Ideas aren’t everything, execution matters greatly, but starting often requires an idea and so we asked folks to think back and tell us the story of how they came up with the idea for their businesses. We’ve highlighted some of our favorite stories below.

Abbe Feder | Fertility Coach, Actress, Writer, Producer

When I went through a six year infertility journey, it was so incredibly isolating. My husband and I needed an outlet for our grief, which is why we started our podcast, Maculate Conception. Once that podcast was released, women from all over the world were reaching out to me to ask me for an ear, some heart, some advice. I am not a trained medical professional, but it was so clear to me that women and couples in the midst of their journeys needed to share grief, hope, loss, run ideas off of each other, and help navigate the turbulent waters together. I knew with certainty that I was meant to help others along the way. That’s how the initial seed was planted for InCircle Fertility. I moved to Los Angeles as an actress in my early twenties. I did it all, like we do, to pay the bills. I still act. I write, I produce, but to be able to start a company doing work that is so impactful and meaningful is incredibly fulfilling. Read more>>

Amanda Landman | Owner & Designer

My interest in jewellery started as a young girl. My father is a goldsmith and I used to help him out in his shop, where he also taught me some of the basics of jewellery making. Although I really loved it, I chose a different career path, but in 2016 I decided to pursue this full time. I started researching and exploring different forms and techniques to see where and how I can express my ideas and creativity the most. I decided on chainmail, as it is so incredibly versatile. I really loved the idea of taking this ancient art and adding a modern touch to it. I taught myself by reading and watching tutorials, and lots of practice. Read more>>

Kate Paguinto | Founder of Presko

I came up with the idea for Presko when I was trying to figure out how to grow my jewelry business. At the time, I was selling online and occasionally sold at markets. I loved interacting with my customers in person but I found markets to be incredibly draining. It requires a lot of heavy lifting and long hours of sitting in one place. Not to mention how easy it is to get lost in a sea of other vendors. I thought to myself, if I could do smaller pop ups, sell to a more targeted audience, and choose my own hours, I’d be set. I did a lot of research and couldn’t find a solution to my problem. So I decided to build it myself! **For context: Presko is a platform where online-based businesses can book space inside of local brick and mortar stores and sell their products in person during operating hours. Think of it like Airbnb for pop ups!. Read more>>

Lisa Langlois | Sculptor/ Artist / Candle Maker

My business began as so many other small businesses, in our initial quarantine. I spent the first two months sick with what I believe was covid and devastated over the loss of one of my dear friends. I’ve been a self employed single mother running my hair salon for over 15 yrs and was panic stricken over the potential loss of my business which added to the fear and worry of covid. The end of April I volunteered to make masks with a group of local women for first responders. It gave me a sense of purpose and was a contribution to my community. In doing so I noticed the way I was feeling. I realized that creating something,  anything, helped me with my depression and anxiety. I had lived in my new house for only 2 weeks before lockdown and had not fully unpacked or decorated. I decided I was going to actually attempt some of the project’s I had saved on pinterest through the years. Fast forward to finding a sculpture. Read more>>

Natalie White | Professional Dancer/Choreographer and Creator of West End Sweat

I created West End Sweat because, quite frankly, I was bored within the first week of quarantine. I started thinking about things I love. One was dance and the other was working out. The particular genre of dancing I love is musical theatre. I thought I would combine musicals and working out. West End Sweat was born. The signature class I teach is an hour long class. We start with a warmup, abs, a stretch and then we learn an all levels dance to a musical. All levels, meaning anyone can do it. Read more>>

Nicole Young | Writer, Entrepreneur, & Reggaetonera

I have been going down to Baja California, Mexico for years now and people have always been telling me to start a business where I offer tips on where to visit in cities just across the border. During the pandemic I decided to do it. I was literally hungover, eating tacos with my friends, and said, “I’m going to start a travel page and I’m going to call it Baja Betches.” My friends were very supportive and loved the idea. I wanted to not only share my advice on where to stay, what to do, and how to get around but I saw how COVID-19 impacted tourism and small business in these border towns so I wanted to help those businesses stay in business by highlighting them on social media. Read more>>

