Meet HoneyBook’s Top 100 Creative Entrepreneurs and Freelancers to Watch in 2018

Meet HoneyBook’s Top 100 Creative Entrepreneurs and Freelancers to Watch in 2018

The first-of-its-kind award celebrates the rising creative economy — honoring independent designers, makers, image makers, event professionals, and creative entrepreneurship experts

SAN FRANCISCO – WEBWIRE – Tuesday, August 28, 2018

HoneyBook, the business management platform that rallies creative entrepreneurs together into a modern union, today unveiled 20 On The Rise, a curated list of 100 individuals, or wavemakers, representing the diversity and power of the creative economy. The inaugural list celebrates up-and-coming entrepreneurs making waves through hard work and creativity across industries like design, event planning, and photography. The initiative is launched in partnership with Rising TideGusto, and Peerspace to recognize those making an impact and to empower the creative economy to rise together, doing what they love.

The 100 wavemakers represent 20 rising stars across five categories, nominated by the community and evaluated using HoneyBook’s company core values — education, impact, purpose, passion, and community over competition — so that, instead of merely hosting a popularity contest, HoneyBook’s judging process was based purely on merit. The five categories for this year’s list are: designers (ranging from graphic design to web design), makers (from calligraphers to ceramicists), image makers (from photographers to vloggers), event professionals (from DJs to florists), and creative entrepreneurship experts (from lawyers to marketers).

“We at HoneyBook have long known that the creative community is comprised of people doing incredible things,” said Oz Alon, CEO of HoneyBook. “20 On The Rise was dreamed up as a way to honor these people so that others can see what we see. We received over 3500 nominations, and were completely blown away by the stories shared with us. At HoneyBook, one of our core values is to uphold ‘community over competition.’ By highlighting some of the most inspirational members of our community, we hope to encourage others to achieve more and greater things.”

Among those honored is Adam J. Kurtz, an international-bestselling artist and author whose illustrative work is rooted in honesty, humor, and a little darkness. His most recent book, Things Are What You Make of Them (Penguin Random House, 2017), is a collection of essays composed in his trademark handwritten style, focusing on the realities of being a working creative and highlighting all the emotional elements that come into play.

“I’m truly grateful to be recognized for my creative accomplishments alongside 99 other independent artists, makers, and entrepreneurs,” said Kurtz. “One of the hardest parts of being an independent small business is the whole ’independent’ part, so it means a lot to be included amongst a community that encourages and inspires others to follow their dreams. A huge part of my work and books is channeling emotion and experience into art, with the specific intention of encouraging others to break through insecurity and fear to do the same in their own fields. The 20 On The Rise list represents a range of creatives who are fearlessly forging their own paths and it’s an honor to be included.”

Also on the list is Cassandra Niehaus, a queer wedding photographer specializing in LGBTQ+ weddings and celebrations. Operating under the belief that all relationships deserve to be celebrated, her mission is to create an inclusive and safe space where everyone can live and love openly. LGBTQ+ couples are often underserved by her industry, so Zetta also spearheads inclusivity education, with the goal of empowering wedding professionals to better serve this colorful community.

Fellow wavemaker Andrew Roby left the Army thirteen years ago to pursue event planning, which he views as a storytelling opportunity for his clients. The stories he takes part in range from charitable organizations seeking to raise money to people with life threatening illnesses celebrating life. He strives to be a visionary in his work, pushing the boundaries that we have become accustomed to. He is best known for his outstanding table displays, mixing new palettes and textures, which he has honed since childhood.

“We must champion community over competition in order to truly raise the tide for all,” said Natalie Franke, co-founder of Rising Tide and Head of Community at HoneyBook. “This means celebrating and supporting the accomplishments of others because success is not a zero sum game. It means elevating fresh voices, rooting for the up and comers, and working every single day to leave this industry a little better than how we found it.”

