Many books on startups and business talk about how there are right and wrong reasons for starting a business. So, we asked a handful of successful founders about their reasons and the thought-process behind starting their business.

Devon Pyles | Sustainable Fashion Designer, Artist and Environmental Advocate

Initially, it was the realization that law school was not my path whilst recognizing there was an acute lack of environmental awareness specifically in fashion. The toxic repercussions of mass produced, synthetic (plastic) fabrics and disposable clothing was a huge concern to me. This was 15yrs ago. Read more>>

Shannan Allen | Personal Stylist

I’ve always had a love for fashion and working around other women I was always being complimented on what I wore or asked if I could help them shop because it was something they struggled with. As time went on I started to realize that there was a need for helping women through personal styling and I decided it was something that I wanted to pursue so I took a leap of faith and went for it. Read more>>

dovid krafchow | Jewish mystic and author

I have written twenty books over fifty years but only one has been commercially published, so I have begun my own publishing house to distribute my work and the work of others based upon my my visionary research into ancient Hebrew artifacts. Read more>>

Karen Poirier | Fashion Disruptor and Serial Entrepreneur

It was a slow, organic process that started 10 years ago. I was searching for a certain type of clothing that could meet my needs and that didn’t exist. As an overscheduled, uber-busy woman juggling a career, a household, a family with growing kids and aging parents, I wanted something to wear that was easy, comfortable, and versatile that would take me throughout the many roles in my day while also giving some support and shape to my full bust. Read more>>

Kirsten Ludwig | Brand Builder / Change Maker / Idealist / Optimist

It was the opposite of a business plan. I saw what I didn’t want, but still believed in what could be, so I created it. Idealistically so. My approach was that if we set up the best team possible, gave them all the tools to create the best work possible, that the best clients would come. It worked. Read more>>

Karen Jones | License Esthetician

Like most entrepreneurs I became unhappy working for someone and made plans in leaving my Social Work position. I have worked in many positions within the healthcare field and enjoyed being a help to people in whatever way I can. But there was still something missing, I knew that I had a greater purpose and became focused on achieving my goals. In April 2020, I was diagnosed with COVID-19 and my world stopped. Read more>>

Terrece Lynn | Founder/CEO

The thought process I used in starting my own business, was to get involved within the entertainment business which I had been working in since the age of 12, but to offer a more personalized approach when working with talent and t heir families. Read more>>

Nick Ferrell | CEO

Watches have been in my family for as long as I can remember, and like for many, vintage Seiko was my gateway drug into watch collecting at a young age. Few other watch manufacturers have the catalog of Seiko, nor the history for that matter, from the fantastic Seiko 6139 automatic movements of the “Colonel Pogue” and “Bruce Lee” fame to Seiko being instrumental to the start of the notorious quartz crisis in the 1970s with the Seiko Astron – and Seiko, not Heuer nor any other Swiss brand – was the first to manufacture the automatic movement chronograph! Read more>>

Tony Gonzales | Inventor and Owner of Ghost Ice

I always had a dream that I would be an inventor, and Ghost Ice allowed me to live that dream. I knew that with inventing a product I had two options: I could sell my idea, or I could sell my product. I decided to sell my product, because I wanted to have my hands on it and actually see my invention succeed. So I needed to learn how to run a business. Read more>>

Widson Charlemont | Designer, Model and Multimedia Specialist

I moved to Los Angeles in 2017 after basically starting my life over. I had a part time job working overnight at a grocery store and also did some modeling and media work on the side. As time went on, I was able to pursue more creative routes and stopped working at the grocery store. Starting off with small, local gigs I worked my way up to being a part of some of the biggest productions and brands in the country. My thought process behind starting my own business was to create a platform that I could call my own and control to benefit not only myself, but others. Read more>>

Simileoluwa Adebajo | Chef & Entrepreneur

Eko Kitchen was born out of necessity for me – I felt it was necessary for the people of San Francisco to experience Nigerian culture and determined that using food and ,music would be the easiest way to expose them to it. I had left Lagos and wanted to bring the Lagos feeling with me to the Bay Area and started my restaurant to do just that Read more>>

Breenae Washington | Cyber Engineer, Author, and STEAM Advocate

The thought process behind starting my own business stemmed from personal experiences that have significantly impacted the trajectory of my life. The STEAM Queens is a whimsical lifestyle brand centered around a young African American girl named Ivy who loves Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM). Ivy celebrates the importance of diversity in STEAM, and she hopes that by teaching girls how wonderful STEAM is, she can help them earn their crowns too. It gives girls, particularly black girls, the opportunity to see themselves represented in spaces they often feel they don’t belong. My business is the brand I wish I had when I was growing up. Read more>>

