moment when my husband got me my first one! Read more>>

Kayla Pattberg

In high school, I took two photography classes and I really loved them! That was when I realized I wanted to do photography and create my own business. I got my first camera in 2014 and loved taking pictures here and there. It wasn’t until a few years later I decided what I wanted my business to be. In 2019 I decided to start up my business and it has grown from there! I started taking pictures of family and friends and it has slowly grown to what it is today! Read more>>

Michael Louis Austin

When I was a child growing up, my mother was always singing and listening to music. I heard two record albums at a very young age…SGT Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, by the Beatles and Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys. I decided when I heard them that I wanted to do something with music. Throughout school, I was always singing at events and played base in my Jr. High Orchestra, and I was in a Garage Band in High School. When my dad passed away from Cancer a month after I graduated from High School, as a way to deal with grief, I began writing songs on my acoustic guitar.  Read more>>

J.T. Robinson

Vertical Integration started as a content creation cooperative in the ski industry and has evolved to facilitating custom and package ski trips for customers to visit many of the great ski destination resorts and backcountry zones. We’ve come to love over the years making content. V.I. has always taken things slow and steady to try to keep growth manageable. Tour Operator facilitating custom and package trips to ski destination resorts and backcountry. Read more>>

Alyssa Nelson

I first moved to Utah three years ago for surgical training. Around that time, I met my now husband, JD. Between surgical residency and his job as a police officer, we did not have that much time to ourselves, and we wanted to find something creative that we could do together. This was how our small business, Juniper Woodworks and Designs, was born. We initially set out to make a set of cornhole boards in honor of our wedding, and quickly realized there was a demand for custom wood designs in the Salt Lake City area. It has been a blast making wood creations for our customers, and it has helped JD and I learn how to work as a team! Read more>>

Brandi Alhamdani

I’ve been a small business owner for 20 years in the Salt Lake Valley. Me and my husband started a smoke accessories shop in a small 800 sqft. shop and we have been able to live out our entrepreneurial dreams ever since. Throughout the years I’ve owned and operated smoke shops, coffee shops, and clothing stores and now have a successful incense brand, as well as partnerships in Terra Health and Wellness & Babylon wholesale. My proudest achievement in life though is being a mom to an amazing 8-year-old boy, achieving my college goals and having a close circle of family and friends to share all of my life’s ups and downs with. Read more>>

Cameron Cook

With a passion for creating and building, I started C | C Builders in 2019 to provide Utah with a residential general contractor who would get projects done on time, on budget, and give customers the superior service that they deserve. All throughout my life, I have been at my happiest when I was working with my hands, creating something. I’ve built tree houses, an electric motorcycle, furniture, you name it. It wasn’t until college, however, when I took a job in construction for a home builder that I started building homes too. I worked a few different jobs in construction–both residential and commercial–before deciding I wanted to start my own building company focusing on building clean and energy-efficient projects. I value hard work, communication, and integrity. This company is built on those values, ensuring that they are at the forefront of my mind on every project. Read more>>

Jesus Gallo

I have a passion for helping people look good and build their self-confidence. I went to college and became a graphic artist. I soon learned I didn’t like being stuck behind a computer all day. As a child, I was always interested in hair and my friends would ask me if I’d do their hair. After relealizing that I didn’t like graphic art, I decided to get trained at the L’oreal academy in Valencia, Venezuela. I started working at Kpelli studio and was able to apprentice under Carlos Colmenar who mentored me in make-up art. I was able to combine my experience as a graphic artist and makeup artist to work with women helping them compete in pageants, which in Venezuela are as big as the Oscars and Superbowl everyone watches. Read more>>

Dr. J Jensen

Traditionally, schools have taught content hoping that students develop crucial skills (creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication) and dispositions (citizenship and character). 5 years ago, Timpanogos High School made a conscious, deliberate paradigm shift where our express goal is now to develop these 6C’s, using our content essentials as the vehicle to take us to that destination. It may sound like a mere semantic difference, but this is actually a massive paradigm shift. Teachers have embraced this mission and vision. It has brought joy back to schooling for teachers and students alike. And, in the process, by focusing on skills and dispositions, students are learning content essentials better than ever. Read more>>

