David Askew lived on the streets of Skid Row and Hollywood for almost 10 years. He ate out of dumpsters and panhandled to support his addictions. In 2011, David decided enough was enough and checked himself into a drug treatment program. While at the shelter David also decided to transform his passion for art into a legitimate business and enrolled in the Microenterprise Program. David eventually broke free of his addictions, moved out of the shelter, secured a job and with the help of the program he launched his art business. As one who soullessly wondered the streets of Skid Row, David feels a special affinity with the homeless. His artwork expresses a raw emotion that encompasses his life’s story.
OneOne80 is a fashion design and jewelry business created by Tomasa Pereira. Tomasa migrated to the U.S. when she was nineteen years old. It wasn’t until she moved to the U.S. that Tomasa learned English. She also accompanied her mother to work in the garment factories of LA, which ignited her passion for fashion. Her years of exposure to the industry have allowed her to make this business possible. OneOne80 emulates a sense of fashionable diversity and elegance. Each style comes with a message of empowerment, that every woman is beautiful and unique.
SquishyFish is a social awareness brand targeted towards youth. Sam Johnson and her three kids Adam, Daniel, and Victoria started the company after fleeing a domestic violence situation and ending up homeless themselves. Today, Squishy Fish aspires to be a beacon of hope motivating children and teens to take action on various social justice matters. Sam and her kids travel the Southern California area telling their story of how they overcame domestic violence and homelessness. They sell a kid friendly package that includes a lunch bag filled with several goodies. For each bag that is sold, they donate one to a child currently struggling through homelessness.
Akila Jewelry is owned and operated by Penney Manning. Penney has been in and out of abusive relationships for most of her life. In 2013, Penney moved to California in hopes of a fresh start. After having some trouble finding a place to live, she eventually found solace at Hope Gardens. In 2014, Penney joined the Microenterprise Program, which helped her start Akila Jewelry. Akila is an Egyptian word meaning intelligent, wise, and seeking to inspire. This is exactly what her line of jewelry strives to emulate. Her motto is to look beautiful even when your situation is not.
Rede’s Son Chili offers superior chili within the Los Angeles area. Orville Barber is a veteran of the military. He has spent years perfecting his chili recipes, which have proven to be successful. His Signature items include Beef chili, Turkey chili, and Vegetarian chili. He offers his chili through special catering orders, special events and will soon start targeting farmer’s markets.
Queenie’s Creole Pies is an authentic sweet potato pie company owned and operated by Gregory Williams. Greg was raised on the west side of Los Angeles, the son of two Creole parents from the Deep South. Greg’s life was difficult from the beginning and after spending several years in prison he gave his life to Christ. Upon his release, Greg decided to start his own pie company to honor of his mother Queenie. Using his mother's traditional recipe, Greg now makes delicious authentic Creole pies, made fresh to order.