Nicole Torres | Energy Healer and Transformational Self-Worth Coach

There were two major factors that motivated me to start my own energy healing practice. First, I wanted to get out of the animation industry, because I found it to be very toxic. Second, I knew deep within me that I had a bigger purpose in life. I’d often think to myself, “I know there’s something more for me out there!” or my fave, “One day I’m going to be sitting on that couch with Oprah!” Around 2012, about a year after landing my dream job at one of the biggest animation studios, responsible for creating the cartoons of my youth, the inner calling got louder and had me feeling kind of lost. Read more>>

Vannesia Darby | CEO & Lead Consultant

“I can’t retire from here.” It was the third day working at my dream company when I figured out that my plan of climbing the idolized corporate ladder in the Gospel music industry was crumbling – quickly. It had only been 72 hours and I already bumped into a few glass ceilings and red tape at the second largest music conglomerate in the world. I stood in my office realizing that I signed a year long lease in my brand new apartment. I did not have any money to break a lease and resolved that I would be working at the job for at least a year. I ended up staying for two years, but that single thought was the seed that would eventually grow my faith into believing that I could start my business. Read more>>

Zach Simao | Drummer & Music Producer

I moved out to LA in January 2020 from NYC, and I originally came here with the idea of being primarily a gigging drummer. I had played drums for years in New York and, though I had interests in electronic music and songwriting in general, I never really pursued them. I defined myself as a drummer. During the pandemic, though, I obviously wasn’t able to pursue gigging or really drumming at all. Without drumming as an outlet, I found myself learning other instruments, writing lyrics, and singing my own material. I discovered that my relationship with music was much deeper and more holistic than I thought it was previously. Read more>>

Alex Mari | Photographer & Owner of Alex Mari Photography

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit – even as a 10 year old, I was out at the end of our drive way selling lemonade and handmade jewelry. I ran little business ventures all throughout high school, so it was a really natural progression for me. I love the flexibility owning your own business provides – the option to take on work that fuels me creatively, the control over my own time, and the ability to let my life shape my work and not the other way around. Read more>>

Tony Gentile | Owner/BlueWater Post

Because of tax incentives in the state of CA. Also I wanted to collaborate with other creatives and felt that the interconnection and idea exchanges are the foundations for creativity. Hoping to create this ethos for the experienced and younger aspiring creators. Read more>>

Jen Robin | Founder & CEO, Life in Jeneral

Before starting my own business, I was working as a celebrity assistant where I coordinated & managed my client’s everyday life. From moving him constantly to making sure everything was always in order, this was when I realized I loved what I did so much that I couldn’t imagine not doing this for a living. Seeing someone’s life change because of systems that you put in place—there’s truly no better feeling in the world. Doing this also allowed me to see the opportunity in the marketplace for a company that organizes your life for you. Read more>>

Gabriella Guzman | Artist and Founder of NOVEL School of Artistry

I started NOVEL because I couldn’t stop thinking about my former students. I used to be the Head of Animation at a vocational school for adults with Autism, and as the pandemic stretched farther and the effects of it hit the job market, I just didn’t know how some of my former students were going to fit in a post pandemic economy. If a business owner has to pay more wages after losing revenue for so long…and they want the fastest, most productive worker to help them recover, I fear my students won’t be given a chance. I also couldn’t stop worrying about how the pandemic was affecting their services, their care, or their progress. Starting this business was a way to connect in an isolated world, and a way to feel like I was doing SOMETHING, even a small something, to ease that worry. Read more>>

Amir Hussain | CEO of Sight Beyond Sound

My thought process of starting my business was a wild adventure. It started when Napster was a thing and wanted to see how to create beats like Timbaland. Long story short, i went from composition, recording artist (short lived), mixing/mastering engineer, videographer, and my latest adventure is photography. I realized that many artist including myself didn’t know what it takes to create content and understand how it works in our industry. Sight Beyond Sound, my business, was set to create that platform for artist to get amazing content and bridge the gap from local to being noticed. Read more>>

Natassja Reyes | CEO & Founder of Blac & Blanco

My thought process behind starting my own business was bringing a product that I felt was missing in the market. In speaking with friends, family and researching I came to the conclusion that unique, handcrafted, one of a kind pieces are not easily found. I wanted to become that source. I wanted to create a space where people can find and purchase quality unique accessories. Read more>>

Nikos Phantom | Clothing Brand Owner & Influencer Merchandise Management

I’ve always had a love for entrepreneurship and starting my own business. I never really cared about matching, or what I wore until 2019, when I started finding streetwear brands like Worldwide Youth, Half Evil, Ransom, even Lyrical Lemonade’s merch, and others. After finding out the owner of Worldwide Youth was 17 when he started, it opened my mind to a whole different place because i never thought of someone young owning a clothing brand. I thought if he could, I could. At the time I had owned an edit page with over 60,000 followers that I had lost love for, and decided to sell the page to a designer, in exchange for 10 graphic designs to start my brand. Read more>>