The 100 wavemakers honored are:


  • Adam J. Kurtz, Artist at ADAMJK LLC
  • Alex Cottles, Brand and Web Designer at The Routine Creative
  • Alison Jefferies, CEO, Custom Jeweler, and Bridal Accessories Designer at J’Adorn Designs
  • Anali Reizvikh, True North Slings
  • Ana Maria Andricain, Owner and Artist at Jewel of Havana Handcrafted Jewelry
  • Anastasia Casey, Creative Director and Founder at The Identité Collective
  • Carli Vergamini, Designer at CRAVE by Carli Rae Vergamini
  • Do-Hee Kim, Designer and Co-Founder at Shoppe Theory
  • Iris Zhou, Founder and Editor at Comeback Magazine
  • Jake Doering, Principal and Freelance Product Design Lead at Doering.Design
  • Katie Zautke, Founder, Owner, and Designer at Westward Wandering Co.
  • Laine Napoli, CEO at Branding Addicts LLC
  • Marissa Grootes, CEO and Founder at STIL
  • Melissa Fox-Austin, Graphic Designer and Founder at Cherished Prints

  • Michele Perry, Owner and Creative Strategist, Brand Designer + Business Educator at Designed to Thrive Creative, LLC
  • Salma Sheriff, Brand Strategist and Web Designer at Salma Sheriff
  • Sandra Gonzalez, Founder and Creative Director at SPARKLE Bridal Couture
  • Stefani Lefler, Website Strategist, Designer, and Developer at Stefani Jessica Studio
  • Stephanie Owens, Interior Designer and Brand Designer at Paper Moon Interiors, Ms. Paper Moon, and The Decorettes
  • Tiffany Tolliver, Owner and Lead Brand Designer at The EmmaRose Agency


  • Abbie Paulhus, Illustrator at Abbie Paulhus
  • Aftyn Shah, Artist at Rise + Wander
  • Alejandra Magana, Founder at Manjar Ceramics
  • Audrey Ko, Creative and Owner at Things Unseen Designs
  • Autilia Southwick, Maker and Designer at Heart Hooked
  • Becca Courtice, Owner and Calligrapher at The Happy Ever Crafter Inc.
  • Denise Larson, Memorial Artist at Wisconsin Sewing Company LLC
  • Jean Jones, Artist at First Dance
  • John Welch, Owner at John Francis Designs
  • Josefina Herrera-Sanders, Creative Freelancer (Artist) at Love Offering
  • Kelsie Grazier, Artist at Kelsie Grazier
  • Marianita Love Pabalate, Artist and Owner at Ripe Mangoes
  • Mia Moss, Potter at Moss Keramik
  • Nathan Walden, Owner at Hope Soap Ohio
  • Rachel Alvarez, Artist and Small Business Owner at Rachel Alvarez Art
  • Rebecca Borrelli, Illustrator at Becca Borrelli
  • Rebecca Rodriguez, Founder/Maker/Sole Proprietor at Dirtsa Studio
  • Taylor Lee, Artist/Creativity Coach at Taylor Lee, LLC
  • Toni Lipsey, Owner, Designer, and Instructor at TL YARN CRAFTS
  • Verena Fay, Artist and Soul Mentor at VERENA FAY Studio

Image Makers

  • Amber Robinson, Owner, Photographer, and Memory Maker at Images by Amber Robinson
  • Annalise Kaylor, Photographer and Producer at Annalise Kaylor Photography – Two Ears Creative
  • Ashley Jones, Founder and Executive Director at Love Not Lost
  • Carly Jurach, Owner and Photographer at Someplace Images
  • Cassandra Niehaus, Owner and Photographer at Cassandra Zetta
  • Christina Piombetti, Founder and CEO at Christina Piombetti Photography
  • Emmy Wu, Chief Storyteller, Videographer, and Video Marketing Strategist at Emmy Wu Media
  • Grace Chon, Photographer and Author at Grace Chon Inc
  • Hoang “Henry” Tieu, Wedding Photographer at Henry Tieu Photography
  • Jess Onesto, Owner and Photographer at Cheers Babe Photo
  • Justin Haugen, Owner at Justin Haugen Photography
  • Kim Lyn Chauvin, Girlboss, CEO, Mama, Owner, and Photographer at Kim Lyn Photography
  • LaShonda Brown Delivuk, Photographer and Creative Director at Eye for Ebony
  • Latoya Dixon Smith, Owner and Lead Photographer at Latoya Dixon Photography
  • Madison Short, Owner at Madison Short Photography
  • Mark Clennon, Photographer at Mark Clennon Creative
  • Melissa Dowler, Co-Founder and Director at Long Haul Films
  • Samir Chaudry, Online Video Creator
  • Tiffany Burke, Business Owner, Photographer, and Consultant at Tiffany Burke Photography, Tacoma Arts Community Center, Two Twenty-Two Pictures, The Warmth Wagon
  • Tony Wodarck, Photographer at Tony Wodarck

