We asked some of the city’s rising stars about why they think they have been so successful and we’ve shared their responses below.

Laurentia Editha | Music Composer for Bleeding Fingers Music

I made the very big decision to come to the US from Indonesia to pursue a career in film music. It was an offbeat career choice where I’m from, and was definitely a huge leap fueled by passion and a lot of admiration and desire to pursue the craft, and I’m lucky enough to still be doing it now. What I knew from the start (and that is still true now), was that I truly love working to picture. I loved the collaborative process between the composer and the filmmaker. I loved drawing emotional arcs and helping shape stories, and to then send it off to the world and have it be this whole experience, it’s just such a rewarding feeling. Read more>>

Lemond Johnson Jr. | Sports Performance Trainer & Training Instructor & CEO

The most important factor behind my success and the success behind The Perfect Athlete is the people, clients, and athletes. It’s important for me and my trainers to always remember that it’s all about the athletes’ growth and correctly educating them on whatever it maybe. I realized that when you build a business or brand, the main focus is helping others and treating everyone you come across with the same energy, knowledge, and guidance you would want from a trainer or mentor. Read more>>

Michael Martinez | Executive Director & Founder, LA Compost

Any “success” that I may have achieved has come as a direct result of those who have come before me. From family members, community organizers, and land stewards, those who have planted the “seeds” before me have allowed me to have the creative freedom to water these seeds in my own unique way.
Ensuring that I was in control of defining what success looked like was extremely important for me as well. It’s easy to compare your own personal development as well as the development of an organization with those around you, and that inevitably can be draining. Early on I made the decision to create our own pace/rhythm and ensure that we would stay true to that pace as we grew along the way. Read more>>

Krystal Portorreal | Brand Coach & Visual Brand Designer

The most is important factor behind the success of my brand is authenticity. My brand is built around being confident in who I am, and not being afraid to show that to the world. I believe that everything we do as a brand is attracting the clients we want to work with. So, the more true I am to myself, the more magnetic my brand becomes to ideal clients (clients I want to work with). Authentic storytelling is the most powerful brand booster! Read more>>

Taria “Ninja” Groce | Professional Make-Up Artist, Fashion Buyer and Songbird

The name/word Ninja has always been something I’ve factored into my brand and success. Ninjas are defined as silent assassins, and throughout my career and throughout my life I’ve applied the meaning of that to everything I do by always making moves not announcements; I never talk about what I’m going to do I just do it and get it done. A silent assassin. Read more>>

Shumaila Panhwr | Founder & Lead Planner

Reputation and integrity! The event industry much like the entire service industry is all about how you treat people. Whether that means clients, potential clients, vendors or staff. I’ve seen so many people work without strong integrity and even if they’re successful, overtime they’ll fail. I can proudly say we have a spotless reputation and have always made this a key factor in everything we do! Read more>>

Corbin Cox | Director & DP

Obviously you need to constantly find ways to embellish your talents and learn more- either through a great school program, teaching yourself, or working under someone- but I attribute a lot of my success to simply stepping out and making friends. You never know what amazing people you’ll meet and what new opportunities will present themselves when you run from your comfort zone (nothing good ever came from a comfort zone). Finding your people is important in so many aspects, not just your career. Also, I’ve learned to never wait for someone to tell you it’s OK to start creating things. Believe in your brain. Believe in your taste. Movement in any direction is progress and the rest falls perfectly into place. Read more>>

Ian Segal | Creative Director in Apparel

My father used to say that nothing was boring the more you studied it. I never liked to hear it because it felt like the “eat your vegetables” of homework apologia. But as I’ve grown a little older it has become something of a lodestar for me. We tend to focus on our perceived strengths, find our lane, and stick to it. I think we are far more perspicacious thinkers and effective operators when we delve into everything around us with brio. And particularly for folks in the creative/freelance world, being at least a “dabbler of all trades” is a matter of necessity and basic survival besides. Read more>>

Kelly Zirbes | Singer/Songwriter

I believe the way I connect with my audience has been the success of Kelly’s Lot. Through live shows, recorded music or even social media I always try and connect to others. Most of the time with groups of people but always with the spirit of one on one. Read more>>

