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.

Sydney DeVault | Owner and Designer of Pepper Blackwood Bikinis

I always heard the saying, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” So, I got to thinking… what is it that I love? What inspires me? Where am I happiest? I started making a list. Well, I love the beach, I love the sun, I love being outdoors, and I love bargain shopping and fashion. Additionally, I was always on the hunt for Brazilian cut swimwear because I didn’t like how the majority of affordable bathing suits fit, and all of the Brazilian cut swimwear was extremely expensive. So, I started buying bathing suits from retailers and altering them myself to make them smaller fitting. I started out with one sewing needle and a couple different colors of thread. Eventually, I realized what was happening. I was creating a bathing suit that was not yet on the market! As crazy as it seems, there were no affordable, fashion-forward, Brazilian cut bikini brands that I was aware of at the time. Once I realized what was happening, I started googling like crazy. I now knew what my mission was going to be: focus on keeping fashion-forward swimwear affordable. Read more>>

Dave Kuhr | Actor & Calligrapher

Honestly, I was trying to figure out how to supplement my acting career. I had done the waiter thing for a while when I lived in Atlanta. When I moved back to Los Angeles, I had lived in LA during my time in college at USC, I wanted to move on from the server job. I thought about the other skills I had. I remembered addressing envelopes for a couple friends of my for their marriage as a wedding gift. I had been dabbling into calligraphy for a while and there it was. Quill Brothers Calligraphy was born. A friend of mine created a website for me and I waited. My website has gone through 5 iterations on the past 20 years. I’m now very happy with what people will see. I also have pages on Yelp, Google, The Knot and most recently Thumbtack to drive in business. Read more>>

Sally Patti | Photographer / Graphic designer / Restaurant Owner ~ Lilium

My thought process with my business Lilium was and still is incredibly complex, a journey of trying to overcome doubt and risk with knowledge that what I was trying to accomplish was right and was my path. My business partner and I wanted to create something that purely represents ourself all the while hoping others would resonate with it. Read more>>

Leah Brown | Nurse Practitioner

I am a licensed nurse practitioner and a native to San Diego. In 2015, our world was turned upside-down as my husband was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After completing his chemotherapy and radiation, we were looking for alternative methods to heal his body and help him recover faster. We decided to open a wellness spa in Poway, and have many modalities for healing. We are best known for our amazing infrared saunas, PEMF technology, personalized medicine, whole body vibration therapy, and nutritional coaching. Read more>>

Megan Seibel | Holistic Nutritionist, Online Health and Fitness Coach

5 years ago, I was a tired, unemployed stay at home mom. We were living on one paycheck and barely making ends meet. The financial stress and debt was building up every month and I knew that if I could only find a way to make money working from home, I could really help my husband and create more financial stability for my family. I had a background in acting, teaching and held a bachelors in fine arts and masters degree in education. I knew that there had to be someway to use my skills and work ethic and do something from home. One night when I was awake with anxiety, I read a post on social media from a friend who was building a business online. It was the first time I heard a whisper in my heart to build a business online as a health and fitness coach. I had always been passionate about health and fitness and loved sharing tips and supporting others. I had taught yoga and fitness classes before and I loved teaching so I thought coaching would be a perfect fit for me! “This could be it!” I thought excitedly. But I was scared. I was nervous because I had never “owned a business” before and I was not sure if I had what it took, especially as a busy mom. Read more>>

Dana Donofree | Founder & CEO of AnaOno

I had always wanted my own fashion line, I just didn’t know that cancer was going to lead me there. After a breast cancer diagnosis in 2010 at the age of 27, I realized just how dated mastectomy bras had become and I knew I was the right person to challenge the concept of beauty and feeling sexy after losing breasts to breast cancer. It was with my own experience I realized bras needed to be different, they needed to change with the patients themselves, and I knew I had to celebrate all surgery decisions, from having breasts to having none at all, and if I could do just that, it would change the face of recovery for millions of future patients. AnaOno was born, not just out of necessity, but empower, inspire, and give hope to those just like me. Read more>>

