These innovators are leading the change, powering us all forward to level up Los Angeles.
Lane Petrauskas PHOTO BY BLACK LACQUER DESIGN
Founder, Skorch, getskorch.com
Originally from Chicago, Lane Petrauskas had stints living in Spain, Miami, Moscow, San Francisco and New York before settling in Los Angeles in 2014. All of that bopping around—plus a career as a creative director and writer in advertising—gave her the experience to confidently launch Skorch, a social platform and heat map of the coolest (aka “Skorch Worthy”) restaurants, coffee shops, bars and attractions to check out around L.A. and 14 other markets in the U.S., all from a refined and curated list. “I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the brightest minds in the advertising industry, and my experience... has been exceptionally useful in bringing Skorch to life,” says Petrauskas, who conceptualized, wrote and produced work for brands like PepsiCo, JetBlue and more. Since its inception, the company continues to grow. “We are so excited to launch new cities on the app,” she says. “We’re also looking forward to new partnerships, collaborations, and even curating and featuring new categories of places on the app—going beyond restaurants, bars, cafes and attractions.”
What prompted you to launch Skorch? I saw a need for a more streamlined, tailored platform for finding and sharing great restaurants, bars, coffee shops and attractions. The tediousness of combing through pages of text-heavy, outdated reviews and rants, skimming lengthy articles and scouring influencers’ geotags didn’t feel intuitive or exciting for me. So I had a vision for a curated, stylized and social platform.
At the heart of it is a belief that finding places to go shouldn’t feel like work. How do you deal with challenges? It’s interesting because the circumstances or events that I’d label challenging at the time have proved to be purposeful... even transformational. I always find that it’s not what happens, it’s the meaning I assign to it. When challenges arise, I try to ask myself, ‘How can this enrich me as a human being and a founder?’ I honestly believe every challenge is an invitation to improve.
How does living in L.A. inspire what you do? The sheer amount of things to do in L.A. inspires me. The caliber of restaurants, the thoughtfulness in design and aesthetics, the energy you feel when at a great place, even the personal style of the people here inspires me. Creativity inspires me—whether it’s technology, design, food, art or style. And there’s so much of it to soak up in Los Angeles. Truly, I heart L.A.
Elle B. Mambetov PHOTO COURTESY OF ELLE B. MAMBETOV
Founder, Elle B Zhou, ellebmambet.com
As a practicing Muslim, fashionista Elle B. Mambetov had trouble finding luxurious, interesting clothing that were also modest enough for her to wear. So she did something about it, and launched her modest fashion brand, Elle B Zhou, in 2015. “I started Elle B Zhou when I was still living in London, and what started as simply a brand grew into a boutique, and then a multibrand store that housed over 50 top brands from around the world,” she says. Mambetov, who lives in both L.A. and Doha, Qatar, had plans to expand her Beverly Center boutique into a department store dedicated to modest luxury fashion, but had to close due to L.A.’s rising crime post-pandemic. Nevertheless, she’s staying busy, planning for a May store opening in Beverly Hills, working on her collections, building partnerships and continuing her work as an international buyer and Farfetch partner. “There’s nothing more satisfying than serving some of the kindest and [most] hardworking people who truly deserve their success,” she says. “One of our brands from Lebanon was affected from the blast and without electricity the first time I spoke to him. We launched him in the Elle B Zhou boutique in L.A. and his first sale was a custom order with one of our celebrity private clients,” she adds. “I am so fortunate to share in these experiences with my brands, and I’d like to think we’re doing important work within the industry.”
What prompted you to launch Elle B Zhou? When I converted to Islam, there was nothing for me in the U.S. that I wanted to buy. I couldn’t find the caftans that I wanted. I couldn’t find the diamond Allah necklace that I wanted. I couldn’t find the things I wanted to wear that still allowed me to dress modestly, but with all of the feathers and exuberance that I love. I noticed there was a gap in the market for someone like me, and I wanted to fill that gap and have an excuse to shop all the time!
How do you think your business stands out? We have the most amazing brands that you cannot find anywhere else. Fabulous leather items from Katerina Kvit, incredible handbags from Okhtein in Egypt, feathered abayas from Atelier Zuhra in Oman, couture gowns from Rayane Bacha in Lebanon. We have fine jewelry from around the globe: Terzihan in Istanbul, Aisha Baker in Dubai, Simone Jewels in Singapore. Each brand tells a unique story, and it’s such an exciting experience to be a part of their journey with them.
What do you have planned for 2022 and beyond? When I first opened the Elle B Zhou boutique, I wanted to create a place for brands from around the world that were insanely talented but overlooked. Now we have expanded and have a lot of brands that we showcase as a part of the Farfetch Ramadan feature as well. This is a good start, but while these are Elle B Zhou brands, we are implementing new partnerships now that will help us reach more of the global audience with our brands, giving additional sustainability to our growth and cause.
