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.

Kenny Sara | Musician, Entertainer, owner of KKaremusic Company

My wife and I decided to pursue KKaremusic Co. when we receiving calls for authentic New Orleans music, which is a rarity in Southern California. Debbie and I were born and raised in New Orleans, so it was a no brainer.. KKaremusic Co. Was Founded by my wife Debbie a Sara and myself in 1994. Read more>>

Hernan Castelli | Animator & Actor

I came to a point in my career where I felt like I was investing all my time, energy and creativity in the work of others. I had a good lifestyle, I couldn’t complain but nevertheless, I felt a lot of instatisfaction. It took me some time to realized that I wasn’t going to get what I really wanted if I just continued down that path. That’s when I decided to start creating my own content, featuring my artwork and having my own ideas and voice heard. I came up with the idea for my own business by being honest with myself about what I wanted to achieve, what my purpose was and how that could help others as well. Read more>>

Abdul Malik Abbott | FIlmmaker, Director, Producer, Writer & Editor

My company’s name is Blue Music Productions. The name came from the soul music band I formed in 1990’s with a talented musician/songwriter/friend Daryl Serrano back in NYC. We teamed up with a few other musicians & singers and formed a recording band called “Blue”. Once the music project ended, I kept the name “Blue Music Productions”, which I used to record and produce the songs. I then transferred the “productions” part to music video productions in which my first production was for then unknown rapper Jay-Z. I produced and directed his first music video “I can’t get wit that”. Since then Blue Music Productions has gone on to help produce a number of music videos, short films, editing projects as well as photography projects and more music projects. Read more>>

Jennifer Le | Entrepreneur, Pharmacist, Professor & Mom

Mr. Raynard Ledford serves as the Co-Founder, Chief Operation Officer and President of Development who possesses premier experience in the hospitality industry for over 33 years. He was trained by the top and prestigious culinary program at the Culinary Institute of America. Notably, Mr. Ledford was the former Chief Executive Officer, Owner and Operator of the renowned Prime Restaurants Group that was responsible for the success of many large afranchises. As such, his leadership in development and operation ensures both rapid buildout and high-quality operation training. Dr. Jennifer Le serves as the Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer and President with the vision and passion for sweets that are of high-quality, plant-based and sustainable. She leverages her healthcare and research background to elevate the quality of sweets, making it delicious and healthier targeting consumers of all ages who are health-conscious or have significant food allergies or certain food-related diseases. Read more>>

Stephanie Ip | Textile Artist and Furoshiki Master

The idea of starting a business has been on my mind ever since I was a Freshman in high school, where I constantly asked myself what I would do in the future. I knew I was artistically gifted, so getting into the study of design came naturally to me. As I continued to explore art and design, I had also discovered my strong interest in textile design. If you are not familiar with the industry of textile, it is in fact one of the oldest industries and is still going strong. The technical aspect of textile design has driven me deep into the sustainable side of design and development. Having worked in the industry of fashion, I got to see the tremendous amount of waste that could’ve been saved, should thoughtful design be the driving force to all manufactured products that are sold in the marketplace. Starting Sutai Bu was a calling of mine to bring awareness to the design aspect of a product, by educating the lost cultural art of Furoshiki and promoting new interactive ways in continuing the tradition in modern day society. Read more>>

Miinkay Yu | Career Coach & Bodyworker

I used to be my audience. Years ago I was mindlessly floating through life. Only living for vacations and the weekend. I was bored at work and tired of not knowing what to do with my life. So I made a drastic change and quit my job with no plans ahead. I just knew that I needed more time in my life to figure it out. And I thought that not having income would light a fire under my butt. In the next 6-12 months I spent my time trying to get a hold of what I wanted to do with my career. Eventually I figured it out, but I had no one to help me and no obvious resources. If only I had some help along the way, then I wouldn’t have felt so anxious, upset and scared. So that’s the goal of my business as a career coach. I’m here to help others navigate their careers so that they can move through change and transition with more ease and confidence. Read more>>

