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.

Autumn Bates | Certified Clinical Nutritionist

My mission at Autumn Elle Nutrition is to help men and women achieve their weight loss and wellness dreams without counting calorie AND while eating foods they truly enjoy. The major problem when you don’t work for yourself is that you are subject to the mission and voice of another person. I have a very unique perspective on nutrition, fitness and health that doesn’t fit the criteria of many other brands. So in order for my voice to be heard and to achieve my mission, starting my own business has always been the only option. Read more>>

Kueen Knadii | Artist, Songwriter & Entrepreneur

My thought process of starting my own business started when I realized I wanted to follow my passion and not a check. I wanted to make money doing something I love and be my own boss. Kueen Music Productions will specialize in songwriting, producing, music consultations and engineering. Read more>>

Rick Wasserman | Actor (voiceover/stage), Teacher & Inventor

Voiceover actors do their work inside an “isolation” booth. After fifteen years of a successful career voicing television promos, video game characters and the occasional movie trailer, it dawned on me one morning inside my booth just how fitting that name is: “isolation”. My family lived in a beautifully appointed designer modern home in Calabasas, California with our designer furnishings, designer clothes, and designer dog. Day after day, I stood alone in my booth, isolated from the noise of the world, but also isolated from people. From new ideas and experiences. From adventure. From my first love of theatre. My designer life suddenly felt empty and meaningless; a life built on money whose sole purpose was the acquisition of more money. I told my wife that night that I realized that I’d spent our whole relationship in my booth, an isolating box, and when I’d die they’d stick me in another box and that now is the time for me to find a way to get out of the box. Read more>>

Paula Morizono | Founder & Personal Trainer

This is my philosophy, use correct functional movement with a strong pilates core in your daily life. This type of program reaches a wider audience than the standard fitness programs which requires extra time to be set aside in one’s schedule. Using one’s own daily life activities is a more inclusive fitness plan. It has great appeal to those very hard working Americans who hardly have time or energy to simply fulfill their daily responsibilities. When I told an overly stressed mom who said she didn’t have time for any kind of fitness right now about approaching fitness from this perspective, her enthusiastic response was, “I could do that!”. Right away she understand it was doable because she was already doing the movements. I told my student, a busy mom of three little ones, “picking up those babies is now your chance to tighten the core and glutes”. By doing her daily movements more powerfully she became stronger than she had ever been in her life. Read more>>

Dechel Mckillian | Founder & Creative Director

When I became a conscious shopper, I had a hard time finding sustainable clothing and accessories that were stylish and fashion-forward. I did a lot of research and discovered brands from all around the world who were producing their collections with respect for people and the planet. They weren’t the first ones to pop up on a Google search. I had to really dig to find them. I knew that if I was having this hard of a time, women like me were probably struggling too. That’s how GALERIE.LA was born! GALERIE.LA is a one-stop-shop for the conscious consumer. We thoughtfully curate a selection of sustainable fashion, clean beauty, and lifestyle goods both in-store at our concept shop at ROW DTLA and online. Read more>>

Kendall Duplessis | Salon Owner & Celebrity Stylist

My thought process originated from wanting to be the first millionaire in my immediate family. As a child I along with my 3 siblings would see my high school dropout mother work to barely make ends meet with minimum wage jobs. At the very young age of 8, I knew and felt in my heart of hearts that I wanted to own a Hair Salon. I loved hair, make-up, and fashion the beauty industry as a whole. When I became a single mother at the tender age of 23 I then knew that having my own business will just be the start of creating my legacy. Once I completed high school I went straight unto Cosmetology school , where I attended a 2 year program at a community college in Downtown, Los Angeles. After I finished the Cosmetology Course and received my licensed now over 14 years ago, I went head first into working at a salon. I did not start off assisting a seasoned Hair Stylist which is ideal nor did I work as a commission paid employee, but started at the very beginning booth renting. Read more>>

Lauren Rosenberg | Unscripted Television Producer & Curator of Couples

I come from the mindset if you can help, you should. And when I was in my 20s I figured out I had a knack for matchmaking. I was responsible for spawning romantic relationships, a marriage between a close friend and a work colleague who is now also a close friend and not to mention a ton of friendships…. and hook ups. Though it sometimes got tricky navigating the fall out if it didn’t work out, I got a lot of satisfaction from bringing my friends “closer” together. Five years ago or so, when I heard from a bestie that a friend of hers (who I didn’t know personally but was also in the entertainment industry like me and had the high-profile job of assistant Seth MacFarlane) was trying to set her up and had her own matchmaking side hustle, my initial reactions were, “That’s brilliant!” and “Why didn’t I think of that?” So instead of setting up a rival shop so to speak. Read more>>

Sheridan Street | Private Chef

Starting my own business was literally a dream. I spoke to people about what I could do and how to do it. Some pushed me to take the leap and others were a little more resistant to the idea. It was something I knew deep down I wouldn’t give up on. My heart and soul was in it. My business was my seed and watering it over the years and watching it grow is something I’ll never regret doing no matter how hard yet rewarding it’s been. Read more>>

