Starting a business is a commitment and requires dedication, resources and sacrifice. We asked some of the rising stars in our community how they thought through the idea of starting their own businesses.

Britney Jones | Cosmetics Business Owner & Makeup Artist

My thought process behind starting Beautiful Soul Cosmetics was helping women to understand how vitally important it is that we understand the beauty we hold within. I wanted something that was different, unique, personal and empowering. Beautiful Soul Cosmetics it’s not only invested in the outer beauty but we are invested in the total being. So we created a variety of products that will enhance your outer beauty while speaking to the beauty of your soul. Read more>>

Sally Allen | Entrepreneur, Owner TANYA HEATH US

With a career in Customer Experience consulting and as a consumer trying to buy for myself, I felt it incredibly difficult and painful to buy shoes. In my 20s, I could wear any shoe and any height. At about age 40, the years of wearing heels and poor arch support began to take its toll. I was on a search for a stylish, timeless shoe that looks great and is beautifully made, in which I didn’t have to sacrifice comfort and didn’t cost a small fortune. Read more>>

Maria Failla | Plant Lady Podcaster, Author, Speaker and Actress

I started my podcast, Bloom & Grow Radio as a total passion project after I had gotten really into houseplants. I was a plant killer who became completely infatuated with houseplants, but needed some helping figuring out how to keep them alive. I was an avid podcast listener and couldn’t find a podcast about houseplant care (there were some gardening podcasts on the market but nothing about houseplants specifically). I decided to just figure out how to create one on my own, and taught myself via free youtube videos and blogs. Read more>>

Emily Kubitskey | CEO & Founder of Global Arts

I originally started my own company because I wanted there to be a place for music educators to have either part-time or full-time work in an environment that was outside of the traditional in-school, music educator path. I felt that by not having the restrictions of large districts and corporations teachers could enact change in a way that felt more significant and meaningful to them, and that they would’t lose work because of this. Read more>>

Toru Uchikado | Actor & Creator

I came here to LA to pursue acting 11 years ago from Japan. I quickly realized I’ve got to be proactive especially when you are a minority actor. Even comparing to now there were a lot less Asian roles out there and if you are specifically talking about Japanese roles on major TV shows and movies there were only a handful roles that came out every year. The industry has fortunately been changing and there are a lot more opportunities for minority actors but I still think being proactive is a key to the success. If you patiently wait for your chance to come, a decade will easily pass quickly. Read more>>

Fulton Boggs | Sculptor

For quite some time I have wanted to be a successful artist but have never had any real support so I decided to start my own immersive exhibit. Being a self taught artist with no connections, it was very difficult to gain exposure. Several artists and gallery owners told me my work would not do well. The artwork I have sold was priced very low. Hardly anyone has seen my sculptures that have been hiding in my home and I wanted to get them out in the public eye. Read more>>

Zach Tuch | Music Producer and Mixer

As a music producer and mixer, I felt it was incredibly important to start my own endeavor early on. While I’ve been recording bands for about 15 years, I’m only 5 years into my post-college professional career. It’s pretty nerve-racking, however last year was the first year I started to feel like I really got on my feet as a business owner. While I could have always gone to work as a house engineer at one of the large studios around LA, providing me with a bit more stability, I decided producing was far more important to me. Read more>>

Natisha Livingston | Networking Expert & Income Strategist

My background is in investing and for years I helped people in my community learn how to invest and diversify their income into different financial markets. While working with many people of color, I heard the term “In my bag” quite often. What I realized was people in my community did not have any issues with making money, they could figure that part out. The issue came to managing money and keeping money. As I reversed engineered this thought, it came to me that many of our spending habits and relationships with money are directly tied to the trauma that we have experienced. Read more>>

Maria Marcano | Burnout Repair Coach

My brand started as a response to my personal journey in trying to repair the physical and emotional damage that career burnout had caused in my life. Shortly after being diagnosed with major hormonal issues that piled to the other symptoms like poor sleep, weight imbalances, anxiety, and more I could see that no one was looking for the connecting issue. I asked questions to the health experts I was seeing and it seemed like they could not make “sense” of why this was happening, they just offered me symptom relief. Read more>>c


As a social entrepreneur behind NEEPA HUT. My desire to make a positive impact was sparked by spending time with artisan communities in Southeast Asia. Seeing the women practice their respective crafts, I was struck by their ingenuity and perseverance, despite their humble surroundings. Read more>>

Arturo Reyes | Artist, Designer, and Stylist

There wasn’t really a “thought process” when starting a business. I basically grew up in flea market called Melrose Trading Post. Every Sunday, my family and I would set up a both, and sell vintage jewelry and furniture. So right from get go, I was already influenced by the commotion of business. At age 12, my parents taught me to never be afraid of taking risks. After hundreds of different business ideas, I’ve landed on creating a clothing brand that thrives on sustainability. Read more>>