Alvaro Wong | Digital Content Creator & Marketer

From a young age, I was fascinated by media production—whether it was making a commercial or designing a flyer. As technology evolved, so did the demand for digital content marketing. However, creating videos or taking product photos was only half the battle. How could businesses receive a return on investment for the content that was being created? Was it as easy as posting on Instagram or YouTube and hoping the customers would just roll in? Quickly, I realized that content needed to have a purpose and proper strategy for distribution. Creating Facebook ads that converted or optimizing a website/blog for SEO was just as important as the content itself. This is where Prime Scale Creative was born. I wanted to create data driven-campaigns and ensure the content that was being created fit the vision for the campaign. By containing both advertising and media production processes in-house, we were able to help businesses focus on growth and operations while we handled the marketing efforts. Read more>>

Esther Rosales, LMFT | Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

I had always worked full-time for non-profit agencies or in hospital settings, and every now and then I would do contract work. I really enjoyed the flexibility the contract work afforded me. Not only as it related to time and setting my own hours, but more specifically in the flexibility it offered me in being able to be more creative with the settings I saw patients in, the modalities and overall work-life balance. I started my private practice by offering walk-therapy. I would meet my clients at the beach and we would walk and talk, it was phenomenal. I saw the benefit it had on the clients and how much more I enjoyed doing something that I already loved. As my practice grew, it wasn’t sustainable for me to keep up with all walk-therapy clients and I opened my first office in Montebello and the about two years later a second location in Long Beach. Read more>>

Raeven Kirk | Makeup Artist, Hairstylist & Founder

I simply wanted a makeup line, because I love makeup. It’s carried me through some rough times. Working in makeup for over 10 years has allowed me to meet so many different people. I love connecting with others through beauty, and really wanted to share that passion. After working with several types of clients, I noticed that women of color especially don’t always receive the best advice when it comes to choosing the right makeup. Often times we are left with poor shade matches, needing multiple shades of something to accommodate, etc. I wanted to create something where we [women of color] can feel that quality makeup and makeup advice as well is totally for us too. Read more>>

Adam Dodge | Digital Safety

Like a lot of business ideas, it was a matter of necessity. I work in the field of gender-based violence, primarily helping victims live lives free of abuse. A challenge in our field is being able to provide effective assistance when abuse goes digital. As more and more victims reported they we were being harmed online and on their devices, I began to search for training and resources that would empower me to assist them. Only I couldn’t find any. So, I began to tinker with and test ideas that would be practical and effective in preventing and addressing online abuse. Word got out and soon other organizations began asking me to train them. Before I knew it, I had become the resource that I needed!. Read more>>

Evan Cassani | Creator

The idea of my new business had branched from all the video work and knowledge that I had already accumulated in the past years three years since I moved to LA. What I also saw in the media during the very start of covid also impact this concept heavily as well. I saw people making thousands on OnlyFans, I saw people making thousands streaming videogames on Twitch. I wanted my slice of pie. I combined the two concepts and made an OnlyFans channel for girls to come stream VR video games behind a green screen while I also am behind a greenscreen interacting with the fans and reading off the chat box. I have tied up all my other video / creative projects and only work on this new project now. It has grown 46k followers on IG in less than a month and I already have over 100 subs on OnlyFans bringing the channel up to the top 15 percent of all creators on the platform. Read more>>

Dana Cohen | Founder

I spent over a decade working in corporate fashion before starting my own business, the same decade that saw the birth and massive growth of fashion fashion. Design went from a creative endeavor to a “how fast can we copy this runway trend and get it in the store.” Everything started to look the same. I became frustrated with the lack of creativity behind my work, but it wasn’t until I started to learn more about how that work was impacting the planet that I came up with the idea behind Hyer Goods. it started in 2018 when the first study was released about microplastics and how they were shedding from our clothes and infesting our waterways. These microscopic particles of clothing are fashion’s “invisible” waste. After learning about microplastics I went on a tailspin reading about all the different types of waste created from the fashion industry– from water to land to pre-consumer waste and then post-consumer waste. I knew I could no longer be an accomplice to fashion’s waste creation and decided I would find a way to do things differently, prioritizing minimizing waste above all else. And so Hyer Goods was born. Read more>>