Emily Kim Huynh

Growing up and through college, I always envisioned myself as a tech executive. I got my B.S. in Computer Science, and then went on to get my MBA. I moved to Silicon Valley to start my career as a software engineer. After starting that job, though, I realized corporate life wasn’t for me. I worked my corporate software engineering job for 3 years until I decided to leave to pursue my brand photography business full-time, and open a rental studio for other like-minded creatives. Read more>>

Naomi Larsen

I am an immigrant from Japan, living in Utah for over 30 years. I’d never dreamed of running a food business until, about 5 years ago, a friend of mine jokingly suggested that we should start our own Japanese bento box business. I jumped on it and we clumsily began a bento box catering business. Then the friend/business partner had to move out of state. I tried to carry on by myself, only to find it impossible, but I didn’t just give up all the work we invested and the knowledge we acquired. So I asked myself, what is the one food item I love and I’d be proud to present to the community? The answer was custard, especially the baked kind which is called flan around here. Read more>>

Nicole Mery

A Friend of mine owned Desert Sun Tanning salon in West Jordan. He sold it to an employee of his in 2020, Aubrey, that was a friend of my oldest daughters. I congratulated her and told her my 2nd oldest Daughter needed a job if she was hiring. She hired my Daughter Kyli. Kyli came home one day expressing that Aubrey, the owner, wanted to sell. I looked into it and decided it was a good investment. I cleaned it up and added some better beds to it and rebranded it to Sun Kisst Salon. Aubrey stayed on as my Manager and was also working on her Esthetics license so we talked about doing Esthetics in an open room we had. Read more>>

Elsa Cano

As a daughter of Mexican immigrants, I got to experience firsthand the ambition and dedication needed to be successful in life. My parents were my role models, working many hours in production plants to eventually starting their own business in the transportation industry. Seeing my parents reach their “American dream” pushed me to find my version of that. After high school, I struggled to find what I was interested in. I tried countless career areas like the medical field, production work, tax preparation and even teaching tax law, and all of that before the age of 22. When I found the beauty industry, it kind of fell into my lap, through my love of makeup and how confident it made me feel. Read more>>

Kirsten Johanna Allen

Mark Bailey and I founded Torrey House Press because we believe in a world that values conservation, feminism, cultural vibrancy, and justice. These values are repeatedly met with opposition and will continue to face political obstacles without a change in our culture. Powerful story plays a key role in change, and we saw a literary gap in our cultural landscape. We wanted to touch hearts and minds with the impact of story, realizing that western and landscape-focused literary arts were underrepresented, and that conservation work and political activism would be more effective with greater public understanding of the threats and possibilities for our beautiful public lands. Read more>>

David Henderson

I’m a Philly kid born and raised, now in South Jordan, UT by way of Chicago, Dallas, and Denver. My wife (Victoria) and I were drawn to Utah before we had even thought of moving here. In 2018, we were part of a team planning a trip to help with a week-long summer kids camp in Centerville. Ironically, the trip fell through, but Victoria and I ended up hooked on Utah. As we learned about the state and the people who call it home, one thing just kept wrecking us. We’ve dubbed it the “keep-it-together culture.” So many people in Utah feel like there’s a standard they have to meet. Read more>>

Briana Sinnette

I started making jewelry and playing around with different modalities about 4-5 years ago. Mainly making stuff for myself and friends/family. I was asked quite a bit for custom pieces so I started selling for fun, just here and there by word of mouth. I always disliked costume jewelry and wanted beautiful pieces that were made of REAL gems and crystals. I took a wire wrapping course and things just took off from there. I was able to quit my long career of 21 years in the travel industry – which my soul needed out of so badly. I started selling on social media, which led to sharing my art at local events and now a website! ( Read more>>

Jeramey Brady

During the 80s, my grandfather had the opportunity to manufacture various items and sell them through the Sundance Catalog. This business is now in the third generation, and has been a great blessing to our family, I have personally been one of the owners for the last 4 years partnered with my Sister Jerica and her Husband Jake. During this time, I continued to work a 9-5 job. With our success, we decided to branch out and purchased Lily the Clean Queen, I have been overseeing it since the beginning of the year. Read more>>

