We asked some of the city’s rising stars to reflect on what made a difference in their journey. We asked them to tell us about what they think the most important factor has been behind their success.

Gwen Dittmar | Coach, Soul Guide, Breathwork

I would say there are multiple factors to the success behind myself and my brand. The first would be a deep connection to why I am serving clients through coaching and soul remembrance. As a teen I was very sick, but the doctors could not find out why, and I had a near death experience. Both of these events taught me the preciousness of life and created a desire to help others. Having a deep connection to your why helps carry you through during the scary, frustrating, and unknown aspects of being an entrepreneur. The second factor would be a willingness to learn, change, and grow. As an entrepreneur there are so many things to know and learn, so having the willingness to make mistakes, learn from them, and apply the learnings moving forward is how we shift and expand. The last factor that I feel is so important is being ready to do whatever it takes and also knowing when to delegate and lead. Read more>>

Akilah Gipson | Fitness Coach

The important factor behind my brand is the people success. This program was created for the people, so when they are reaching their goals, becoming health conscious, lose weight, gain a positive body image, or just grow in confidence is a mark of my success as a coach. This is about the movement not about me. Read more>>

Nicole Elle King | Makeup Artist, Barber, and Men’s Groomer at The Wall Group, Founder of Get Uplifted, Certified Personal Trainer, Yogi, and Yoga Teacher in Training, graduating in June 2021.

I would have to say the most important factor behind my success is that I always try to come from a place of “how can I serve others?”. I believe that the reason I have been so successful is that I try to take my ego and myself out of the equation when I work with my clients and people in general. I also love to help people feel amazing in their skin and to let them shine for who they truly are. I always felt that my job was more than makeup and that is something that I am seeing come to life in my brand as I just became a certified personal trainer, I’m currently in yoga teacher training, I have created a wellness platform called Get Uplifted and love to bring these different aspects to what I offer as a makeup artist. I love to lift people up and encourage them and create a positive space and atmosphere while I am doing their hair, makeup, barbering, or anytime I am interacting with people. Read more>>

Kaitlyn O’Neill | Founder of Honey by Kait

The most important factor behind the success of my business is the authenticity. From day one, I started this company because of my love for jewelry, and dream of having my own business. Every piece I have created is based on my own style, and pieces I’d wear every day. I’ve never launched anything I don’t absolutely love. Along with that, I’m constantly creating content as my authentic self on Instagram and TikTok, and never stray from that. My TikTok blew up over night because of a video I came up with that was straight from my heart, and really genuine. Along with authenticity, I’ve had grit and never given up on anything in my life. Day after day I’ve given it my all, and as a result my dreams have come to life. My company has been growing nonstop to this day. I love that I am able to express myself every day and engage with my honeybabes, which are the amazing community we’ve built. Read more>>

Blair “mr1manband” Wilson | Composer & Musician

I am nothing without my lord and savior Jesus Christ. All credit to GOD for filling my heart with love and light. I have been blessed with unique abilities, a healthy, happy life filled with loving caring souls and amazing opportunities. I am forever grateful and thankful to be here. Read more>>

Sarah Sacco | Designer & Founder

The most important factor behind my business has been authenticity. The more anchored I am in my true self, my design process, and my values the more success I find. As humans, especially now, we are desperate for connection. Allowing my voice and ethos to shine through has helped me attract the right people, and allowed my brand grow and connect to its natural customer base. If you approach your work from a genuine place with true intentions it becomes easier to navigate. You come to realize you know how to achieve your goals and that removes the fear; you don’t feel that need for someone else’s input or approval because you learn to ultimately trust yourself. You have everything you need. Read more>>

Elyse Dodge | Artist and Illustrator

Being an artist who studied and practiced as a Graphic Designer and Event Designer means that I understand how to create artwork for people with different tastes. My artwork appeals to those who appreciate modern and geometric design as well as those who love colorful, impressionist, landscape paintings. For that reason, many couples agree to work with me on commissioned paintings or purchase my prints because they both see something that they like in it. That practical work experience also taught me about the importance of creating your own brand, of knowing your audience and of making strategic partnerships to grow your community. Read more>>

