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.

Kristine Thompson | Founder of KIN by Kristine

I was inspired to found KIN by Kristine due to a lack of representation for plus size bodies in fashion. Specifically, as a plus size woman, I wanted to create a clothing line that celebrates the beauty of plus size women with a collection of clothing that is trendy and flattering to curvy bodies. It’s very rare for a plus size clothing line to be run by a plus size woman, however, I firmly believe in being the change I want to see. This is why I personally design every item in my line, to ensure that each piece meets the standards expected of any top clothing brand. Read more>>

Betsy Thagard | B. toffee Founder, Candy Manufacturer

I love to cook and entertain, and always come up with fun and delicious recipes. During the holidays I would make toffee for family and friends. I chose toffee because it is such a beautiful dessert, and one that is not always the easiest to make-everyone always clamored for more, and expressed that I should share it with the world! Read more>>

Lisa Whitmore and Heather Hitt | Photography Artists

Our business is brand new but our friendship is 15 years old. The inspiration for our partnership professionally was born of everyone’s Covid lost year. When things were cooling down we started doing some shoots together using ourselves as models to just PLAY. We played with make up, styling, lighting , everything.! It was completely liberating and reminded us of when we were young and falling in love with photography.and art projects in college and just experimenting making something beautiful to us. We have worked together over the years and helped each other out on shoots but when we had no clients and started brainstorming with concepts it started to dovetail with our individual pandemic experience. We both came to the universal message of 2020… Read more>>

Ugochi Nwaneri | Thrift Stylist, Reseller & Blogger

Thriftnprosper developed into a business my younger self would’ve never imagined. Thrifting has largely been incorporated into my life since childhood. As a child, I remember visiting thrift stores with my mom. My mom was a hard-working single mother of four children and always found the beauty in everything-both new and preloved. While our thrift trips were some of my favorite childhood memories, thrifting wasn’t something my mom wanted to disclose to others for various reasons. Read more>>

Michael KLubock | Sailor turned environmental educator

I was on the beach in Malibu, sailing my Hobie Cat at 44, thinking about what I wanted to be when I grew up. I made a simple list of what I loved and what I was I good at. I loved the beaches and ocean. I had a few experiences under my belt teaching. I liked speaking. I liked performing. I loved clean water. I loved sailing through the waves. I saw trash on the beach and got involved with some beach clean-ups. More clean-ups and then realized I needed more help. I thought about kids helping out. So. I created a program and went to one school. It went on from there. Read more>>

Anna Kozaki | STAR SKY GRANOLA owner & baker

Since I graduated from a culinary/pastry school in Osaka, Japan, I’ve been baking for almost 20 years in multiple countries like Japan, Canada, China, Macau, and Singapore. I’ve also loved traveling in the world since I was young, and I know for sure that arts & food are like a borderless language on the Earth. When I moved to Los Angeles 6 years ago, I knew that I was going to create my own food business because before that, I was running a bakery in Macau, and a cookie shop in Tokyo, and I just couldn’t picture myself working in a company doing routine jobs. Read more>>

Amanda Adams | Founder of Bätn-e Beauty

It was truly the culmination of many things throughout my life. I spent a lot of time in nature and gardens growing up that developed into a lifelong appreciation. My grandparents always had all-natural cures on hand for the face and body, and I learned to use these from a young age. My grandfather, who was an artist, was constantly depicting gorgeous landscapes and flowers, grew grapes for his own table wine, and knew how to work with the natural cycles of the land to create beauty. Read more>>

Meghann Mason | Owner & Director of Academy of Makeup & Wig Design, Prof. Makeup Artist, Wig Maker & Stylist

Several years ago my best friend, Kelsey Contois-Husch, and I were working a lot on projects and events outside of our regular Cirque du Soleil jobs, and we needed large crews for wigs, makeup, and hair. The makeup and hair part was fairly easy to find, but finding artists that were proficient in wigs and makeup was more difficult. So, we decided to start teaching classes on wig dressing, wig making, makeup, and a whole spectrum of classes in between! The Academy of Makeup and Wig Design was born and its been a wonderful ride so far. It has grown and is still fun, is something I am deeply passionate about, and continue to look forward to teaching and sharing! Read more>>

