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Inspiring Stories from DTLA

The heart of our mission at VoyageLA is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of the LA’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool.  Check out LA’s rising stars below.

Amber Jordan

My story starts off as a single mother of three little ones who just leaned into her hobby (about nine years ago). I am a photographer and never thought enough of my skillset to start my own business. However, friends and family would basically insist on giving me money for what I would create for them and that was ever-lasting memories caught on camera! With time, my business started to bloom and grow. I never could imagine that my little camera “that could” would bring me to the place I am today. I am now being asked weekly to mentor or “help” businesses start or grow. It’s a huge compliment and blessing to me to be able to consult and work among small businesses in our community! I currently am a 7.5 years business owner, I love to capture Weddings, growing families and all beauty (especially in nature). I brought on my husband as my partner and we invested into a 1963 Sante Fe Vintage trailer about three years ago and we incorporated it into our event packages as a “photo booth”. Read more>>

Jack Knight

I have been in the Art Business all my life starting as an illustrator. I started doing community art events when I started teaching painting classes. My first group event was for kids in a facility for homeless families in Anaheim. Through that I started after school Art programs in some of our poorest communities through GOALS with the assistance of the Picerene Foundation. A big part of GOALS is community service. The Art Events were a means of doing this, community engagement and just getting our kids out of their neighborhoods and mixing with people they would not engage with otherwise. We took different groups of kids to different Senior centers. to paint eggs which grew into many varied and different events. Last year at this time in response to COVID, I started doing free online drawing classes with kids, adults, seniors and different groups of the developmentally disabled. We created a Duck Painting Event which involved painting rubber ducks and leaving them in public places. Read more>>

Deaton and Chelsea Pigot

In 1995, Deaton started his lifelong journey in coffee as a Barista working weekends in his hometown of Orange, NSW, Australia. He spent ten years in the Australian hospitality industry, honing his coffee skills before taking them abroad. A job in coffee has taken him around the world and employed by some of the world’s most renowned coffee companies. ● Bewley’s of Ireland in 2005 where he learned to roast coffee. ● Intelligentsia Coffee LA in 2007 as a Roaster and Quality Control Specialist ● 2010 Toby’s Estate Coffee NYC and SIN (now Partners Coffee) as Operations Manager and Green Coffee Buyer. Through this time he has coached USA barista champions, been a national barista competition judge, a licensed Q Grader, and an international Cup Of Excellence judge five times over, just to name a few accomplishments. Brooklyn NY, 2014 he met broadway actress Chelsea Morgan Stock (Little Mermaid, Sister Act, and Something Rotten), and together in 2016, they decided to launch their own coffee company, Tectonic Coffee Company in Los Angeles. Tectonic specializes in Direct Trade and Relationship coffees which has seen them receive awards at the United States Golden Bean awards and gain recognition in the industry’s top trade rags. Read more>>

Hilary Dempsey

FLEURI was started by two friends in Los Angeles who shared a desire to fill a gap in their personal wardrobes with minimalistic, feminine pieces of jewelry that held significant meaning. Hilary Dempsey and Kirsten Bosch had only known each other for a few months when they started the brand. Their friendship blossomed because of the business they built together. They learned everything they know now about jewelry/business together. “We really became friends when we learned we could count on each other.” Hilary, an artist and product designer helped to develop the brand’s creative aesthetic and product line. Kirsten, with a background in business management and marketing developed the company’s strategic framework. Together, they built the business by investing their personal savings and have continued to reinvest in the company. They had no funding. The early days involved strolling through the jewelry district in downtown LA, knocking on lots of doors to secure the right manufacturers and suppliers. Read more>>

Brittany Valentine

I’ve always been able to sing, but I never believed in myself enough to be a singer. I was always known for behind the scenes work such a the photographer or manager or creative director! I graduated college in 2017 and I always said I would move to California so early 2018, I did just that! That’s when life truly began for me. When I got here, I joined a church choir at New Life Church in Fontana and that’s when the ball of my musical career started to really roll shortly after that, I found my band Sister Ray and now there’s no stopping the progress of who I’m becoming! My band has brought so much growth out of me that I’m even in shock! Over the course of two years in California, I have grown so much! I went from not being able to sing to one person to singing in front of crowds! I actually use my voice and I can proudly say that I’m an artist. I’m Brittany Valentine the singer! I’m in the begging of something great and I can feel it becoming even greater!. Read more>>