Kristen Keenan | Owner I AM My Story Tees

After being in the Wholesale Fashion Industry for over 20 years, I became a stay at home mom with 2 kids under 2. During this time at home, I always knew I wanted to start a business of my own. Being inspired by positive quotes and metallic prints, I dreamed up my own T shirt brand to spread positivity. In combination with my years of wholesale T shirt experience with companies such as Michael Stars, Gap Inc. and Guess, Inc., I knew the idea was the perfect fit! I AM My Story tees was launched to give women a way to tell their story on a t shirt, find their ” word” or ” quote” and feel inspired wearing their favorite T. Read more>>

MEGAN BRE CAMP | Owner and Founder of Summer Solace Tallow® Organic Skincare, Soaps, and Candles

My journey from being a hardcore vegan/vegetarian to a lover of free-roaming animal products was a life-changing one, for sure. From my teens to mid-20s I went from vegetarian to vegan, then raw foodist, and finally locavore. Working in many vegetarian and Buddhist kitchens in the Bay Area, I didn’t eat seasonally, but I did eat organic. I loved going to Rainbow Grocery in SF to shop vegan/vegetarian, but most of that food was processed and packaged, not sustainable. When I spent a summer homesteading in Maine in my mid-20s, I was exposed to radical farmers who were raising their own animals, harvesting them, letting them graze off of the land. These farmers fermented foods, they foraged and ate seasonally. That opened me up to the idea of farming and farming with animals. I started studying horticulture and permaculture and began working at a community-supported kitchen in Berkeley called Three Stone Hearth. I was introduced to traditional diets and the book Nourishing Traditions. Read more>>

Patrick Mahaney | Chief Veteirnary Officer of California Pet Acupuncture & Wellness (CPAW), Inc. and PURE (Dog Food)

Up to 2008 I had only worked on an in-facility basis at veterinary hospitals since graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999. After I moved to Los Angeles in 2006 and completed my veterinary acupuncture certification I sought to implement my acupuncture and Chinese medicine training into a practice setting in West Hollywood where I was working on a full-time basis, but the hospital environment didn’t favor dogs or cats by permitting a calm place that promotes optimal treatment outcome. I had an aha moment while driving my now-deceased dog, Cardiff, around Los Angeles to dog parks and hiking trails. On such excursions I would see vehicles belonging to mobile veterinarians, groomers, and dog walkers. I realized I needed to start my own house called-based veterinary practice, as the home is generally a calmer and more-suitable place to perform acupuncture treatments on pets. Read more>>

Maggie Ortlieb | Founder & CEO

I moved to Los Angeles almost seven years ago and quickly began taking advantage of all the amazing things to do here—discovering new restaurants, going to events, and exploring the city. Time Out and LA Weekly were my go-to resources but lacked vegan options. There would be a fun event happening with a $50 entrance fee, but that fee included all-you-can-eat meat tacos. The LA vegan community existed and was thriving, I just had to find it. So I began doing research—looking for the best vegan restaurants, festivals, and events in Los Angeles. It occurred to me that if I was having this much trouble finding options, other people probably were as well. At the time, there was no curated vegan guide to the city—I wanted to change that. Meanwhile, non-vegan friends and coworkers were asking me what I ate. Read more>>

Jasmine Bautista | Candle Maker and Co-Owner of Purgatory Candle Co.

