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South Bay 7.31.2017

Maria Aparis

Maria Aparis is a Health & Wellness Mentor specializing in holistic and alternative modalities. Maria is an Author, successful entrepreneur, Spa Owner, Massage Therapist, Kundalini Yoga & Meditation Instructor for Adults and Children, Intuitive Healer, Reiki Healer, and Raw Food Chef and Instructor. Maria revolutionized the spa industry nearly 15 years ago with her mobile day spa by bringing luxury spa services to the client and has since provided luxury spa services to everyone from Academy Award-winning celebrities, producers and directors, to Grammy-winning recording artists, sports celebrities as well as major film studios and corporations. Read more>>

Joan Fuller

I developed a love for photography as a teenager, so my mother bought me my first camera when I was 16. I was a dancer at the time, and I couldn’t fit a photography class in my life, so I kept my camera on automatic and photography became a hobby. After pursuing a career as a dancer and then as an actor, I had a moment of clarity, and asked myself how long I was going to wait until I explored this passion that I’d put on the back burner for so many years. I found a beginning photography class at night school, at Burbank High. After my very first class, I never looked back. I was in heaven. Read more>>

Christina Loden

I began my studies in Chinese medicine and holistic healthcare when I was 21 years old, having watched my mother suffer from various health conditions. I happened to be visiting her when she was very ill and her doctors had exhausted all of their options trying to find what was wrong with her. Eventually, they told her that they couldn’t find anything wrong, that it was all in her head, and sent her home. She eventually decided to see an acupuncturist, and the improvement she experienced after just one treatment was astounding. From that moment on, I was committed to learning everything I could about the medicine. Read more>>

Danielle Bayer

A friend and I originally wanted to open our own clothing line called La Petite Chenille (the little caterpillar) based on the idea that caterpillars eventually turn into butterflies. However, clothing lines involve a lot of time, effort and money and although we could afford to put effort and money into it, we both didn’t have a lot of free time. We both worked full time jobs and both have families. However, although we had temporarily given up on following through with that, I still wanted to do something. That’s pretty much how the store came about. Read more>>

Andreanna Liguore

I was born into a food family. My great grandparents started Giuliano’s Deli in Gardena in 1952. At one point, Giuliano’s grew to 13 locations in the south bay. My dad grew up in the business and had the urge to open his own. In 1993, when I was 8, my parent’s opened Gaetano’s. Gaetano’s quickly became my second home, I spent more time there than anywhere else. When I invited friends over, they would come to the restaurant and not to my house. My brother and I were the crazy kids running around wreaking havoc but also absorbing all the valuable business lessons that are only passed down and not taught in schools. Unfortunately, my dad passed away a year after Gaetanos opened, but luckily my mom grew up in a restaurant family as well and she came through and kept the business thriving.  Read more>>

Austin Ballard

I moved to Long Beach in 2004. I graduated from college in 2006 and needed a job. A friend of mine offered me a job in an embroidery company in San Pedro. I started at the bottom only looking for more. I worked at that job for 11 years. Over the years I helped grow that company into what it is today. I learned from their mistakes and their successes. I come from a long line of business owners, so I felt right at home trying to do something on my own. My wife and I decided it was time for me to take the plunge in the summer of 2016 and buy my own machine. I had currently been able to use a few at my place of employment. Read more>>

Austin Soutas

SEO Expert Management is a small owner operated web design & SEO company. Austin Soutas started the business back in 2004 with a vision on helping real estate agents and loan professionals gain more exposure for their brand and or properties as he saw a hole that needed to be filled and help dramatically due to the lack of help these two industries had. The internet for Austin brings along many opportunities for business owners to express and grow their current ventures and gain better profit margins through search engine optimization and online marketing. Austin’s client base has traditionally now turned into small businesses, the techniques Austin uses to get your business top rankings within the search engines can be transferred to any size business model. Read more>>

Amir Imankhan

I was 19 years old when the Iran-Iraq war began, and soon later I was called to serve a 2 year mandatory military service. I came out of the military at 21 years old and eventually came to the United States in 1987. I began taking classes at Glendale Community College, and found a job at a dry cleaner in the city of Burbank. I worked there for 2 years before opening up my own dry cleaner in Hawthorne, CA. In the past 28 years, my business has grown to fill a niche market for leather care and cleaning in the Southern California Area. When I first opened my business, I was facing lots of competition. I was going up against a lot of bigger companies that had more resources and experience than me. Read more>>

