We had the good fortune of connecting with Chantal/Tatiana Guerrero/Lubanko and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chantal/Tatiana, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
The ideation of Distance Assistance LA started as a school project at USC. Quarantine had a big impact on our mental health, and we noticed we weren’t alone. With our digital media skill set, we wanted to create a space that helped the mental health of LA natives by recommending local small businesses and activities that helped them get out while staying safe. Everything we feature prioritizes the safety of their consumers and staff. We only make recommendations to our followers that we felt were safe locations to visit while also highlighting minority-owned small businesses. As Distance Assistance LA evolved and began to grow we noticed the social impact it was making on the community. We had small businesses reach out to us to let us know since we featured them on our socials, they saw their business increase 30-40%. Some businesses have even mentioned that there has been a huge influx in visitors, and they ran out of menu items. Although the world is slowly starting to open up again, our followers have still been appreciative of the places we have shown in order to find new places to go, while also being able to give back to the local economy. As we continue to grow our goal remains the same; helping people improve their mental health by getting outside and enjoying LA while promoting local businesses.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Chantal: I started my career working in retail stores for AT&T while also attending undergrad at Cal State Fullerton. I majored in Communications in Advertising and minored in Radio/TV/Film. During my undergrad I interned at the Marketing Arm advertising agency while also interning at Los Angeles radio station Power 106. Through these internships I learned how to run large social media accounts and produce 360 marketing campaigns. I was also on air talent for Power 106 occasionally with one of their DJs. While working full-time and going to school full-time, I knew my end goal was to end up in advertising. I was able to work my way up to corporate for AT&T’s advertising department. After working in advertising for several years I wanted to learn more and improve my skill set through education. I applied to USC and got accepted into the Graduate program studying Digital Social Media. With my years of experience in advertising and social media I wanted to do something impactful. This is when Tatiana and I developed Distance Assistance LA. I am extremely thankful for all the positive feedback we have received and all of our followers/businesses we worked with. I have learned a lot about the community and myself through this journey.
My story is unique because I am a first generation college student that had to create opportunities for myself. My dad is a hard working immigrant I get my work ethic from and my mother is my support system. I am one of the first people in my family to not only go to college but obtain a graduate degree. I have learned to create opportunities for myself by not giving up and being confident in my ability to do great things. I am excited to see where my career and Distance Assistance LA will take me.
I started my journey originally in my undergrad at Cal State Fullerton. I majored in communications and public relations but decided that I wanted to shift my focus to the digital sphere. After that I got my first internship at a small digital agency working with different musicians. From there I finished working at a PR agency that also worked with musicians and others in entertainment. After that I knew that I wanted to work in sports. After I graduated from Fullerton, I got into USC for my masters in digital media. I worked a few internships in game operations for the LA Sparks and the LA Clippers. Following those internships I worked with Tiger Woods and his foundation working within communications and social media. I knew that was where I wanted to stay so I got two more internships with the LA Sparks working in communications and USC working in social media. My knowledge of marketing, communications, and social media led me to where I am today and helped me have the proper knowledge in how to make Distance Assistance LA successful. This platform allowed us to make an impact and also find fun things for ourselves to do. I never imagined for it to take us where it has but I’m super thankful that we’ve been able to do this and it has taught me so much about how to manage a brand on social media.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I think when visiting LA it is important to get a mixture of both the big things to do as well as the smaller local community things. So to start, going to the beach would be a big stop. I personally would say Malibu and Santa Monica would be the best places to go. Malibu for the gorgeous beaches and Santa Monica more so for it being an LA staple. When it comes to food I also would like to show them some popular unique restaurants, but also show some local restaurants that are located throughout the community. For big restaurants, I would make Cara and Perch LA. For smaller local restaurants, I think Mia’s Kitchen, Pasta Sisters, Mel’s Drive-In, or a local KKBQ place in Koreatown. I think LA also has a good nightlife, so I would want to show them some of the best places for drinks. My favorite rooftop bars like Mama Shelter, EP & LP, and Upstairs. Sports are a huge part of LA culture, so I think catching a Kings, Dodgers, Lakers, Clippers, Sparks, or Galaxy game would be important. Los Angeles has so much to offer and I think it is necessary to see all the lights and glamour, but also see the culture within the city. Visiting small local businesses or specific areas like Koreatown, Little Ethiopia, and Olvera Street are equally as important. There is so much more I could add to this list, but I think this is a good place to start!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Gina Minuche from Stories and Tablescapes. She is an amazing creator and was the first time we worked with a small business owner for a feature.
Other: TikTok: DistanceAssistanceLA
Photographer is Iffa, Instagram is @iffatara.jpg