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.

MARIAN YESUFU | Artist and Mama

I would love to see more people that look like me free to create endless weird, out of the box, quirky, smart, unconventional, imperfect art. Read more>>

RayMauri Wiggins | Entrepreneur

The thought process behind starting my own business was to tell a story and create longevity ownership. I have several businesses in different avenues but they all hold the same thought process. I play the long game in each business, meaning when starting each business I thought about the long term effect it will have on me and my family lives generational wealth wise and how can it can inspire young African American males like my self. Read more>>

Joy Allado | Owner of Agape Learning LLC

Teaching kindergarten was extremely rewarding, so much so, that I taught for almost 20 years. Subsequently, I started contemplating whether that was it for me. I knew I could teach higher grades; I knew I could do more, but the comfort of my classroom then kept me from making bigger decisions in my career. Eventually, my mom talked to me. This is when one could say that mothers know best! The idea of starting a business seemed amazing, but my bank account disagreed with my overflowing enthusiasm. Money become a hindrance. How could I afford to lease a space with the measly pay I was getting? However, God had a different plan. I started looking for a place and found a 300 sq ft office on the second floor. My parents provided the deposit. We started with 2 students. To this day, we have over 200 students enrolled and an exceedingly long waiting list. To God be the glory!. Read more>>

Captain Daniel Kim: Confidence and Relationship Coach

When I was an Air Force Captain, I was in a big meeting with Air Force Generals and executives from Space X. It was a meeting where most people would be so honored to be in and be fulfilled with. However, for me, I couldn’t focus on anything that was happening in the meeting because I knew I was not suppose to be there. For me, I knew that I wanted to have the full freedom to do what I want to do which is to help other people, especially Asian men become the best version of themselves. When I realized my joy comes from having full control of my life and control of what service I bring to the world, it was time to start my own business called Life. Read more>>

Genesis Moreno Balajel | Headmistress of Wooniversity for Women & Reiki Master

1. Listening to the inner screams of my soul saying to build a community of like-minded people 2. Honoring me because the idea of starting a business had been a reoccurring thought 3. Masterminding a business name that reflected who I serving or what we were all about 4. Putting out content that was in alignment with my mission, message, and accumulated knowledge
5. Trusting that I am always attracting people who resonate with my business and happy to pay for my services. Read more>>

Sarah + Kate Govea + Abdelmalek | Sarah | Co-Founder / Graphic Designer & Brand Enthusiast Kate: Co-founder/ Product Designer & Visionary

It all started when we were working for a former company and realized we wanted to make a bigger impact. Kate, our product designer, saw a gap in the type of products being designed for women. There was a need for innovative, sustainable, functional products that truly understood women’s needs and helped empower them to seamlessly get through their day. Most women’s products are designed by men, and we wanted to change that. But it was SO MUCH more than just a product. We had a vision to build a company with intention. One that truly cared about their customers, their impact on the planet, and the empowerment of women globally. And as we dreamed about our brand, we realized that we could integrate our values and passion into the foundation of our company through things like our giveback program- which donates to educating women all over the world, sustainable product design, and our blog which highlights other female entrepreneurs and builds into the community. Read more>>

Breanna Adams | Personal Stylist & Fashion Aficionado

My love for fashion started at a very early age, far too early to pinpoint the exact moment, but my infatuation with collecting beautifully handcrafted purses from my family members travels from around the world catapulted something special – including my love for mini bags and everything stylish! I decided to start my personal styling & shopping business BREANNA MARIE STYLING because I truly felt that there was a need for a custom styling service that was both luxurious and attainable to both women and men at a fabulous price point. I began with simply helping my friends find pieces to wear to events they were attending such as weddings and birthday parties, and helping my family members pull together looks for a new job, or a baby announcement photoshoot, and the list goes on! At first it was just something I was doing in my spare time to help my loved ones find the perfect outfits, but the more I got involved with the personal aspect of really getting to know my “clients” style and aesthetic. Read more>>

Alexus Fay | Writer, Designer, & Wellness Practioner

I wanted to create skin care products that were natural and beautiful and that worked while being affordable. I believe that taking care of our skin And having access to good products Is important, being sustainable & eco-friendly shouldn’t be expensive. When it came to jewelry I create, I wanted to make beautiful designs from materials that last long, but also were light weight. I wanted a expensive look & feel, all while making sure the jewelry was accessible. This same logic was also what made me create homegoods that were beautifully designed, functional, but didn’t cost too much. I want people to be able to access products that improve their lifestyle without breaking their budget. Read more>>

Ki Shuntiel | Fashion Designer

Initially, my passion for fashion started in high school. Looking back, I recall dedicating countless days working on items like distressed jeans, jackets, bleached shirts, and adding art and rhinestones to converse tennis shoes for friends and family. I began reconstructing clothing to express myself creatively. I hadn’t given the idea of selling the clothing that I’d created until one of my clients expressed how impressed she was with my work and suggested that I sell like items for profit. From that moment I started tie dyeing biker shorts and t-shirts and designing Color Stains Sets. Read more>>