Edgar Alminar (DJ GarGar) | DJ/Producer

The most important factor is that I have a passion for and genuinely love to DJ and produce music. My love and appreciation for those things has only increased over time (since the mid-90’s). I have been lucky to work with such great musicians, artists, coordinators, promoters, etc. At the end of the day, my love and passion for it is what drives the results. Read more>>

Laura Cahill | Owner & Founder of GEWL

The most important factor behind GEWl has mainly been our loyal fans. We have been so lucky in a sense that our growth has mainly been from people sharing GEWL with friends, family and posting their experiences on social media. Just a simple post on Instagram can spread like wildfire and GEWL is an example of that. We always do our best to provide high quality great tasting food along with a loyal delivery service. Our customers want delivery, they want convenience and GEWL is here for it. Read more>>

Zuce Morales | Dancer / Dance Instructor

The most important factor has always been my determination. It has helped me to stay consistent, patient, hard working and confident about myself.
If you are pursuing a career that the world see it as non conventional, you have to stay loyal to your dreams and values. My advise is to visualize your goals, you have to see it in order to believe it. Read more>>

CaliNovas | Artists

The love and passion for music is the number one factor behind our success. Ever since we were kids, music of all genres played a huge role in our lives. Being Armenian we grow up to music at events where everyone is dancing and smiling throughout the night so we tried to replicate that feeling for our fans during our shows. Each show we try to bring a unique set to keep our fans on their toes with unexpected musical drops. The goal is to have people remember their night with nothing but positive vibes. Read more>>

Hila Bahari | Founder of MamaGuide, Mother of 2

I would have to say that being true to myself and following my intuitions from the very beginning is what lead me to my success today. In the social media world it can be very easy to lose yourself, start working with brands you don’t believe in because they may offer you money for instance or one may start sharing things they may not fully believe in but that gets them more visibility. I was always very true to myself and made it a priority to only work with people and brands that I supported and believed in. I pride myself for always provide the most honest information to my followers. Read more>>

Dominique Thomas | Personal Trainer, Wellness Coach, Speaker, and Author

Honestly, I think the most important factor behind my success is a number of things. First off I would encourage any new business owner to always bet on themselves. I was having a conversation with my husband and he let me know that the decision I had made to take on a part-time job from home was a bad decision. He told me that if I really wanted to succeed I should quit that position and bet on me. It was the best advice that I had ever received, and it shook me to my core. I just want to be clear, I am never telling anyone to quit their job if there is no plan in place, but I knew it was right for me. I was letting my own fear get in the way, so always remember to BET ON YOU! Secondly, I would say walking in my purpose no matter what. I believe that my purpose is to get millions of people up and moving towards living a healthier life. Your purpose is always something that is bigger than you. It is meant to reach others, and help people in a way you couldn’t even imagine. Every day I ask God to simply use me. I don’t know how or when in the day it shows up, but it always does. Keep going. Trust me it will work out. Read more>>

Alli Baldocchi | Woman Entrepreneur

When creating a brand, or starting your own business the most important thing you need to remember is your voice and your vision. I have always been someone who likes to go left when the herd is all going right. I like to be different and do my own thing, keeping true to who I am. I was taught by a very wise young man (my middle son) that being different is AWESOME, and while that is true, being different also comes with risk and uncertainty. If you believe in yourself, your passion and your vision, you will succeed in anything you do. It is my passion that keeps me going and sets me apart from others. Supporting small artisans, and other companies with a mission to help others, including animals, is a huge part of my business. I hope to get to a place financially where I can start giving back to causes that are close to my heart someday soon. Read more>>

Thomas Misuraca | Playwright & Graphic Designer

The most important aspect of my success is not to get discouraged. In the world of writing, there is a great deal of rejection. I used to take it personally, but have grown to realize it’s all part of the business. I will continue to submit to festivals and literary magazines and focus only on the acceptances, not on the rejections. The other part of this is having faith in my own work. To be proud of what I created and work hard to make it the best I can possibly make it. And to know that someday it will find the right home. Even if it takes decades (and it has). Read more>>

