Our community is comprised of some absolutely brilliant entrepreneurs and so we asked a few of them to tell us the story of how they came up with the ideas for their business.

Celine ZHOU | Baker & Owner

Ever since I moved to Los Angeles, I had a dream to create some special sweets that can bring a little love and joy to the people we care about. It all started one day when I baked a batch of dainty shortbread cookies for a friend with the message, “Wake up, kick ass, repeat.” Consequently, my other friends began clamoring for their own custom cookies for birthdays and bridal showers. It was after this I realized that the cookies could be used to commemorate all the special occasions that one would usually buy a card for. Read more>>

Karishma Patel | Health and Fitness & Owner

At first I was just blogging for fun, but as time went by I really wanted to help spread positivity because we could all use some of that. I always wanted to reach out to people at a broader level and I finally can through my clothing. I wanted to have positive messages on the clothing that I sell so that when people read it, they feel happy. With so much happening in the world, I want to be able to help put some smiles on faces. Even if it’s just one person, I feel like I’ve done my job. I want to keep spreading positivity and keep letting people know that it’s okay to be yourself and it’s okay to love yourself. So, I took the leap and spent all my savings to start my small business, I’ve never been happier!! I love doing what I do. Read more>>

Ryan Marquardt | Multidisciplinary Consultant

I always struggled to “pick a lane” in the working world. Most of us are taught early on that have to find a speciality and become an expert in it. I majored in Public Relations in college, even though I didn’t know if that was what I wanted to do full-time for the long haul. Then, I got a job in PR right after college. It didn’t take long to realize “this isn’t for me.” That wasn’t because I disliked PR – I still do it! – but I knew myself well enough to know I was interested in so many other things. Ultimately, I decided to become a consultant so I could stay diversified and pursue multiple paths simultaneously. I’ve used various words to explain it – I’m a Swiss Army knife, or a multipotentialite, or multidisciplinary. It doesn’t really matter, because I’m doing multiple things, and that’s what I always wanted. Read more>>

Xiaoxiao Cao | Ballerina, Broadway Performer, Dancerwear Designer & Business Owner

When I moved to New York City from China to pursue my dance career in 2012, I went in search of leotards I could wear to my dance classes. I wanted something romantic, feminine, and filled with fantasy – something that would make me feel beautiful and special when I looked in the mirror during practice. But everything I found in stores was too dark, too sporty, and too plain for my taste. Ever since I was a child, I have been obsessed with ribbons, bows, and lace; I even imagined I would be able to wear a tutu to dance class as an adult. I would look at the paintings of Edgar Degas and wonder, “Why can’t I wear that?” I decided to do it myself. I bought a second-hand sewing machine from a friend, went to the library, and taught myself how to make a pattern based on instructions I had read for swimwear. Read more>>

Lindsay Wandzilak | Founder

I had worked in group fitness for a while, and once I left that space, there were some take-aways that I really wanted to keep as part of my life and business: I loved working with people as they pursued the best version of themselves. As much as the time in a class or studio was important, I felt like the other 23 hours of the day were being overlooked. I wanted to create a business that addressed the whole picture of health. I saw a need in the market for something that could touch on all of the facets of being “healthy”: movement, nutrition, community, consistency and joy! Read more>>

Candice Ferrell | Healing Crystals & Aromatic Jewelry Designer

I came up with the idea of Rose’s for Roselyn while going through some major transitions in my life. I had gone from working in an insurance office, tried my hand at event planning, became a first time mom and realized there was still something missing from my life. I got out of a traditional 9-5 desk job to being an event planner because I wanted to interact with people on a more creative level. But then event planning quickly became to highly emotional because I was dealing with a lot of couples planning their big wedding day and it started to feel like I was loosing the that creative freedom I was searching for. After I had my son, I still needed and wanted to work but knew it had to be still on my own terms but also allow me the creative freedom I wanted. Im a big nature girl at heart. Read more>>

Jeff Hafler | America’s Hairstorian

I was a history lover who became a hairdresser when I was a teenager. I combined my love of history with the history of my chosen occupation and became America’s Hairstorian! I started collecting hair and beauty artifacts when I was 19 in beauty school and now almost 30 years later I have fulfilled my dream of creating a roadside attraction, beauty parlor and museum. The Beauty Bubble Salon and Museum is in downtown Joshua Tree, California. Read more>>

Koko Hayashi | Face Yoga Instructor

When I was 27, I had a plastic surgery failure. I had a chin implant to make it a bit pointy, the chin got asymmetrical, so had the implant removed, but then it stays asymmetrical since then. That’s when I realized that I should have pursued natural solutions such as face yoga. This experience made me start face yoga exercises on a regular basis, as in Japan where I was at that time, face yoga is a common practice for beauty conscious people. I started seeing good result on mine, so started teaching on youtube and got certified to teach 3 years in Japan. Read more>>

