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.

Dianna Novy | Flaunt Wine Company Owner & Winemaker

I first got into the wine business right out of college. I had an opportunity to try really good wine and I immediately knew that I wanted to become a winemaker. I moved to California from my home state of Texas at the age of 24. For the next 23 years, my now ex-husband and I built 2 very successful brands where we were winemaking partners – Siduri Wines and Novy Family Winery. In 2015 we were lucky enough to sell both brands. We had great success as partners, but I had developed a desire to start a brand that was completely my own where I could make the wines in exactly the style that I enjoyed most. I named by brand Flaunt Wine Company and my first offering was a Sparkling Wine released in 2017. I have now grown the brand to include Pinot Noir and Rosé. Read more>>

Jacob Rohrbach | Director – Dark Fire Productions

Dark Fire Productions started out as a collaborative YouTube channel between me and my best friend. We’d post silly little home videos or game reviews, whatever we came up with and wanted to film after school. I soon gained an interest in screenwriting and, as interests began to split, I began to use the channel to start uploading short films that I’d write and film with my friends. I wanted to bring stories to life, whether it be my own or somebody else’s via our “Creepypasta Episodes” series, the whole plan behind Dark Fire was to make films however we could and really push the limit of what indie filmmaking could be. Read more>>

Khristin Turnage | Photographer & Graphic Designer

I came up with the idea of my business “Khrissy Land” by thinking of Disneyland, how its a huge amusement park with so many different kind of attractions. I want to own my own studio production company one day where everything you need is in house. My studio will have film,photography,music,designing and anything creative where even if you feel you don’t have enough experience I can be in position to have classes and programs where students can intern. I just want to be able to express my creativity out loud and with allowing others with Read more>>

Aged Like Milk Podcast | Hosts Paris and David Host a Weekly Film Discussion Podcast.

We started the Aged Like Podcast because first and foremost we are film fans. We’ve been friends for years and would alway geek out over movie quotes. During the pandemic we decided to create a fun podcast where we could talk about our favorite classics as an expression of our creativity. Paris: David is the most knowledgeable movie buff I know, so it was a logical co-host situation. David: I love Paris’ perspective on every movie we cover. She’s always getting me to see things from a different perspective. Paris: I think that’s what works for us, I’m an Australian who grew up in Hong Kong, and David is a bi-racial Wisconsinite. We come from very different backgrounds and it’s interesting to see how we analyze movies. David: I think our audience gets a very high level and introspective conversation between the two of us, and our industry guests. We have a very unique take on the film industry since I’m and actor and Paris is an emerging writer/director. Read more>>

Chelsea Patterson | Pregnancy Loss Advocate | Make-Up Artist | Blogger

The concept for my business was born out of tragedy but has since helped me discover a new passion and mission. Unfortunately, in 2019 I suffered a miscarriage at 5 months of pregnancy while carrying a precious baby girl. I chose to call her Noa as soon as her gender was revealed which happened unexpectedly and prematurely during a check-up. During that Doctor’s visit and following the results of some genetic testing, my baby was diagnosed with a rare chromosomal disorder called Turner’s Syndrome where part of or all of an X chromosome is missing in females I was informed that my baby would probably not survive the remaining months of pregnancy. Though we fought together for two long months after that, we eventually lost our battle. Those two months were some of the hardest and most confusing days of my life but also some of the most precious. Read more>>

Samantha Xiao | Jewelry Designer & Philanthropist

I came from a family of entrepreneurs. At a very young age, I would assist in all of my family’s businesses; especially my aunts’ jewelry manufacturing company. I knew then, I would run a business one day. But the concept of what I would be selling did not come into fruition until I attended FIT’s jewelry design program. In one of my final projects, I created the prototype for my signature piece: a reversible necklace with exceptional silversmithing, created from wax carving. It was not until a few years later that I would get inspired to create a line, by falling in love and leaving my post as a merchandiser. Samantha Siu New York was created in 2016 to create exquisite, well made jewelry with the purpose to do good. Read more>>

