The City of Angels is constantly introducing the world to some of the coolest trends.
Ever heard of an urban flour mill? Or how about a company devoted to making the most comfortable underwear ever?
Those are just two of the coolest new small businesses we found in L.A. (We defined “new” as any business that opened in the past five years or so.)
Know a cool small business we missed? Tell us in the comments.
What it is: An Italian fusion restaurant.
Why it's cool: The soulful Italian restaurant in the trendy Silver Lake neighbourhood offers authentic Italian food, like handmade ravioli, with an eclectic wine selection.
Chef and owner Zach Pollack creates unique dishes that combine traditional Italian cuisine with contemporary American influences. For example, his version of 'pigs in a blanket' is made from mortadella, spelt pastry, brovada, and stracchino.
'It's Italian as reflected through the lens of LA's multiethnic landscape,' Pollack said. 'Interesting and innovative, though fun and accessible at the same time.'
What it is: A craft-tea brewery that specialises in Kombucha, using 100% organic tea blends for flavour instead of juice.
Why it's cool: Better Booch sells its teas in stores all over Southern California. The company recently opened a retail store and tea bar, Booch Bar in Grand Central Market, which serves Kombucha on tap and growlers of tea.
Booch Bar has become popular with the celebrity set, as well. Leonardo DiCaprio is among those known to drink its tea.
What it is: An easy and affordable flower-delivery service.
Why it's cool: Bloom That delivers flower arrangements within 90 minutes of ordering. The app and website make it easy to order with three steps.
It rotates its collection of flowers so that there's always a new choice. Even better, prices start at $US25.
'We're changing the flower game, for good,' a representative from Bloom That tells us.
Ashton Kutcher and Joe Montana are investors.
What it is: An egg-centric restaurant.
Why it's cool: The breakfast and lunch spot started as a food truck and opened its location in Grand Central Market in 2013. As the less-provocative portion of its name suggests, every item on the Eggslut menu uses eggs.
Try one of the egg sandwiches or opt for the Slut: a coddled egg on top of a smooth potato purée, poached in a glass jar and served with a demi baguette.
What it is: An urban flour mill.
Why it's cool: All of Grist & Toll's flour is milled through a process called whole-grain stone milling. The flour making process keeps the key nutrients intact for the best-quality bread.
The flour comes from organic grains that are sourced locally and globally.
What it is: A website that has challenging mental exercises.
Why it's cool: Headspace is a collection of mind exercises and meditations designed to keep your brain sharp. It already has more than 1 million users.
Some of Headspace's benefits are said to help people focus better, smile more, and sleep sounder.
What it is: An affordable interior-design service.
Why it's cool: Laurel and Wolf provides professional interior-design services to fit any budget. Go online and answer questions about your style, submit pictures of your space, and then designers respond with style boards for you to choose from.
'Anyone with any budget can now receive professional design services for a one-time fixed rate, and designers are able to expand their customer reach and market their own personal brands,' says CEO Leura Fine.
What it is: An online retail brand that makes underwear and other basic apparel.
Why it's cool: The MeUndies family takes pride in creating and selling what they call the world's most comfortable underwear and basic apparel.
The clothes are made from an all-natural fabric called Modal, which is extracted from beech tree and makes the underwear feel 'twice as soft as cotton,' according to outreach coordinator Greg Fass.
What it is: A charitable organisation that enters participants into a raffle for once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Why it's cool: Founders Matt and Ryan wanted to give people the opportunity to live out dream experiences while supporting charitable causes. When you sign up for Omaze you get to pick from a list of experiences like getting a walk-on role on a show or meeting a band backstage at a concert.
Once you pick an experience, you're paired with a charity. Every time you donate $US10 to that charity, you get another chance to win that experience in a raffle.
What it is:
Opoli is a transportation service app that lets riders name their price, driver, and vehicle.
Why it's cool: Opoli lets users book rides in advance or on the spot. Users get to name their price, pick from one of the 20,000 drivers, and choose between a BMW, Mercedes-Benz, or Tesla town car.
All of Opoli's drivers are professional, fully insured, and commercially licensed.
What it is: Unique, quality-built fixed-gear bicycles.
Why it's cool: Pure Fix Cycles manufactures affordable bikes and has a rotating selection of looks from classic to avant-garde. The Zulu bike, pictured, glows in the dark.