Vasthy Mompoint | Writer, Producer, Singer, Musician, Dancer, Actress

I have always had a special connection with kids. It is in fact the only thing I will ever brag about. I understand the way their brains work and after babysitting and teaching 100’s of them, there is one thing that is clear among all of them: They all want to be seen. And for so long that was not the case. Read more>>

Jessica Millete | Photographer, Creative, & Connector

The most important factors behind any success I’ve made is having the intention to cultivate community and uplift others. Read more>>

Shonte’ Powers and Earl Brown | Entrepreneurs

One of the biggest parts of our success is that we’ve found our niche. We absolutely love food but noticed a lot of the new great food businesses were focused mainly on food and desserts. We were always able to find great food options, but when we asked, “What do you have to drink with this awesome food?”, no one really had a drink to compliment their culinary genius. That was the beginning of our quest to create a great flavor forward beverage that can be enjoyed and savored just as much as your favorite food. KRFT’D derived from the term Handcrafted-and is just that; Handcrafted beverages curated in small batches with the sole purpose of pleasing the palates of the people. Read more>>

Darryl DeShawn | Creative Director & Wardrobe Consultant

I’ll say the most important factor is that i’m very determined to make my dreams a reality. I have been working extremely hard to climb new heights each and everyday. Allowing the steps from my past to be a reminder that anything is truly possible when you believe. The success of my brand is made up of sleepless nights, tears, and always on the go to make sure i’m able to fully function while wearing multiple hats throughout this whole process. They say to make diamonds you have to apply pressure and thats all i’ve been doing this entire time. I am that diamond in the rough and i’m proud of all the roads I walked to be here. Read more>>

precious bogard | The Head Milf In Charge

The main factor of the success of the brand is tenacity and consistency. No matter what you do, keep going. Crawl before walk. Get Started and get started now. The is the approach and the factors that we implement in our business and its has added to our success. Read more>>

Princess Murray | Special Events

There are several factors behind my success but one in particular comes to mind. Taking the risk by making the first step and being ok with failure while learning from mistakes Read more>>

Lee Nowell-Wilson | Artist

I think the most important factor behind the success I have received so far is a mentality of sacrifice. I have a note on my studio wall that reads, “Look around. Are you willing to give all of this up for the relationships in your life.” For me, that mentality has kept my personal priorities in check. My family and my close inner circle always come before the work. It’s also important to me to keep my hands and mind open in regards to my studio practice — meaning, I don’t become possessive of it, I don’t identify my work as “who I am” — and oftentimes that has allowed me to step back and have a critical eye towards what step I need to take next. Read more>>

Jinnie & Michelle | Partners I Copper + Moon Mobile Bar

Friendship. We’ve been friends for 28 years and this has been really important in the development of our business in terms of aesthetics. There is just a synergy between us. And there is a real motivation for us to work hard and achieve our goals with this company because there is a deep love for each others success. It’s kind of a Failure Is Not An Option situation. The inherent trust and ease of communication that comes with such a long history permeates all aspects of our business. We feel the highs and lows of being business owners together and there is a comfort in that. Read more>>

Jocelyn Thompson | Founder of Epiphany LA, LLC

I think a brand’s success is determined by the person behind the brand. You can’t give up, that’s the secret, just keep going. If something doesn’t work, pivot, find another way. If you don’t know how to do something, learn, watch YouTube, Google it, there’s always a way! Recently I’ve been hiring people from Upwork.com to “tutor” me in skills I want to learn. I’m always trying to get better, broader, and deeper understanding of e-commerce. I’ve been running this business since 2017 and each year it keeps getting better and better. Year-to-date my Shopify sales are up 691% YoY and my Amazon sales are up 217% YoY. I know this success is a direct result of the time and energy I put into this business every day. Read more>>

Rachel Ramos | Actress & Model

Being an actor and model is very challenging at times because of the constant rejection and the constant hustle, but I think the reason I have come to be somewhat successful in this industry is the fact that I don’t give up, and I keep going. Because for every “no” that I hear, that means I’m one step closer to a “yes”. Success doesn’t happen overnight, it’s an uphill battle, and I’m still on my way to success every day. Read more>>

