We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica Millete and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jessica, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
The most important factor behind any success I’ve made is having the intention to cultivate community and uplift others.
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.
People have told me that I’m a “Jess Of All Trades” since I dabble in multiple creative passions. The most recent accomplishment I’m proud of is conceptualizing and executing co-mrkt: a community pop-up series amplifying up-and-coming AAPI Artists, Creatives & Makers in Los Angeles.
Ideated at the end of March 2021, I ambitiously decided to plan this event for May 8 during AAPI Heritage Month. This initative was my response to the horrific Anti-Asian acts of violence. I wanted to do more than just donate; I wanted to contribute by cultivating community and uplifting small business owners. In a month, I was able to create the brand identity, website, and social graphics. Additionally, I hand-selected vendors from applications, secured notable sponsors, designed/printed signage, hired DJs and curated a healing circle led by a Nationally Certified Counselor. I have experience in producing community events but this was my first time putting on a block party inspired/farmer’s market type of gathering.
As a new L.A. resident, the biggest challenge for me was taking the logistics all on my own during the planning stages with limited connections and resources. Thankfully, The Pop-Hop was my Highland Park community liason—they got me connected to the surrounding small businesses on York Blvd and showed me the ropes on how they had done their own pop-ups in the same area. A lesson that I continually have to learn is to ask for help. I had incredible volunteers who were available to contribute closer to the event date and on the day-of but with only one month to plan, I put a lot of the burden on myself.
I’m extremely happy with how our inaugural event on May 8 all came together. Since then, we had a successful mini pop-up on Father’s Day in Chinatown, co-hosted with Sesame LA. From both events, the vendors have either met or succeeded their sales goals, increased their visibility in a new area, and gained more followers on socials. More importantly, they are keeping in touch with each other: sharing resources and lessons as they continue their individual entrepreneurial journeys, and supporting each other at other pop-up events.
The best thing for me is when I get asked, “when is the next one? how often will you be doing this?” I’m excited for what the future holds for co-mrkt and our community of AAPI small business owners.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
For food, there’s too much to choose from so I’ll focus this to a day of eating in my area of Highland Park/Eagle Rock: I’m Filipina so I would want to share that K+M Coffee is owned by a Filipina! Start the day K+M Coffee (getting any of their brekkie sandwiches) and then grabbing pan dulce next door from Delicias Bakery & Some. Stop by Tropical Juice LA or Jugos Azteca for some fresh fruit juice or smoothies. Lunch from Joy: Dan Dan Noodles with chicken, Clamshell Bun (five spice beef) and a plain Thousand Layer Pancake. Dinner from Goldburger: California Classic, Curly Fries, and a slice of pie. If you’re still hungry around 10pm, head over to Angel’s Tijuana Tacos in front of the Target on Eagle Rock Blvd at the end of York Blvd. And then because I am a sweet tooth, end the night by getting a variety of donuts from Colorado Donuts.
Again, L.A. is huge and you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t spend time in different neighborhoods! Since my M.O. is amplifying AAPI, check out Historic Filipinotown, Koreatown, Sawtelle Japantown, Little Tokyo, Chinatown, etc.
Easy hike: Topanga Canyon Sate Park and then afterwards, eat at Cafe on 27!
Supporting multiple small businesses in one sitting: Our Piece of the Pie (BIPOC Artisan’s Market), Unique Markets at ROW DTLA, Grand Central Market, Smorgasburg Los Angeles
Picnic in Los Angeles State Historic Park, bike from Santa Monica to Venice Beach, enjoy the sunset at Palos Verdes.
Experience the arts: The Broad, LACMA, Getty Center (I have yet to do this!), catch a show at The Hollywood Bowl.
Again, I’m a *new* Angeleno but I think that’s a pretty solid week of LA exploring.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have so much gratitude to The Pop-Hop, á bloc, and MorYork for making sure our vendors had sidewalk placements for the first co-mrkt. Additionally, thank you to Linda of Sesame LA for asking me to activate the Chinatown Kiosks for the second co-mrkt while encouraging participants to donate to Chinatown Service Center. I have nothing but unending thanks and appreciation.
I grew up being part of various cultural organizations centered around my Filipino and Asian American heritage in my home state of Virginia.
My most notable groups were:
– Bicol Youth Association of Tidewater
– Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Society (Landstown High School)
– Filipino Americans Coming Together (Virginia Commonwealth University)
– Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue
– KODACHROME (dance workshop series and community I co-created)
Being involved with and holding leadership positions with each of these groups provided so much perspective and opened up opportunities. They truly shaped who I became and for that, I am incredibly thankful.
Jessica Millete Photography, Alister Mori, Raymond Eugenio