Greg Hasty | Market Research Deliverable Strategist

Before launching Hasty Storytelling, I was an account executive at a global market research firm and had been working on projects for Fortune 500 clients regularly. My role was quantitative – quality checking survey data and analysis – but I had always been interested in the qualitative – or in person discovery – side of the business. Read more>>

Grace Lee (name 1) Haena Kim (name 2) | Co-founders of UNK+UNF

We, the Unknown and Unfamiliar co-founders, came up with this business idea while trying to set up a different kind of business. We are Korean-American women who met working in the fashion industry years ago. We wanted to start an apparel brand to put our knowledge and skills into what we all loved, which were clothes. However, in the process of starting to build our brand, we were seeing the number of small businesses growing from the global pandemic. We were all avid supporters of small businesses and loved seeing these small business owners putting in the work to start their brand. Then we came to a moment of our hearts going out to them, a moment that changed the entire direction of our business. Read more>>

Latysha Burleson | Cosmetologist

Since I was younger everyone always told me my talent was doing hair. I kind of picked it up from seeing my cousin braiding hair through out me growing up as a kid, and it all started from there. I remember in high school I had a hairstylist that always dive my weaves. Later down the line he decided to move to Atlanta, he was cool enough to offer me going with him to be his apprentice unfortunately I was straight out of high school and wasn’t sure if that’s what I really wanted to do. Read more>>

Brent A. Nuffer | ELECTRIC MOON Founder

ELECTRIC MOON was born out of innovative necessity and our drive to share our love of all things Music & Art. We originally designed the ELECTRIC MOON for more of a brick and mortar situation, then a global pandemic happened, the World changed and quickly we shifted gears. Through processing all the fears, frustrations, and worries that we were all going through, the ELECTRIC MOON was dreamt up. Read more>>

Helga Douglas | Founder of Svala

I came up with the idea for Svala as I was constantly searching for sustainably made, animal-friendly bags and accessories and was not able to find exactly what I was looking for. I became very excited about the possibility of creating my own line and brand that stood for the values I was looking for. Read more>>

Elizabeth King | Certified Fertility Health Coach

The idea of my Fertility Coaching business came up after my own experience with fertility. After getting divorced at age 30 I went to freeze my eggs and I was told to come back later if I was still single…so at age 36, still single I went back…I did IVF on my own to freeze eggs as an insurance policy not knowing if I would be meeting Mr. Right any time soon…At age 39 I was diagnosed with fibroids that were in a location that would be preventing me to conceive. Read more>>

Ilona Golovina | Mugly.NYC Owner

It was in the middle of the pandemic, after not being employed for a while, that I started to think about opening a business simply because I realized that it is up to me to have or not to have a job and the second realization was that I could also help others to have some sort of an income meanwhile we are waiting for the life to get back to its norm. That’s when I decided to open a retail store in Williamsburg to sell handmade local and one of a kind ceramics. I did a research and found a few NY based potters whose work I liked and luckily for me they were open to my ideas and that is how we started. By the way, I moved out from the store a few moths ago and operating an online business as well as popup shops. Read more>>

Mary Esposito | Leather Artist

I am a leather artist and dog collar crafter. I was inspired to create something special to mark the day my service dog and I graduated as a team. I struggled throughout my childhood with health issues and at 18, I received a wonderful service dog named Riley. He was trained to retrieve items, get help when needed, and even fetch a drink from the fridge! The tasks were a huge help to my independence, but it was his goofy smiling face and his friendship that really transformed my life. Read more>>