Keilee Simms | Community Servant & Eclectic DIYer

The most important factor that I credit to the success of The Kitschy is Godʻs guidance and love Without Him, none of this would be possible-from the actual conception of The Kitschy to the amazing customers (Kitschy Chicks) who continue to support my business, it has all been from His doing. God has graciously given me a platform to share my love for Him, while having the privilege to make a living off of the passions I had since I was a child. A Bible Scripture that summarizes why I think The Kitschy is successful is summarized with our brand’s Scripture, 1 Peter 4:10-11. It states, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Read more>>

Jess Conti | Leather Crafter

I feel that my success is directly tied to my desire to continuously develop my craft. I am constantly engaged in improving my skills and expanding my design capabilities. As my skills have improved, it has afforded me a way to interact with my customers to create pieces that reflect both my aesthetic and the design features that they would most like to have in a bag. Read more>>

Louie Chapman | CEO of 1805 Tapes

I think its timing and what I have to offer. All initial auditions in the casting process are now self tapes because of COVID. So what i’m offering is not only the ability to “put you on camera” but I am also a very good actor which makes me a very good reader. Without both of these things i don’t think the company would have generated as much success as it has. Read more>>

John MF Davis | Owner of BHDT and Creative Director

Keeping my morals. Business is tricky. Sometimes you feel like you have to do things that you don’t agree with for the betterment of the company or for success and that is not true depending on what your idea of success is. I found myself early on making pieces because I thought they would blow up and make me a lot of money… They didn’t. The pieces that made me the happiest, told a story and represent my thoughts and feelings while creating did the best and were most successful. Making decisions like not chasing the money but being true to myself in-turn still brought the money and more. Stay true to yourself and keep your morals. Read more>>

George Smart | Executive Director, USModernist.org; Host, USModernist Radio

Across America, our cherished Modernist houses from the mid-20th-century are in danger, but you can’t save something if you don’t know where it is or why it is important. We’ve created America’s largest site for Modernist houses and made it easier to find comprehensive information about these amazing residences and their architects. Our work empowers students, preservationists, buyers, sellers, architects, clients, and legions of design fans in every city to fight the archenemy of Modernism. It’s not development. It’s not even Classicists, who want to eliminate Modernism. It’s vacancy. When a house goes vacant, that’s the time for it’s neighbors, fans, and family members to go to bat to keep it occupied until a new loving owner comes along. Read more>>

Eddie Kim | WNBA | FIBA | Major League Soccer Agent

A saying I always remembered from my time as an undergrad at University of Southern California, “What you do is so loud, I can’t hear what you are saying.” Your action speak louder than words as simple as it it sounds, keeping that integrity has been one of the major part of my success. Those lessons were taught to me at a young age as a NCAA Division I student-athlete, a former US Army officer, and currently as a certified pro sports agent. As the younger generation says, “you got to be clutch.” as our hero, Rest in Heaven, Black Mamba. Coming through for your team, your clients, your family, your friends, or your project, having the commitment and the determination for the mission to be completed is one of the biggest characteristic that made me the person I am today. Read more>>

Chris Grubisa | Father, Husband, President & Chief Executive Officer

The most important factor behind our success is simply being curious and open. Being genuinely interested in people, their stories, how they got to where they are and where they are heading. Chrilleks has been apart of amazing projects all over the world with global brands. All of it has stemmed from being curious and open. The initial spark is curiosity. “Are we open to this project? Yes. Are we open to take on the challenges that present themselves with this project? Absolutely.” – It opens up your entire world and perspective, making it limitless. Asking questions, asking the right questions, asking interesting questions and asking difficult questions have really helped us exponentially grow. Read more>>

Kelley Mack | Actress

I believe it’s courage. There have been many times in my life when I’ve told myself (and others) that I’m not a courageous person, or I’m a scaredy cat, or I’m anxious, or too worried. But thinking about this question reminds me that the courage to be vulnerable, to be willing to fail, to stop hiding, to stop being self-conscious, to be okay with feeling uncomfortable, to speak up, to be ONESELF – is really the most important factor behind an actor’s, a human’s, my success. Read more>>

