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Mid Wilshire’s Hidden Gems

Every day we have a choice. We can support an up and coming podcaster, try a new family-run restaurant, join a boutique gym started by a local fitness champ or we could keep giving away our money to the handful of giants who already control so much of our commerce. Our daily decisions impact the kind world we live in; if we want a world where small businesses are growing and artists and creatives are thriving then we should support them with our time, money and attention. We’re proud to highlight inspiring creatives and entrepreneurs each week in Hidden Gems series.  Check out some of Mid Wilshire’s gems below.

Abenezer Mengesha

I grew up in Ethiopia where things were very simple and very free, we had to learn to make our fun, which allowed for a lot of creative exploration. I remember building towers with Cassette tapes and cutting up my clothes to make my barbie some outfits. I grew up with my mom and younger sister. A lot of my childhood consisted of watching my mom do things around the house, exploring the area with my friends and annoying my baby sister as she remembers it. My mother was a very creative woman. She was capable of planting a beautiful garden and also fixing all the electrical wiring of a stove. I learned a lot watching her growing up – not just technical skills but also on how to approach obstacles. Read more>>

Dylan Han

I’m an artist and designer from San Francisco. My mom is Japanese from Hawaii and my dad is Korean from New York. Since my dad was an architect and my grandma was an artist and is now an art historian, I grew up drawing and designing things all the time. My parents didn’t let me watch TV or play video games for a long time, so I was almost always either drawing or playing sports. I sort of wish they still enforced that on me at the age of 23 because it would be a lot easier to focus on my work that way. Read more>>

Simon Mashian

Simon Mashian is the founder of Simon’s Secret Sauce, a new company founded during the pandemic. A pioneer in the hospitality industry, Simon went to University of Nevada, Las Vegas and studied Hospitality Management with an emphasis on Food and Beverage. While attending UNLV, Simon helped manage a small chain in Las Vegas before moving back to Los Angeles in 2011. In 2011 Simon began working for Coral Tree Cafe which is where his love for food blossomed. He immersed himself in the menu and learned how to make every dish on the menu – breakfast, lunch and dinner. In 2017, Simon became the Director of Operations for Alliance Hospitality. Read more>>

Bianca Rusu

I am a Romanian born, Toronto-raised, New York educated, Los Angeles actor and writer. My story is that of perseverance, hard work, and an exceptional amount of faith and belief in myself and my art. I draw inspiration from my vast life experiences, through the adversity that has come and gone, and through the strength, I see in my family and my environment. There is nothing more poignant to my own story than the stories that have surrounded me. Read more>>

Tracy Newman

Everything really began with being a singer-songwriter and playing songs for children. I started to play guitar when I was 14 and the Kingston Trio was popular. That was a long time ago! They played songs that used only 2 or 3 chords, so I could really learn and perfect them. I understood early on that if I played well, people would listen. I became the local go-to person at group singalongs at camp, at schools, and in some shows. So, I learned how to be in front of an audience without much fear. I didn’t start writing songs until much later. Read more>>

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