We had the good fortune of connecting with Tisha Janigian and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tisha, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I founded SHE IS HOPE LA to educate and empower single mothers starting over in the workplace and provide affordable, transitional housing and childcare based on what I went through in 2012 when I got divorced. It was so difficult to starting over because I had no money, no assets and no credit as everything was under my ex-husband’s name. I vowed to change all that when I got back on my feet. When I moved back to LA in 2012, my father had to co-sign for me in order to get an apartment. As I was searching for full-time work, I realized that I couldn’t afford childcare so I started looking for part-time jobs and was told I was overqualified since I had a degree and wouldn’t stay long! I was on food stamps, waiting lists for Section 8 Housing were years long and I was nervous that my two sons and I were going to end up on the street. Fortunately, a company hired me for a few hours a week, but because of the extra, minimal income, my food stamp benefits went down to almost nothing! It was then that I realized that the system was broken as it perpetuates people to stay on it! I would have been better off if I didn’t take that part-time job, but knew I wouldn’t get anywhere and wanted to show my sons that if you work hard, you can make anything happen! I shared my story and challenges with other parents at the school my sons were attending and they gave me a hand up instead of a hand out by offering me babysitting and pet sitting jobs, telling me about focus groups and I was able to sell free things that I picked up to make some extra money because I wasn’t getting by with the job and minimal assistance I was receiving. In the summer of 2019, I got the 501(c)3 status approved for SHE IS HOPE LA and have been helping single moms ever since!

What should our readers know about your business?
SHE IS HOPE LA, SHE IS HOPE Realty and SHE IS HOPE LA Boutique were founded to specifically help single mothers get back into the workplace after going through a divorce or separation or those trying to get out of a situation. Many women have given their all to raise their children and when things go wrong, they have no money, no assets and no credit and it’s very difficult to get on their feet. Because I experienced this first hand when I got divorced, I wanted to make sure no one else had to deal with these hardships and started these ventures. The SHE IS HOPE group is bridging the gap that exists over poverty by offering a new hope, new direction and new purpose for single mothers.  We are taking a hard look at the welfare system for women and working on how we can improve upon it! We have been meeting with politicians to see how we can make these changes happen! We are collaborating with other nonprofits and putting more together to make an even greater impact!

SHE IS HOPE LA offers a 3 pronged approach to help single mothers and their children:

1. Education – we offer a free 12 week development program twice a year, every March and August, on topics including financial and legal advice, job training and preparation, mind-body wellness and peer support.

2. Jobs – SHE IS HOPE Realty can help anyone interested and prepare them to become a real estate agent or work behind the scenes in other roles. A percentage of every transaction goes back to the nonprofit as well. We launched the SHE IS HOPE LA Online Boutique/Thrift Store, which you can access via our website at www.sheishopela.org and anyone can sell items from home that are in our storage units and split the proceeds with the nonprofit. Children can even sell online and learn a business model, earn volunteer hours and make some extra cash! We have secured a storefront in Encino and will be opening soon! We need to buy or find a sponsor for a truck to pick up and deliver donations, which will provide even more jobs and volunteer hours.

3. Housing – we are applying for grants to purchase a small apartment building to provide that affordable, transitional housing and childcare while our moms rebuild their credit and self esteem. Not more than a year or two tenancy so we don’t interfere with their children’s school year.

Through the donations from the real estate transactions and retail stores, our goal is to be self-sustaining as the businesses progress. We hold fundraisers throughout the year including a Fashion Show in the Spring and an auction in the Fall. We are looking for sponsors to help us make a difference more quickly.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I absolutely LOVE LA! I’m from Boston originally, but LA is the place I want to be! There is so much to do and see here and I appreciate the culture, diversity and opportunities! We are close to both the beach and the mountains and you can’t beat the weather. I truly enjoy being a tour guide for friends coming to Los Angeles! Here are my usual places to see and eat:

  • The Getty – they also have a terrific restaurant and music on the weekends in the summer!
  • LACMA – relax while seeing art in the museum and take some great photos in front of their lights at night and catch some free jazz on Friday nights!
  • Santa Monica Pier – BOA Steakhouse, Huckleberry Cafe and The Lobster are some of my favorite places to eat there and it’s fun to shop along Third Street Promenade – they have some great comedy clubs there too!
    1. Venice Beach/Muscle Beach – grab a bite at Lemonade, The Rose or Gjelina.
  • Point Dume or Zuma Beach in Malibu are great for seeing dolphins and taking long walks – usually not too crowded and you can enjoy a relaxing sunset – hit the Getty Villa on your way out and grab a bite at Geoffrey’s or for a more casual place, try Malibu Seafood.
  • If you have time, set up a whale watching tour from Newport and if you time it right, you can hit the Newport Jazz Festival!
  • Griffith Observatory and Park – try to see some of the shows or telescopes and take a short hike to The Batcave!
  • Hollywood Boulevard – see a movie at the TCL Chinese Theater and enjoy the Walk of Fame – grab a bite at Yamashiro for a gorgeous view of the city and Universal Studios and Citywalk are always fun!
  • Disneyland if you can spend at least a day there!
  • Drive down Sunset Boulevard/Sunset Strip to Beverly Hills – check out Rodeo Drive and the Beverly Hills sign and grab a bite at Mastro’s, Il Pastaio or Bouchon and hit some comedy clubs on the way!
  • Warner Bros or Paramount Studios tours are always a crowd pleaser too!
    1. Try to see a concert at the Hollywood Bowl or the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
  • Have dinner or a Sunday Jazz Brunch at The Perch in Downtown LA – it’s got amazing food and a killer view of the city!
  • Drive along Ventura Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley and grab a romantic bite at Firefly Restaurant in Studio City, Porto’s Bakery, or some delicious Middle Eastern food at Carnival Restaurant, Shamshiri, Raffi’s in Glendale, Mante House in Sunland, La Gallette in Sherman Oaks and Furn Saj Bakery in Granada Hills
  • If you enjoy night life, check out some of the jazz clubs like Vibrato Grill or The Baked Potato or go dancing in downtown Los Angeles!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am incredibly grateful for the love and support I have and continue to receive from my friends, family and the community! I wouldn’t be here without my parents – they supported me during the many ups and downs over my marriage and took my sons and I in many times over the years. My work ethic and giving heart comes from them and I am eternally grateful for their love and support. My sons, Nicholas and Alex, are the inspiration for everything I do and kept me going when I didn’t think I could!

My fantastic Board of Directors makes the magic happen! Karen Sarrow is our Vice President of Marketing and she is like a sister to me – she’s seen me through thick and thin! We met in 2012 when my boys and I moved back to LA as our sons were friends and she and her beautiful family have played such an integral role in my success and that of these ventures! She is a business owner of Sarrow Studio Painting Commissions, artHYPE.net and Imagi.Life Shop LA., a very talented Visual Artist, Gallery Director, and Graphic Designer. Her husband, Jonathan Sarrow is our Development Officer and is an Executive Producer and Co-Founder of artHYPE.net, and Co-Founder of AVM and Principal of JM Strategies. He is also going to join forces with me at SHE IS HOPE Realty, where a percentage of every transaction goes back to SHE IS HOPE LA to support our moms and kids and our programs! Ilene Woolf is our Vice President and Secretary and she ran her family business for 26 prior to our many years of working at retail together. Stacy Gooden is our Treasurer and is the Owner of a line of hand dyed clothing called Brighten Clothing and we worked together for many years in retail prior to that. Her husband Reggie Gooden, is our Finance Officer and is Co-Founder of 818 Talent, a Business Management firm that provides financial and business support for entertainment and sports professionals and is the Co-Founder of AVM. Christine McKay is our Strategy Officer, a Global Negotiation Strategist and the CEO & Founder of Venn Negotiation. Rocio Maldonado is our Wellness & Operations Management Advisor, the Owner of Morning Dew Reiki and has over 15 years of procurement operations and strategic sourcing experience.