'We hope to get more people on bikes and we're doing that by creating fun, affordable, and gorgeous bicycles that are the perfect ride for the city dweller, and casual cyclist alike,' cofounder Jordan Schau said.
What it is: An app that makes it easy to both find rental apartments and pay rent.
Why it's cool: Radpad's goal is to 'build the best pro-renter marketplace ever built, so that maybe one day renters will actually enjoy the process of moving and renting,' according to CEO Jonathan Eppers.
The app and website allow users to find rental apartments by searching through listings that show the price, location, and at least three pictures of every property. It makes paying rent a breeze: Users can pay their landlords directly through the app with a debit card or credit card.
What it is: A line of gluten-free and vegan sauces, dressings, and spices.
Why it's cool: Brother and sister team Michael and Marlene Bernstein, who own the catering company Savour This Moment, decided to launch a line of sauces, dressings, and spices. All the ingredients are sourced from Los Angeles farmers markets and exude bold international flavours.
The sauces often pair flavours you typically wouldn't put together like pistachio-mint pesto.
What it is: A mobile gaming network that develops games for players.
Why it's cool: The Scopely team is made up of gamers and developers whose goal is to create engaging and entertaining games for players all over the world so they can 'seize the play.' Scopely has developed the online and mobile games Disco Bees, Dice with Buddies, Slots Vacation, Mini Golf MatchUp, and Skee-Ball Arcade.
What it is: An international website that sells pre-owned designer fashion.
Why it's cool: Women from over 100 countries can buy pre-owned luxury designer clothing and accessories on Shop Hers. Each item is manually inspected and verified as authentic before it hits the market. CEO Jaclyn Shanfeld says that the key to the company's success is trust.
'Both our buyers and sellers trust that we have their best interest at hand,' she says. 'We don't fulfil orders until they have been given our Sure Shop stamp of approval.'
What it is: The first and only omusubi (Japanese rice balls) store in Southern California.
Why it's cool: Omusubi (also known as onigiri) are eaten daily in Japan the way sandwiches are consumed in the US. The restaurant offers 14 omusubi rice balls with fillings of meat, fish, and vegetables. Try the Lucky Cat omusubi: Japanese pickles with fresh wasabi, ginger, and bonito.
Sunny Blue Inc. opened a Culver City location in January.
What it is: A health and wellness urban oasis.
Why it's cool: The Springs is a relaxation haven made up of a yoga studio, organic-juice bar, wellness center, and a raw vegan restaurant and wine bar.
The Springs hosts events like live jazz music, art shows, and deep healing meditative workshops.
What it is: A high-end designer-dress-rental service.
Why it's cool: Wedding rentals are no longer just for men's tuxes.
After her sixth stint as a bridesmaid, Vow to be Chic CEO Kelsey Doorey founded the company to save bridal parties money without compromising style.
'(Bridesmaids) want to look great without spending a lot of money, especially on a dress that they know they will only wear once,' says director of marketing Ashley Ludgood.
The site's newest feature, the Bridal Suite, allows bridal parties to chat and shop together online from the comfort of their homes.
What it is: A vegan and gluten-free cheese shop.
Why it's cool: All of the dairy-free cheese at Vromage is made from nuts and seeds. The shop has a selection of 14 cheeses including Veganzola, truffle cream, and goat cheese with cranberries.
The shop also has a seasonal menu that serves gluten-free and vegan salads, sandwiches, and pizzas.
What it is: A gourmet waffle restaurant.
Why it's cool: Waffles serves waffles like you've never seen them before: waffles with sweet s'mores, crème brûlée, or maple-bacon combinations. Or try the savory California waffle sandwich that comes with turkey, avocado, bacon, cheddar, Dijon mustard, and is waffle-iron pressed.
Customers can build sweet or savory creations to suit their tastes.
What it is: A website and mobile platform that helps hourly workers find jobs they love.
Why it's cool: Workpop makes job searching and hiring easy by pairing up qualified hourly employees with the right employers.
'We empower hourly workers to find jobs that fit their schedule, needs and interests. We also ensure they get a response from employers -- we make sure everyone hears back,' says founder Chris Ovitz.
'And for employers, we provide more candidate information so they can hire faster and smarter, which helps them retain the best people and reduce employee turnover.'
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