Dutch Davis

I was born and raised on the south side of Chicago, IL. My early childhood was influenced by fashion through watching my grandmother get dressed for special occasions. I grew up with having an eye for details and wanting to become a fashion designer early on. It wasn’t till my senior year of high that I then wanted to be a professional celebrity stylist and pursue a career in the fashion industry. Once I graduated high school, I packed my things up and moved to New York where I began to assist some well-established fashion stylists and designers to build my portfolio and contacts. I started to book gigs on my own that lead me to start working for myself as a freelance wardrobe stylist. Shortly after working as a freelance stylist, I got signed to an agency name Factor. I begin to book mainstream commercial jobs and that lead me to my very first publication in a magazine. I knew at that moment my hard work started to pay off. Now I am currently based in Los Angeles styling and running several other businesses full-time. Read more>>

Nicole K

I have been in fashion industry for over 20 years. Started as a designer and opened a manufacture business sometime 2001. Developing and producing for big retail chains and some brands companies such as Ross, TJ, Pacsun, Guess …more… Watching all the trashes with leftover fabrics… I decided to quit. From what I know the best, my practice has been started with fabrics first and still learning and testing… Recycle fabrics, organic cottons… trying to figure out the reasonable cost with better touch and more sustainable. My line is so simple… basic but not so basic. Read more>>

Veronica Flint

Right after college, I really had this vision that I would be working in the medium that what we call today, virtual production. Let’s go back to the year 2009. Avatar and Uncharted two had been released. In these two projects, they both utilized game engine technology to tell stories. That motivated me that it was then I knew what I truly wanted to do. I started taking internships, applying to entry-level jobs or other apprenticeships just to get my feet wet on how this how worked. I loved it but I also knew I needed to continue or finish school. Since then, working from being a QA Tester to Animator to Unity Developer, I got to experience the many different facets of this cool work environment. VR was a big change for me and I’m glad it took off. It’s always important to be ahead of times and I was definitely one of the early adopters of the technology. I think that’s what makes LA so great. My favorite animation and game studios were founded here. Read more>>

Jacqueline Norvell

I started Brown Bag Lady in 2014. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit. Our original focus was to make sure that folks did not go to bed hungry. But seeing people on a continual basis, food turned into clothes which turned into hygiene which turned into sleeping bags which turned into tents which turned into barbers standing on a corner handing out hundreds of free haircuts on the first Sunday of each month. Since the pandemic hit in March 2020, we have been going out every single Sunday. And I am proud to say that we have not missed a Sunday… ever!! We go where we are needed the most, which currently is and continues to be Skid Row. We do not stand in a building. We pride ourselves on being amongst the people. We like to call it #FeetOnTheStreet. Although we love the Lord, we are not a church. We are a group of people: black, white, Christian, Jewish, Muslim… Just trying to make this crazy mixed up world a better place. Read more>>

Jobel Medina

I was born in the Philippines and I immigrated in the states with my family in 2003. I’m a professional dancer and choreographer based in Los Angeles, I received my bachelor’s in Fine Arts at California State University, Long Beach. After college in 2017, I joined Ate9 Dance Company in Los Angeles while also working as a freelance dancer and choreographer. I’m currently finishing my last semester at CalArts for my Master’s in Fine Arts in choreography. I went back to school to practice creative independency and to also access studio spaces and mentorship. I’m very glad I did because it actually helped me identify my voice as an artist. My sister was my first real inspiration in dance. I used to imitate her dancing in rehearsal with her dance team just right outside of our house. Then, when we moved to the states, I joined the dance team in my high school and was trained by my first dance teacher, Keisha Clark booth. Back then it was all for fun, I didn’t know then that I would be dancing professionally years after that. Read more>>

Williams Peters

I am a portrait and fashion photographer originally from Lagos, Nigeria, now based in Brooklyn, New York. My passion for photography was sparked by the gift of a camera from my mom. Ever since I was given that camera photography has become my vehicle of self-expression, allowing me to highlight my creativity through various details, concepts, tones, and colors. Read more>>