Angi Bell | Stand Up Comedian and Owner of Angi’s Shop LLC

Honestly, my business started because of my Podcast “TWS With Angi B”. Sometimes I would say things on there and I’m like dang that needs to go on a shirt. I was using a fulfillment center for everything but then covid hit and their production time and quality levels dropped off dramatically. So, I decided to do it myself. Now, I make my clothing for the Just Angi brand and I also take custom orders, I’m not quite at the point where I can do Angi’s Shop LLC full time, but that day is coming. Hopefully sooner than later. Read more>>

Jennifer Hillman | Co-Founder LuxAnthropy, Mom, Wife, and Philanthropist

The name of our company – LuxAnthropy – is a word we made up by combining LUXury and philANTHROPY. We started LuxAnthropy because one day, we were each cleaning out our closets and talking about how we wanted to find a place where we could sell our things, make some money and give some money to a charity that we loved. It seemed so simple but nothing like this existed. So, we thought, why don’t we create it ourselves?! Read more>>

Jeffrey Skalny | Business Owner

I had recently moved to Las Vegas and was doing a lot of contract work around the country. I was at a trade show conversing with a business contact at Meridian Audio, a high-end audio manufacturer. During the conversation, I asked who their dealer in Las Vegas was because I wanted to see if I could help them out with calibrations and installations. I was informed that they didn’t currently have a dealer in Las Vegas. I asked what would be required for me to become the dealer and was told I needed a physical showroom and I had to purchase some demo equipment. Read more>>

Julia Rios & Meg Frank | Publishers

“The idea for Mermaids Monthly came from an answer Julia gave repeatedly over the years in interviews and on panels about editing. Often people ask if editors really have to reject stories they like, and Julia’s answer is yes. This happens for a variety of reasons, but one reason is that an editor has to think about the overall balance of what they’re curating. Read more>>

Josh Sanchez | Founder and Inventor of NativFit

The idea for the Nativpack, an all-in-one portable gym, came to me a few years back. Fitness is a passion of mine, I’ve been going to regular gym’s, crossfit boxes, yoga studios etc since 2005. Calculating how much time I’ve wasted commuting to and from gyms 5 days a week for over 15 years is insane! Read more>>

Rainn Crowder | Entrepreneur & College Student

I came up with FramedByRainn because I knew that I wanted to resale items, I just wasn’t sure what item I wanted to resale. I knew that it had to be something I would find great interest in and that I would enjoy doing, it had to be something that I would wear. After speaking to many owners one quote stuck out to me and that was “Never sell something that you wouldn’t buy” so I started thinking of an item that I wear a lot and that was sunglasses.I eventually found a reliable vendor ,created a business name and the rest is history. I truly what it is that I do. Read more>>

Julia Yacenda-Murphy | Owner & Popsicle Creator

The idea of Mom and Pop Shop all started while Angie was taking her (then) two children on a jog and stopped to get them a treat from am ice cream truck and thought “here I am running to improve my health but I am getting my children, sugar-filled food, there has to be something better??” Health was also at the forefront of her mind with her second child having a rare genetic condition, heterotaxy, she had to monitor his diet and exposure to anything potentially harmful to his immunities. She had the vision to combine her fun-loving sense of style, desire for something sweet and a need for a wholesome treat option in the market into…Mom and Pop Shop! Read more>>

Andrea De Bartolis | Ceo & Founder Crowducers

Investing in great national and international films, with famous actors and directors, with a strong appeal towards distributions. With this idea Crowducers was born, a startup that allows access to a new investment sector, until now in Italy little known or practicable only for professionals. This is accompanied by a further factor: the scarcity of funds to make films, that would need private equity investment capital. The company was founded with the intention of bringing modern investment methods to the film industry, and giving an opportunity to investors who want to participate. Read more>>

Sofia Hurtado | Actor, Producer, & Artistic Director/ Founder of Third Culture Theatre

As a Latinx woman in Los Angeles, I noticed a lack of representation and diversity onstage. There are communities and unique cultures rich with stories that are not reaching the stage. At Third Culture Theatre, we wanted to put those stories front and center. Mirror those poignant experiences. They move us, and we want to move our audiences. Read more>>