Upon meeting in Tupelo, Mississippi, Gina and Amanda immediately connected not only as coworkers but best friends.
From our complementary skill sets to our relationship with cancer and the drive it instilled—our partnership enables us to bring out the best in one another and our clients.
Anyone who has dealt with cancer can understand the breakthroughs that accompany it. Your world stops, and all of your plans change in the blink of an eye. Dynamics evolve, and you move forward in ways you never thought possible. In the end, you draw closer to what truly matters in life.
For us, cancer sparked new beginnings.
We gained new perspectives and realized the importance of seizing each day.
Amanda lost her father to brain cancer. It was sudden, with less than a year between being diagnosed and passing at only 55 years old. She stepped into a new role as President of her family’s golf course and quickly realized she enjoys making people happy with a product she stands behind.
After her family sold the business, she felt like something was missing. Her family moved to Mississippi from Iowa for the golf course years before, and it gave her a sense of purpose in the state. Her husband and family encouraged her to forge her own path.
She thought she had found her sweet spot at a local marketing agency helping entrepreneurs breathe life into their businesses. She learned how to flex new design muscles in her brain and was elated when the agency hired a new Creative Director, Gina King, whose vision goes above and beyond your expectations.
Amanda is good at connecting and conceptualizing, and Gina is a strong strategist and an award-winning designer. The two quickly became a power team.
Gina had just relocated to Mississippi from Pennsylvania with her husband. Just as their love story began, their world was turned upside down when Chris was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma just two months before their wedding date.
Cancer changed everything.
They sacrificed a lot of beautiful things they dreamt of doing, like buying a house, having a honeymoon, and enjoying all of the firsts as a newly-wed couple. They quickly learned what was important—each other. Right after their wedding in 2018, they packed a U-Haul and headed down South.
Initially, Gina felt lonely and out of her element in Tupelo. She uprooted her life and left her friends, family, and a successful career to be in what felt like a foreign country, missing something.
Gina tried demonstrating her skills at different companies but felt like she cared more about her clients and company than her employers. Then she met Amanda.
Being able to bond over family, our dedication to helping others, and our strong work ethic is the basis of this partnership.
Fate brought us together in Mississippi – A branding agency was born
In looking for what could take us to the next level and closer to our purpose here, we found each other on the line of Longitude 88.7034* W.
88 West represents the place where our two worlds came together. It embodies destiny and our unity of vision, passion, and genuine care for the people we help and the stories we share. Our foundation was finding the missing link we each needed in each other.
We quickly learned what an amazing support team we had
When we told our friends and family that we were going to start our own branding agency, we were so thankful for all their support and encouragement along the way. Everything started to fall into place and proved we were on the right path. We just needed one final piece to launch our dream into a reality – funding.
Through our friends and family, we were encouraged to reach out to Jeremy Martin who could help us obtain our LLC and coach us on partnerships for new businesses.
When learning that Jeremy transitioned from the Secretary of State’s office to work at Renaissance Community Loan fund, we decided to schedule a meeting to brainstorm about our business vision for 88 West.
When we arrived at the meeting, we were greeted by Jeremy Martin, John-Michael Marlin and Wayne Dennis. This journey was an exciting one for us and also a little scary but the Renaissance team coached us on every step of the way. From making sure we had a business lawyer and CPA in place to showing us how to file our LLC. They broke down our business model and we discussed our ideas and vision for hours with them.
Towards the end of that first meeting, we remember worrying if we had just made a huge mistake by quitting our jobs to start this new adventure. So we asked them, “Well, what do you think? Are we crazy?” They smiled back and after looking at each other said, “Let’s do this!” From that moment on we felt the genuine care that went into setting us up for success. They are amazing business coaches and through every meeting we have with them, we leave with renewed energy and motivation. We knew there wouldn’t be a single bank that would literally get “into the trenches” with us and help our business to truly thrive. That is why we chose Renaissance Community Loan Fund.
Together, we are encouraging other entrepreneurs to embark on this journey.
Written by: Amanda Gholson & Gina King