Marinda Maxfield

I’m a local artist, actor, director, and stage manager. I paint pictures on stage and on canvas. I also make jewelry for crystal lovers. I first started doing theater in jr. high. I instantly fell in love with everything Shakespeare. I found that I wasn’t awful on stage. I decided to go into the field when I attended university after graduating from high school. I met my husband during my time at college and we married and moved to NYC. While there, my love deepened for local community theater. When we moved back to Utah, I had my 3 sons. When my youngest was 2, I started back working on the technical side of theater, as a stage manager, and then as a director. I directed my first major musical in 2010, and haven’t looked back. Read more>>

Sarah Navarre

I am a photographer and fashion designer who has been a lifelong creative in many forms of design and has used that creative skillset to create VanderRose Photography & Gowns. This portion of my journey started with photography and has a focus on creating empowering images of the model/client. Yet, I could not find gowns that I had in my imagination off the rack at any store, which led me to start designing gowns to be used in photography. Gowns can create the setting for the scene, plus when one is wearing one she feels beautiful, magical and strong. All of those emotions, and many more, are truly felt and captured in photography. The emotion one is sharing is what is really beautiful and captivating when it is captured in a photograph. Now the gowns have continued to grow significantly and will be on the fashion runways at New York Fashion Week in February 2023. Read more>>

Emma Drennan

My name is Emma Drennan. I live in Utah with my husband, six kids, and malti-poo dog, Albus. We have experienced quite a journey with our kids and their health. In 2013 one of my children was diagnosed with 5 food sensitivities. Even with my background in nutrition, I still had such a hard time navigating this change in our diet. There were so many days in the beginning of walking down the isles of Walmart crying as food item after food item I picked up was not safe for him to eat. Read more>>

Barrett Freibert

At age 26, I had just mustered the courage to leave a marketing research job that was unaligned with my values—completely burnt out from work and from running away from my unhealed wounds and traumas. I still hadn’t dealt with my parents’ divorce when she was 11, my father’s sudden death when I was 14, and other traumas. My coping addiction was to escape this exquisite pain through busyness. I lusted for the experience of being alive and had no interest in feeling anything else—so I got high off pushing myself through overworking, over-exercising, over-cleaning, partying, multitasking, reading, succeeding, socializing, and staying busy constantly.  Read more>>

Colby St. Clair

After finishing up time working for the government in North Carolina, my wife and I moved back to her hometown of Park City and settled back into normal life. Not wanting to work for someone else, I went back to my craftsman roots and started designing and building custom furniture. As a third-generation woodworker, it was only natural for me to start my own business. Since opening our doors 7 years ago, we have worked with the best designers in the world, shipped furniture to nearly every inhabited continent, and delivered incredible pieces to celebrities, CEOs and icons. Read more>>

Samantha Stolworthy

Our little shop started as an ice cream truck at the downtown SLC farmers market selling take home pint. We got many requests about a store and expanding into catering – now a year later we built our first retail location ourselves with a lot of hard work and love and opened up in June. We love being in Millcreek as a brick and mortar and still have our ice cream truck for catering and events. Read more>>

Candice Pugh

It all started about 9 years ago when I was preparing for my Wedding. I decided to rework my mom’s old wedding dress. After that, I just started experimenting with other laces & fabrics. My Instagram is where I posted up for business & feedback. 3 years after my wedding, I went viral for my GOLDEN GIRL GRANNY PANTY PACK * yes, Blanche was crotchless* one month from that viral date my mom suddenly died in her sleep & I needed to take a break from the responsibility. The past six years have included many life lessons & tragedies but I’ve always held on to my business & grateful to the customers who stuck around. With both kids back in school, I’m starting to put products in local boutiques & pop ups. Read more>>

Jolynn Forman

I started out as a typical Utah housewife with too many kids too quickly and going mentally insane with boredom all the while being physically exhausted. With 3 kids under two, I craved making things but had no time to do it. So I coped with crazy projects during the brief children’s naps like creating the biggest Utah cardboard maze one afternoon or building a giant castle out of dumpster wood in the basement, complete with dungeon. These projects kept me sane until my youngest was in Kindergarten and I could escape for a degree in art education. My next step wasn’t teaching though, but having a great breakthrough as a professional artist when my art got on the cover of the Ensign magazine and things took off with galleries.  Read more>>

