We had the good fortune of connecting with Danrochelle Yumul and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Danrochelle, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Sometimes, you have to create opportunities for yourself. You can’t wait for people to come knocking at your door, offering you what you want. You have to create those opportunities. When I first started Meet The (818), I saw it as an opportunity to do something I love: writing. At the same time, it was also a chance to share stories from the San Fernando Valley as well as connect people to one another and the community. I was a year and a half away from turning 40 when I started this venture and apart from the occasional freelancing gig here and there, I felt like I had to start something myself if I wanted a career as a writer/journalist. So, here we are, doing what I’ve always wanted to do while helping others in my own way.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Everyone who highlights or features the San Fernando Valley shares one common thread: their love for the San Fernando Valley and a genuine desire to showcase our community. We each have our own way of doing those features and those highlights, depending on our talents and strengths and backgrounds. For some, it’s event planning and organizing pop-ups. For others, it’s using their brand to be a voice for the community.
For me, as the founding Editor of Meet The (818), the focus is on the stories–the why do you do what you do; what inspires you; what led you to this journey. It’s about bringing to the forefront your story as a local, an entrepreneur, a creative, a community leader in the (818)–and the (747) too. The approach is getting to know your neighbor and hopefully, bringing the community closer through the shared human experience of being inspired and wanting to inspire. In the end, it’s about connections and growing with our community.
And, Meet The (818) wouldn’t be here without the support of all the amazing people who let me share their stories. That’s pretty much at the heart of it all.
Meet The (818) started in February 2019 as my side hustle–on top of my 9-5 job; and the other hats I wear as a wife, mom, etc. It was challenging (and it still is!) to say the least, trying to balance your existing commitments with growing your passion project that you hope will eventually become your main gig. But, you just need to learn to adapt, ask for help when you need it, know and accept your limits, and constantly remind yourself that you just have to keep at it. Two and a half years into this project, and it is definitely still a work in progress but it’s awesome! There’s just this huge sense of accomplishment when you help your community in your own way. It brings a huge smile on my face and so much joy in my heart.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
It’ll probably involve the Archery at Woodley Park, brewery hopping around all of the local (818) breweries, a stroll down the Japanese Gardens at Balboa Park, a chill hang out at Pogo’s Bar and Grill, a tour at WB studios in Burbank, axe throwing at LA-AX, some hiking and boulder climbing at Topanga State Park., drinks at Tonga Hut, and just exploring local San Fernando Valley eateries and shops. Maybe catch a SFV Roller Derby match at the Cage in NoHo or even go to a pop-up event to support local and small businesses.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Family is everything and I wouldn’t be doing what I do without the support and encouragement of my family and friends, especially my husband and my daughter–my constant companions in my adventures around the San Fernando Valley. They’re both my avid supporters and biggest fans. Their love and support mean the world to me.
I’d also like to dedicate this shoutout to all the phenomenal people I’ve got the amazing fortune of featuring via write ups, zooms, and video, and having collaborations (past, present, and future). Thank you for sharing your story and for being the inspiring individuals you all are. I am grateful to walk alongside you all and be in the same orbit.
I would also like to thank my former editors who took a chance on this freelance writer almost a decade ago: Mike Szymanski (formerly of the Studio City Patch), and Karen Young (My Daily Find). The last shoutout goes to Kissa Ortega for helping me find the focus to take Meet The (818) to the next level, and to Abigail and Reggie Cua for adopting me into the Café Aficionado family and pushing me off the proverbial cliff in the best way possible.