YOUBE cofounders Stephan Agerman and Jenny Berglund Castro PHOTO BY EUGENE KIM
Co-founder, YOUBE, yoube.today
“YOUBE is that perfect puzzle piece for people who work from home but have to get out of the house every once in a while,” says Jenny Berglund Castro. “Or the company that doesn’t know whether they should sign up for a lease or not but know their employees can’t sit at home on their nonergonomic furniture. Or the freelancer who needs to be at a meeting but doesn’t want to hop on another Zoom call from home. Or the 25-year-old who needs to get out and meet people for their social well-being, and so on.” Along with cofounders Stephan Agerman and Babak Kheshti, Berglund Castro launched the f exible coworking space in August 2021 as a single location in West Adams, and recently opened a second outpost in Larchmont. “Our plan is to have 50 YOUBE spaces within Los Angeles in the next couple of years. Aft er that, we’ll go into other cities and then states,” Berglund Castro says. The best part? Membership allows access to all locations, regardless of where you live or when you signed up. “You use one account to get into any space. Your booking grants you access via phone,” she explains. “One membership, all locations. Our goal with YOUBE was to create spaces where everyone shares the space, no matter which location you go to—you belong to them all.”
Where did you look to for inspiration for YOUBE? We found a gap between a cafe experience and a coworking office. The cafes were usually too loud; there were no outlets and the Wi-Fi was insecure. The traditional coworking spaces, however, were too expensive, asked for long-term commitments... and had low flexibility. What did impress us was the app ClassPass. You could buy credits and book the classes you wanted. This was a perfect solution to what we were missing within the office space sector—locations that were everywhere and with a booking function that let you pay only when you used the service.
Besides expansion, what else you do have planned for 2022 and beyond? We will bring more wellness initiatives into our spaces. We want to provide ways to help people proactively protect their bodies and minds from external stress factors through inspiration and education.
What do you love about what you do? I love the creative process of taking something from a seed to fruition. We have started seeing our YOUBE bud poke out and now it’s time to water it and nourish it so it can grow, get harvested and create more seeds.
Krista Berlincourt PHOTO COURTESY OF KENSHŌ
Co-founder and CEO, Kensho Health, kenshohealth.com
“Conventional healthcare leaves much to be desired, and holistic care is not yet connected, which creates a massive opportunity to better serve patients with personalized care,” says Krista Berlincourt, co-founder and CEO of Kenshō Health, a platform and provider network that makes finding high-quality, affordable holistic care from thousands of licensed providers easy. “I want getting answers and clear guidance on health concerns to be as easy as ordering a pizza, because the reality is that, in many cases, when you have the right person on speed dial, it can be that easy.” Berlincourt launched Kenshō Health in February 2020, just weeks before Los Angeles went into lockdown, and since then has had to adapt with a changing world. “The day we planned to begin our seed raise, the market shut down,” she explains. “We became nimble, developed a strong practice of listening to market feedback and remembered that you can make plans but you can’t control what happens. In the two years since then, we have adapted our product many times to better suit the changing needs of the market, and of the world.”
How does Kenshō Health stand out? Today, there are a lot of health companies that are in the business of helping patients identify imbalances with testing, but none of these actually support the patient with personalized one-to-one care until they resolve the concern. It’s easy to be a problem-spotter but much harder to be a problem-solver. In many ways, Kenshō is the first comprehensive holistic solution to do both by bringing together testing, coaching and referrals into our whole-person care network of specialists across mental, physical and emotional well-being.
What have been some of your proudest moments? I’m incredibly proud of how our team stepped up during the pandemic and made the best out of a hard situation by being of service to people all over the world. We facilitated millions of hours of free programming and holistic health education, including therapy and support to frontline workers, and pro bono care for those who couldn’t pay.
How does living in L.A. inspire what you do? My love for the great outdoors runs deep, and, as my co-founder Danny would say, I need nature with a capital N. For me, L.A. strikes a balance between intellect—with motivated people looking to solve big problems—creativity and an active lifestyle. What other city affords you the space to get clear on strategy during a sunrise bike ride in the Santa Monica Mountains, have a work lunch between galleries in midtown and meet with investors for sunset on the beach?
Alex Taylor PHOTO COURTESY OF PERELEL
Co-founder and Co-CEO, Perelel, perelelhealth.com
After spending her career working in media, content and marketing at brands like L’Oréal, Google and URBN, Alex Taylor decided to make a change. “A few months after starting the job at URBN, I gave birth to my son,” she says. “It was around this time that I started to feel the gravitational pull toward entrepreneurship. The need to create a brand for new millennial moms like me became abundantly clear. I was struggling through postpartum while also managing a thyroid disease, and at every twist and turn of my health journey, I constantly felt failed by the brands and information available to me.” Aft er being introduced to Victoria “Tori” Th ain Gioi by a mutual friend— and learning they both felt there was a better way to support women in the health and wellness category—the duo, along with a team of doctors, including Dr. Banafsheh Bayati, launched Perelel, the first and only OB-GYN-founded vitamin. Not only is the brand providing women with a number of thoughtful options, it also gives back. “For every subscription, we donate a supply of... prenatal vitamins to underserved women here in the U.S. who lack access to high-quality prenatal care,” says Taylor. “In just about a year, we’ve supported over 13,000 women. But what’s most exciting is that we’re just getting started.”
