We reached out to some of our favorite entrepreneurs and asked them to think back and tell us about how they decided to start a business. Check out their responses below.

Judy Masucci | Bra Whisperer

When I originally started my business, it was a breastfeeding focused business. I wanted to help other new mothers have success in their breastfeeding journeys and I wanted to spend more quality time my own son who was very little at the time. In 2016, I revamped my business into the business that it is today. My goals in doing so were to meet the changing needs of my clients. Pittsburgh was sorely lacking in places to purchase quality undergarments in a wide variety of sizes. I wanted to expand my offering of nursing bras to include bras for everyone. Read more>>

Mary Ortenburger | Licensed Psychotherapist and Registered Yoga Instructor. Trauma Informed Yoga Teacher and Yoga Therapist in training.

As a psychotherapist, my journey before licensure began in a residential treatment center working with eating disorders, then with children and youth at a county funded clinic. After 5 years and becoming licensed 3 years into working for clinics, I started to feel stagnant: I wanted to be constantly learning new therapeutic modalities, making my own choices clinically, and overall just having more autonomy in my practice. I began a private practice while still working for the county, and was immediately invigorated. I felt inspired, I had more choices in who I took on to work with, and the possibilities for training and expanding felt endless. Read more>>

Jason Trac | Small Business Owner

My wife Taylor and I got married a few years ago. Like any other happy couple planning for their big day we started off bright eyed and bushy tailed, excited to tackle the monumental task of putting together this special event. We quickly learned that wedding planning was not as glamorous and fun as we thought it would be. In fact it was incredibly time consuming, cumbersome to navigate, and downright stressful at times. The number of options for us to choose from for every aspect or detail of the wedding was almost overwhelming. Read more>>

Brian Lahiere | Production Sound Mixer

I didn’t like the people I was working for, plain and simple – I felt that they were inefficient, perpetually exhausted, and as is won’t the case in Hollywood, downright rude and shortsighted, As artists, vendors, engineers, etc, most folks in town here only see the $1,000.00 break they give to some productions on a campaign, and they perform their job with that at the forefront of their thinking, and it shows in their work – they are thoroughly elsewhere. I have a small army of repeat clients and agencies that use my team because rather than focus on that $1,000.00 break, I saw the $100,000.00 gain we’d receive in future business. I have not been wrong at this point, there are always exceptions to every rule; however, we haven’t stopped. Read more>>

Jordan Freid | Photographer

I have worked in the entertainment industry for many years, which I love, but I wanted to create around my own vision. Read more>>

Hector Garcia | Founder / Brand Guardian

Growing up in LA I was surrounded by art, culture and creativity, not only in the neighborhood but in my household as 2 of my older siblings developed amazing skills in fine art. I remember dreaming of having great skills as well. As a pre-teen my parents encouraged me to draw and paint, One summer, I was probably 13 or so when my dad bought me an airbrush and put up a shed in the backyard – That was my first office 🙂 I quickly started painted t-shirts for all of my friends and neighbors, then moved onto painting lowrider bikes and winning paint contests. when I started high school, I filled every elective class with fine art. Read more>>

Rhandi Foster | Choate BODY Organic Skincare Owner & Founder

I started making products to relieve my very dry, sensitive skin around 2014. I had eczema my entire life so I was pretty used to being itchy all the time, and also used to my skin burning every time I tried new products, so I began making my own. It was a hobby, I enjoyed creating products and gifting them to family and friends. I soon began selling them to all the clients at the hair salon my mom worked at and to my colleagues I worked with at Nordstrom. Because making products was my creative haven, I had no desire to turn my hobby into a job. Read more>>

Avinash Kapoor | Chef/owner

I just knew this is what i am going to do. easy Read more>>

Tene Muhammad | Community Activist & Entrepreneur

I recognized a gap and a need in my community. I realized that I could begin to close that gap and service that need, by creating what others might consider small. By creating a space that did several things all at once. The Compton’s Black Exchange is a space that definitely destroys this stigma that Compton is this bad place and the people of Compton are just gangbangers or rappers. We have successfully brought the people of Compton, along with the surrounding communities together on a regular basis. All with the mind set to network, change the way our Black dollar circulates in our community, educate when it comes to business, organize to strategize about creating generational wealth, closing the racial wealth gap and supporting each other. I’ve figured out away to make a difference, change narrative, create opportunities and make money all at the same time. Read more>>

