Growing up, Toris Moody and Derrell Williams were inspired by streetwear and sneakers. In 2016, they used this inspiration to create the apparel brand, The Collective Company aka COLco.
Although neither went to fashion school, they began working hard to understand the inner workings of the apparel game, so that they could build a brand that was authentic to themselves. Indeed COLco is a brand like no other; it’s a brand that doesn’t follow fashion trends and is inspired by original concepts put forward by its founders. Every aspect of the business is handled in-house from the sewing of the clothes, to the graphic creation, advertising, even down to the color theory.
Long term goals include expanding into an international market and targeting action sport sponsorships. COLco also has a sister brand launching this fall, with a focus on holistic sustainability – in other words, textiles that are good for skin and health. Stay tuned to see what’s next for COLco.
Toris Moody: 16ozpenny
Derrell Williams: relldot
At a young age, Jess Washington cultivated a unique talent; creating websites. As she got older, she transitioned from making fan-made American Idol websites to building online presences for different brands. Jess now considers herself a content creator and brand strategist.
During her journey, Jess has worn many hats, putting her hands in different pots to see what she liked the best. She was the co-creator of Szned, a highly-acclaimed Instagram comedy series, has had a multitude of freelance clients, and currently is working on building out her Jessi Can Create YouTube channel.
Jess' advice to any inspiring content creator is that it's more important to do, rather than overthink. She also adds to kill the perfectionism. A highly talented individual, stay tuned for what Jess Washington does next.
Jess' Instagram: @jessicancreate and @jesslilskits
After serving in the military, Lex Hurson was at a crossroad, not knowing what to do next. Growing up, he had always been interested in writing poetry, short stories, and music. After a chance meeting, he was introduced to screenwriter and a new path was formed.
A filmmaker and musician, Lex has directed and produced two short films, Jumbled and Karen, as well as several EPs. His current EP, Lex City, is available for streaming. Inspired by the likes of Spike Lee, Jordan Peele, and Quentin Tarantino, Lex’s films focus on humanizing the black experience in America, tackling themes from racism to mental health issues.
He’s currently writing several pilots and in the long term hopes to direct and produce his films under a few big name distributors. His advice to aspiring filmmakers is don’t jump into the water until you’re ready to swim, study your craft, and network!
Lex Hurson's Instagram: @lex1g
In 9th grade, Susie Seiko and her family moved from the South Central LA projects to Santa Ana – a 40-minute drive, yet a world apart. The daughter of Cambodian refugees, Susie instantly faced cultural adversity in her new setting, forced to assimilate into an environment different than any she’d known before. Despite the challenge, she found a new way to express herself – music.
A singer-songwriter, music has been a part of Susie's life since her formative years growing up in South Central LA. Inspired by an elementary school gospel teacher, she describes herself as a lo-fi musician with her inspiration for music coming from real life experiences. Her EP, Cry Now Smile Never, celebrates its first anniversary August 19.
Susie would like to see more Asian representation in the music industry and has considered returning to her motherland Cambodia, which is home to a thriving underground music scene. In the meantime, Susie continues to perform at venues in LA, eager to collaborate with other local talent. Her words of advice for all are “Seize the day, seize the moment, do what you love.”
Susie Seiko's Instagram: @susieseiko
In the market for a skincare product suitable for him, Rocky Collins continually ran into an endless wall of harsh and ineffective products. Frustrated, he asked himself ‘why not start one myself?’ It was possible. At the time, he worked for the world’s largest cosmetic company and had obtained some knowledge about the skincare industry. After a few Google searches, cold calls, and cold emails, Rocky decided to pivot his life to become a full-time employee of his own skincare brand – Cali HNDSME.
Cali HNDSME is a brand that not only sells skincare products but gives men the confidence and self-esteem to be bosses in all aspects of their lives. A seaweed-based company, most of its ingredients come from the sea, are sourced from France, and do not contain sulfates, parabens, or harsh alcohols, ensuring the long-term protection of skin for decades to come.
For now, Cali HNDSME is solely an e-commerce business. In the future, Cali HNDSME hopes to expand into other grooming products, as well as offer workshops on campuses and in workplaces to promote self-worth and confidence. Just be assured that the sky is not the limit for Cali HNDSME.
Rocky Collins: @therockycollins
CALI HNDSME: @calihndsme
2018. Kristen Wiggins found herself at a crossroad after living as a traveling digital nomad for the prior four years. On one hand, her experiences living in Los Angeles and abroad in Asia served as inspiration for her dream of interior design. On the other hand, constantly moving around had not allowed her to create a personal space that was her own. Her decision was made, and her home décor shop, Home and Aura was born.
Home and Aura promotes the lifestyle of living with intention and being present. It’s been said that your physical space directly reflects your mental state and that having a peaceful and relaxing space where you can escape the craziness in the world can make a huge impact on your day-to-day well-being.
Home and Aura will soon launch ‘My Home Aura’, a series highlighting women homeowners and how they’ve created their space, while staying on a budget. Home and Aura’s ultimate goal is to make interior decor feel more accessible and bring people together to feel good at home.
At the end of the day Home and Aura hopes to be a light. Kristen’s parting advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to stay consistent and balance learning with the execution. Oh, and google just-in-time learning.
Kristen Wiggins: @getkrissed
Home and Aura: @homeandura