Kaitlin Williams | Jewelry Maker & Business Owner

I wanted to challenge myself and starting a business succeeds as a challenge. This business gives me the opportunity to sharpen my organizational skills and advance my creativity. Partnering with my best friends to run and operate our company keeps us accountable, teaches us about finances, about taking care of ourselves, and so much more. Read more>>

Maria Covarrubias | Founder & Culinary Specialist

I have always been a girl with big dreams and strong determination. Having my own company had been something that was in my cards for the future but ever did I think it would be 2020. When the pandemic struck us, me and my family where in spot that maybe a lot of you where in too. When you find yourself needing to support your family creativity came to me and IT WAS THE TIME. The pandemic pushed me to fuel this project that I have been having in the back burner for a long time. Cien Chiles was born with the purpose to bring delight to your everyday meals, to fill your life with flavor and joy! The profound thought of being able to share my passion for food with the rest of the world was what pushed me to pursue my dream. A dream to fill everyones life with flavor. To experience joy when you give a bite to anything topped or made with Cien Chiles. Bringing people together over food, creating memories over the table we share. We all eat to nurture our bodies and why not complement that with amazing and unique flavors. Read more>>

Care Rodgers | Dog Trainer, Daycare, Sitter + Walker

I started my own company for a variety of reasons, I never thought it would have grown to where it is now of course, but the reasons remain the same. I wanted to do something I love every single day; for me that meant something with dogs. After we rescued our dog, Fenway, we couldn’t find any sort of care for her that met our standards, so I simply created it myself. I was working at another vet clinic at the time, and in four months I left my job and went full-time for myself (@FenwaysRunway). I’ve been a dog lover, dog trainer, dog walker, sitter, and overall obsessed professional snuggler for seven years now and wouldn’t trade it for the world. Read more>>

Logan Rena | Speaker, Author & Coach

I grew up with a single mom who was the Queen of Affirmations. Her voice kept me encouraged and it was my qualifier. In 2014, I lost her to Stage 4 Breast Cancer. It was the first time I learn how to qualify & encourage myself. Losing her forced me to figure out who the heck I was. Consequently, I merged her love of soul formations & soulkare and The SoulKation Brand was born. Read more>>

Binh Trinh | Engineer, Nutritionist, & Personal Trainer

My parents fled to United States because of the Vietnam War. They came with nothing and worked harsh, exhausting, and low-paying jobs to provide for my brother and I. Due to the struggles that my parents endured, they always preached education at all cost. My brother was valedictorian in high school and UCSD and is currently studying to become an Emergency Room Medical Doctor. I am currently working as an Electrical Engineer and am projected to graduate Summa Cum Laude with my Masters. The quality education resulted in having a stable job with a high salary and great benefits, which is what my parents wanted for me, but ultimately I crave more. I wasn’t as passionate about my career as I thought, and I needed to change this feeling. To begin my journey to find what I was passionate about, I began attending entrepreneurship conferences and began to network and communicate with other people. While meeting other people and talking to them about their passion, it began to motivate me. Read more>>

Brande “Kurvy” J | The KURVY MEDIA MOGUL for the Every Day Woman!

My thought process was “I wanted to be a voice for women like me.” Women who have overcame abuse and trauma, women who turned their pain into power, women who were told they were too fat to be considered beautiful, women who were told to be silent, women who had fight in them and was not going to listen to anything that was told to them. Read more>>

Anita Fisher | CEO & Independent Consultant -Fisher Mental Health Consulting

Twenty years ago my family’s entire dynamic was changed when my oldest son was diagnosed with mental illness. Four years later, I would leave a 30-year career in Banking to work as the Education Director at a nonprofit designed to help families and individuals living with mental health challenges. After 10 years in that position, I was ready to retire from”working” but not ready to disconnect from the advocacy work, supporting families, and sharing the knowledge I had acquired with anyone who might find it useful. So, I decided to launch my independent consulting business so that I could stay connected in the mental health arena and any arena that might touch mental health. Read more>>