Valary Sanders | Designer | Creative Director

The most important piece of our brand has always been integrity: we hold steady with our creative process. We refuse to take shortcuts which might save a buck or two, but ultimately these shortcuts sacrifice quality and aesthetic. We pour so much passion into each design and every campaign. And I believe this resonates with our customer, which leads to the basis of our success; support from our customer base. We value our customers and strive to connect with them on a personal level. We put a huge amount of effort into customer service, ensuring our community feels supported. It all goes full circle. Read more>>

JustPierre | Musician

Self-determination. Having the ability to assess oneself and calculate your own worth will keep you motivated in any competitive industry. Read more>>

Cappi Pidwell | Author, Speaker & Mindset Expert

The most important factor behind my success was me learning how powerful my subconscious mind is, and then learning how to upgrade it for more happiness, and more success. As an Author and Speaker on Mindset Mastery, I teach entrepreneurs and companies to do the same, and how to reach peak performance to get rapid results, personally and professionally. I often say, people know more about how to program their cell phones and technology today, than they know how to program their mindset! Our mindset is the most powerful computer of all, and it drives all of our daily decisions, and all of our outcomes. Read more>>

AJ Elgammal | Creative Producer

I’d say consistency, a solid work ethic and confidence were the main factors behind my success. I believe that trusting in who you are and what you have to offer can get you to the places you want to go. A big part of success is being able to face and adapt to failures and rejections. I’m sure you’ve probably heard the same before from other people, but there’s one thing that I haven’t mentioned yet about success, and that is luck. I don’t want you to think about luck from the perspective of gambling or winning the lottery, but rather define it for your situation. You can ask yourself a simple question like how can I make my day better? The question is simple, and you could probably come up with the answer by thinking of something as simple as cooking something you love. Now imagine if you start doing that consistently in every aspect of your life, You will start by making your own luck, and multiplying the opportunities of something good happening to you. Read more>>

Jane Santos | Actress & Narrator

Preparation and persistence. My obsession for the craft, long years of preparation in conjunction with faith and persistence are the main factors of the success and foundation of my brand. Read more>>

Fatell | Recording Artist / On Air Radio Personality / Brand Ambassador / Record Label Owner

Being consistent over a long period of time and never taking no as an acceptable answer has been detrimental towards making this defined vision of mine reality and sustainable. Read more>>

Jennifer Webley | Hat maker.

I believe the success of our brand comes from our attempt to be an all encompassing hat shopping experience. Our attention to detail and our efforts to truly satisfy our customers motivates us to keep improving. I feel like there are so many choices for consumers that when someone decides to spend their money on our hats they must have a great experience and walk away with a hat they love. I recognize that people have a lot of choices so I want to show our appreciation by catering to their demands. I make every effort to find the right hat for someone when they walk through our door. Read more>>

Shae Stein | Designer & Founder

This is a hard question because I cannot pin the success of our brand on any one factor. The elements that drove us (my wife and I) to success include our individual skillsets, passion and the desperation to simply be with the one we love. The partnership that my wife and I created with this business is mainly built on opposing qualities. I am rather unrestrained and inventive when it comes to all aspects of the company and design whereas she is more down to earth and business minded. It is the perfect storm of knowledge and innovation coming together and allowing us to take calculated risks to help us learn and grow our brand to something unique. Read more>>

Safia Pulliam | Beauty + Wellness Events

Always believing in myself and what I’m doing. I know the vision I have for me personally and Find Your Lite Beauty & Wellness. I believe it was given the ideas and concepts for a reason so I love just giving things a try to see how it turns out. As long as I know why I’m doing this work that’s all that matters and sometimes I have no idea why I’m doing something until I’ve done it and then I’m like oh wow ok! I define my success according to the standards and goals I’ve set for me. Period. Read more>>

Madeleine Longoria Garcia & Brittany Horn| Coffee Educator & Licensed Q Arabica Grader

Community. Before starting Pacific Coffee Research in 2017, we spent several years working, living, and being involved with the local community of Kailua-Kona in various ways. We got to know the local coffee industry in our town, around Hawai’i Island, and across other islands. We spent time meeting folks and building relationships with those who have been here much longer than we have. As newcomers to Hawai’i Island, it was our responsibility to get to know the people here and give them the time to get to know us. Read more>>