Sammy Villanueva | Founder

Well, HeRose The Men’s Mastermind LLC. did not start as a business. I actually created HeRose because I needed it myself. I was raised playing sports, I even had the honor of playing college football. I was also in a fraternity in college and each of these experiences brought the powerful positive energy of camaraderie. There is something special that happens when there is a group of me moving together for a greater good. After college as I entered the “real world” I found myself down and in a pretty dark place, I was alone. I was in need of good association, I was in need of good noble men around me pushing me to better. So, I did what many of us do when we need something, I did a Google search for “Men’s groups in Los Angeles” and I did not find what I was looking for, so I started a group I would want to be a part of. Read more>>

Sal Santoro | Co-Owner

My fiancée, now wife, and I were discussing the future and the subject of opening up our own business came up. She asked ‘if there was anything you could do, what would it be?’ And I responded, ‘open up my own metaphysical shop.’ I explained that I wanted to make occult knowledge available to those seeking it and help people see that occult practices are not scary. After a lot of discussion, planning, people trying to dissuade us from opening up a brick and mortar, we finally bit the bullet and opened our doors in August, 2017. Over the last three years, we’ve been able to do just what we wanted – share as much knowledge with the community by hosting free community events, hosting classes that either I or other practitioners teach and getting off the cuff lessons while stepping into the shop. Read more>>

Sharon Brown | Designer

Let’s see, for a multitude of reasons I started my own business. I could not find an affordable healthy 100% classic woman’s pajama. At the time I was in a blended relationship with 6 children between us and business meetings were often at the house.if I was not yet prepared for the day I didn’t want to be confined to the bedroom and didn’t want to wear sweats or the fussy feminine or cartoony pajamas you often find. At the time menswear seemed the only reasonable solution. I envisioned creating a pajama you could host a room in and feel empowered at the same time! And that’s how Lotte.99 was hatched! Read more>>

Kaci McCrossen | Energy Awareness Coach & Reiki Healer

Flip Your Energy was started after being laid off from my job due to Covid. The pharmaceutical sales industry was on hold and each interview I would go on, they told me that they wouldn’t be hiring until January. I had a choice, I could stay in the energy of disappointment or I could Flip My Energy and turn my hobby into a business. I was surrounded by entrepreneurs in my apartment building and I thought, why not me?! With their guidance and advice, I began treating my friends for free with Reiki and Emotion Code. This allowed me to get an understanding of how my sessions would go and that I needed to add Coaching as part of the treatment, because they needed additional support to help release the trauma associated with the emotions. Read more>>

Ashlie Chavez | Artist & Analog Photographer

I knew right away I would have to start my own business. Originally I’d wanted to start a photography business with my twin sister but time was of the essence. The semester before finishing college I was pregnant and I knew I wouldn’t have the support system I needed to get back into the work field until my son went to school, so I needed a plan. I made art like crazy as it was, so I kept creating in efforts of making a consistent style of work that combined just the right amount of “concept” and “aesthetic” in order to sell for people’s homes. Read more>>

Jason Scott | Interior Designer & Small Business Owner

Starting your own business is always scary and requires huge risk, not to mention a lot of support from friends and family. When I was younger I always wanted to start my own business, but I was afraid of the risk…about 12 years ago my mom was killed in a plane crash. That one incident changed me, caused me to realize that life is short and can be gone in an instant. I had all of this money saved up and just thought to myself “I could be gone tomorrow and all this saved money would have been for nothing. So I decided to take a risk and open up my own retail store. I figured it would be better to try at my dream and fail, than to not try at all…because then I can never look back with “what if’s”. So that was the driving factor in pushing me to act on my dream and open my own small business. Read more>>

Colleen Berg | Jewelry Designer

I was on maternity leave and about to have my first baby. I knew I didn’t want to go baby to my office job so I planned accordingly. I had several signed contracts with different ad agencies to work from home. September 11 happened and my little girl was born 3 days later. Within a couple of weeks, I had lost all my contracts because no one knew how the economy would be in a post 9/11 world. I decided to use the rest of my maternity leave to get creative and find a way to make $. I started making jewelry. I approached several boutiques in my neighborhood and they started carrying my jewelry. It’s been over 19 years and I am still going strong! Read more>>

Sandra Chahayed | Florist & Floral Shop Owner

My thought process was simple. I Have been in the floral Field for 15 years. I new I wanted a career in the Medical Field since I was younger. I thought since working in the floral industry and seeing my passion for it. I decided to act on that passion of mine and open a Shop. It was a simple decision because I new that in order to advance and be something great I would have to move forward and take a risk. I also had the support and love of my family who encouraged me to pursue my dreams. But like anything new in life it can be challenging and hard. It takes long hours and financial stress to make a business grow. 4 years later and Floral Expression By Sandra still Continues to grow and be better then before. Read more>>

Wally Stryk | Owner

In 1998, I was looking for a more fulfilling vocation. I traveled to Thailand and fell in love with the handicrafts. I started importing on a small scale and over the years the company has grown. I also fell in love with my wife, who I met in Bangkok. We both enjoy the process of sourcing and providing unique design oriented décor to our customers. Our line is quite varied, including repurposed architectural elements, natural wood tables and stools, and a variety of wood art. The natural wood element has really become mainstream in the last several years and we’re fortunate to have been ahead of the curve in that trend. We now have facilities in Thailand and Van Nuys, Ca. We supply customers worldwide from our Thailand location and have been fulfilling large hospitality projects. This entire process has been rewarding. We appreciate the sourcing process and all the fine craftspeople and customers that we’ve become friends with over the years. Read more>>