Gilles Vanpoucke | Co-Founder Fritz ‘n Chewy

My mom passed down her love for footwear to me as a young kid. I was raised between Italian made design shoes and German made comfortable boots in my mom’s shoe store back in Belgium. I knew I always wanted to do something with footwear because of that and also as an homage to my mom (hence the tattoo of a shoe on my arm). It was around four five ago when Ben Chan (Co-founder of Fritz ‘n Chewy) and I along with our pups were having a few beers on the Hermosa Beach Pier when his love for socks and my love for footwear in general came up. His idea was to create socks with modern colorful designs for the young professional, as most of the socks currently have either very boring or “goofy” designs. He even already designed some socks, which he shared with me that evening as well, right there and then we decided to start our own sock company but only if we also could do something about dogs in need. After trying to find a link between socks and dogs for a while to support our marketing story, we realized that a link isn’t always needed if you are dedicated to make a difference in both topics. We want to make the world better, one foot at a time and one dog at a time!. Read more>>

Bryanna Moreno | Baker

The story of Furlough & Dough was sour before it became sweet. We’ve always had a passion for the culinary arts; collecting French pasty books, scouring blogs, discovering restaurants, taking classes from renowned chefs/bakers, and of course binging every food documentary. But this hobby was nothing more than a weekend indulgence. Having a full time job at a luxury fashion brand doesnt allow for much side-hustle. But March 2020 that all changed. NYC locked down, and the zoom calls began. “Hi everyone. You have been furloughed until further notice.” A quick dictionary look up led to the realization that “furlough” means “no dough,” and a few stress bake-offs later… Furlough & Dough was born. With mentorship from French-trained bakers, we’ve made what we believe are the best cookies we’ve ever had. Read more>>

Misasha Suzuki Graham | Attorney, DEI Advocate, and Co-Founder/Co-Host, Dear White Women Podcast

The idea really came out of conversations that we were having about our kids. We’ve been best friends for 25 years now (!!) and, like all friendships do over time, our topics of conversation changed as we changed and moved through stages of life. We both had kids, and immediately conversation topics shifted to our hopes, dreams, and fears for our kids. But when I had two boys who were half Black, one quarter Japanese, and one quarter White, we realized that the fears that I was having for my sons were not the same fears that Sara was having for her daughters. My biggest fear was that my boys – or my husband, who is Black – would walk out of our house and not come home simply based on the color of their skin. That’s a crushing fear to have, but one that I knew was rooted in the reality of who we are as a nation. Trayvon Martin was killed when I was pregnant with my first one; I was holding my second son as a baby in my arms when Tamir Rice was murdered. Read more>>

Nicole Swartz | Attorney

In 2015, I was feeling burned out with law. So I started a skincare company. I created a formula, packed my car with products, and headed to a tradeshow. In two years, we went from side hustle to full-time international company. We were in the Golden Globes Gift Bags and hundreds of stores around the world. One day, I woke up to a cease + desist letter in my inbox. Someone else had already trademarked my brand. They owned the exclusive right to my brand name and I couldn’t use it anymore. We had to rebrand everything in 30 days: our website, social media, product packaging, domain, business cards, everything. It was a nightmare! I shared my story and my friends who were entrepreneurs started asking me to trademark their brands. I realized that I loved working with women to protect their brands. So I sold the skincare brand and started my own law firm. Read more>>

Joslyn Marks | Indie Love Promotions Founder

As an avid reader of African American fiction, I noticed a lot of the Independent authors were not getting the same recognition as traditionally published authors. Independent authors have to work extra hard to keep their name and work recognized and often have to use social media as a means to promote their work. So I decided to host a literary event specifically designed for African American authors, where authors can meet their fans and fans can show love and support to their favorite authors as well as meet new authors. Read more>>