Amanda Winder | Writer & Creator

In 1975, my grandmother (Delores Winder) was 48-years-old and dying. Plagued with pseudo-arthrosis for 19 1⁄2 years, her spine was severely aged and deteriorating. In a body cast and neck brace to hold her together, doctors could actually crush the bone in their hands and she couldn’t be touched because she was too fragile. In order to kill the pain, she had four spinal fusions and two percutaneous cordotomies (where they burn out the nerve centers at the base of the brain) that caused no feeling on the whole right side of her body and on the left side up to her waist. Well in August of ’76, through a string of God-related events, she found herself at a Kathryn Kulhman service. During the service she experienced what doctors can only explain as a miraculous healing. Running up and down the stage. Bending over to touch her toes. She had encountered the supernatural power of God, and from that day forth her life would never be the same. In the years to come, she and my grandfather traveled the world as they prayed with people, shared the love and life of Jesus and saw many miraculous healings through the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit. Read more>>

Heba Subeh-Hyder | Author

I learned that people were leaving religions in droves because they were angry at God due to the injustices happening all over the globe. Sometimes people don’t understand that God doesn’t commit these atrocities, people do. It broke my heart to think that my children, or anyone else’s children for that matter, could ever leave Islam. I wanted to spread the knowledge of who God is the way I know Him; All-Loving, All-Merciful, All-Compassionate. I’ve always been passionate about my religion (Islam) and writing so I decided to combine the two and write a children’s series highlighting God’s attributes as we know them in Islam and tell them through fun stories, stories that are engaging for small children. I wrote them in a way they can comprehend and relate to, and that will ultimately increase their conviction in who they are as Muslims in America, and familiarize them more and more with God. My aim is to nourish the love that is already in their hearts for Him. Read more>>

Ashley Williams | Tumbling Coach & Youth Fitness Specialist

Tumble Method came about after 10 years of working as a freelance coach for gymnastics and cheer teams. I have always had a passion to help youth athletes, and have worked with thousands of athletes over the course of my coaching career. Tumble Method was officially formed in 2020, right as the world was changing because of COVID-19. When gyms shut down, I went from seeing kids on a daily basis to no interaction at all. I was in the car when I realized this may be a long term (at the time, thinking a few weeks) situation, so I jotted down some ideas for a virtual program to keep the kids engaged during the shutdown. When I got home, I spent the next two days creating a website, essentially creating a new platform for my coaching online, and on day three my classes launched. Thinking this would be temporary, I worked endlessly everyday making sure my athletes could have some normality in their lives. The program grew to athletes nationwide joining the classes, and we have now expanded to in-home private lessons, pod classes, and outdoor clinics for cheerleaders, gymnasts, and dancers. Read more>>

Erin Harris and Emanuel Thomas | Founders & Social Justice Educators

Erin and Emanuel conceived and birthed Armada Unified in response to Covid-19. As it did for so many others, the rapid escalation of Covid-19 led to a dramatic reduction in Erin’s income–as a gardening and composting instructor for LA County. Her job was immediately placed in jeopardy and it was only through the goodwill and flexibility of her boss that she was able to continue working at all. At the same time, Emanuel, who had recently left corporate America to pursue a promising career as a motivational speaker and mindset coach, quickly became derailed by the limiting effects of Covid-19. But the health crisis also presented immediate opportunities for the couple to be of service that they were both eager to seize upon. In the early days of March 2020, the pair began managing a small urban farm on the outskirts of Compton and quickly established relationships with organizations like Social Justice Learning Institute, Alma Backyard Farms, Farm2People, Future City Pantry and Feed Our Soul, which had the infrastructure in place to distribute the produce they grew and harvested to families and individuals whose access to healthy food was further threatened by the crisis. Read more>>

Brit Tobin | Creator & Founder

Black Market Media was born from a literal inside joke during quarantine. If you needed or wanted goods or services you ordered it online, had it delivered or obtained it some other way, and a “black market” of sorts blossomed. 2020 brought a lot of things to the table — most notably being stuck inside with a lot of free time, which of course, goes hand in hand with finding new and inventive ways to stay productive. For me, that led to more writing, producing, and just creating in general. The game changed so we needed a new approach. Utilizing the resources I had on hand at home: the internet, my phone, and some Halloween props, I put together a short iPhone film called Perry the Bear Gets Scared Vol. 1 — a scary comedy, starring Jose Luis “JL” Martinez as the voice of Perry. I was super impressed with his voiceover work right off the hop and immediately knew I wanted to work with him. Read more>>

