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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.

Ezra Cheng

During the pandemic, I started my business as a side hustle two years ago. I felt compelled not to rely solely on a government check to supplement my wages at my non-profit job and instead create new opportunities for myself. Branding was a hip-pocket skill I learned in my twenties, where on a fluke, I served on the seed-level team for a celebrity-based boutique fitness brand. I love bringing new and different ideas to life. My creative passion for seeing what’s unique about someone led me to go full-time in my business last summer. Read more>>

Ashley Procopio

Primarily self-taught, I created my first collection in 2015 out of my Boston apartment’s dining room. I experimented, learned along the way, and built a community of mentors. In a short time, I decided to pursue jewelry full-time. My work is inspired by simplicity. I find beauty in negative space, simple lines, and a clear focal point. I’m drawn to vintage items, second-hand clothing, aged structures, mountainscapes, and the night sky. I find beauty in imperfections and marks of use. Read more>>

Crystal Andres

I’ve always been a creative kid and a voracious learner of the things that interested me. I didn’t have a lot of resources growing up so I had to be resourceful and innovative with drawing materials. As I grew, so did my pool of tools. I stopped learning and creating art after high school, and kept it as a side hobby but I didn’t make any real attempts to improve to get better. I decided to pick this passion back up because I realized that this is truly the one thing that I love doing. Read more>>

Akira Robinson

I am a product of the South, raised at the intersection of Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi, in Memphis. From a young age, I was driven, given the nickname “cup” by my grandfather, due to his refusal to use a bottle after the age of 1. Family and fun were the foundations of my childhood, based on close relationships both in my immediate family and extended family. My aptitude for learning was recognized early by my mother and she proceeded to write plays for me and my sister which they performed around the city as early as 4 years old by memory. Read more>>

Vanessa Vasquez

My mom influenced my love for nails. She would bring my sister and I to the salon where she worked and opened this world of beauty to us. I loved the atmosphere in the salon and how everyone always looked their best. Seeing my mom create these amazing acrylic nails really made me see the artistry in her work. I started doing nails at a young age, I was my first client. I loved how you could change the color of your nails to fit the mood you were in or to match your outfit, or just to try a color because its brand new.  Read more>>

Gabrielle Hudspeth

Like so many millennial teenage girls, Tumblr had a huge influence in shaping my identity. There was a moody yet dreamy aesthetic to everyone’s lives, and I wanted to be just like them. I thought if I emulated the photos I saw I could embody that same energy of feeling connected to myself. So, I made my first big girl purchase and bought a Canon Rebl T3i, which all the internet girls seemed to have at the time. Seeing myself and the world through a mega-pixilated lens awakened something deeper in me. Read more>>

 Saturn Risin9

hi. i am saturn. my story starts where i survived a car accident the night of my first solo show. i previously was a back up dancers and would go-go from time to time but this was my debut performance. i worked so hard to choreograph me and two other dancers winter and tiana, teddy and i shot video to play on screen behind me. it was a big deal. i crashed into a tree not once but twice on the way home from rehearsals. my grandpa said “how did u hit a tree thats been standing there for 34 years?” i didn’t know i couldn’t believe it but i was still focused on my show. Read more>>

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