What prompted you to launch Perelel? When my co-founder, Tori, and I learned that we were both experiencing frustrations with our prenatal vitamins, we decided to dig deeper. We discovered that there was essentially no regulation in the prenatal vitamin industry, no specifications around the ingredients and, perhaps worst of all, little information as to what women needed to support them throughout this life stage.
How do you think your business stands out? We built trust into the fabric of our brand from day one. We co-founded our business alongside a highly respected OB-GYN, Dr. Bayati, alongside a team of doctors who are the foremost experts in women’s health. Together, they create our products and fuel all of our content, ensuring that every touch point is grounded in our doctor-backed authority. Additionally, we are wholly woman-centric. As mothers and women who have experienced the many ups and downs that come to bear throughout the reproductive journey, we understand the often-overlooked touches that allow us to support women more consciously.
What do you have planned for 2022 and beyond? We launched our Women’s Daily Vitamin Trio back in January, which was exciting for us as it allowed us to support women who may not be on their motherhood journey. As we look ahead, our goal is to drive more awareness to the women’s health category while continuing to release products that support women wherever they might be in the reproductive life cycle.
SAMIA GORE PHOTO BY CARA MCFARLANE
In the male-dominated supplement world, Body Complex stands out: Gore is the first Black, female owner and founder to make significant strides in the industry. Check out her plant-based, vegan protein and pre-workout powders at the newly opened WorkoutSnob on West Third Street.
DORION RENAUD PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANDS
Buttah, Renaud’s skincare line for men and women, aims to give melanin-rich skin the care and attention it deserves via lush ingredients like organic shea butter and cruelty-free manufacturing. Carried by Nyakio Grieco and Patrick Herning’s inclusive beauty retailer Thirteen Lune, the brand is expanding with new launches this year.
KATI KANERVA PHOTO BY CARA MCFARLANE
With a mission to make the fashion industry more sustainable, Kanerva has brought the popular renta-rack concept from her native Finland to Atwater Village. For a small fee plus 15% commission, ReDress clients can reserve a rack to sell their beloved vintage, designer and other gently used pieces in her airy and organized boutique.
VINH PHAM PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANDS
Launched by physical therapist Pham and former patient Scott Marcaccio in 2015, Myodetox aims to treat and eliminate pain via hands-on therapy and corrective exercises in sleek, cutting-edge, boutiquelike clinics. The brand recently launched its 13th outpost at The Shops at Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City, and has plans for further expansion—and an app launch—in 2022 and beyond.
DANIELLE DAO & DEVIN CALLOWAY PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANDS
DANIELLE DAO & DEVIN CALLOWAY
As one of the largest legal cannabis distribution companies in California, Eco Farm works with more than 400 cannabis farmers and 200 retail buyers. The brand’s sleek, interactive showroom in Hollywood allows visitors to experience the various strains, with touching, smelling and even looking under a microscope encouraged. The company—led by co-founders and co-CEOs Dao and Calloway—is planning a major expansion, with projected sales reaching $7.2 billion in the state by 2024.
DREW SCOTT PHOTO BY KARLA TICAS
While DIY projects are often looked down upon by the design community, Lone Fox founder Scott has all eyes on him as he prepares to launch a YouTube series with venerable interiors and architecture bible Architectural Digest. In addition to DIY projects and his popular TikTok channel, Scott is also an interior designer, recently transforming a ho-hum home in L.A. into a chic, Parisian-style abode, and also runs Lone Fox, his online home decor boutique.
RURIKO YAMADA PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANDS
SHANA ATWOOD PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANDS
RURIKO YAMADA & SHANA ATWOOD
Sake lovers in the U.S. may find learning about the Japanese spirit challenging, as most bottles lack information in English. Changing that is Moon Bloom, a sake brand created for the U.S. market by Yamada and L.A.-based Atwood, two women making strides in a male-dominated industry. (The brand is all-women owned and operated in Los Angeles and Nagano, Japan.) While there’s currently one sake out now, two more are set to release this year.
ALANA ARNOLD PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANDS
DEREK JAEGER PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANDS
ALANA ARNOLD & DEREK JAEGER
Similar to limited-edition high-end streetwear releases, Last Crumb—the new online bakery founded by Arnold and Jaeger—releases 12 decadent cookies each week, all beautifully packaged and available to ship nationwide. Act fast, or you’ll miss out on flavors like When Life Gives You Lemons (a lush take on the lemon bar), The Madonna (chocolate chunk-packed peanut butter) and the birthday cake-inspired 50 Cent.
AVI AHDOOT PHOTO BY CHASE BAXTER
What started as Ahdoot posting out-of-this-world sandwich photos on social media—with family and friends asking where to buy them—in the early days of lockdown has transformed into a total Instagram phenomenon, with stars like Gwyneth Paltrow bestowing praise on his daily drops. Now, the former tech worker is expanding from pickup only to delivery options, and later this year will open a flagship eatery serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.