It takes a lot more than an idea to build a business, but there can’t be a business without the idea. So we asked folks who’ve built wonderful businesses to tell us about how they came up with the idea in the first place.

Molly Jo Shea | Ceramicist & Performance Artist

I started working with ceramics seriously in 2014, I had a day job at OTIS as an admissions counselor and my commute was over an hour and 1/2 with rush hour traffic. So I enrolled in an extension course that met at night so that I would have something to do while I waited for traffic to calm down. I had previously taken ceramics classes in high school, but never really connected with it because it always seemed so fussy and made my hands feel dry and weird. The extension course at OTIS was great for getting me into some basic techniques, but really the community of people I got to interact with, was so positive and inspiring. I kept on making things after the extension course and it became melded into my art practice when I went to grad school at CalArts. Coming from performance and new media background, so much of my work was ephemeral and purely conceptual. Having something I could make with my body and give to people or sell seemed like such a novel new part of my practice. Read more>>

Jimin Kim | Chef

It has always been my life long dream to own my restaurant. Ramen started to get popular in Los Angeles back in 2015 and I’ve been obsessed years before. After two years of research and development, I finally opened my first ramen-ya. Read more>>

Joi Bonman | Owner of My Earth Goddess CBD

I have always loved making things and did so often for friends and family. After creating a unique blend of products for my small friend group, I realized how much I loved it. Making skincare products was fun and challenging but it also allowed me to explore scent, texture, and overall mood improvement. My friends loved their gifts so much they all but yelled at me to start a business immediately. I thought about all the things that I loved. The mysticism of the universe, mental health, being vegan, and CBD. I have always loved the stories of gods and goddesses and being that I am working with materials from the earth and being an earth sign. It came together in this beautiful way that I had not expected. Read more>>

Isabell Bogosian | CEO and Co-Founder of The Sasha Project LA

My 12 year old daughter Sasha has been living with Cerebral Palsy (CP) since birth. She is very artistic and loves to draw and paint. Four years ago she started painting a pair of my jeans for therapy and fun and eventually started to paint denim items for donations. 100% of the proceeds support the art therapy program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where Sasha receives treatment. This art therapy program isn’t covered by insurance or medicaid, and is solely funded by philanthropic efforts from the community. Sasha knows this, and wants to continue raising awareness and funds one denim item at a time. Read more>>

Katea Jones | Owner of BALM Tea Co.

BALM Tea Co. was literally birthed out of passion and intuition. Growing up, I remember my grandmother enjoying tea at some point throughout her day and that piqued my interest in tea. Initially, it was an interest in bagged tea (which I occasionally still enjoy), but I eventually found a true love for loose leaf tea. For several years, I toiled with and meditated on the idea of creating a loose leaf tea line – researching tea and experimenting with making blends for myself and friends! My intuition was the driver for my company name and even how I developed my initial three tea blends. One morning I woke up and BALM Tea Co. was the name of my business. A BALM is something comforting and soothing – everything I wanted my tea to embody. Read more>>

Laila Salartash | Artist

Years ago while I still lived in Iran I started to travel to different provinces . I became familiar with ceremonies and manners of the tribes and nomads of the regions and the warmth, generosity and Taarof ( Persian art of etiquette) Of welcoming others into their homes which was heartfelt and sincere. At that time I was also involved with the family horse breeding and traveled often. Everywhere which I traveled I noticed the footprint of our warm Iranian culture. What was common was the very hospitable, kind and genuine welcome I received and along with it; the colorful spreads and the offerings of hot cup of tea which is very warm middle eastern custom. Homemade bread and yogurt, local dishes, and hot tea in the corner of their homes was embedded in my memory. After immigrating from Iran, with my upbringing and a degree in Arts ; creativity became a big part of me. Painting, carpentry, design and hand craft of wool felt rugs; all shaped an existence for me, while my home little by little became a place of gatherings for my artist friends and their friends. Read more>>

Amanda Deming | Mobile Spa Owner, Certified Massage Therapist, kundalini Yoga Teacher, Doula, Raw Food Chef, Reiki Master

I always knew I wanted to do in-home massages and start my own business but I wasn’t exactly sure how to navigate that or where to start. One day during my kundalini yoga teacher training course, I was doing a 6 hour meditation of long at Ek Ong Kaars. The meditation started at midnight and went u til 6 am. Around 4:30 am I took a break and rested my body. During that rest time i had a download of the name of my business, the intention behind it and even the logo. The next day, Inside Out Mobile Spa was born and it has been the most wonderful 10 years of my life. Read more>>