Evelyn Hang Yin | Lens-based Artist

My definition of success lies more in the idea of working on projects and achieving goals that align with my vision rather than my individual popularity or reputation. The most important factor behind my success is the community that I built through my work. For the past three years, I have been visiting and documenting rural historic Chinatowns in California. I have been focusing specifically on the town of Hanford, where Chinese immigrants came to help build the railroads and later stayed for farming. They eventually established China Alley, a short street that was once a prosperous Chinatown and features eleven historic buildings today. Read more>>

Morgan Lerner | 24-Year Old Banana Bread CEO

Finding our whitespace. In other words: what makes us different! Not only does the fact that we are a banana bread-dedicated company set us apart in itself, but we also do monthly innovative flavors to surprise and delight our customers. But we go further, beyond product innovation. We further differentiate ourselves through the unique community we’ve cultivated online – the #GonanasFam of our customers and over 1000 ambassadors. We’re always thinking how we can lean into our unique personality and brand to deliver unique value to our customers. Ultimately, It’s the combination of our “whitespace” differentiators big and small, that build our BRAND and make us WHO WE ARE. It’s a commitment to innovation, but more importantly, it’s the most fun part of what we do and we love doing it! Read more>>

Amillion Mayfield | International Hip-Hop Artist, Poet, Author, Radioshow Host and Owner of Record Label.

Evolution… evolving my brand organically was an important success factor for me. I didn’t transition or go from Amillion The Poet, to Best Selling Author to International Hip-Hop Artist. I continued to grow and offer different products to different demographics and maximize the potential of my voice. Read more>>

Molly Reeder | Botanical and food Painter & Stylist

I think authenticity is the most important factor behind my success as an illustrator and artist, staying true to my own voice. I’ve been very privileged to be able to lead a creative lifestyle, and the times when I have followed my heart and instinct and my real interest in something, is when things have continued to build and flow in a positive way. There is a LOT of content out there. But, there is only one you in this whole world. And staying true to that sense of yourself and what excites and inspires you, and then getting to create from that space is a real special thing. It may seem like it won’t work out sometimes…but having patience in the process is so vital. Success will flow when we are following our true voice and speaking from that place. Read more>>

Ren and Caroline Blanco | Co-founders

We think the most important factor behind the success of our brand is staying real and authentic in everything we do. Read more>>

Kevin E. West | Veteran TV Actor – Speaker – Author

Core Integrity. Period. Over the course of my lifetime, while none of us are perfect, by the time I was in my early 20’s I fully recognized the value, strength, and energy behind integrity. Just for me – not pushing it on anyone else, just for me. While we, as people, have massive similarities perhaps the most glaring difference is our internal mental wiring. I live my life, and have for a few decades now, by the (4) Agreements. One of those agreements is; ‘Be Impeccable With Your Word’ That, to and for me, is the very definition of, integrity. Sure, we can define that in many ways, but in terms of being successful in business or your career and how your brand is received it is very often related to accountability (NO EXCUSES)! Whether it has been my work on television, being prepared or all of my professional associations and relationships – or simply ‘arriving to meetings’ ON TIME, it’s a form of integrity. Read more>>

Kevin Nahai | Public Speaker and Personal Coach

I am blessed that there are a few factors that have allowed me to begin building a successful career as a Speaker and Coach. One of those factors is my ability to communicate with people and make extremely complex psychological concepts easily intelligible. Another helpful asset is that I have no stage fright, literally and figuratively: I’m happiest and calmest when I’m speaking to large audiences, and I have no fear of being open and vulnerable about my story. But what I believe is the most important factor, and what I am most proud of, is my emphasis on personal integrity on authenticity. Read more>>

Stacie Hawkins | Screenwriter & Director

Perseverance. As a writer and director in the entertainment industry, the word ‘no’ is a constant. Being able to hear rejection and keep pushing forward is a necessary skill to achieve success in this business. My first feature, The Rise and Fall of Miss Thang, was a labor of love. I faced a lot of hardships when trying to get it made. From difficulty raising financing to cast and crew members dropping out at the last minute. In spite of all this, I kept moving forward and eventually got the film finished. It went on to win awards and get distribution. Read more>>