Jackie Sun | Shop Owner

Before starting FUGGIAMO, I struggled a bit with following a linear, predefined career path. I worked in sales, marketing and fashion buying in SF, LA, and NY. But as the years went by, I felt increasingly depleted and unfulfilled. After taking time off to reset and travel, I finally decided to take the leap and make my dream come true in opening my own shop. What came from a desire to share my travels has grown into working with a family of emerging artists and designers from around the world. Read more>>

Magda Lasota Morales | Founder & CEO

I launched my business in 2019, though, as with most boot-strapped startups, it took years to get to that point. There are two major drivers that inspired me to launch MLM Brand: 1. my boys (and the desire to have flexibility during those early years of motherhood) and 2. my personal experience as a working mom who had to pump, but didn’t want to give up wearing dresses. At MLM I focus on creating elevated basics that can be worn during pregnancy and transition seamlessly into the postpartum period. I want to empower this new chapter in women’s lives by designing reliable, high-quality, functional, stylish and versatile pieces that are made in an ethical and sustainable way. Read more>>

Man Hi Park | Painter & UX Designer

I had denied my creativity for 20 years. I am currently successful UX designer (having worked for Saatchi advertising and having clients such as Toyota). Being busy with life as always, over the years, I gave little to no attention to my creative side. I fostered my logical analytical side for my career. As years went by, I lost touch with my creative side – almost completely forgotten. Last year during the height of Covid, I decided to finally try painting. I sat down and painted and what emerged was work that didn’t seem like it was of a beginner. I was shocked. I found my voice. I found my talent. It energized me like no other outlet. Read more>>

Melvin George | Music Executive/Recording Artist & Entrepreneur

Your Full Name Melvin George aka King Uche Is the press for you or your company Melvin George aka King Uche Website URL Company/Person Bio Stage name: King Uche
Date of Birth / Age: July 26, 1991 / 26 years old State of Origin: Imo State Nigeria
Record label: Sufferings and Offerings Music (Independent) My name is Melvin George but I also go by the moniker King Uche I was born and raised in a small village community in the Southeastern parts of Nigeria, where my tribe (the igbo tribe) are predominantly located. Read more>>

David (Chef De’Jaes) Jones | Personal Chef/Actor

After retiring from the world’s greatest Navy after 20 years of service, I did several different job as I was trying to search for what was best for me. I finally decided to leave corporate America pursue my career in the culinary arts. I attended and graduated from Le Cordon Bleu, Dallas, TX. In doing so, it was not my plan to work for someone in a restaurant for the rest of my life, I wanted to own my own business. It was a leap that most are not willing to take but my parachute always opens. Read more>>

Robin Doyle | Founder of evolved over time. I have run a beauty PR agency for 15 years and for the last year or two, I felt like was needing to challenge myself. I knew I wanted to create something new in the beauty industry, but I also wanted to contribute to the greater good and make a difference for people around the world. Last year, I took a trip to India and witnessed first hand how the western world’s thirst for fast, cheap consumer goods directly affects disenfranchised community members. It was an extraordinary wake up call and suddenly put all the ideas that had been floating around in my head for months into alignment. Read more>>

Laetitia Wajnapel | Interior Designer and Founder at Cinquieme Gauche Interiors 

The common denominator behind every single one of my business endeavors throughout my career is that they weren’t really backed by a “thought process”. Knowing myself and my limits as well as understanding what would fulfill me as a human have been the main drivers behind everything I’ve ever done work wise. It’s been a more instinctual thing, sometimes I wonder if I’d been more traditionally successful had I been more strategic with certain choices. Over time, I have come to realize that my definition of success differs from societal expectations / definition. I have also realized that running my own business, whatever it may be, is really the only way for me to work! I tried working for others and it didn’t end well for me… I am perhaps a little too feral! I do love collaborating, but I don’t like feeling like my time belongs to someone else. Read more>>

Casey Chavez | Entrepreneur

When I started Lutava I wanted to provide solutions to hygienic concerns and problems in the fitness space. By creating textiles that inhibit the growth of bacteria, viruses, mold and mildew we are able to offer odor resistant and Antimicrobial benefits. Microbe disruption on textiles prolongs the life of fabrics which means fewer washes for the environment. I launched lutava in 2017 and since the pandemic has evolved LUTAVA is the first of its kind brand to offer Antimicrobial Slipcovers and fitness accessories the prevent cross contamination and keep you dry and clean throughout your day. Read more>>

