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.

Gillie Mittelstaedt | HS Spanish Teacher and Candlemaker

I started this business last year when I made all of the candles for my wedding. I am a very DIY type of person. We had a local craft beer only served in Wisconsin and I thought it would be cute to make candles out of the beer bottles. That sparked my idea of recycling glass as well as making candles for wedding and shower favors or event decor. As a candle lover, I would tend to buy candles that fit well with my decor and I would never want to burn them because I didn’t want to use them up. Read more>>

Jessie Svec | Co-Founder PitchKit Co.

PitchKit came to be for a few different reasons – but the underlying and perhaps the most important was creating affordable, sustainable access to nature and outdoor exploration. Something the three of us all realized very early on, was the incredible mental, physical and emotional reset that nature provides. It is literally a breath of fresh air. When you can stand in awe at the base of El Cap, at the edge of the Grand Canyon or just enjoy a cup of coffee next to a roaring campfire, you can disconnect from the chaos of everyday life, reconnect with yourself, and rediscover the natural beauty that surrounds us. Read more>>

Brett Bowman | Founder

We had been making our cashews at home for a number of years and everyone who tried them would say “these are great! you should sell them”. We would laugh to ourselves and joke around, not taking the idea very seriously. Then a few years back I was diagnosed with throat cancer and it was a tremendously tough road (2 surgeries, 35 radiations and 8 chemo sessions). We made it through but unfortunately a little over a year later, the cancer came back again, this time in my lung. Knowing what treatments were potentially ahead of us again, we knew we needed a light at the end of the tunnel to get us through the dark times. So we started our company with the goal of getting our product on  the shelf of one store and have one person buy our creation. (I am happy to report a clean bill of health for the last two years). Read more>>

Diana Delzio | Pet Safety Business Owner

I’ve always been an animal lover. When I was eight years old, I learned that a hamburger was really a cow. At that moment, I became a vegetarian. Loving animals, especially dogs, has been a huge part of my life, and I grew up always having a dog (thanks Mom and Dad!). When Mr. Harrison Doodle, our gorgeous Australian Labradoodle, came into our lives, my husband and I found that he was getting ‘lost’ in our own backyard at night. We needed a solution. Living in San Diego is the best place in the world, and we are so fortunate to be here. Unfortunately, if you are a pet parent and in San Diego, you’ve heard the horror stories of pets getting attacked by coyotes in very populated suburban areas. Read more>>

LaTanya L. Hill, JD | Registered Holy Fire III Karuna Reiki Master Teacher

I realized what Reiki did for me at my darkest hour in life and how it made me find my true self. It healed me and made me totally happy and content with who I am and why I am. So, I want to help people feel the same, simple as that. My company, IMREIKINOW, came into existence because there was a point in my life where I was extremely ill. After a lot of pain and anguish, physically, mentally, and emotionally, I found a medical expert about 7 years ago who diagnosed me with Rheumatic Fever and helped me alleviate the horribly painful symptoms by going to treatment twice a week, then eventually once a month. Truthfully speaking, out of a month, I was in excruciating agony for two weeks, then subtle pain, then no pain. It wasn’t how I wanted to live my life. I didn’t know how I would continue. Read more>>