Kathy Chiarella was thrilled when her son Michael graduated college last year, but the excitement began to wane when January rolled around and he was still struggling to find a job.

Fearing he had lost confidence and needed some help, she called CompleteCandidate, a career service for recent college grads co-owned by Bluffton resident Nancy Thomas.

Melissa Christian’s biscuit business started from a somewhat selfish place: She wanted better treats for her dogs.

“We were shopping at Christmastime for our dogs’ Christmas stockings, and every package we looked at had more chemical-sounding ingredients than actual food ingredients,” she says. “We were pretty shocked. I kept saying, ‘This is gourmet?’”

Robotic science

Robotics kids: Back row (left to right); Breonia Wallace, Da-Zarriah Bush, Brandon Brantley, Janiah Orr, Brianna Smith, Alannah Bryant, Ayana

Grant, Middle row; Jayden Nunez, Kenneth Johnson, Hazella Jeffcoat, Axel Zepeda. Front row; Angel Gant, Nichelle Patrick, Jaela Gant.

Jackie O’Bannon can’t help but overflow with joy when she thinks about her 14 “babies.”

LATINA ENTREPRENEUR MAKES HER DREAM COME TRUE WITH HARD WORK AND DETERMINATION

There are some things Maria Velez de Berliner can’t tell you about her life — classified information she’s been privy to as part of her role with the U.S. Department of Defense and Homeland Security, and through her teaching on strategic and tactical intelligence with the U.S. Air Force’s Special Operations division.

FOR BEVERLY O’CONNOR-MARTIN, BUSINESS HAS NEVER BEEN BUSINESS AS USUAL

When she was just a young woman attending boarding school outside of Paris, Beverly O’Connor’s headmaster imparted to her father what turned out to be a pretty on-the-nose prediction.

Owners of A Floral Affair have adjusted to Lowcountry pace

A Floral Affair is a bride’s one-stop shop when it comes to making her wedding flower fantasies bloom true, mostly thanks to shop owner Dawn Kiritsy. She and her husband, Stephen, opened the shop in 1997 on Dillon Road a year after relocating to the Lowcountry from New Hampshire. They were sick of the North’s snow and were ready for warmer weather, so their favorite vacation spot — Hilton Head Island — soon became their home, and their new place of business.

Everything falling into place for Hilton Head Island businesswoman Donna D’Amico

Having a son with cystic fibrosis means Donna D’Amico understands the importance of health insurance and adequate preventive care.

Thanks to a career shift she attributes to “divine intervention,” the savvy Hilton Head businesswoman now gets to help healthcare providers make sure their patients have access to those things as well.

After an overwhelming response from the entrepreneurial community and 73 entries submitted from around the country, winners have been chosen for Hilton Head Island Economic Development Corporation's first-ever "Bring Your Business Idea to Life" contest. The contest was created to give entrepreneurs the opportunity to win a comprehensive array of prizes and support to help launch their businesses.

More than 150 business and community leaders attended the pitch competition on Feb. 23 at Poseidon Restaurant, where the six finalists gave “fast pitches” to a panel of well-known business leaders in the community serving as contest judges. Judges were Jason Allen, of Chatham Capital Group; Terry Brubaker, of Gladstone Investments; Jim Macleod, of Coastal States Bank; and Leslie Richardson, of Coligny Plaza. 

CELEBRITY HAIRSTYLIST RELOCATES TO THE LOWCOUNTRY, LAUNCHES HIS OWN LINE OF SHEARS

After jet-setting around the world, celebrity hairstylist Dennis Stokely has returned to his Southern roots. Best known as Paula Abdul’’s hairstylist during seasons seven and eight of “American Idol,” Stokely has settled in the Lowcountry and has launched a brand of hair shears for the beauty industry.

Now living on Hilton Head Island, Stokely moved to the area to take care of his mother, who lives in Savannah.

“I’m a Southern kid, raised by a single mother, who went to public school in Georgia,” Stokely said. “While working on ‘American Idol’ was the gig of a lifetime, I believe my Southern sensibilities set me apart from others in L.A. It seems only natural for me to return to a place that feels like home.”