Alexis Sherry

I started working at a Hedge Fund in New York city. I did internal travel for the employees. I have always had a passion for leisure travel. I would travel on the weekends and any time off. I started negotiating hotel rates with New York City Hotels for employees coming in for meetings. It was then that I realized I could turn this into a full-time job. I kept many of my Hedge Fund Clients and started my own travel company AsTravelpro! Read more>>

Tristin Spruill

I started playing music and learning how to create songs at a very young age. I was roughly 5-6 when my dad first handed me a guitar trying to teach me how to play like him. However, that didn’t go very far, for shortly after I picked up the drums and annoyed my parents in a different way. Once I started junior high, my life changed and I turned into nothing but a sad little kid. But I took percussion learning certain keys, tempos, and how to keep my tempo at that. That was the only thing that ever seemed to bring me any joy or happiness at the time. Shortly after my seventh-grade year had concluded I began recording my very own raps over beats I would download off YouTube. Read more>>

Jayne Ann Osborne

As June 2022 began, I had my hands full to bursting. I had a new baby, our fourth, and summer vacation was just beginning. I was trying to figure out how to market the children’s book I had recently published. I was helping put on an annual women’s luncheon. I was both busy and exhausted. I was trying to stay afloat when I received a phone call from my father. “Hi, Jayne Ann. I need you to give my friend a call. I told her all about how you just published ‘When Mommies Get Sick’ and thought you could help her out. She also has a book she’d like to publish. She’s dying of cancer and doesn’t have much time left. This is her final wish. I told her I’d give you her contact information. I need you to give her a call as soon as you can. Thanks!” Read more>>

Kayson Brown

Growing up, I always loved music. My parents never had to make me practice, but I didn’t really think of it as a viable career option. After high school, I served a two-year mission in Europe for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There I learned that the greatest thing in the world is inspiring other people. I figured my life’s mission was to try to inspire other people so I would either become a seminary teacher or a conductor. Music has been such a powerful influence in my life that it has been really natural for me to use it to help empower the next generation. Read more>>

Mark (Patt) Patterson

I am orgianlly from Dallas, TX. There are works for a large marketing agency that I did not feel was putting out great work out from a creative perspective. So I decided to do it better. Long story short…here we are now. It hasn’t been a smooth road, but I have still enjoyed the journey. When it comes to being creative, I feel that the more things you know, the more you realize you don’t know. Struggles can include learning how to monetize your creativity, imposter syndrome, and learning ways to maintain a simple approach to the process. Read more>>

Busking Bus

Towards the beginning of 2020, the three of us (Landon, Catherine, and Jonah) all met through a local theatre mixer. We each had experience in theatre/performance prior to our meeting. Landon had performed with the Children’s Theatre/ Parker Theatre for years, Catherine had worked with New World Shakespeare and film, and Jonah was Artistic Director of ThreePenny Theatre Company. As we started to discuss the prospect of working together on projects, we discovered that each of us had independently had a similar idea: a food truck for theatre. Read more>>

Ammon Elison

It started after I bought a car and couldn’t find anyone who could get the smoke smell out. I decided I would find out myself how to do it and really enjoyed the satisfaction of cleaning a car fully. After that point, I decided to prove to myself and a few friends that you could actually create something with nothing! From then on, detailing vehicles became a passion; I wanted people to have a service they would love without the negative repercussions of massive cost and light paint damage from car washes. More important than the service itself is the satisfaction of the customer when they see a brand new-looking vehicle. This is the focus of Overlander Auto Detailing now. Read more>>


Well, everything really started when I was young. I’d say maybe 6 years old. Something was telling me that I was meant to change the world. So from a young age I knew that whatever I decided to do as an adult id want to leave a huge impact on people. I grew up in a smaller town in North Texas where everyone graduates high school, goes on to university and then has a family with 3 kids and a dog, lol. I didn’t see that for myself. If I wanted to make it out of where I was I needed to do it in a big way. I was always creative, I took writing classes in middle school and I excelled in art. However, me being creative also got me into trouble. I had a few friends growing up but for the most part, I was pretty isolated during my adolescent years. Read more>>