I have always been a fan of the horror genre from a very young age. The first horror movie I ever saw was the 1987 film Dolls, directed by Stuart Gordon. I was five years old and this particular film sparked my love for horror movies and the genre. I always wanted to start a candle business but I never knew what kind. Flash forward to March 2020 and being caught up in a pandemic, I had nothing to do but revisit old horror movies and the idea hit me. Shortly after that, I contacted my friend, later turned business partner, Lesly Limon, to see if she would be interested in joining forces since she is a graphic designer and a huge fan of horror as well. After a ton of research and a lot of scary movies later, Purgatory Candle Co. was born. Read more>>

Iris Hosea & Patty Flores | Online Retail For Milestone Celebration Gifts

The idea for Festively, an online resource to find trendy elements and custom gifts for milestone celebrations came about in 2018 when Patty had to plan three big celebrations – a best friend’s bachelorette party, her son’s high school graduation, and her own 40th birthday party. Planning was pretty frustrating, she had to call all over the place to find the right cake, the perfect gifts and everything else. She thought there must be a better way. Patty teamed up with Festively’s co-founder Iris and they’ve been on this journey together since 2019. “We’ve each been in the event industry for more than 15 years, are busy moms, and know we are solving a big problem shared by moms all over – how to find the perfect gift that’s trendy and unique for milestone celebrations,” said Patty. Read more>>

Christina Wen | Audio Engineer

I don’t technically own a business yet but I work as a contractor between audio post production houses. In the beginning I tried to become a staff audio engineer but the reality is, for entertainment industry, I think majority of people end up working freelance and representing themselves on projects. I hustled a lot till I am consistently working with 3-4 facilities/companies so that working freelance provides the stability I need to provide for myself. And being able to work at different places and meet different people end up being very beneficial for me in my career. Read more>>

Crystal Hernandez | Artist and Co-Owner of Santa Josefina

It’s definitely evolved over time! We are both creatives and moved from Austin to Los Angeles specifically to start a business. It started with the idea of a coffee shop but like MORE than a coffee shop. We always wanted to carry interesting books, clothing and art. When we found the two spaces connected by a large doorway, the half coffee shop/half gallery idea was fully born. We wanted to be a community space, a place to host pop ups, gallery shows, comedy nights, full realized art installations, performances, film screenings, really whatever the local artistic community needed us to be in that moment as well as a shop that mostly highlights local makers. And obviously, we make sure that all of these things align with our sensibilities and artistic vision too. The pandemic threw a wrench in the idea of gathering but we’ve been trying our best to work through that and hopefully we’ll make it to the other side. Read more>>

Eviana Farrar | Headmistress

Nimbus Coffee was created through my love for coffee and all things fantastical. While I was studying law, I would spend a lot of time in coffee shops, it was a place of comfort. I have always found escape through reading fantasy. I saw that things could be shaken up a bit in these two realms. The coffee community can be so closed off, and in the fantasy communities there is room for more diversity. Nimbus coffee is a place where these two worlds collide to make a new and fun experience! We push the bounds of coffee by constantly creating new flavorful fun drinks; we strive to be creative, fun, and inclusive. Read more>>

Tanika Allen | CEO Twixx Mixx Productions

Due to so many extremely talented unknown artist or better known as indie artist were not getting the shine on them I believed they deserved. Read more>>

Kania Davis | Chef & Owner of Kania’s Kitchen

I was inspired by friends. In college I would sell desserts at the local barbershop, Headquarterz and one day a barber said “You know if you sold plates every Friday we would help you sell out.” I was hesitant. I didn’t think I could do it so I asked my friends for advice. They of course encouraged me to do it and said “Everyone loves Kania’s Kitchen!”. I laughed at the name. I thought it was so catchy and even kind of corny at first but it quickly caught the attention of many people and later became the business and brand we know today!. Read more>>

Andrea Ruth | Chef and Owner of Salty Baby LA

I was an actor for many years, and I loved cooking. The two seemed unrelated to me, but most actors need day jobs, so eventually I went to cooking school at the New School of Cooking. I worked for a lot of other chefs, and I worked for myself, and I much preferred working for myself! I loved coming up with the menus, and just like acting work I loved that it was project based. We did a funeral, a movie opening, a wedding, a post wedding party, and lots of fundraisers for theatre companies that I already loved. My catering company, Salty Baby was directly in opposition to my last catering company and the last caterer I worked for. We decided we wanted it to be cutsie, whimsical, unpretentious, and a little bit Jewish. Not Kosher or anything, but just all the things I love from my own upbringing, so Salty Baby is very personal. Read more>>

