Kzoom is BIG on supporting someone’s Entrepreneurial Spirit. We have worked with many businesses, non-profit organizations, and corporations, (new and long-standing) in the Kalamazoo community over the past 20 years to help them tell their business story. Over time we’ve realized that no matter the industry, they all have one thing in common; their passion for what they do! Seeing this passion and love for their business is what inspires our Kzoom team every day.
Our mission is to advance the greatest causes and our vision is to become the most visible and connected marketing company in Kalamazoo, uniquely positioned by our FSM (Full Service Marketing) offerings and strength in videography. We exemplify this through our core values: Care, Availability & Immediacy, Long-Term Focus, and Entrepreneurial Mindset, and in the process, we’ll have Borderline Too Much Fun!
We have had the honor of exercising many of our core values by filming the up-and-coming business owners in Kalamazoo, MI who have become finalists in the Annual Makers’ Mart Competition!
The annual Southwest Michigan First leadership conference is designed to spark fresh ideas and motivate business professionals to new heights in their leadership skills. A unique aspect of Catalyst University is an entrepreneurial competition called Makers’ Mart that takes place within. The goal of this competition is to support young small businesses in Southwest Michigan.
Each entrepreneur that becomes a finalist in the annual Makers’ Mart is rewarded with a promotional video produced by yours truly, Kzoom! The promotional videos are played at strategic times during the conference and attendees are given the opportunity to sample and buy their products before voting for their favorite Maker.
The decision was tough, but Catalyst University attendees voted Toya Williams from Aunt Nay’s Cookies & Treats as their favorite maker! She earned $2,500 cash along with $7,500 worth of legal, accounting, and marketing services to invest in her business.
Below you can watch each contestant’s video that was featured at the 2023 Southwest Michigan First leadership conference.
Aunt Nay’s Cookies and Treats is the winner of 2023’s Markers’ Mart! Owner Toya Williams quickly won over the hearts of the voters through her family recipe of delicious banana pudding. You could truly taste the love and care coming through from generations past.
Hank Built was born by the owner, Aaron Henry, wanting to pick up staples off his desk. This simple task quickly morphed into forming a magnetic-based fidget tool. Watch the video to see how his vision came to life and is now helping many people with their anxiety. As such, we suppose these fidget tools could still help collect staples, paper clips, or anything metal really!
Lalonie Wilhite is a hairstylist with 20 years of experience. She created Hydr8 Organics Haircare Line out of her frustration with the lack of quality products for strengthening, growing, and moisturizing all hair types. She began testing different mixtures and with the help of her clients’ real-time feedback, she found the perfect solution! Now, she has launched her gift to the world and is helping people everywhere achieve their luxury hair dreams.
Gretchen’s Bakery arose out of a desire Gretchen Schmidt had to share her love of sweet treats with the world. Seeing her mother produce delicious desserts in their kitchen at home instilled in her a passion for baking which was only further fueled by her getting an easy-bake oven! From there, her skills only improved and we are all so thankful for her desire to feed the community of Kalamazoo. Gretchen inspires us by also using her baking skills to help non-profits and other organizations in the community.
Kiah is a passionate marketer. She is a social media wizard who loves staying on top of current trends and creating intriguing content.
In her free time she loves digital painting, reading fantasy novels and spending time in the woods with her dog, Luna.