Tonia Soteros |Founder

The idea for Recontained came to me very organically. I stumbled upon the statistic that, if every person in America would stop using body wash it would save 2.5 million lbs of plastic going into the landfill every year. I was so profoundly affected by this information that I immediately stopped using body wash. That was a really easy fix changing to bar soap but then I couldn’t stop thinking about all the other products I used on a daily basis, from personal care to home cleaning products. A few weeks later, I was in my bathroom looking at all my products and feeling such guilt and in that moment, I wondered if there was somewhere I could just take all my containers to, to be filled up. This was in 2009 and there was nothing. That is where the idea for Recontained was born. It just took me another 10 years to actually make it happen. Read more>>

Debbe Goldstein | Online Gallery Owner

I had been reading how many people were buying art online . I also knew a lot of artists whose work I thought needed to be seen. I thought having an online website to sell work and support artists’careers which was what my career had been about seemed a logical choice. Read more>>

Carrie Madrid | Breast Cancer Survivor & CEO

My business, The CARE Project, Inc., was born out of my own life-altering diagnosis of Stage III breast cancer. I never even considered all of the ways a patient’s life is affected once diagnosed. You tend to just think about life or death and enduring treatments. You don’t think about the financial impact or even the psychological impact a cancer experience can feel. My business was born out of necessity, to fill in the gaps of support for breast cancer patients, within my own community. Read more>>

Darnai Thomas | Chef & Entrepreneur

It started as a hobby..and looking back on it now it was never meant to be a business but I figured if people liked the product/service I provided and were willing to pay for it then turning it into a business would be a logical idea. Being that my passion was food and cookies it made sense to start a catering and cookie company. Read more>>

Ashley Lomelin | Founder

Starting Darl + co only made sense as the next step. When I was in college, I created my first blog, MyStyleBoss, that focused on bringing my audience curated list of styles they can wear to their listed event with consideration to their most confident body features. I later retired the site because I no longer knew how to care for the service when it grew too fast for me. A few years later, I started Millennial Going Down. This time I focused on lifestyle and dedicated it as a resource to others millennials who seek answers to their evolving life questions. I began to grow my audience list and most of these engaging voices came from millennial women who were also trying to create their own path. Read more>>

Marina Shtoda, Konstantin Starodetskii | The Atman Film Festival

Marina, as a producer and actress, and I, Konstantin, as a director and writer were visiting numerous film festivals around the world. In the process, we discovered that there are a lot of films out there that portray unnecessary violence and darkness, that was the moment when we thought what if we create a film festival that promotes more light in the soul of the audience and can be a great step towards healing ourselves, especially in the time of crisis like the one we’re experiencing now. The name of our festival “Atman” in Sanskrit means inner self, soul, or spirit, which reflects our motto, “Films that unite humanity and uplift souls.” Read more>>

Brian Fitzburgh | Real Estate Broker

We are a real estate team that loves animals and had a vision to find a way to combine our efforts in real estate and help save the lives of homeless animals at the same time… It took our team quite a while to figure it all out with some failure along the way… Initially we would bring out rescue pet to our open houses and try to combine the open house with a rescue adoption event… Turns out that is not a great idea for a number of reasons and we sort of crashed and burned with that approach… In the end, however, we realized that real estate agents can raise awareness that “fostering saves rescue pets” without spending any extra time and incorporate their love and passion for rescues into their normal real estate routine. Read more>>

Joy Shannon | Indie Producer & Director

Instead of doing a narrative film, like my last one, my current film is a documentary about COVID-19 and Black LA, titled “After The LockDown: Black In LA”. The film is being directed by three LA directors: honorary Oscar winner Charles Burnett, his son Jonathan – a recent film school graduate from LMU, and myself. Jonathan is also my nephew. We’ve done some incredible Zoom interviews with Blacks in all walks of life who reside in LA. Once the restrictions are lifted, we will do a few interviews on location with a camera. The idea to make the film comes from the current times…from the COVID-19 pandemic. Once the virus aggressively impacted the US, I knew there would be suffering and, unfortunately, death, and I knew I had to make a film. Read more>>

Terre Moshe’ | Brand Owner, Dog Manager & Trainer

Every Brand / Business story begins with a dream. My story started 10 years ago with my love for fashion and creative arts. My background is in Medical and Veterinary sciences, I had a dream to market my Afghan hound as my Brand in entertainment industry but no clue where to start. I was approached at a park in Los Angeles by a well known photographer. He asked to have my afghan hound model for his book. He encouraged me to continue to pursue my dream. Afterwards I began reading books on Brand managing, took Advanced training classes with my dog and consulted with my children who were Brand & Design managers. With help of photographer friends I built a fabulous portfolio, business cards & began marketing my afghan hound. It took 5 years of marketing, determination and persistence to finally get my first break. Read more>>