Mark and Maralyn DiPiazza

We have a shared passion for food and music so 33 years ago we threw caution to the wind and opened up a little restaurant in a beleaguered little building in Belmont Shore on Ocean Blvd. We would pick out music from a collection of vinyl we had been collecting since we were teens and our parent’s vintage collection. Our patrons always commented on our eclectic music. It was tough dropping that needle on the LP and running back into the kitchen to cook pies. Ten years in, one of our patrons was a wealthy doctor and multiple business owner who just happened to own the only Bowling Alley in Long Beach. Java Lanes. Read more>>

Christy Jackson

I started Verve Jewelry in 2008 after years of collecting vintage pieces and making my own things to give to people as gifts. I was trying my hand at acting at the time, which for me meant bartending too. I appreciated the money I was making working in a bar, but I was frustrated by the lack of creativity. I am the type of person that needs to be creative or I get a little nuts, so I started making jewelry as a creative outlet. I gave the pieces as gift to friends and friends. At work customers started asking me where I got the necklace or earrings I was wearing and my jewelry business organically started from there. Read more>>

Lenora Marouani

I am a wife, a mother of 2 crazy girls, and an entrepreneur with a mind that runs wild & free. I love love love good food & wine! I also thrive off of good books, poetry, music, art, fashion, & design. My life as a mother is pretty hectic! I have a crazy haired 4 year old girl, Pash, and a rambunctious 21 month old girl name Sura! They bring light, fire, and life to my world. They are both strong willed, tenacious, and full of the crazies! I love them to life…I just can’t stop kissing them! I’m married to Adnen, my best friend & business partner. Read more>>

Shayna Meikle

The store started in 2008 as a booth in a vintage clothing shop on 4th street in Long Beach by my friend Michelle Steilen. She was/is passionate about bringing the retro style of roller skates back into fashion and back onto the feet of everyone like “back in the day”. So much so that one of the top manufacturers of roller skates and ice skates believed in her passion and drive and asked her to partner to create a skate brand of her own. In 2009, she created the brand and called it Moxi. Soon after she moved the booth into its own retail location on 4th street. Now, the Harbor Area finally had an official roller skate shop. Read more>>

Mea Lath and Khannia Ok

MEA: Dance has been a crucial part of my life since I was twelve years old. Dancing is a way for me to be connected to my Cambodian roots. Growing up in America, you tend to assimilate to the culture and I wanted to make sure that I didn’t lose my heritage. Since I was young, I grew up watching Cambodian classical dance performances at many celebrations and events. I’ve always admired the dancers and their beautiful costumes. As a young girl, I wanted to be a princess like the dancers. I was too shy and embarrassed to ask my mother to enroll me in classes. In 2002, I finally had the courage to tell my mom that I wanted to learn how to dance. Read more>>

Holly Daluisio

I just retired from being a preschool teacher and director because I became ill. About a year after I retired, Angela & Jeff who were the parents of 2 of my students called me and asked if I would be interested in managing the business they were buying. They both knew I was sick but promised that they would work around my illness and I would be able to do everything at my own pace. I agreed to go see the business they wanted to buy. At this time in 2006 there was an Olivia’s Dollhouse Tea Room in Tustin. As soon as I walked into Olivia’s I was sold. It was like walking into a fantasy world for little girls. Before I became a teacher, I was a theatre major who concentrated on children’s theatre so this was right up my alley! It was love at first sight! Read more>>

John Johnson

I started working in the professional piercing industry in 1998 at Body Accents in Indianapolis. I started as a counter assistant and had no immediate desire to make body piercing a career. At that time, I already had four years of experience working in medical and dental offices. I found their environmental similarities to the piercing studio comfortable and found myself at home. What really made me fall in love with body piercing was the added artistic element. Everyone knows piercing needs to be done safely, but the beauty of piercing requires a different understanding. Eventually I would return to California and work for Kari Barba’s Outer Limits for twelve years, As my career evolved and I grew as a person owning a studio was a natural evolution. Read more>>

Alecia Draper

Moonwood Coffee Company was founded in 2104 with the vision of delivering a supreme coffee experience and exceptional customer service to your doorstep. We designed both an indoor and outdoor experience that can be customized to every event whether you’re a large corporation or you just want to have a small family backyard reunion. It was our goal to create a modern coffee visual and outdoor vintage feel. In achieving this goal, we also strive to be 100% mobile in all aspects of the products we prepare on site for our customers. This gives us the flexibility to customize our menus and offering to each client’s specific needs and desires. Read more>>