Roman LC Martinez | Founder, Film Reframed

I founded Film Reframed as a direct response to requests from peers in my industry. The more information I shared about cinematic composition and visual storytelling, the more it became apparent that professional filmmakers had not learned these ideas in a traditional film school or on-set learning experience. I had friends, family, and strangers from around the world sending me emails with growing curiosity. Once it was clear that there was an excited and engaged audience for this material, I set aside the projects I had been working and devoted time to serving my community in the way they were asking for it. It comes down to a simple idea: I saw an opportunity to provide value to my community. The rest has become a mission of how to grow its quality, accessibility, and sustainability. Read more>>

Lindell B. | CEO & Co-Founder

In the creation of my business, Health Is Wealth Lifestyle LLC, the thought process was to truly inject good in the world. I am a firm believer that if you put good energy into the universe, good will come back to you in abundance. Our vision is to encourage our community to live their happiest and healthiest lives and empower them to do so by providing products, good, and services to reach their goals. Read more>>

Anje Collins: Retired Publicist To Luxury Shoe Designer

I have been a publicist in the entertainment industry for 35 years and per my Instagram page, I’ve always shared my shoes with my audience. I decided to leave the world of PR in 2018 and retire. But I got bored and decided it was time to launch my shoe line. So when I finally finished everything, the pandemic hit and I told myself that it wasn’t going to stop me. So I launched Coco and Blue Collective in December 2020. I wanted to create a luxury shoe line for women and men that was exclusive to them. Read more>>

Natalie Kazarian | Psychtherapist

My upbringing was the most influential factor in starting my own business. I grew up observing my parents who were in charge of their own work. My father, an optometrist, and my mother an independent contractor working in the travel industry showed me the importance of flexibility. Time is the most valuable resource. We cannot create it or get it back. I actually remember the moment I realized time is not something I could get back. I was 6 years old. It was memorable, terrifying, and an important lesson for me to learn at a young age. So spending my time the way I want leads to a meaningful life. Flexibility and hard work go hand in hand for me. I love the ability to make my own schedule, work the hours I want to work, as well as make a meaningful impact in people’s lives. Read more>>

Kelley & Nicole Fries | Festival Co-Founders

We started the Calabasas Film Festival to prove the importance of being a woman leader in today’s competitive world. Nearly 60% of films screened at CFF are produced or directed by women. CFF provide actors, directors, producers, writers and students a platform to share and celebrate their unique stories. Movies today reveal our society in ways that allow for exploration of our divisions as well as joyful discovery of our commonalities. Over the past seven years, with the support of the City, the community and all of their generous sponsors, we are showing that CFF is a signature event for the entire region and have seen explosive growth year over year. Read more>>

Shannon Mirpanah | Sustainable Designer & Stylist

I knew I wanted to create a brand that would not only stand out but would leave a minimal impact on the pollution in the world. The fashion industry especially fast fashion is one of the leading causes of pollution with over 80% of clothing each year ending up in the trash. I knew I had to create products that wouldn’t add any more downfall to our planet, that is where my idea for Triple Vintage came about. In college I would always thrift my clothes instead of purchasing at a fast fashion store. There is nothing worse than going out and seeing someone across from you in your exact outfit- at least for me! Once I started thrifting I found unique ways to represent my style with trendy, timeless silhouettes, shapes and colors that I found to be better quality than any current brand. I started collecting vintage blazers, sweatshirts and anything with a vintage silhouette or saying that I knew would come back around in fashion. Read more>>

Naoko Shiode | Chef, Founder & Owner

We have spent quite a normal life as most Japanese people do until around 40’s; getting married, having children, husband working for one same compnay unitl retirement, wife focusing on household and children. However, in 2013, our life has changed. Ryuji was transferred to NY from Tokyo when he worked for a Japanese company. Since we lived in rural area in New York, there were no good bakeries. Naoko started baking using the natural yeast she created herself. Only one year after living in NY, the company again transferred Ryuji to Orange County with a 4-year limited period. All of our family fell in love with OC environment soon. Ryuji started thiking he wanted to work his onw way with a high level of autonomy like many Americans do, while Naoko wanted to make use of her cooking skill on her own business. Read more>>

Catherine Alonso | Owner & Creator of Light of Beauty Handcrafted Skin and Body Care

In 2009, after being in the Banking industry for over 15 years, I had the opportunity to become a stay at home mom. This was the first time since high school that I was not in a corporate setting. It was a new experience for me, but the time gave me the opportunity to explore my creativity. I knew I wanted to create something meaningful; I just didn’t know where to start. When my mother was diagnosed with skin and breast cancer, I realized the importance of what we put on our skin and the impact it has on our overall health. I started my research and discovered handmade soap and skincare products. I read anything I could find on different all natural ingredients I could use and was intrigued by the process. It was then that I found my passion and decided to pursue my business full-time. Read more>>

Renee Watt | Professional Psychic, Astrologer, and Witch

When I was a teenager, I was a total punk rocker! The ideologies around that subculture don’t exactly align with large corporations or working for “the man.” That way of looking at the world has always stayed in my psyche, and independence has always been important to me as well. I never wanted to work my butt off to grow someone else’s dream, and that made the decision to build my own company up feel like second nature. Read more>>