Nitish Adla

I was born and raised in the southern part of India. Hailing from the city of Hyderabad that resonates culture in every sense of the word. Right from my childhood, I was fortunate to be encompassed by breathtaking architecture, intricate sculptures, beautiful literature and rich fine arts. Thanks to the benevolent patronage which people received from the city’s former rulers. My schooling life as a Computer Science grad student played a remarkable role in shaping my interests. I was always enthralled by arts. My interests strengthened and made me move to the United States of America to pursue a Master of Fine Arts Photography degree at the Academy Of Art University in San Francisco. Growing up listening to the epic mythological stories like Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Bhagavatam, I was always fascinated with the stories and characters in the stories. The characters played an important role in shaping my ideology. I idolized the characters for their amazing qualities. Read more>>

Guss Aviles

I’m the CEO and founder of Intergalactic Audio – an audio and production company based out of Los Angeles. I’m originally from Miami Florida, and I’ve always been really into music. I grew up in a really eclectic household: my aunt loved old rock and roll, classic rock, and psychedelic stuff. My mom was a classical pianist, and my grandma loved listening to Gypsy Kings and Latin-infused stuff. I played in bands in high school and did the whole punk rock and metal thing. I played guitar and bass in a screamo band for a while. I eventually got tired of the band drama and the ups and downs of dealing with so many people, so I decided I wanted to get into recording and become a sound engineer. My aunt had just bought a Macbook Pro, and I thought it was the most beautiful computer I’d ever seen. She bought it for photography and told me if I wanted to record music I needed a. mac. So naturally, I needed to have one. I was also looking for jobs at the time, so I walked into an Apple store to look at the computers that I couldn’t afford and I ended up walking out with a job interview. Read more>>

Faith Riley

We are Tim and Faith. Affectionate couple and best friends that built Stone Soup Farm & Heritage Orchard. Adventurers at heart, curators of the good things in life with a healthy dash of earthy grit. Perhaps, the best place to start is with our farm’s name. The timeless folk story of Stone Soup slightly varies in the telling from the many cultures that have adopted it in their oral tradition but the maxim remains alike. Many hands make light work…through cooperation and a bit of imagination, a people may thrive and the self prosper. Our Stone Soup story inspires us to share a passion of regenerative farming through living agricultural experiences in our expression of an American West landscape. This journey has taken a few turns, much like the country road that leads visitors to our doorstep. Starting with a meager table and scale set amongst the Winesap Orchard to sell that season’s harvest, we are steadily growing our heirloom apple orchards and agricultural operations to extend our farm’s bounty. Read more>>

ITS Jawn

It all started when I broke my leg about a year and a half ago. This gave me the time and the patience to realize what I wanted to do outside of skateboarding. Since I wasn’t able to skateboard, let alone walk to the bathroom. I had to use my creativity in various other ways so this is when I started making music and making clothes as well. And as soon as I was able to walk, I started modeling. Read more>>

Tristan Simone

I was in the road trip of my life while the world was falling to pieces. We were on our way to California from Boston. It was definitely a strange time for all of us. I spent the trip writing and reflecting plenty about my art and my health. I was going through a bit of a challenging time, but that same challenge helped trigger a lot of creative writing. Summer of 2020 held little freedoms except the freedom to sing about heartbreak. In front of me, I had America’s famed landscapes, stretched cornfields, my best friends, God’s presence, and a pounding grief that could hinder even the biggest optimist. It was the ideal setting to put my pen to paper. During the nights, we could hear coyotes howl across the Wyoming mountains. I dreamt of the kind of stories they were telling. I came up with a concept that would eventually become my first album, The Wounded Coyote. I imagined myself as the wounded coyote that I was and the kind of tales I would howl about. Read more>

Havilah Smith

I’ve always been captivated by the fashion world at a very young age. I started modeling for Fredericks of Hollywood swimwear and an Orange County based fashion designer at the age of 16 and quickly fell in love with the fashion world. I’d attend award shows and fashion events while finishing up my high school degree at my Charter School. When I was around 18, my family took a sudden move to Montreal, QC causing me to put my modeling on the back burner. During this time, I decided to attend Concordia University for Business management with electives in mechanical engineering. It was during this time I realized how amazing the engineer world is and how much I thoroughly enjoyed it. With a new interest in mechanical design, once moving back to the states I decided to obtain my certificate in drafting and design. Although I loved my newfound interest in the mechanical engineering design world, I still had a passion for the fashion industry. Read more>>

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