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Inspiring Stories from Pasadena

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 Pasadena’s rising stars below.

Kirstie and Maximillian Rickert

My passion for video and photography started as a little girl. Never did I think I could do that for a living. I was taught, like most children, to be practical. So I was stumped when people would ask me what I wanted to be. I told myself, and God, that if I won any place the student film festival that I would pursue video/film as a serious career. To my own disbelief, I won first place and knew it was my destiny! Once I believed in myself, I started my own Video/Photography business. Got my own site, started advertising, and got my first wedding. I got better with each wedding and decided to hire a great assistant. Read more>>

Ryan Luévano

I started the band while I was in college as music student. I wanted to find a way that my friends and I could earn a living while doing what we love–making music. The band started modestly with only a few members and performing a few gigs a year. As time went on the size of the band grew and we were performing regularly at many events both in our area and all over Los Angeles. As the manager of the band my top priority is to make sure that the clients are happy and get exactly the kind of musical experience they want. Read more>>

Nicki Ung

We’re three sisters who just love party and event planning. We especially love weddings. Steff is our florist, Lyna is our second coordinator, and Nicki has been leading most of the weddings. Working with family has its plus and minuses! We’re blood and no matter what happens we have to tough it through. We don’t necessarily agree on all aspects of the planning or which clients to take etc… but ultimately, we always work it through. We’re pretty much your one stop shop, we get things done quickly, efficiently and effortlessly! Read more>>

Erika Bowers

My journey started in 1994 in Missouri when my dear friend asked me to plan her wedding after graduation. Needless to say, I didn’t understand why she asked me because we had just graduated with our Accounting Degrees and were ready to enter Corporate America. But because she was my friend, I took on the challenge and it actually turned out really, really amazing. I had never planned a wedding before but reflecting back I realized that I always was involved in planning things such as family events and parties, church plays, and fashion shows. Read more>>

Isabel Davila

I realized at a very young age I was born to teach and inspire. I loved playing school with my friends and always imagined myself in front of a classroom teaching. But I never imagined getting there would take so many sacrifices and so much courage. I was 9 yrs. old when became a play leader in my elementary school and helped care for younger kids by supervising them during recess time. Then in high school I began taking child development classes at the ELA Occupational Center where at the end of my course I was awarded a certificate for my dedication and for all the effort I put into the class. Read more>>

Edwin Baranian

American Solar Power started in 2009 but our story goes back a few years before that. Our founder Edwin was working for a construction and felt that he had more to offer to himself and homeowners. The company he was working for went out of business and Edwin decided to follow his ambitions and started attending classes. He was able to not only obtain his contractor’s license but also a keen understanding of photovoltaic systems. He decided it was time to be his own boss. Read more>>

William (Bill) Novotny

In 1979 I had finished all course work for a masters degree in psychology for CSULA and gerontology from USC. I was developing a masters theses to define quality of care in nursing home by ranking indicators by patient, significant other and service providers to identify how they vary. My family was in the antique business. A significant opportunity arose when I found a 20,000 sf site in the heart of Glendale CA that could be immediately leased for 7.5 cents a square foot (way under market value). We signed the lease. Read more>>

Meredith Miller

My career started in the Advertising industry. I spent 15 years working at ad agencies in Los Angeles and New York, before becoming a retailer. My love of marketing and creativity was a natural fit for the retail world. My husband, Michael, and I purchased the iconic Fair Oaks Pharmacy & Soda Fountain in South Pasadena, and we transformed it into what it still is today – a landmark of the West Coast! Fast forward and I also created a few jewelry lines; especially notable, Poker Chip Girl, which was sold throughout high-end Las Vegas casinos and other specialty boutiques. Read more>>

Princina Benson

While I was attending school, I thought it would be amazing to have a prenatal spa for pregnant women to go to and relax. A place where they can go have a real prenatal massage, a place where the therapist is not afraid to touch or massage the mother to be. A place where the mom can get her hair done and her nails done without worrying about the chemicals or fumes. While I have not opened this spa just yet I have taken the additional classes to specialize in the skills necessary to assist these mamas with the everyday aches and pains associated with pregnancy and Pea in a Pod Pregnancy Massage was born. Read more>>

Mary Samaan Nakoud

I loved doing makeup ever since I can remember, I did all my family and friends makeup for fun. At the age of 16, severe anxiety which stopped me from been able to work. At the age of 18, I got married and had two children by the age of 22. So I was at home stay mom, after I had my third son Nathan in 2014. I decided to take my love for fashion and beauty to the next level. I started my online classes with dress your face. in October of 2015 I got certified by her. I was working mostly for free to gain clients and get good pictures. Read more>>

Cody Wellema

I started Wellema Hat Company in 2013 & was making hats sometime before then. A interest of the past is what launched the vision of Wellema Hats. A fascination for the history of the past has been a part of me for quite some time. The music, the lifestyle, the culture, the fashion and so on. When you see almost any photo from the 1920s-1950s you see hats. Both men & ladies…to me, that was fascinating. When watching silent film, looking at album covers from the early 20th century, you see hats everywhere! Fast forwarding into present day; you can see hats slowing making a come-back. Read more>>

Carlos Alfaro

My brother started working as a plumber in 2006 right after receiving his certificate. In 2009, he encouraged me to join him. And now I’m very glad I made the right choice. We have worked hard, learned a lot, have determination and dedication, and to top it off, we really love what we do. We have built a strong business relationship. In 2016, my brother and I decided we can start our own company. Young and driven, with babies coming, we decided it was the right time. Our goal is to build great relationships with happy clients, at reasonable prices without hurting our quality of work. Read more>>

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