David Luong | Cinematic Artist & Art Gallery Owner

Photonic Playground Art Gallery was conceived by myself and my husband, Steven Dowling Jr. Harking back to 2014, we had just moved out of a sterile and conservative part of Orange County where it was perhaps great for families, but not very exciting or having much culture at all in regards to the arts. And so we sought out a new place to live where we can immerse ourselves in the art scene while also being in the thick of activity and events. That place was downtown Santa Ana and to hone in further on that, we specifically were looking for a modern and art centric place to live called The Artists’ Lofts. The front door is literally downtown right when you step outside. These lofts were live/work lofts, and zoned commercial and residential. This enabled us to have a business on the first floor, and live on the top. It had a huge metal staircase leading up to our living room and and wonderful light with high vaulted ceilings in an industrial open style. Read more>>

Char Goetz | Producer/Creator

I was an antique dealer for many years and always had a love for vintage trailers. When I found my 1952 Aljoa trailer “Daisy”, I knew she would make the perfect partner and brand for my business. After restoring “Daisy”, I took her on the road as a mobile vintage shop and soon found that I wasn’t the only one who loved vintage trailers! Shortly after , I pitched the idea of a vintage market to a local community college, they said yes and the rest was history. Seven years later, I’ve owned & promoted both outdoor and indoor curated markets at various locations in Orange County and look forward to expanding my business throughout California. Read more>>

Tracey Goldman | Yoga Instructor, Meditation and Breath Coach

I came up with the idea for my new business, Breathe Into Bliss, because I’ve been teaching yoga and meditation for over a decade, and although I’ve experienced a multitude of amazing benefits from both practicing and teaching, I’ve discovered that all of those benefits pale in comparison to the benefits we derive from a daily, consistent meditation and breathing practice Exercising and relaxing our bodies and minds are obviously important, but we are not just our bodies, or our thoughts. Both are significantly influenced by our breath, and all three are intricately related. We are each a unique whole system, not just parts of the whole. I love helping people discover the styles and techniques of breathing, meditation and physical awareness that work best for them, since not one approach is right for everyone, or every time. In this fast paced, computer driven world, we are experiencing more anxiety and stress than ever before in our history. Read more>>

Emma J. Carter | Lifestyle Organizer & Spacial Designer

It started inside my car in Malibu driving with my best friend. We had expected to go to the beach for the day and enjoy the sunshine before I had to take her to the airport for her to flight back home to Canada. We got closer to the beach…complete overcast. You couldn’t even see the ocean. That then lead us on a drive through a beautiful coastal neighborhood with stunning homes. I started talking about what the inside of peoples garages looks like (Yes, this would be a normal conversation for me). She then pointed out she knew this person who became an Organizer. I looked at her and said, “That’s not a thing!” After dropping her off at the airport, I went home and started googling Professional Organizers. Turned out…it IS a thing! I launched my business 3 months later. Read more>>

Jean Celeste Lubin | Dance Photographer

My photography business really just flowed organically out of my life experiences. I had been a professional ballerina in New York and when I had to quit, due to injuries, I had a successful career as a photographic model in Paris. After moving to Los Angeles, getting married, and having children, I began to teach ballet at California Dance Theatre in Westlake Village . One of the studios there had magical light in the afternoon, and my beautiful students inspired me to start photographing them. That just naturally led to driving to the magnificent beach and mountain locations in Malibu for photo shoots. Soon, parents were hiring me to photograph their dancer at the beach. I was thrilled to be a part of creating keepsake memories for families. Social media was just taking off, and I initially shied away from it, but one day after class several of my students grabbed my phone and put me on Instagram. Read more>>

Lauren Hampton | Executive Producer, Show Runner & Writer

I’ve closely studied the GREATS with a creative eye and now I’m ready to become one of the GREATEST OF ALL TIME…. One year ago on August 20,2019, I blindly birthed my company when approached to be featured in Voyage LA mag. I thought how should I brand myself, what should I call it , and what’s the best way to represent the work that I’ve been producing. I posted the article along with the caption “ I hope my journey can inspire someone today!… Also, “Hollywood Hampton Productions” has a nice ring to it doesn’t it!? … 🎬👀🎬#comingsoon” I’m a Television Producer who curates content & strategy and I felt that I really wanted my work to speak for itself and on its own and receive the recognition it truly deserves. Read more>>