Lindsay Rolfert | Jewelry Designer

After a few years of staying home while my three children were still very little, I craved something that was all my own. Something creative, fulfilling, and something that would still allow me to have the flexibility to be present for my kids in a moment’s notice. One morning I found myself sitting at a coffee shop, blissfully alone, while my youngest was with a babysitter. I sat there staring out the window as the Metro-North train zoomed past, taking with it hundreds of people heading into NYC for another day of work. Read more>>

Lisa Chan | Ceramicist, Designer

I didn’t have a lot growing up. My parents immigrated from China and worked really hard to find success in the United States. They spoke little english and worked multiple low paying jobs just to get by. In 2005, with the little money they did have, my parents opened a restaurant in Oakland’s Chinatown. I watched them both succeed and fail on their own terms. It was the first time I saw my parents shine as makers of their own path. My mother especially had such a badass energy to her—she ran the ship, always with such grace. Read more>>

David Sesena | Owner and organizer

Initially my thought process was to put together a group of small business to showcase and or sell their products to the the community in an outdoor setting. Brining the community together to support each other. Read more>>

SHERE AU | Content Creator, Travel Influencer & Entrepreneur

Starting my own business has been a goal for me ever since I was young, being brought up in a family full of business owners and self-starters really sets out this path for me. Be it digital content creation, travel influencer, or Le Fleuriste (a brand I started that specializes in preserved flowers and home decor), it usually starts from a small idea or a hobby I love. Read more>>

Yassin Hall | CEO, Author, Educator, Speaker and Philanthropist

I was raised with an entrepreneurial mindset. However, there was really no lengthy thought-out process to me starting my own business. I experienced a bitter divorce and was a newly single mother with four precious autistic children who depended on me and needed me. I have never wanted to leave my life in anyone else’s hands. Thankfully, I bet on myself. I began selling products that people on Amazon regularly needed and was amazed at how much money I was able to earn. Read more>>

Trent Correy | CEO, Co-Founder- Rise Up Animation

When Rise Up Animation started, it was in a direct response to the murder of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matters movement and social unrest. The current Founders asked one simple question amongst each other “What can we do, in our industry to become alley’s and support the BIPOC community”. One simple question, lead to the idea of creating a platform that offered FREE industry advice, educational resources and feedback sessions to BIPOC individuals wanting to join the animation industry. Our goal was to pay it forward, and bring the Hollywood animation industry to Zoom screens around the world. Read more>>

Bethany Owens | Professional Photographer

I started my own business because I realized at a young age that photography is my passion, and that if I wasn’t doing photography I would not be able to survive. I find myself pausing at times and wondering if my life is some kind of fever dream because I am literally doing what I set out to do. Lately I spend more time thinking about expanding myself by learning more about my craft, collaborating with other artists, and working on personal projects as well. This passion is not only a goal for me but a lifestyle; creating visual art is something I am drawn towards. Read more>>

Kayla Simpson | Holistic Children’s Teacher

From a very young age I knew I wanted to help children, so I went to college to be a teacher. It was there I fell in love with teaching pre-k. Soon after graduation, I was hired as teacher and began teaching my own classroom of four year olds. It was a dream come true… at least that’s what I thought. Although my days were spent with laughter, play, and art, after 5 years I just knew something did not feel right. Each year more academics and demands were expected, leaving less time for play. I could see how it was affecting the little ones: Read more>>

Junia Robinson | CEO of JaCo Skin and Beauty

I started making my own products when I became a mother. I was super extra but cautious about what I used on their skin, which also made me more cautious on what I used as well. Once I saw how great it was for our skin, my parents and family wanted me to make them some as well. Then eventually it started becoming friends of family. I actually never knew anything about starting a business but I knew I wanted to help women (men & children) with giving them natural, healing products that they could trust. Read more>>

MíChele Daniels | Self-Love Advocate & Founder of MOON + LUX

As a student of yoga for the past 15 years and a certified yoga instructor for the past 8 years, Self-Love has played an immense and vital role in my life. The inspiration behind the creation of my wellness brand, MOON + LUX, is to bring all of us closer to practicing Self-Love through Self-Care all day and every day. The MOON + LUX ethos is Self-Love = Self-Care. I believe Self-Love is the bridge to true happiness, contentment and ultimately a better world for us all. The equation above is simple; when you love YOU you take care of YOU! And loving YOU allows you the capability to love others. Read more>>

