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Inspiring Stories from the North Side

The heart of our mission at VoyageChicago 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 Chicago’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 North Side’s rising stars below.

Qunoot Sharafi

Growing up in a Pakistani household, good nutrition and exercise was simply not at all part of my culture or lifestyle. The food I grew up on was quite rich and gluttonous aka very unforgiving. Being a first-generation American, I just had to learn about health on my own. Read more>>

Jeri Zaslavsky

I began designing my own uniquely personal jewelry while undergoing treatment for breast cancer as a means to focus my attention on creating designs that would make my family & friends feel my appreciation for the love and support given to me during a difficult time in my life. This is how BE LOVED began. Read more>>

James Blair

I spent 48 years as a teacher of English, creative writing, speech, and drama–twenty-seven years in the Chicago public school system and 21 years in the Communication, Media & Theatre Department at Northeastern Illinois University, retiring in 2014. Read more>>

Paul Langford

The beginning of my music education was sitting and listening to vinyl recordings for hours and hours on end as a kid. Artists like Earth, Wind and Fire, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, The Commodores, Carole King, George Benson, various move soundtracks, Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis and many others. Read more>>

Mike Kollman

I loved to build things and problem solve at a young age. I discovered that Architecture offered me a chance to combine art and science to make the world a better place. SmartHaus and Wexler/Kollman P.C., Ltd. was born from the passion to create inspiring and responsible design at a level that makes it affordable to anyone interested. Read more>>

Mark Ward Heap

My parents said I’d never make a living at something like that, and I believed them, so I spent most of my life working office jobs and wishing things were different. Several years ago, my wife suggested if I really wanted to be an artist, I’d better get to it – time was wasting. Read more>>

Jillian Horn

I was a new stay at home mom taking care of a perfect six-month-old baby boy and felt a small void. Something was missing. I missed the craziness of working and having deadlines. I missed having something that wasn’t fully baby focused. Little man keeps me plenty busy but I couldn’t help but feel that I could be doing more. Read more>>

Erin Nelson and Mary Rose Gonzales

We have had a gender-neutral pricing structure for a couple of years now and that is a huge deal for so many reasons. Hair has no gender, so our prices needed to reflect that. Our values are strong and clear. We only carry independently owned and operated brands, brands that are cruelty-free, and sustainable. Read more>>

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