David Uzzardi | Product Photographer

UpPhoto happened naturally. I was working full time as a product photographer and friends were repeatedly coming to me for help with their brands and it just kinda evolved from there. One day I looked up and I had a business. Eventually I quit my day job to focus on the UpPhoto exclusively. Read more>>

Sindi Breshani and Juliette Coquet | Creative Director & Art Director, co-founders of Episod Studio

We are Sindi and Juliette, the Creative Director and Art Director, and co-founders of Episod Studio. Episod is a multimedia entertainment studio that produces thought-provoking games, interactive narratives, and immersive installations. At its core, the mission of Episod is to tell powerful stories and advance interactive technologies in the service of storytelling. We met at the Royal College of Art in London in 2018, when we both began our studies in MA Information Experience Design (IED), in a nutshell the course that teaches how to “turn information into experience”. The approach of the program is interdisciplinarity: we were a bunch of students with varying backgrounds from philosophy to music who were encouraged to explore design through materials, technologies, and a multitude of methods of storytelling. In the summer before our final year, we were involved in an external project by the Center for Advance Spatial Analysis at UCL, and we were asked to use Virtual Reality to bring to life an old form of play. Read more>>

Robert Harrell | Diversity & Inclusion Marketing Expert & Content Creator

Honestly, the idea came after working for terrible bosses at agencies that didn’t appreciate my work. I learned early on that people don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses and I had a terrible boss. I had alot of respect for my boss and in the beginning considered her a mentor but the feeling was not mutual. I envisioned what kind of workplace that would be ideal to me, and said why not create it? Deciding what projects to take on came naturally easy. I looked for gaps or spaces where needs were not being met especially in the Diversity &. Inclusion space (before it was a trending hashtag).I wanted to combine my passion for equity and inclusion coupled with my over 8+ years of experience in traditional, digital, and experimental marketing to help increase brand awareness for potential clients. Read more>>

Elena Rojas | Actor & Creator

During the pandemic, I had a lot of free time because I lost a lot of jobs. A dear friend Raquel Gendry invited us, my friend Mick Garcia and I to do a dramatized reading live online for kids and families . That experience inspired me so much that we did live readings for more than two months, and it made me so happy that I decided to continue creating stories for children with a personal project that I had started since 2019 with my family. I changed the name of the project and focused only on kids’ stories, Story Time with Tia. Read more>>

Shane Jasmine Young, Esq. | Attorney, Counselor at Law, and Owner of Young Law Group

The idea developed over the course of several years…I became an attorney in 2005, and starting out at the big, fancy firm, I thought I had “made” it. I soon realized that the traditional law firm was not for me, because it did not allow for me to serve clients in the manner I felt provided the most value. I stayed in private practice for several years, and then was the General Counsel for a financial services company, and in 2017, I opened my law firm. It was an idea that my husband had since I was in law school, but I didn’t see the complete vision until much later. Over the years, I saw how families and business owners were ill-informed, making uneducated decisions leaving them, their loved ones, and their assets in jeopardy. I was determined to normalize Legal Life Planning (including Estate Planning, Kids Protection Planning, Business Planning, and Long-Term Care Planning) and provide resources to our community so that we are able to properly protect everything and everyone we love, gaining true peace of mind – not a false sense of security. Read more>>

Christopher Hostetler | Founder, Do Not Die Young – Health & Fitness in Recovery

Do Not Die Young re-launched in January after reimagining our roll at the beginning of the pandemic. After seeing how quickly the pandemic took such a devastating toll on my brothers and sisters in recovery, I knew that as a collective, we could make a difference in the lives of those in sobriety. By adding meditation and mental health coaching along with a strength and conditioning coach, we wanted to serve the recovery community in ways that no one else was. Read more>>