There are so many people I want to thank, but a special shoutout goes to: Lori Hutchison, Pamela Mozer, Linda Kasian, Melinda & Jon Mattox, Roberta Fay Hyman, Susan Scott, Shirin Kasheri, Laetitia & Frankie Nelson, Veronika and Richard Monoson, Romane Cameron, Savannah Scott, Tamar & Varouj Asdourian, Tami Heidi, Stacia Burke, Alina Fridman, Kimmie Neff, Julieanne O’Connor, Tiffany Phillips, Carolee & Robert Rico, Sandy Chukhadarian, Lori Meltzer, Karine Hovsepian, Alexandra Swarens, Jewlya Samaniego, Brooke & Chris Catalfamo, Ruth Harshaw, Laurie & Wayne Urquhart Bianchi, Victoria Gillett, Heidi Lowry, Grace Leos, Noosha Daha, Raykel Tolson, Angela Setters Bessard, Kari Weber, Emily Noro, Cindy Malone, Susie Goldberg, Steve Goldberg, Joan Leider, James Uhlenkott, Gayane Khachatryan, Vanessa & Janet Frnzyan, Linda Morgan, Pamela Johnson, Consuella Mackey, Jennifer Hendrix, Catherine Maiella, Tammy Dugger, Kathy Ruoff, Parveen & Jeff Duncan, Karin Gottheiner, Karen Bardavid, DeAnna Dupree, Erika Dizon, Donna Long, Rosema Hermano, Mitzi Hansen, Angela Dalmau, Kris Dowd, Rofia Salamy, Sadegh & Simon Aref, Kimleigh Smith, Gwendolyn Osborne, Cali Gilbert, Randy Klinenberg, Odette Lionelli, Francesca Penzani, Greg Nairn, Nermine Zackary, Sarah D’Andrea, Brooke Summer Jones, David & Natalie Kennedy, Katherine Saltzberg, Lisa Platt, Rajika Mahan, Mirage Thrams, Mary Kennedy, Adam Gropman, Ro Dellgrazie, Dave Carter, Ashleigh Shapiro, Nicole Schubert, Joy Mamey, Elaine Chu, Sammy Glicker, Gracy Harryman, Chelsea Hogan, Christina Lopez-Hidalgo, Brendan Weinhold, Rebecca Bloom, Shane Taylor, Alicia Vigil, Kristin Cook, Rosa Sementelli, Liz Kitchell, Dawn Parks, Sally Bayram, Cigrid Zelaya, Moe Freeman, Samantha Phoenix, Sue Katila, Cindy Aguilar, Michele Matheson, Suzan & Rouben Kojoian, Eden & David Folwell, Hedy Varga & Mark Findler, Michael Rodriguez, Michelle Jewsbury, Natalie Renn, Lorelei Shellist, Lori Hewitt, Erika & Hooman Ghaffari, Jaime Coffey-Bateman, Michelle Tomlinson, Marty Lazo Munoz, Priti Patel, Jennifer & Spencer Stout, Sena Turner, Jacqueline Aguilar, April Smith, Biljana Milasin, Patti Pomposo, Lynn Nasca, Robin Nazari, Stevie Rose, Wendi McDowell, Terri Hatter, VKLynn, Megan Miele, Paul Stanton, Sylvie Lee, Cecily Lerner, Yajaira Ocampo-Covarrubias, Michelle Tetrault, Laishan Ito, Suzanne & Eddie Gutierrez-Hedges, Regina & JP Targete, Lauri Moossa, Karen Castrucci, Amy Hunter, Peggy Quinlan, Harry Gasparian, Joe McCluskey, Dana Badran & Tru Def, Patrick Quinn and many more that have helped us make this happen!

Website: www.sheishopela.org

Instagram: @sheishopela

Linkedin: SHE IS HOPE LA

Twitter: @sheishopela

Facebook: She IsHope LA


Other: www.sheishoperealty.com

Instagram and Twitter: @sheishoperealty and @sheishopelathriftstore

Facebook: SHE IS HOPE Realty

YouTube: SHE IS HOPE Realty

Image Credits
Linda Kasian Photography Lady Lea Photography

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