Danielle Jones | Celebrity Makeup and Hair Stylist

I think the most important factor behind my success and/or the success of my brand, is that I truly love what I do. And when you love what you do, people can tell. The joy I get from my career is crazy. I love making people happy and seeing them smile. When I’m finished styling a client and they look at themselves in the mirror for the first time, it’s my favorite part. To see how they light up and are so in love with how they look, just gives me such a sense of pride and happiness. I also have always stood behind the idea that if you do honest, good work, people will pass on your name. And that is how I have successfully built up my business. About 30 % of my business if from clients that have referred me to someone else or are repeat customers themselves. If you love what you do, and do you do honest hard work, you will grow your business and. your brand to unimaginable places. Read more>>

Angela Todaro | Dance Artist

The most important factor behind my success is versatility. As a dance artist I never wanted to be put into one “box”. I truly have a love for so many styles of dance and have trained across the board for decades. Becoming a versatile dance artist has opened so many doors for me to explore projects on film and on stage. My choreography very often has a blend of styles which I feel then makes it my own. Read more>>

Majestic Drama | Music Producer

I always had a natural talent for marketing. My motto is be great but be different to stand out from the crowd. We live in a world full of noise and constant bombardment that keep our attention span low so I had to get clever in grabbing people’s attention in 2 seconds of interaction. I also made sure my product was great and brought something different to the table. Those key components helped me create a niche for my business of regular and new buyers. Read more>>

Annie Chapman | Head Butterologist / Dessert Specialist in the Butter-Lab

The most important factor behind my success is, without a doubt, the system of supportive and amazingly talented people I am blessed to know. Somehow, I’ve convinced these people to not only spend time in my presence, but also to help me succeed. Of course, now I bribe them with cookies, but since the beginning I’ve been able to lean on my dear friends and family to help me succeed in areas that I am not familiar with. Bakers nowadays need to also be photographers, they have to design websites, check their own grammar, they have to be accountants, they have to be Instagram famous and make it big on YouTube! It’s a lot to take on by oneself, and I’m incredibly grateful to the people who help share some of those responsibilities with me. Read more>>

Alexandra Creteau | Actress & Social Media Influencer

I think it’s hard work, good branding and dedication. I consistently have to create high-quality content. Having to come up with new ideas can create pressure when you have a creative block. At the same time, these ideas need to be executed well. They require a lot of time and effort, and even then sometimes not all content may be well-received by my followers. When your work or effort is neglected, you can become frustrated. This can especially happen if you spend hours at one time or days working on something. It is not only about me or my pictures it works for everyone and everything. If you are going to show something to the world, make sure you have a thick skin and be critiqued. You may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but remember that’s ok. Read more>>

Walt Shedd | Director of Biomechanics and Movement

Without a doubt our people are what make the difference first but coupled with that is our process model for building an explosive, efficient, and injury-risk-mitigated athlete. We call this model the Athletic Development Continuum or ADC Model. This model (like any good model) has been a living organism that has drawn extensively upon Science / evidence based training and movement protocols; peppered with empirical testing spanning a base of almost 20,000 athletes and ten (10) years. Read more>>

Juliann Cheryl | Photographer, Content Creator, Creative Marketer & Music/Brand/Digital Marketing Consultant

It’s knowing that failure will happen, and having the perspective that failure produces growth, and growth is what helps drives success. It’s the people around you — the people that hype you up, the people that constantly believe in you and your work, the people that value you, the people that tell you that you can even when you’re weary and feel like you can’t. Run with those people, and keep them around. They are your backbone. I’ve always believed that success is like constructing a jigsaw puzzle: You don’t wake up one morning and the whole puzzle is perfectly in place and done. It’s more like a gradual build–sometimes fun, sometimes exhausting, and many times challenging. Sometimes the pieces fit effortlessly into place, and sometimes they don’t and you have to try again. Sometimes the progress is excruciatingly slow, and sometimes it’s unexpectedly rapid. You have to trust in the timing of it all. You have to be able to envision the end game and to trust in the process. Read more>>

