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South LA’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 LA’s gems below.

Crowne Mecca

Hey Family! My name is Crowne Mecca! Whether the fierce tones of passion from Tina Turner or the gentle masterpieces from Michael Jackson, upon hearing their songs, I’d be overcome with a warm feeling inside that I just couldn’t explain. Music, which unbeknownst to me had become my drug of choice, has given me that high off of life feeling from as far back as I can remember, I guess it’s just so very addictive that way! Read more>>

Rocio Diaz

I was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles by my Salvadoran mom and Mexican dad. My favorite ways to express myself are through dancing, singing, art, and crafting things with my hands. I started my business, Earth Fairies Co., after graduating as an Anthropologist from UCLA. This year, I began working as a museum guide with El Pueblo on Historic Olvera Street. When I’m not working or running my business, I am danzando with my dance groups, Danza Azteca Xochipilli, and Danza Folklorico Xochipilli. Read more>>

Ben Loiz

Sometimes we need a little help from friends. When I began as a designer, I was a “jack of all trades.” This is often the case at the start when you’re exploring the field and taking whatever work comes your way. It was helpful in the sense that it expanded my creative toolkit and showed me what kind of work I did not want to pursue.  One day, I met with a long-time friend and showed him some of my work. He responded bluntly, “You need to focus on branding. It’s your best work.” When he said this, I realized branding is also the work I enjoy doing the most and where I can offer the most value to my clients. Read more>>

Riki Kubota

My name is Riki, but I go by Kubota which is my last name. I’ve been making music as Kubota for the past 10 years, give or take, and it’s only recently that I’ve started to garner a fan base.  Music is engrained in my childhood, and it’s the main thing that gave me purpose in my life. Like most Asian kids, I planted my roots in music on the piano, but I wasn’t feeling it. It was when my dad showed me the guitar that I fell in love with playing music. Read more>>

Victoriah Bech

I grew up in the entertainment industry, had my own tv show, and was singing and dancing professionally my whole life. I moved to Los Angeles right after high school by myself from Denmark to continue my career in the entertainment industry. In 2016 I had a near-death experience where I was very very sick and hospitalized for weeks. I ended up having emergency facial surgery, and I found myself in hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. Read more>>

DD Hairston

I began writing when I was twelve years old because I loved to read. I spent hours in the library and began entering contests. It was not my dream to become an author, I actually stumbled onto this love of life. I was going through a difficult time in my life when my mother advised me to write to help me through this phase. That is when my first book, Love Child, was born. It was just a hobby at the time. I received great feedback on the manuscript. My son convinced me to submit it to publishing companies. I thought nothing would become of it. Read more>>

Trissean McDonald

I’m a graduate of CSUN with a bachelor of arts in optional public relations journalism. And throughout my public relations career, I’m focusing on building interpersonal and trustworthy relationships with clients, the public, and the media—with the use of promotional tactics, press releases, and personal connections. Majoring in journalism did not come to mind so quickly. Growing up, I struggled with English and did well in math. My mother placed me and my sister into speed reading class every Saturday for about two months at El Camino College. Read more>>

Yesenia Gonzalez

When I was about 4 years old, my mom used to make bracelets for her friends as a gift. I come from a low-income family, so she couldn’t buy expensive gifts, and instead, she did these bracelets for them. I used to see her doing them, and I wanted to make them too. I used to sit next to her until she taught me how to do them. My mom also makes clothes, and at that time, she used to do yard sales, and for the little girls’ outfits, I used to do a bracelet so that my mom could hang it with the outfit and sell it. At the end, she would give me a dollar for each bracelet or outfit sold. Read more>>

Chloe Allison

I started Alli.C because it has always been a childhood dream of mine to own my own business, and since day one, I’ve loved fashion. (As a toddler I would sleep in my favorite pink patent leather shoes and dare anyone to take them off LOL). So, after high school, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in fashion, so I enrolled in college at the prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design, better known as SCAD, where I studied women’s and children’s apparel design and found my niche in children’s fashion. I graduated with a BFA and honorable mentions in apparel design in 2006 and moved to New York to work in women’s and children’s fashion design for Kenneth Cole. Read more>>

Adrian White

Born and raised in a small tobacco town of Stantonsburg, North Carolina. I’m a graduate of North Carolina Central University with a degree in English Literature. I went on to the military and was a photojournalist/broadcaster/combat photographer. I was in Haiti during the huge earthquake in 2010–a real life-changing moment for me. It’s tough to see people that look like you suffer, but you do everything you can to help. My way to offer a helping hand was to get their story out to the rest of the world hoping that would translate into government aid. I have so many stories from that time. Read more>>

Garry Clare

When the Pandemic hit in 2020, everything shut down, and I had to walk away from my fashion brand. It was the same time that I had also decided to follow one of my other passions and finally become a licensed Barber. Although Covid created so many obstacles for me to overcome, I was able to finally get my Barber license and have been working at a shop in my hometown of Inglewood, California. It feels great to be able to practice my craft and give back to my community in this way. Read more>>

Courtland Galore

I grew up in a small town of Hammond, Louisiana, and since I was young, I liked storytelling. In 5th grade, I was nominated across the state for a writing contest. That was my very first time acknowledging that I am good at something that I actually like to do. Tell stories… I played sports but I wasn’t good honestly. The older I got, I started to gravitate toward art in more mediums such as fashion, film, photography, music so I try my hand in just about anything that I am a fan of. Expression is so important to me. In summer of 2020, I bought my first camera, and I’ve been taking photos ever since. Read more>>

Karina Dayrit

I was the type of kid that would always be on the go, looking for something new to explore. This stays true as of today since my interests and field vary from teaching movement, songwriting, and performing music, as well as offering freelance marketing for my clients. My lifestyle has always been active but what led me to explore teaching movement started in the yoga studio. To become a yoga teacher wasn’t part of my initial plan, but I joined for the sake of learning more on how to deepen my breath. From there, I fell in love with the approach of integrating the body and the mind, plus it helped a lot with my body issues and overthinking tendencies. Read more>>

Nicholas Stoks

Marc Chitwood and myself, Nicholas Stoks first met in Minneapolis Mn through a mutual friend. We became quick friends and shortly after became roommates. Both having a background in the restaurant industry we often talked about opening our own store. We both had a strong desire to create a place that focused on offering quality food and drink that everyone could afford. Along with a strong connection to our community and doing our part to protect the environment. Read more>>

1 Comment

  1. Jane

    October 9, 2019 at 03:32

    JBalloonFiesta is a hand made shop run by an great woman with an amazing story

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