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South Bay’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 South Bay’s gems below.

Mina Zimmerman

Well, starting a new business in the middle of a pandemic is a bit stressful!! Although I started this business recently, I have always been enamored with jewelry. It began at a young age with my mother’s collection. What stood out to me the most were the pieces that were handed down to her from previous generations. It blew me away that you could have connections to previous generations through something so small! I understood the importance of investing in fine jewelry because it really becomes a piece of you and your story forever. At some point in middle school, I took up “designing” pieces and having them made for me when my mom traveled to Iran and went to the jewelry markets. Growing up, I always looked at jewelry design as more of a hobby, and so I ended up in healthcare administration for over 15 years. Read more>>

Jenna Meistrell

My father, Bill and uncle, Bob Meistrell were raised in Boonville, Missouri and moved to Manhattan Beach, CA in 1944. Even in Missouri, they were fascinated with the water. As kids, they fashioned a dive helmet out of an oil can and bike pump and would explore underwater world in a pond. After they moved to California, they became interested in diving & surfing and became Los Angeles County Lifeguards. Bill and Bob each bought one third of the local sports shop Dive N’ Surf, owned then by surfboard shaper Hap Jacobs and dive entrepreneur Bev Morgan. They had a passion for teaching scuba diving, surfing and pretty much anything included being in or around the ocean. In 1953, Bill went to Bedford, Virginia where he found the insulation used in the back of refrigerators, neoprene, and the first practical and commercial wetsuit was born. Read more>>

Shea Edwards

I was born and raised in Richmond, VA. As a teenager, and began my career in Entertainment as a panelist on the BET show, “Teen Summit”. With an affinity for the arts, I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Howard University, studied classical theater at Oxford University and earned a Master of Fine Arts from UCLA. They say the best way to make God laugh is to make plans. In 2009, at the most improbable time in my life, I answered the call to ministry and was ordained a minister and Reverend at the First Baptist Church of Venice, in California. At a time when I thought my days would be spent driving from audition to audition, and #setlife on Instagram. Read more>>

Brooke Capozzoli

I’ve been capturing and collecting memories ever since my hands could hold a camera and my curiosity quickly became an obvious passion. On vacation in Florida when I was seven years old, I dropped a disposable camera into an alligator filled swap and begged my dad to go in after it! Then, somewhere between cheerleading competitions and nannying, I turned my obsession into a business. At just 16 years old, I photographed my very first engagement session for my sister and now brother-in-law. I instantly became obsessed with capturing their love for one another and it was then that I knew that my passion and obsession with photography had become my calling. Read more>>

Elissa Choi

My work as a dental hygienist demands that I wash my hand’s dozens of times every day. Unfortunately, squeaky clean hands often become painfully dry hands that lotions simply can’t tame. Lotions made my hands feel sticky and dirty, especially when working with gloves. So I really wanted something that would moisturize my skin and last through multiple washings. Unable to find anything that fit my needs, I began to imagine what my ideal product might look like. It would be a multitasking scrub that exfoliate dry, dull skin while it conditions and protects… It would come in a single-use application that would minimize waste and contamination of products. Read more>>

Ayauna Rose

I began acting at the age of five. Since a child, I’ve always been interest in three things: Entertainment, Law and Creating works of Art. I also thought I was a princess (I literally dressed as a princess every Halloween and I have a collection of tiaras, lol). As a pre-teen, I studied etiquette with Michelle Shannon in Los Angeles (she has now published a book about etiquette). It truly helped to shape who I am today. Good manners and etiquette go a LONG way! As a teen, I competed in several pageants in North Hollywood with the Miss NoHo group led by Amanda Lee (she also designs princess costumes for Disney)… These pageants are where I got to learn the ins and outs of poise, the healthy benefits of fitness and positive competition. Read more>>