Ellyette (Elly) Iverson | Founder ∙ Chief Event Officer

Santa Barbara is a place where many beautiful events happen, and as I started pursuing my own business venture in 2018, I was CONSTANTLY thinking about what I had to offer in this established arena. Two of the main themes that kept popping up were creativity and innovation. I was just finishing my second year of planning events at an epic science museum, and I loved the “edginess” of utilizing technology and art in a way that would wow guests and create lasting memories. I also started hosting pop-up events with a friend in town which made me realize how much I loved working in new and unexpected venues. At that point, (let’s be honest) I was working two+ jobs and my side hustle was quickly becoming my full-time passion. With the pandemic throwing events into a tizzy last year, I leaned in to the unknown and started testing all sorts of virtual event platforms. Read more>>

Stephanie Ford | Desginer of One of A Kind, Handmade Jewelry

“How did I come up with the idea for my business?” I can answer that by sharing the answer to another of your questions, “What are you inspired by?” I never considered myself an “artistic” person, per se, though I have always been drawn to the arts like a lot of people, and my life choices have been inspired by artists. A very dear friend of mine encouraged me to try and create jewelry as a hobby. She was a wonderful artist. The kind that could inspire anyone, even the “non” artistic, to explore that side of their brain and soul. A big part of my decision to try this was because of her. Sadly, she passed away, but her support and inspiration keeps me going and motivates me daily to at least TRY. That’s all you can do. That, and I have always been attracted to bright and shiny things. I collect vintage Weiss jewelry, brooches, bracelets, cluster earrings and the like. (I’m convinced I was a crow in a previous life. Read more>>

Jenn Woolf | Creative Writing Teacher

I was working as a writing tutor, and when I arrived at my students’ houses, I would hear things like, “Ughh, the tutor lady’s here” before they opened the door. For additional emphasis, their body language screamed that they would rather be anywhere else. My mission changed from teaching kids how to write to showing them how to be enthusiastic about expressing themselves. Humans are social creatures and we are literally born to communicate. It broke my heart to see kids who either felt self-conscious about their writing or had been convinced that they weren’t very good at it. By focusing on things like figurative language and creative writing, I’ve been able to empower students to trust their own voices and to express themselves. Now, my students are happy to see me, and can’t wait to share their stories!. Read more>>

Ever Arias | Interdisciplinary Artist & Small Business Owner

It all started with a conversation with my grandmother. She always used a holistic approach to treat and alleviate pain using herbs such as Rue, Rosemary, and Arnica Flowers to soothe and connect with ancestors. A couple of years after I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I reconnected to these herbs as part of the healing modality using the element water. Purifying baths with a combination of herbs, salves, ritual soaps, and scrubs not only to exfoliate but to release negative energies that hold us back to becoming our best selves. After weeks of trial and error, a line of bath and body products were born to connect back to our plant kin and giving ourselves permission to let go and let be with compassion, embracing the ebb and flow of life. Read more>>

Melissa Rios | Yoga Instructor & Lifestyle Blogger

Being a girl from the beautiful tropical country, Costa Rica and seeing the large interest to hold holistic festivals there inspired me. I took notice that these big beautiful festivals with amazing topics and great teachers from around the world were, unfortunately all in English and the entry prices were not as accessible to the local crowd. Currently, I live in New York and I’ve always want to go back to Costa Rica and create a Holistic festival for the Spanish speaking community and include the locals by employing local Holistic teachers. My dream was to do this in person on site, but after COVID19 came up, I had the idea to create the festival online and make it accesible to more people beyond Costa Rica.. I contacted one of my friends, Lorena Moscoso, I told her about my idea and she was excited to partner with me on this new adventure. This is how we created Now Fest, a holistic festival gathering twelve different Holistic experts from around the world with a following targeting the Spanish speakers. Read more>>

