Our city is home to so many incredible businesses and so we asked the founders how they came up with the ideas for their businesses and have shared their responses below.

Aneesa Shami Zizzo | Artist, Co-Owner and Director of Studio 203

Studio 203 started as a daydream that we talked about one night over dinner. It was time for us to find a larger studio space so we could host our own art classes, create larger artwork and work on future projects. There was an empty commercial suite in a building near where we live, and we asked the building manager if there were any plans for the space. It had been gutted by the previous tenant, all the way down to the subfloor and studs, but it was a huge space and had so much potential. We worked with the building’s contractor to renovate the space, and as the studio slowly transformed, we knew we wanted to share this space with others and create programming for our community. We’ve collaborated with several folks since opening to the public in February 2020, including Helms Bakery District, Textile Arts | Los Angeles, Fannie Sinclair, Lost Hat Media and several local artists. It is important to us that we offer thoughtful content for our community; our main goal is to support other artists and share interesting art. Read more>>

The Astronots | Band

We wanted to create music that we liked, for fun with out any “rules” for what that music would sound like. Read more>>

Michael Jamin | Television Writer

I’ve been a television writer for 25 years. Awhile ago, a friend who had recently graduated film school asked me for some advice on writing. So we got together for a few hours and I told him how I approach storytelling. He was shocked that he hadn’t learned any of this in film school. I was pretty surprised, too. For years, he encouraged me to start an online screenwriting course, but I never had the time. Then the pandemic hit and I had nothing but time. He’s a tech guy, so he helped me build the course and website. Read more>>

Pat Dietz | Musician

I was doing it for quite a while before I realized I had a business. One of the good reasons for becoming a musician is to avoid regular life. One afternoon I was teaching Jerry Kelly to play classical guitar and she said “ You are doing really well for yourself, you have your own business.” That was the first time it occurred to me. Read more>>

Patricia Rincon | Owner of Pati-Ya Boutique

I spent the first part of the pandemic unemployed. In between job searching, applications, and interviews, I started making jewelry, candles, and terrariums. I kept producing new items and gifting them – ultimately finding myself with a surplus of ready to go unique pieces. While catching up with a friend – I expressed the idea of making this into some sort of business. We talked about start-up costs, what a business model could look like and what the mission would be. This is how Pati-Ya came to be. My small-business with a focus on sustainability, promoting a circular economy, and items made in small and unique batches. The best part about it is that I found a way to give back to the community by donating 25% each month to a social or environmental non-profit. Read more>>

Stepfone Montgomery | Entrepreneur & Mentor

I saw a need in the industry. When I was working for an engineering firm, I saw the need to help small businesses. When I worked for an transportation agency, I heard the difficulty small business had with increasing their business and connecting with major primes. I observed that major primes have a difficult time finding the right small business to partner with and many times these primes would use the same small businesses over and over again. In addition, as a business development business, I realized how many websites I had to access to gain information, taking all that in mind, I decided to fill the need with my company BZ Connects. Read more>>

Anita Tak | Graphic & Web Designer

I am the owner of Star Rise Digital Media! I specialize in graphic design, branding, and web design services. Growing up, I always enjoyed pursuing creative projects. As a child, I loved drawing and creating stories. My parents would often tell me I had a big imagination and I conveyed that through my creative hobbies. I definitely got the creative personality from my mom—she paints and teaches art to kids virtually. And I got the business-oriented personality from my dad. When I attended high school, I enrolled in some graphic design courses and loved it! I immediately knew that was the field I wanted to pursue. I also felt happy that I found something I could enjoy while at the same time, make a career out of. In college, I started my first design internship. I felt fortunate to get a head-start on my career, before graduating. I then built up my experience by working at different design agencies. But what really fulfilled me was starting my own business. Read more>>

Stella Rose | Cabaret Performer, Producer & Culinary Artist.

I am passionate about a lot of things, which can be a power or a curse depending on the day. My business idea was born from a desire to be autonomous, to blend all my passions together, and a necessity to continue creating and stay afloat financially through the pandemic. I have been working as a cafe grill chef for a handful of years, performing with burlesque shows, musicals and open mics at night, all while living in community and building a timber framed tiny house on a farm that very organically (teehee) turned into more of a cabaret teahouse than a home. I called it the Rose Lantern, and the glow from the shoji screen doors was so inspiring that I felt a real call to expand the physical entity of a Lantern, and create a Rose Lantern Productions Patreon account. The glow of the lantern is the warmth felt of souls gathering around a hearth to enjoy the most essential and fulfilling aspects of life–food, music, sensuality, and storytelling. Read more>>

Gina Raphaela | Jewelry Designer/Artist

A few of years ago, co-founder Tina Alexis Allen and I attended a lecture given by the Dali Lama in New York, where we heard him pronounce that “the world will be saved” by Western women.” We heard that as a call to action and began exploring ways to give back.. The result of our exploration is Gina Raphaela Jewelry, a mission-driven jewelry brand. Each season, a generous portion of the proceeds of the collection benefits a different non-profit organization whose mission is to end violence, be it in the form of domestic abuse, violence against women and children, or gun violence. We use deconstructed and transformed bullets as the foundation for all our jewelry. Read more>>