Josiah Thropay | Real Estate Agent & Real Estate Developer

From an early age, I knew I wanted to build a life that would allow me to be a very present husband and father. Growing up playing sports and really having a deep passion for football, the equation for me was to play in the NFL and spend as much time as I could with my family with my off time. As life would have it, I retired after my senior year of college and had didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do, so I used my accounting degree to get in with a local firm. Read more>>

Greg Chinn | Creative Director/Illustrator

I’ve gone through several stages in my career, from freelance designer to art director to co-owner and back to being on my own. Once my second child arrived, I knew I was never going back into a big corporate environment. It was too important for me to stay connected to my family, and the community. My company, The Local Brand Co. is focused on crafting strategic branded content with upbeat visual language that brims with West Coast optimism. Inspired by my roots in Hawaii, LBC’s concept comes from the term “Local”, meaning someone who is familiar with the culture and knows the ins and outs of that particular lifestyle. They live there and get it. Read more>>

Ana Cuciuc | Business owner & floral designer

I’ve had my side hobbies or “little businesses” that would bring me joy, freedom, and money ever since I was 17. It felt right to have an idea and make it happen. I sold clothes online, had a jewelry brand, created the first website for gift lists back home (Moldova) where the concept was extremely new as we didn’t have Amazon or other big online platforms. Before starting Wild Stems LA, I managed a flower shop and then co-owned one. In quarantine, I decided to leave my ex-business because it didn’t bring me joy. I couldn’t fully express myself and needed a break to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life. Turns out – I LOVE flowers more than anything, so I decided to start my own company. I wanted to rediscover the beauty of seasonal flowers and support local growers. I wanted to bring the joy of receiving wildflowers to my customers. I felt like I needed to create so other people can enjoy it. It’s another passion turned into a business. Apparently, this is a way of living for me! Read more>>

Jin Aiah | Contemporary Artist

I started my own business purely for fun! I was never any good at numbers in school, I was definitely more of an artsy kid. It wasn’t until I started my career in Animation Production Management, where I learned tools and skills for data management, when I realized that I was a lot more capable of handling numbers and logistics than I thought! I started to really enjoy the creativity behind management and wanted to merge that with my passion for making art! So I invested in opening a small art business, where I get to be the boss, the manager, and the artist all at once. I quickly realized how amazing it is to have complete ownership of something that you are passionate about. I fell in love with building an audience and telling my story through my artwork, as well as the opportunity to grow my management skills to create a business and brand that truly speaks to who I am and what I want to share with the world. Read more>>

Travis Ronis | Multifaceted Maker

My thought process behind deciding to start my own business was to allow myself the freedom to be creative. As a sole proprietor I am able to decide what projects I work on, and what commissions to take on. Whether I’m in the mood to paint, 3-D print, build a terrarium, or pursue a new craft, I have the freedom to follow my whims, and decide which creative outlet I’ll pursue on any given day. Read more>>

Kristi Moon | Sustainable & Inspirational Fashion Designer

With my brand Age of Aquarius my intention is to put my energy into what I’m passionate about, by using my gifts and talents to inspire others, through my designs. Read more>>

Selena Maisonpierre | Radiance Coach & Yoga Teacher

I always knew that I wanted to work for myself, and that belief was reaffirmed when I graduated college and got my first job at an advertising agency. I hated the stuffiness of an office, the confines of a “9-5” schedule and sitting behind a computer ticking away hours. My first foray into being independently employed was when I began teaching yoga. I knew that teaching yoga wouldn’t be the end-all of my career, but I knew that I was on the right path towards my greater passions. Read more>>

Ziarekenya Smith | Founder Of Inpathy

Well, it wasn’t the usual route for sure, haha. For starters, I never really had a set idea on a business idea. All I knew at the time was I enjoy freelancing as a digital artist and working for myself. So I saw myself doing that for the rest of my life. But what I didn’t see is myself creating for companies all my life. So back in 2014, when I graduated as an Advanced Achiever from Full Sail University, “The Harvard of creative schools” with a Bachelor’s Degree in Digital Art & Designs. During my four-year tenure at Full Sail, I over succeeded in my degree, allowing me to experience a more significant deal of success than my peers. Read more>>

Anya Dinovich | Maker

I’ve always loved making and creating with my hands. It was a very organic process for me. Having my brand gives me an opportunity to do what I love the most everyday. Read more>>

Joy Curtis-Proctor | Florist / Author

I want to make people happy. My mother would always get me flowers when I was a little girl. I didn’t see it as a big deal until I got much older. Before I started my flower business The Curtis Array I had a cleaning business, EnJoy Your Cleaning. The look my clients had on their faces after we were done cleaning warmed my heart so. I really wished I could have continued but the labor was a lot for me. I wanted get that warm feel back of do something for others. My niece was getting married and she was talking about her florist and it seems to all come together for me. Hey I can do that! Read more>>