Nikhail Asnani | Filmmaker/Light Painter

I work as a writer/director/light painter and at times various jobs on film sets and my brand are films within the horror drama realm that have an arthouse element and/or a dark theme to them. For me the most important factor behind my success and my brand is imagination. Being innovative and original gets you far. I know my strengths and my weaknesses and I capitalize on the skills I do best at. Creating work that tries to be out of the box but commercial usually means striking a balance between the usual and the ordinary. To do this I believe you have to direct in the moment, and be open to breaking patterns. Be open to the breath of skill your actor possesses, and this idea of being open translates to every aspect of the production and it goes back to the idea of imagination and personally for me that would be finding something that activates your imagination. It’s different for everyone, some call it a muse. Read more>>


Lisa Elkan | Owner of Lisa PR – Marketing & Public Relations Consultant for Professionals and Businesses

The most important factor behind the success of my brand is how much I care about my clients, along with my 15+ years of experience in Marketing & Public Relations for professionals and businesses. I’m extremely goal-oriented, detail-oriented, and “on the ball”. I love it when one of my clients is featured in a publication, such as the LA Times or the Los Angeles Business Journal, or makes a list, such as Billboard Magazine or Super Lawyers. My company, Lisa PR, was named “2021 Best Boutique PR & Marketing Agency – California” and “2020 Best in PR & Communications” by Corporate Vision Magazine. The lists “spotlight agencies and professionals who have gone above and beyond to create compelling campaigns, implement key policies and strategy, and ensure clients excel beyond their competitors in such a demanding landscape.” Lisa PR was also named Acquisition International’s 2020 Legal Awards Winner for “Best Law Firm PR in Southern California”. Read more>>

Terry Romero Paul | Oil Painter

Years ago I had a teacher/mentor that gave me excellent advice and direction when I was trying to find my voice as an artist. He told me to find something that I loved to paint and not to expect success until I painted hundreds of canvases and also to figure out a way to stand out from the pack. I love food and love to cook. He pointed out that subject could be my niche. I felt dessert paintings were ideal for me because of the gorgeous colors and textures and also because of what they represent. They are nostalgic taking people to happy times. Whether it is a memory of a childhood birthday, an important holiday or just to celebrate being together. At this time, I became interested in painting the iconic donut. I had just returned from a trip to Ireland where I learned about ancient symbols. One of those symbols that spoke to me was the circle. It represents infinity as it has no beginning. Read more>>

Andrew Koussevitky | Cannabis Attorney

As a cannabis attorney, the most important factor behind my success is working in an industry that I’m extremely passionate about. I’ve been an advocate for cannabis legalization for over a decade, so to now be representing some of the top brands and operators in the cannabis space is a dream for me. My passion for the cannabis plant and industry makes it easy to wake up excited about work every morning, and I think that excitement ultimately has lead to my firm’s success. Read more>>

Eunice Kim | Founder and CEO of HiVi, a science-Backed and Mission-Led Cannabis Education and Community Platform For New

Authenticity. As an entrepreneur, I deeply stand behind building a business that authentically reflects who you are as a person. At the end of the day, the business is created to support people, and that human connection is best established through an authentic and genuine mission that reverberates throughout every aspect of the business. Read more>>

Mitchell Peters | Actor, Writer, Filmmaker

I would say the most important factor behind my success is the desire to create my own seat at the table. I moved from Sydney, Australia to Los Angeles in 2017 to pursue a career as an Actor. Once I graduated from Stella Adler Academy of Acting in 2019 the reality of being a “Struggling Actor” was creeping up very quickly. The idea of sitting around, waiting for somebody to believe in me or give me the opportunity to do what I love was really daunting. I started to teach myself to write scripts and channeled all of my creative energy into that. Most of my inner circle are filmmakers so I started collaborating with them and eventually began producing my own projects, which gave me a chance to give myself acting jobs too. Read more>>