Christine Elfalan

My partner Dana and I are friends first. We live in the same neighborhood. Our husbands surf together. She and I used to do meal swap together. She is a nurse turned stay-at-home mom. She was pregnant with her second baby at the same time I was pregnant with my first — in fact we were due one month apart. Once we had our babies and they started to eat solids, Dana and I got to talking about how we didn’t love the baby food options out there. Being Asian-Americans who grew up in diverse environments, we wanted more diversity in our foods and most of all we wanted it to be fresh and healthy. Read more>>

Teryn McElroy

After 11 years as a Retail Executive and General Manager with Target Corporation, I launched Textured Tech Beauty Supply in my hometown of Carson, CA. Textured Tech was created to fill the gap between black women being the primary patrons of hair care retail, and being virtually absent in the ownership space. The store features black-owned beauty brands and a wide array of products for both women and men both online and in store. With my skills in merchandising, supply chain management and managing large teams, I felt an internal call to launch my own beauty supply store after witnessing how under-served Black women are even in the big box retail world. Textured Tech is my direct response to that gap. Read more>>

Nina Boski

When I was six years old, I knew that I wanted to live in LA with my childhood friend Lorna. At the time, Lorna and I wanted to drive down to LA in our MGB sports cars from Northern California where we grew up to become actresses. (We were in awe of Lorna’s big brother, Dale who drove it around at the time). When I finally graduated high school, my dream shifted to journalism and becoming a disc jockey. So, with bags in hand, I began my new journey to LA. I started out at Santa Monica College, along with attending radio-broadcasting school, I started an internship at KIQQ (100.3 FM) radio in LA. This was a wonderful way to ignite my radio career. Most of the time with internships you are doing errands, filing and doing grunt jobs. Read more>>

Chanel Shavers

We got started a little over a year ago July 2019 during our most recent pregnancy but did not really hit the ground hard until January 2020. My inspiration came from my mom and our children. My mom is one of the biggest daycare providers here in Los Angeles area since she was 21 years old. Here in California it is hard for the minority to find a job and keep it. So my partner and I brained stormed and this is what we came up with a Party Supply Company. We thought people are always going to have parties whether big or small. They are always going to need supplies and what better way to profit. We’re not selling items we are literally renting them for a day and picking them back up. Read more>>

Tonya Muhammad

I was a 23 years old married mother of two children and I wanted to stay home with my children instead of working at the bank as a teller. I had an amazing daycare provider for my oldest child so I said I can do this too. I December of 1990, I became & licensed Family Daycare Provider. Here I am 30 years later being a sought after provider in my community & I also have become a Consultant to other providers & those desiring to open a daycare. I am the Owner of Daycare Chronicles 101 which is the name of my Consulting Company which can be found on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube Channel & Tik Tok page which gives a daily chronicle of things that happen in daycare on a daily basis. Daycare Chronicles has gone Global with providers from all over the world seeking consultations from Ms. Tonya. Read more>>

Kyle Munson

The reason I bought my first camera was because I lost/broke a few phones with memories of my daughter that were gone forever. I had no idea it would become my full – time job four years later. I slowly started following other LA photographers on Instagram and was amazed at the different editing that people would do to their photos. I worked in a restaurant in the evenings so I missed the “golden hour” a lot, so I started waking up for sunrises multiple times a week to get those types of shots. I actually fell in love with sunrises because its one of the only times LA feels empty, it’s super peaceful being up at that hour. I started doing brand work in exchange for free products just to build up my portfolio and practice more and sold a few prints that I would get made at Costco to sell for 10-20$ each. Read more>>

Carrie Sharp

I had a passion for teaching a young age. I enjoyed the creative side to it, as well as being able to connect with children and families on a daily basis. My mother was also a teacher which gave me tons of inspiration and insight into the education system. I taught Kindergarten-3rd grade for several years before becoming mom. It worked out best for my family that I stay home with our girls and take some time off teaching. Fast forward five years later and here we all are, teaching our kids at home! In the last few months, I found myself diving back into creating and planning lessons for my kids that would be engaging and fun for them. I always believed that lessons accompanied by a project or hands-on activity were the most memorable and effective for children. My desire to share these activities with other families turned into an Instagram page that I really just viewed as a hobby. Read more>>

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