Melissa Fernandez | Creative Superhero of Cafecito and Confidence

At Cafecito and Confidence, we help overwhelmed go-getters harmonize work and life with our content, and slay their goals in comfort and style with our apparel. I started Cafecito and Confidence after resigning from a corporate position. As I transitioned into the entrepreneurial world, I needed some type of income so I took a t-shirt course and I instantly thought of coffee as my niche. I was born and raised in the Bronx, in a Dominican household where coffee has always been a staple. I knew that outside of my own home and community, people all over the world had rituals and traditions around coffee as well and the more I connected with people after starting this business, the more that this truth was enforced. I was also inspired by some recent moments where “cafecito breaks” were my saving grace. Before resigning my job, I had some pretty rough days. Read more>>

Min Ji Son | Artist

I was invited to do a holiday sale to show some of my work. I’ve been selling prints or books based on some of my paintings, photos, and digital drawings, but it felt they were too sedentary. They would only live in one space at a time. I started seeing if it was possible to custom print on wearables such as a T-shirt or swimsuit. Every wearer brings a unique essence to the item and seeing my work live in spaces I hadn’t thought of before—from canvases or papers to maybe a sleeve was super exciting. Read more>>

Erin-Kate Escobar | Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Consultant and Coach

I was afraid to leave my full time job that offered me the comfort of a schedule that I was familiar with, a steady paycheck, the cyclical nature of education systems and meaningful work. When pandemic times hit, I couldn’t hide any longer from the discomfort that I had been ignoring. I had outgrown my role at the organization. I hoped to move from diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in higher education into DEI work in industry, businesses, and corporations. After a year of job interviewing, every time I made the final round the feedback I got was that the other person just had some form of business education and background. In my role in higher education I had been essentially conducting a wide range of DEI consulting without the title for years. In fall of 2020 I had a caseload of 45 individuals each one I met with I was offering DEI consulting on their projects, I was supporting the first iteration of launching employee resource groups, while also managing multiple diversity focused councils (150+ people between the 5+ DEI councils). Read more>>

Montana Marks | Jewelry Designer & Actor

I had been wanting to start designing and creating jewelry for years, and it all randomly came together. My best friend passed in 2019 from lung cancer, and after that happened, my whole world was turned upside down. The name On A Wing popped into my head one day out of nowhere after that and I fell in love with it. The whole concept revolves around the fact that we are all riding on a wing, different wings for different periods of time through our lives. We can all be a wing for others aka we can all be guardian angels for one another. My parents taught me from a young age the importance of helping others, helping strangers, and giving back however we are able to. I’ve always believed that kindness even in the smallest form can change someone’s life. After I came up with the name and the meaning, everything else just started to flow. I knew I wanted the pieces to be unique, one of a kind, a little edgy, and remind the person wearing it that they are always enough and that they can climb any mountain. Read more>>

Shannon Soller | Co-Founder Beauty Beyond

My partner Simone and I founded Beauty Beyond 8 years ago out of our own frustration with the traditional retail shopping experience. The clean beauty scene was not as fashionable as it is today and we wanted to cut through the clutter and confusion, curate the most active and effective products available and provide our clients with a truly unique shopping experience. One that was rooted in high level service, trust and transparency. No longer would you have to spend hours at a makeup counter being sold thousands of dollars in products that you have no idea how to use when you get home, or countess nights scrolling through online tutorials on how to take care of your skin. At Beauty Beyond are your skincare stylists. We are ingredient enthusiasts who spend the time doing the research, working with founders, doctors and brands to find the best in clean beauty. We then work with each client privately-either in person or over zoom- to help them go through their own personal purging process. Read more>>

Teagan Barnes | Co-Creator

I would not consider what I do a business, I see it as a passion. I love acting, abstract theater plays like Jean-Paul Sartre’s “No Exit.” I am really into movies with crazy plot twists. I’ve always considered myself a Tarantino Girl.
After studying at the Lee Strasberg Institute for Theatre and Film, two very important mentors Sharon Angela and Alani iLongwe, explained to me how important it is to write your own scripts, create your own characters and own world. For some reason I was always afraid to share my inner thoughts with the world. It is hard giving someone your script to read. It was more personal for me like my own diary. Something changed in me during the pandemic. Pre-Covid I would go to a bar full of people who would tell me stories about alcohol, drugs, and crazy sexual experiences. Since I was not surrounded by that evil sprit anymore I felt spiritually awakened. Read more>>