Thomas Morgan | Photographer & Creator

Over the years I’ve dropped into conversations with people who lamented not chasing their dreams. Then you read stories about people who say “If it’s something you love, it’s not work,” which I think is only partially true. It’s going to be work either way but if you’re humble about what you want you won’t be disappointed when it goes slower than you had expected. Things take time–regardless of how groundbreaking they may seem. Decide what your niche is, focus, and be consistent. For most of us, a life is a long thing. Luck, persistence, patience: I offer those as a starting place. Read more>>

Dominic DiMaria | Artist

i finally got a meeting with the Hollywood big timer i had been trying to get in the room with i pulled up to his fancy West Hollywood office, right above Blue Bottle Coffee and down the street from the Beverly Center we exchanged some pleasantries and he started commenting on the portfolio i submitted he said “this is cool stuff, you do nice work” i was thrilled, but I wasn’t prepared for what he said next “i’m never gonna call you” “what do you mean?” i asked, confused “there are thirty guys just like you lined up out the door everyday. everybody wants a chance.” Read more>>

Dooley Loaded | Artist/Producer/Engineer

Literally…I’m an independent artist. I can be of service to other artists. The best privilege is to work for yourself…you can grind as much as you want, you can minimize distraction, you have more control over your life. Investing my time in running a studio and selling beats is ideal. Read more>>

Jason & Mercedes Shaffer | Fitness Trainer & Wellness Coach

The goal of starting our own fitness business was to amplify our passion for healthy and active living. We believe that fitness (CrossFit & Boxing) is for anyone at any age in any physical shape, and movement is the key to longevity in life. We wanted to provide a safe space for all levels by providing a welcoming, fun, and inclusive home for all athletes with all experience levels. We provide an environment where elite athletes can train alongside those just starting out while also providing a community support and accountability structure. Fitness is more fun with friends! Read more>>

Natalia Acosta | Co-Founder & Social Media Manager

Tipico Tico was created because we felt there was a lack of representation of our Guatemalan culture here in the states, that highlighted the hand-crafted goods from Guatemalan artisans. It was also an opportunity to instill ethical and sustainable work practices, while being transparent of our process. Read more>>

Khari | Hip-Hop Artist, Record Label Owner

The thought process behind starting my own business was protecting my creative integrity. As a hip-hop artist, I felt it important to kickstart my own independent label in order to maintain my vision for future partnerships with bigger labels and brands. My goal is to build enough leverage and demand for my business so bigger record labels do not feel the need to alter my vision. I plan to be more of a partner and for me, kickstarting my own label was the first step in that process. Overall, it comes down to staying true to what you set out to do and not allowing a larger entity to take control of your mission. Read more>>

Mercy B | Brewed Botanicals – Everything Simple

I should have started my own business years ago. The idea of creating a product and selling it seemed incredibly exciting to me. Which is why in December 2019, I took the first step towards starting my business. I got my essential oils and herbs and threw myself into mixing up blends and trying them out on myself, friends and family. My thought process began with my father, he always wanted me to have my own any and everything. He encouraged me take control of my own career advancement by doing something that I love. Read more>>

Ninoska Carolina | Founder and Executive Director

I’ve always been an entrepreneur so I always had ideas for businesses. Read more>>

Toby Gad | Songwriter, Producer, Film Maker

I started writing songs at the age of 7 in Germany where I grew up. At 18 my brother and I had our first successes with 3 songs on the European hit album of Milli Vanilli but it took another twelve years before I made the leap to America. Fast forward another five years and I had my first Global #1 Hit with Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” Thats when I formed my own record label, publishing company, and a music production company. Read more>>

Channing & Chelsae | Self published authors, Teachers, Mothers and twin sisters

Creating a business and selling was actually the after thought. We had an amazing book idea that we wanted to share with Black families around the world. We created our book, and it became a business. We took the self publishing route because we wanted to have full autonomy over the art and other details of our project. Read more>>

Jessica Forbes | Private Yoga & Meditation Teacher

I think the most important factor behind my success is seeing every individual as a unique being that has their own specific needs. Private yoga is special because it allows me to design a practice based on your specific body, mind, and wellness needs. I work a lot with people who have injuries, chronic pain, or structural issues which often get glossed over in group classes. In private sessions, there’s no glossing over imbalances that need to be addressed in order to heal and feel whole again. Read more>>

Ryan Baker | Nail Salon Owner & Educator

I grew up in salon’s as a little girl. I used to spend the entire day there, watching women not only getting and providing services to one another, but also truly bonding. There was a sense of community, sisterhood, and fellowship. As I got older, I noticed that culture being removed from salons. There was no warmth, no experience- just a service. I wanted to bring back the culture of salons I experienced as a little girl back into the beauty world. Read more>>

Christy Lendechy | Brujas Botanica owner

I had dreams of opening an online shop centered around magic, specifically Mexican magic. My interest in Mexican brujeria had been there since I was a child and only grew as I became older. So , I set out to create something that I loved, something that moved my soul and brought the spark back into my life. Mind you, in the middle of all of this I was going through a spiritual awakening and pushing my boundaries ..all for the sake of “growth” . I knew that whatever I did next, helping others HAD to be at the top of that list. Read more>>