Cashawna Flores | Chef & Owner

My passion for food started at a young age. Growing up cooking with my Grandmother fueled the fire in me even more. As I got older I found being in the kitchen was an effortless task for me and brought me so much happiness and joy I knew it was what I was meant to do. I love to host events and share my food with family and friends. After hearing a lot of great feedback, I knew I had to share my love for cooking and baking with as many people as possible. Read more>>

Eric Ballew | Business owner

My thought process was that I will be able to do what I want and offer my community our quality food. I wanted to be able to give back as well by creating jobs within the community. Read more>>

SEEMA BANSAL | Co Founder of VENUS ET FLEUR

I started my own business because I noticed a void in the luxury floral market. Products didnt look like how they did online and we wanted to change that. We launched the worlds first e-commerce Eternity floral brand with our eternity roses that live up to one year without the need of water carefully packaged into our signature Parisian inspired hat boxes Read more>>

Raquel Reyes | Astrologer & Mentor

The main intention of starting my own business was to reach a new level of personal freedom. I started working when I was 14-years-old, and while working for other people taught me fundamental things like work ethic and structure, it was also a motivating factor because I knew I had dreams and visions of my own and that they’d need me to go “all in” if I were to be successful. Read more>>

Jason “SOUNDSBYKROCK” Jackson | Sound Engineer & Music Producer

With every type of business becoming mobile, prior to the pandemic starting, I started to provide a mobile recording service. With some artist are not able to afford a full studio, I provide the equipment and soon a mobile booth to record out of. Read more>>

Bobby Jones | Private Chef

One of my top reasons f0r wanting to start my own business was to focus more on a future of building a successful family business for our children and grand kids. Read more>>

Bee Golden Honeys | Business Owner

To provide our community, and all our brothers and sister here on earth a natural product to promote wellness and balance. Read more>>

Sam Rethmeier | Wine Whisperer

COVID-19 hit restaurants like the housing crisis of 2008/09; we were supposed to be the industry too big to fail. Impenetrable. To quote Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park, “life finds a way.” Even with said housing crisis, restaurants came out relatively unscathed. This was different. As a result, I was tasked with liquidating our existing inventory (selling wine at retail pricing) to free up cash as the restaurant transitioned to a take-out model. A friend of mine asked me to grab her some bottles, totaling $100. A few days later, she FaceTimed me and asked if I would walk her through my selections. I quickly launched into my table side sommelier bit and walk her through all three bottles. She was happy, I felt briefly normal for getting to do my job and we hung up. Read more>>

Anthony Bianco | Designer & Glassmaker

I felt I didn’t have many options for representation when I was starting out. When I opened Bianco Light & Space it felt like the only way I could combine my skills into a studio practice. Until then glass had been a 9-5 grind and the only career seemed to be getting in a, “glass gallery.” Read more>>

Norina Murphy | Mental Health Therapist and Group Private Practice Owner

I’ve worked in various mental health settings during the course of my career- agencies, schools, a prison, a hospital. While all have directly contributed to the therapist I am today, I always wanted to go into private practice. That was my end goal as a professional when I started in this field at the ripe old age of 23. 20 some years later, I can attest, the autonomy and creativity being in private practice allows does, in fact, brings me great joy. It provides an impact to others not always achieved in places dictated by corporations or the state, etc… Of course, we still have “rules” and guidelines to follow, but much less so than any other place that I have been. Read more>>

Brenda Carter | CEO/founder

The thought process behind starting my brand Bruin Hues was to create and build a legacy my family, ancestors and descendants would be proud of, all while inspiring and motivating others to follow their goals and dreams. The goal behind starting my business was and still is not only to offer high quality products and services for consumers, but to drive the message behind the brand, that message being to not only embrace and love yourself but to embrace and love others. Read more>>

Valerie Livingston | Founder of LAV/Entrepreneur

I always loved fashion from a young age when my mom introduced me to modeling as a child. Fashion to me has always been a form of expression and it was a pretty natural feeling to want to start my own clothing store. My thought process was to just do it, meaning register my name, obtain my business license, write out a budget, a plan of action(the legalities). Once my money was invested I knew I could not turn back and I had to do it. I wanted to write my own rules, have complete control and just be able to express myself creatively. I also wanted to say that “I did this myself”. Read more>>

Ignacio Viau | Surf coach

I’m a passionate and motivated entrepreneur who seeks to drive and manage successful business solutions. Substantial hands-on business development and sales experience gained by launching three start-ups and by managing the strategic releases of new products and other business operations. Solid interpersonal and communication skills, especially versed in customer-facing roles. Adept at finding creative and analytical solutions. Ability to manage multiple tasks successfully in a fast-paced environment under tight schedules. Specialty: Business Development. Read more>>