Chyna Johnston

First off, my name is Mieze. I picked it because my amazing partner’s first language is German. He and I love our kitties and the german word for the kitty is Mieze (it is pronounced like pizza). I have always loved creating art and the supplies that go with it, but didn’t really feel quite satisfied with them. I started to experiment with making my own paint from natural pigments at home. A friend of mine knew I was interested in markets and he was not able to attend one he already paid for, so he asked me if I wanted to give it a shot. Read more>>

Ken, Davis, and Aria Agle

My Father loved theatre and film. He kept every Playbill of every theatrical show he ever saw and he saw hundreds. He loved movies and even worked part-time in a movie theatre so his kids could see films for free. I actually saw Star Wars 42 times when it came out because I loved it and there wasn’t much else to see that summer. I had the privilege of growing up in Hawaii, Southern Utah and London. In each, we grew to love art: Hawaii at the Polynesian Cultural Center, Cedar City with the Shakespearean Festival and London with its many West-Side theatres. Read more>>

Peyton Oyler

I grew up in Phoenix, AZ the first 19 years of my life. After playing a year of college soccer, I knew that college was not the path for me. Although, I did not know what my path actually was. I moved to Salt Lake City to be closer with family and hopefully find a path that I wanted to follow. When I first moved here, I was writing a lot of poetry in a little journal that I carried around everywhere with me. I hung out at a coffee shop in Sandy called “Sunset Coffee” nearly every day since I had moved to Salt Lake City. One day, a lady named “Rickell” asked if she could hear some of my poems, and after we grew really close I decided to let her see some of the art that I had been working on.  Read more>>

Lacy Allen

When I moved to Boulder, Ut in 2016, I decided to start a little garden. I had never gardened before and there were so many amazing people here gardening that I took it on and learned from many of the locals. By 2018, I had a large garden and was canning and pickling all of my own food to preserve for winter. It was the same year that I took my first trip to India. I was in southern India for close to a month and I fell in love with all of the spices and spice stalls. I ended up bringing home a whole duffel bag full of spices. I started cooking with them and sometimes adding a few here and there to my personal pickle collection. I would share at gatherings and everyone always said how unique and delicious they were.  Read more>>

Jax Swedberg

I rescued Jax from California in March of 2016. We finished up college together in Crested Butte, Colorado in May of 2017 and moved to the desert oasis of Page, Arizona in August of 2017. We have loved exploring our beautiful backyard over the past few years! Our favorite activities to do together are: hiking, biking, boating and rock climbing. We added another pup, Kai, to our pack in September of 2018 from Page Animal Adoption Agency. Read more>>

Stephanie Perez

I have always loved to travel and explore new places. While working an office job I realized I needed more of a creative outlet to become passionate about. That is when I started my blog and then followed my social media accounts (@SincerelySGP). As I explored more places I was able to share my experiences in written, video, and photo form. It has been so fun being able to share my travel adventures, tips, and recommendations with those also passionate about seeing the world. Read more>>

Katie Crouch

I’ve been painting since the day I could remember. I’ve always loved doing things with my hands and creating new things. Growing up I never liked being told what to do and especially when it came to my art. Throughout Elementary school and middle school, I quickly learned art classes weren’t for me. I hated being told how I had to do things, I never felt that I was able to express my own individual creativity. As I got into high school I began paying more attention to the Art/ artists In the southern Utah area. As talented and creative as these individuals are all seem to lack something, Individuality. Read more>>

Susan Huniu

From being a Disney Princess to performing in front of an audience of thousands, my background in theater and music helped me combine my passions with the desire to build a positive community for women. Six years ago I took my love for clothing, entertainment, and people and launched our family-owned online boutique. At the time my kids were 1 and 3, and I was looking to find something I could do from our house to support our family while having the flexibility to be with my kids. In June 2016, my husband and I launched online our boutique. Read more>>


  1. Hatin

    March 31, 2022 at 11:57 am

    Congratulations for post! Nice article 🙂

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