Today we’d like to introduce you to Kimesha Robinson.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Kimesha. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Growing up in Los Angeles in the late 80s early 90s was like a real-life John Singleton Movie. The rhythm of the streets, the depth of characters that and the community pride. Over the years, I realize that the Los Angeles the world knew didn’t include me and was nothing like the one I grew up experiencing. The Hollywood lights and Bay Watch Baes had overshadowed the whole melanated vibe of the city. It was movies like “Boy’s in The Hood” and “Baby Boy” that gave people a glimpse of “Our LA”. But So much was missing. I wanted to show people visiting Los Angeles our history, people and the places that have become staples in the community.
After expressing this to a friend, she mentioned Airbnb experiences and how they partnered with locals to provide guided city tours with locals to provide unique tours to travelers. I knew immediately it was perfect and Urban Gems “Leimert Park” experience was born.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Once my experience was up, it took about a month to start booking tours. I realized that it was important to highlight the rich culture of the tour and with each review, the booking kept coming and So did a 5 star AirBnB Rating. The tours were going so well that I even began street vending in addition offering the tour since I began spending so much time in the area getting to know the other shop owners and vendors. Unfortunately, I had an accident and suffered an injury that forced me to stop accepting booking for several weeks while I recovered. During that downtime, I redirected focus to my Apothecary just when I was ready to return to my Tours and Street Vending the Pandemic hit and the new social distancing guidelines prohibited my experience from resuming.
However, with so much time on my hands, I was able to build a website for my apothecary (urbanapothecary.net) allowing me to continue to serve the goddesses that supported me during my street vending.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Urban Gems – what should we know?
Urban Gems I find hidden inner-city treasures and connect them with people looking to experience the local culture. I am a writer and local historian who has a lifetime of experience in the greater Los Angeles area. I know my city in side and out and want to share my love for my city with everyone I meet.
Urban Gems currently host the first AirBnB walking tour focused primarily on the progress of the community surrounding the Leimert Park, its importance in African American History and the city’s current Gentrification plans.
Rich in African Heritage, this experience provides a front seat look into the cultural diaspora known to urban Angelinos as The Leimert Park Village. The tour starts in the village center near the landmark Fountain that was once featured in the open credits to 90’s sitcom Moesha, I will start with historical information about the area, it’s evolution over the last 40 years, and future developments due to current Gentrification Plans. We’ll visit local shops including Sika (Legendary Hand Nose Piercing studio and cultural goods shop) and the Historical ESO WON Book store. Grab a quick snack at one of the village restaurants like the Hot and Cool Café. Enjoy The California Jazz and blues museum where you just might be able to meet Legendary Singer and Songwriter Barbara Morrison. The tour will conclude at The Art and Practice Art Gallery.
As an added bonus, I am also one of the street vendors. I sell teas, tonics, and tinctures in addition to metaphysical items for self-care under the Urban Apothecary tent.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My mentor Kimberly Dixon of Kimberly Consult, Melly B from Photos By Melly B, and the Leimert Park community for helping me bring my vision together.
Special thanks to my Daughter Khloe for encouraging me and being my motivation for everything I do.
- Tours are $30pp
- Private groups 8 people max $200
- Website: https://urbangems.mailchimpsites.com/
- Phone: 424-233-9304
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/urbangems_la
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/urbangemsla
- Other: https://urbanapothecary.net/
Photos By Melly B