Thien A. Pham

I was born in Vietnam and came to the United States when I was 16. During my last year in high school, I discovered my love for filmmaking, and while still in college, I founded Sunrise Seagull Productions to start producing in-language Vietnamese commercials. At the time, I thought I would build the company to be the top commercial production house here for the Vietnamese market. I had recently produced and directed the first ever McDonald’s sponsored Vietnamese-US singing TV show competition, and shortly after starting the company, partnered with clients to create the first US-produced TV commercials for the Vietnamese-American market for two century-old brands. Read more>>

Rafael Capiro

I began studying martial arts at 13 years old. At 15 years old, I reached an intermediate level and began working as an assistant to my instructor. After high school, I had reached an advanced level in my practice and had a fair amount of teaching experience. At that point, I decided to “go all in” and that’s when everything took off. My life consisted of exercise, martial arts practice and teaching classes. At 21 I started managing a team of six other instructors. My responsibilities included: setting revenue goals, sales, billing, customer service, marketing, merchandising and weekly staff meetings. At the time, I was just excited at the opportunity for career growth. Read more>>

Danh Ngo

I have been practicing physical therapy for 13 years. Every year is never the same and that is the fun part of doing what I do. I started my practice in 2017 after working at an insurance dictated clinic that focused on the number game and not the patients itself. I am a lover of learning about the human body as it amazes me over and over. When it is put to the test or near a dead end, it figures out how to out shine when there is intention to survive. This observation has made me more confident that there are natural alternatives to many chronic health conditions including pain. I have been put to the test many times where patients come to me as the last resort, and as I connect with them, hear their story, I find there are other options. Read more>>

Ernest D. Kim

I am a chiropractor and a 2nd generation acupuncturist. I grew up eating organic foods and herbal supplements long before it was cool. As a kid, my father made me eat Gorilla Crunch cereal which tasted so much more bland than the sugary and more popular, Captain Crunch cereal. I told myself I was going to be bigger and better than my father. Growing up, I was always the tallest yet skinniest kid in the classroom. I guess taking all the herbs affected my height in a positive way. But I hated how skinny I was, so in high school I got really serious into working out at the gym. Read more>>

Diana Romero

Diana Romero is the owner and principal coordinator of At Your Side Planning. Diana graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Science, then acquired her Professional Certificate in Meeting and Event Planning through SDSU’s Professional Development Program in 2002. Diana’s background in planning began in non-profit events for Circle K International, a collegiate community service organization, and a youth group in which she held leadership roles for over ten years. Diana has also assisted in non-profit community based organizations including SAY San Diego, Rachel’s House as well as fostering kittens from the city’s animal shelters. Read more>>

Jen Asaro and Georgia Syrengelas

With a love and passion for art, it is no surprise that we both got into the hair and makeup industry. We refer to makeup as it feels like painting and styling hair is like sculpting. We met eight years ago working together in the wedding industry and had an instant connection. Just two years ago we decided to launch our own brand -Face It Sugar. We have been very blessed in being able to do what we love and there have not been any real struggles. We are a pro hair and makeup team specializing in the wedding industry. Known for our vintage work and photo shoots. Read more>>

Kara Marie Cruz

I was my business partner’s client and during treatments, we would talk about life, aspirations, and goals. Through the years our conversations grew into a friendship as we bonded over the similarities in our lives. We talked about one day being our own boss and owning our own business. After a few years of repeating the same dream, we decided to make it a reality. We both have a strong work ethic and we felt it was time to use our talent and energy on something that was ours and not someone else’s. We picked up a third business partner; and together, the three of us started the company. We hit the ground running, our first meeting was in December 2016 and our Grand Opening was in March 2017. Read more>>

Jaclyn Ross

When I started doing massage over 10 years ago it was pretty expensive. My goal was to make massage more accessible and affordable for everyone. We wanted to provide the convince of a mobile spa as the ultimate way to unwind. We have expanded our services to serving local hospitals and nursing facilities to help those who are sick or having trouble getting around. It has been a pretty bumpy road having to obtain a business license for every city we offer massages and facials in before the laws were change to becoming state wide certified. Read more>>

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