Alana Frazier | Faith-Based Fashion Entrepreneur

God Thinks I Am is my prayer and my dream manifested. There was a time in my life where I felt that I was consuming all that life had to give, and I wasn’t really contributing, which resulted in soul searching. I wanted to discover what my purpose was in life. I thought to myself, “There has to be more to life than this.” So, I did a lot of introspection and talking to God, my creator. Even before my purpose was unveiled to me specifically, I knew that I wanted to help women feel beautiful about themselves through a very constant source and in a very constant way. I just didn’t know how to do that. Thankfully, it was revealed to me through ‘God Thinks I Am,’ and that’s essentially what the brand does. Since then, the vision has remained very consistent since we started. That’s one of the things that I’m most proud of. We haven’t shifted our purpose or our goal. God Thinks I Am is an empowerment brand that gives women a constant source of confidence that doesn’t waver. It allows us, as women, to see ourselves through the lens of how God views us — which is beautiful, worthy, intelligent and more than enough. We are brilliant. Read more>>

Donovan Querubin | Founder

Running has done a lot for me in terms of opportunities, personal growth, and building relationships. One specific thing in particular that impacted my life was joining a run club. I had a great experience when I joined my first run club. I had just recovered from an ACL/Meniscus injury that occurred when I was playing basketball, and I was looking for an outlet for my athlete mentality. Needless to say, I found something even greater than that. I love the whole community aspect — the accountability and the relationships that were made from just showing up to run. You meet people from all walks of life, and you’re brought together because of your common goal to run. When that club ended, I wanted to create something where other people could have the opportunity to experience what I did when I joined a running club. Read more>>

Ron Adkins | Creative, Founder of Paradise Valley Studios

I’ve always felt like my mission and purpose was to build something very unique that doesn’t exist in the marketplace. A platform that could hopefully serve as a beacon to create content that’s going to represent the spectrum of who we are as black and brown people and the possibility of what we can do. Read more>>

Jen Fassino | Owner & Founder of Nomad Haircare

As a hairdresser working behind the chair, I created my hair product company based on a personal need. After a few years working behind the chair, I realized I had a severe sensitivity to silicone based products. I was breaking out and getting rashes all over my hands, arms, and face and couldn’t figure out why. Thankfully, a former client of mine was a chemistry professor at our University, and told me to try a chemical elimination process and I discovered that silicone was the culprit. I’ll spare you the details about why I have a sensitivity to silicone, but long story short- there weren’t many options for products on the market that were silicone-free. So I found a chemist close to my city that would work with me on designing a product that didn’t contain silicone. Read more>>

Tony & Jennifer Gomez | Small Business Owners & Founders of Plisar

I operate our family business, Twins Pleating & Stitching, Inc, which in the fashion world is known as a novelty company. In its simplest form, the company adds details to garments, that make them unique, such as pleats, folds, or speciality stitching. The idea for Plisar clothing brand came about after some analysis of the current garment landscape. The majority of clothing manufacturers produce garments, especially those with many novelty details, overseas; mainly because it is much more affordable to make clothing abroad due to international trade agreements, such as NAFTA—now the USMCA—and higher labor costs that come with producing domestically. Doing business overseas is cheap, but so is the quality of the majority of garments not to mention some questionable labor practices. I knew I could make quality garments that were novelty heavy for a fraction of the costs and sell them at wholesale prices directly to consumers via social media; thus, Plisar was born. Read more>>

Rochelle Ivory | Creator and CEO

It was after I had my daughter (2 yeah old Rhyann) and I was using the same boring and basic edge brushes on her that I thought, what if this tool I and many others use everyday, looked better, felt better using. What if it was capable of creating some sort of vibe or sparking creativity. It seemed odd I was getting those thoughts in my head. But now i know why. With that idea I came up with a sketch. And when I started thinking about colors for my brushes, I was actually wearing a bandanna around my head and it just clicked. Read more>>