Jessika Carter-Ross | Owner of Madam J Beauty

Madam J Beauty is a luxury, plant-based beauty brand. The conception of this idea came about after I worked for five years as a beauty advisor. I assisted customers with makeup consultations, and purchases including cosmetics, skincare, body care, and fragrance. I quickly saw the disparities in the beauty industry in my daily work life. I often had Black women come to me excited to see someone like them in the beauty department, only to later find out that the shades weren’t deep enough to fit their brown-skinned complexion. A lot of the products were also filled with toxic ingredients that you couldn’t pronounce. I felt a move in my spirit that I needed to make a difference in the beauty industry. It didn’t make me feel good to know that everyone couldn’t enjoy the fruits of beauty, it can be so refreshing for your mind and body. Read more>>

Martin Reid | Movement Specialist

I felt like it was important to amplify the voices of people trying to navigate the quarantine. I have been supporting the Pilates space, studios and individuals. Core Conversations podcast spotlights the hero’s in the Pilates space. Read more>>

Julia Holland | Singing Teacher, Theater Director, NonProfit Executive Director

I started a non profit almost accidentally. All my life skills just came together synergistically. I brought together all the work I had done in music, theater, teaching and performing, and combined it with the things I believed in, which are children and the environment, and the Eco Hero Kids Foundation was born. I’ve always been concerned about the environment so I wrote and produced a kids album of pop songs sung by kids, put a group together of 9 to 12 year olds and took them on tour at festivals and events. That was 10 years ago and now that has morphed into an online curriculum that we are beginning to integrate into mainstream schools. I never had a back up plan in my life but only did things that I loved to do or believed in. I have always felt it was important to do something that would benefit the world. It has taken a lot of perseverance to keep moving it forward, and I am very lucky I have a thriving vocal studio in Malibu where I train singers of all ages. Read more>>

Ranessa Villalba | Entreprenuer

For many years I had a t-shirt line called Biker Beauty. I was stuck in a comfort zone. Once i discovered the fashion truck I knew I wanted to expand to something fresh and new. I needed to be more universal to reach more women. At first I was selling trendy women’s clothing. I wanted a name that was sweet and edgy. Sugar was perfect for the sweet side. Spiked was perfect for my tomboy, edgy biker side. It was the perfect fit. Eventually I just started selling pinup clothing along with handbags and accessories. Pinup clothing is hard to find affordable. For the everyday woman who wants to feel classic. I have been able to provide this for people who don’t want to spend $100+ for a pinup dress. Read more>>

Heaven Williams | Entrepreneur and Mental Health Advocate

I came up with the idea for my business because I noticed that when I would light candles I would get a slight headache, and at the time I also wasn’t in the right state of mind. so I wanted to create candles that were eco friendly and helped evaluate people’s moods. Read more>>

Daisha Breedlove | Entrepreneur

I came up with the idea for my new business “ It Factor Global ” collection for those who think they dont naturally have that It Factor super star charisma, It factor is that feeling you get when someone walks into a room and you cant help but to take a look at them . A person with It has a energy that people naturally gravitate to. You dont know but you can not help but notice these people. Some say people with the It factor are born with it, and even if your not when they where something from the “It Factor Global “ collection they will sure feel like they do. So i decided to create a collection so everyone can feel and look like a star!. Read more>>

Yael Friedman | Founder, Kitch’N Giggles

I worked in the restaurant industry for years, so I really experienced first hand how disconnected consumers are from their food. People hear a lot of buzz about certain diets, or macro-nutrients, without really understanding them. So after I had enough of the chef’s life, I went back to school to get a degree in Nutrition Education. I wanted to help people understand nutrition and make better eating choices. That’s where I came up with the idea for my child-centered meal kit. Because teaching kids to eat healthy from the start is one of the best ways to prevent unhealthy eating in adults. And a lot of research points to hands-on nutrition education as being the most effective for young children. You can tell them to eat broccoli all day, but unless you let them experience broccoli themselves, the message isn’t sinking it. So I am motivated by the idea of teaching healthy eating and cooking skills at home. Read more>>