Event Professionals 

  • Andrew Roby, Event and Wedding Planner at Andrew Roby Events
  • Daniela VillaRamos, Love Storyteller and Wedding Officiant at Once Upon A Vow
  • Eduardo Guillen, CEO at Magic Uplifting
  • Elise Smith, Owner and Pastry Chef at WinniE’s Bakery
  • Erica Cote, Owner, Beauty Stylist at Silver Immersion
  • Inger McDowell, Owner at With Love From PDX
  • Justine Broughal, Founder and Lead Event Planner at Together Events
  • Kelsey Harrison, CEO and Creative Director at Oh Happy Day Booth
  • Kimberly Gomez, Makeup Artist at Kim Baker Beauty
  • Masha Evans, Owner at DJ Maasha Events
  • Natasha Thom, Clearwater Events & Weddings
  • Nubian Simmons, Baker and President at The Pink Bakery, Inc
  • Phylicia Bernard, Personal Stylist at Style IngeNEWity
  • Praise Santos, Founder and Ethical Wedding Movement Cheerleader at Ethical Weddings
  • Renee Dalo, Wedding Planner, Designer, and Wedding Business Educator at Moxie Bright Events
  • Rica Sunga-Kwan, Owner at Churn Urban Creamery
  • Sarah Mullins, Owner at A La Crate Rentals
  • Sarah Pete Rizzi, Owner at Sincerely Pete and Co-Founder at Wanderlust Wedding Co.
  • Shean Strong, Floral Designer at Shean Strong Design
  • Teresa Stas, Founder and Director at Sponsorships at Green Cactus

Creative Entrepreneurship Experts 

  • Allison Sugahara, Founder and Creative Director at Polygon Market
  • Amanda Sukkert, Owner and CEO at The Boobie Box
  • Ashley Cox, HR Partner and Leadership Development Expert at SproutHR
  • Brian Goulet, Founder and CEO at The Goulet Pen Company
  • Courtney Zerizef, Founder and Consultant at Homeroom
  • Dayhanna Acosta, CEO, Educator, and Marketing Strategist at Chase Your Fears
  • Hayley Leibson, Founder at Lady in Tech
  • Jacques Bastien, Co-Founder at Snappy Booth
  • Jessica    Rasdall, Speaker, Author, Podcast Host and Public Speaking Strategist at Jessica Rasdall and The Public Speaking Strategist
  • Jessmina Archbold, Social Worker and Author at Minaa B.
  • Joey Vitale, Attorney at Indie Law
  • LaShanta Green, Integrated Marketingand Business Development Strategist at LDG Strategy
  • Lauren Taylor, Content Creator, Brand Ambassador, Talent and Event Coordinator at Lauren Taylor
  • Mandana Ansari, Creator of Girl & The Bay and Founder of 9 to Thrive
  • Marva Goss, Brand Strategist and Sales Coach at Marva J. Coaching Co.
  • Myrna Daramy, CEOand Co-Founder at Mezzohead Media
  • Naomi Hattaway, Ownerand Founder at 8th & Home
  • Racquel Henry, Writer, Editor, and Founder at Writer’s Atelier
  • Sarajane Case, Coach, Writer, and Speaker at Sarajane Case
  • Stefani Drake, Founder and Lead Strategist at Drake Strategies

Why “20 On The Rise?”

Creative entrepreneurs and small business owners end up spending 80 percent of their time on uninspiring tasks, and only 20 percent of it on the reason they started a business in the first place. HoneyBook was founded on the belief that all creatives have the right to do what they do best, and provides the technical backend business functions so that creatives have more time to spend on their craft and less time worrying about proposals, invoices, and reporting. Now, with 20 On The Rise, the company is paying homage to the 20 percent by recognizing 20 wavemakers in each category who are using their superpower to pursue a life of passion and purpose, and blazing the trail for others.

For the complete list, visit:

About HoneyBook 
HoneyBook is the leading business management software for the B2B creative economy. Over 50,000+ creative entrepreneurs connect through its platform to manage their business, collaborate and share opportunities — all in one place. HoneyBook enables creative entrepreneurs to focus more on doing what they love and less on administrative tasks like invoicing and payments. From first reply to final payment, HoneyBook makes it easy for people to book their ideal client faster, more frequently, and with less legwork. Founded in 2013, HoneyBook, is based in San Francisco and funded by Norwest Venture Partners and Aleph, among others. Learn more at

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