Joey Lee | Chief Creative Officer / Founder at Pixel Canvas

Pixel Canvas started out as a video game studio back in 2018. We’ve released an award winning VR horror game Reiko’s Fragments and have enjoyed some success and was awarded the Epic MegaGrant. However I decided to pivot the company towards virtual events during the Covid 19 quarantine period around March 2020. The decision had a lot to do with my personal background and professional experience in physical event design and 3D visualization. I’ve spent over a decade at event design agencies such as George P. Johnson (GPJ) and the idea for virtual events was because during March of 2020 the events industry was in panic trying to find a solution to quickly translate canceled physical events into a virtual experience. For me the solution was crystal clear because what I was already doing at GPJ was designing and rendering physical exhibit booths and environments inside a game engine the Unreal Engine. This is also the engine I used to build Reiko’s Fragments with my team in Pixel Canvas. Read more>>

Bri Steck | Vegas Expert & Founder of VegasGirlsNightOut.com

Vegas Girls Night Out grew out of public demand and the realization that they wasn’t anything like it in the market. I originally opened a pole dancing class called Night School 4 Girls (we still have it today) and created a couple of party packages. My customers loved the party packages and were requesting more options. Growing up in Vegas and coming from the PR/Marketing industry has led me to A LOT of contacts. I then garnered those relationships to receive incredible rates that I pass on to my customers in the form of party packages or a la carte options. I knew that pre making the packages with the most desired options would make the party planning process easy and affordable for my customers. We’ve all tried planning girls trips/bachelorette parties and it can be a nightmare; i wanted to make it as easy as possible. Read more>>

Hannah Murray | Performer, Educator, Collaborator.

My business is multifaceted but at its core is my commitment to provide health and wellness resources for the international music community. When I wrote my dissertation about Yoga and Violin playing, I had to delve into the medical community’s research. I was shocked to find a substantial amount of research about our injuries, interventions, preventions, therapies, and solutions that are NOT part of the performer’s discourse and training. I couldn’t believe that this information was not reaching the musicians themselves. I realized it is my life’s purpose to bring the research to those who need it most. I became fixated on the notion that more performers, teachers, and students in all genres need to have easy access to resources, research, and information to stay healthy, avoid injury and perform at their best all of the time. Read more>>

Elizabeth Jacobs | Film Director

I always thought that the Asian adoptee narrative was never shown or represented in the film industry and so I wanted to change that by starting to direct my first feature-length documentary, “The Stolen Children”. This documentary was initially for my college honors thesis, but it has grown to become a much bigger project than any of my production crew had imagined. The documentary is about my journey as a Cambodian adoptee, coming back to my country to connect with my culture and uncover the truth about my adoption and whether or not I was involved in the baby trafficking scandal that happened exactly the same time I was adopted. I wanted to document my first few steps back to Cambodia after being adopted in the year 2000 and to watch how difficult the process of finding my biological parents would be. Read more>>

Bonnie Jean Tyer | Actor/Director

I originally wanted to be Shania Twain, but I ain’t got nooooo rhythm. Read more>>

Dana Gedrick | Inventor & Esthetician and Filmmaker

My journey started when I got sick with colitis. First I have to say this illness is horrific and really effects your whole life. I was so sick I got down to 75 pounds. Even tho I was terribly ill I had to work and try to live a life. See when your sick like this your either invisible or someone has something to say like eat a pizza. People can be either very kind or very cruel. This was before covid so people now have more understanding of how horrible it can be to be sick. I saw a ad in the paper for a job at a salt cave.That is a pretty unusual place. I was intrigued so I went. I am a licensed esthetician and love skin care. I was very nervous cause I was so insecure about my weight and looks. Before my illness I was a person who would go after what I wanted.. I would always finish what I started. When I became ill you loose hope because your old self is gone. You have to reinvent and become a stronger version of you or you can give in and be come a shell I was not going to be a shell ! I have three amazing sons who I needed to be around for. Read more>>