Dylan Ali | DJ, stylist, creative director, actress

I wanted to make money doing things I enjoy and bring people together in the process! I’ve always gravitated toward leadership roles and not wanting to work on other peoples’ time(outside of random clients) was the motivating factor to pursuing my dreams Read more>>

Nena Duran | Graphic Designer | Illustrator

I had a 9-5 job and in that time I was exploring watercolour and different artworks just for fun. But when I was expecting my first child, I thougth “I want to be present for my kid during her first years of life, I want to set the foundation in her heart and soul, that she feels protected and loved and I didn’t want to miss a thing”. Read more>>

Mikaela MacLean | Auric Aesthetician & Human Design reader

What was your thought process behind starting your own business? Honestly, there wasn’t one! It was born out of personal passion & a necessary career pivot because of an injury. I have been a medical aesthetician since 2003, always working for dermatologists & plastic surgeons. In a way, I’d been perfectly content being an employee, however I’d started to burnout on the industry. Read more>>

Jordan Walker | Marketing Strategist & Analyst

The driving force behind launching my own business really came out of the desire to build a life where I can have both a meaningful career and the ability to volunteer, travel, and explore. I’ve always been so goal-driven professionally that this was the first time I thought about my goals on a more personal level. Once I became determined to make it work, it was really about putting my experience in digital marketing, customer experience and analytics into a business plan. Bondfire Strategy launched a year ago with a focus on helping teams drive more meaningful customer experiences and increase results. Read more>>

Michelle, Melissa, and Maria Can | Founders of Gold By Manna

Growing up as three sisters very close in age, we were lucky enough to be able to share clothes and often loved helping one another piece together outfits. Despite our uniquely individual styles, we always agreed that the most important part of a look is the accessories. We’ve always shared a love for fashion and jewelry and wanted to start a business where we could bring together our different styles and our common interests into a single brand. We chose jewelry because we have a family background in jewelry and thus, Gold By Manna was born. Read more>>

Tamiya Watson | Owner of 222 Catering and Private Chef Services

The thought process behind starting my own business was to create generational wealth while breaking generational curses. My parents did a great job with instilling the “go get it” attitude within my siblings and I. With that “go get it” attitude I began to see the things that I wanted to change within myself, my family, and my community. Those things include mental health, uneducated youth, and financial struggles. I wanted to use my passion for culinary and talent within the kitchen to build a business that would become the foundation for wealth and education for generations to come. What motivates me to keep going is my future. Read more>>

Christina Rossell | Owner of The Paw Shopp

My dogs are my everything to me and being a crazy loving dog mom inspired me to start a business that allowed other dog parents a unique way to show their love for their dogs. I know there are a ton of different dog inspired businesses but having a dog bowl with your actual dogs face on it or your dog as croc charm was something that I hadn’t seen in the dog industry. I wanted to kickoff the start of my business with a unique and different product that wasn’t really done before. I knew it was gonna take a lot of work and was up for the challenge of sharing my dog loving ideas with others. Read more>>

Alton Pete | U.S. Army Retired, Iraqi War Combat Veteran, Filmmaker, Producer, CEO

My thought process behind starting my very own business was invigorating, motivating, fearless, and enthusiastic. The Army has provided all the training, the will, the fortitude, the courage and the resilience to do anything in this world. I have this humbled heart and a positive attitude to fight for a chance to make a difference in someone’s life. I’m Hungry, Thirsty and Ready to make a change. My thoughts were about others, families, Veterans, Civilians and the Service Members who have gone to War and put their lives on the line, every single day. Read more>>

Angy Angrand | Graphic designer & Artist

My thought process behind starting my own business was not so easy. I knew I had the talent, but the execution process was the challenging part. I was the type of designer that just wanted to do the work and not run my own business. I was reluctant on starting my own for a very long time. I finally told myself not to let my talents go to waste and use it to help other small businesses and up and comers grow. I find many new business startups do not know where to begin in finding the elements to bring their brand to life, so I decided to start my own business and use my talents to assist others. Read more>>

Bete Agonafer | Founder & Creative Director of Addis VIV

After over 19 years of leading clients on a journey into home ownership, I started to gradually become more curious and drawn to the “Inside”. I began envisioning how to make a house more than an abode, given this busy and often times frightening world we live can lack serenity and certainly doesn’t encourage it at all times. So, I made a decision to create a home and lifestyle brand that’s sole purpose was to usher in intentional living. My goal is for each of our products to serve as an altar to one’s self, bringing a sacredness back into our daily lives – and us back to ourself. Read more>>