Toolbox LA Member Spotlight: Stuart Felkner




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Written by Raychel Espiritu 

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Starting a company is super exciting, especially when you are forging a new path in unchartered territory. That’s part of what Stuart Felkner, co-founder of Creator Ink, is doing with his company and working in the New Media space. Being a founder takes plenty of grit and perseverance, both of which we see almost daily here at Toolbox LA.

What’s your name?

Stuart Felkner

Which is more your vibe?

Adrenaline Junkie

Growing up, what did you think you wanted to be?

Growing up I wanted to be an NBA basketball player. Once I realized I wasn’t cut out for the league, I became obsessed with starting my own business. I started a Car Wash business out of my parents’ garage when I was 10 and charged people a $5 donation. It was a pretty good car wash too including outside and inside.

What makes the fire in your belly burn / what motivates you?

The opportunity to be part of something bigger than myself. I love the idea of building things that add value and bring strangers together in a collaborative way.

What’s your favorite get sh*t done quote?

Why leave for tomorrow what you can do today.

What brings you to Toolbox LA?

Honestly, I didn’t know what we were getting involved with when we signed up for our office at Toolbox. I live in Ventura and my team lives in LA so we were looking for something in between. The energy, members and overall creative vibe of the place has opened up a ton of doors for us and we’re even working with some of the members at Toolbox on some product development projects.

Your Company/startup/project’s name?

Creator Ink

Tell us more. What problem are you solving?

New Media creators on YouTube, Twitch, IG and the like are turning more and more towards their own merchandise to support their content. We take that a step further and partner with these creators to not only put more money in their pocket but to build their brand and create something that will sustain beyond the lifecycle of their channel. We do this through thoughtful products that really resonate with the fans of these creators.

What’s your website?

Community is important to me.


What else should the Toolbox LA community know about you?

I geek out about business systems, leadership in organizations, and product development. Always happy to chat about these topics, share the little wisdom I’ve gained and learn from the experiences of others.

Toolbox LA Member Spotlight: Kevin Taylor




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Written by Raychel Espiritu 

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Our members at Toolbox LA all have such different backgrounds and work experiences. We especially like those who are solving big problems and doing what they can to make the world a better place. This week we are featuring Kevin Taylor, Campaign Manager for Dr. Loraine Lundquist for LA City Council.

What’s your name?

Kevin Taylor

Which is more your vibe?

Calm & Centered

Growing up, what did you think you wanted to be?

An inventor.

What makes the fire in your belly burn / what motivates you?

Justice for marginalized people.

What’s your favorite get sh*t done quote?

“I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized… I’m somebody?!” -Lily Tomlin

What brings you to Toolbox LA?

Left my job and starting out on my own.

Your Company/startup/project’s name?

Dr. Loraine Lundquist for LA City Council

Tell us more. What problem are you solving?

Giving everyday people a voice and ensuring gender equity in our local representation. 

What’s your website?

Community is important to me.


What else should the Toolbox LA community know about you?

I participate civically a lot and like people to know that they can come to me ANY TIME to seek answers on what is happening in our communities. For example, I have a passion for homelessness solutions and am a founding member of the West Valley Neighborhood Alliance on Homelessness.

toolbox la members

Toolbox LA Member Spotlight: Courtney McTighe




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Written by Raychel Espiritu 

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We love having such a diverse, eclectic group of members here at Toolbox LA who are passionate about the projects they are working on. Getting to know what motivates someone to do what they do is always fascinating, which is the intention behind our member spotlight blog posts.

This week we are featuring Courtney McTighe, Customer Happiness Manager at Creator Ink.

What’s your name?

Courtney McTighe

Which is more your vibe?

Adrenaline Junkie

Growing up, what did you think you wanted to be?

I wanted to be an architect and a ballet dancer

What makes the fire in your belly burn / what motivates you?

When I am old and gray, I want to be able to look back on my life and know that I made the most of every opportunity and lived my life exactly how I always wanted.

What’s your favorite get sh*t done quote?

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to top me.” Ayn Rand

What brings you to Toolbox LA?

Growing my company

Your Company/startup/project’s name?

Creator Ink

Tell us more. What problem are you solving?

How to build a workplace culture that stays true as our company expands.

What’s your website?

Community is important to me.


What else should the Toolbox LA community know about you?

I would gladly eat sushi for every meal for the rest of my life

Introducing: Toolbox LA Community Associate Luis Marquez





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Written by Raychel Espiritu 

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Luis Marquez is an artist who loves comedy, reading, and design. A SoCal native, Luis was born and raised in the SFV. After graduating from CSUN with a BA in Art, Luis began working at Wildlife Tattoo training to learn the craft. During his weekends he works as an independent artist and continues to refine his art style and add to his body of work.

Growing up, what did you think you wanted to be?

I wanted to be an artist. Cartoons like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and video games were my source of inspiration and art was a way for expressing all the bombastic ideas that they inspired. My older brother also drew a lot and introduced me to a lot of artist’s work that I fell in love with and helped fuel my creative fire well into my college years.

What did you study in college?

I received a BA in Arts from CSUN. Illustration and panting were my areas of concentration.

My first job was at Wildlife Tattoos as a tattoo apprentice. Designing art and being able to share my skill with others who want to collect it to ornate their bodies with it permanently stimulated me in a way like no other medium has.

What was your first job?

My favorite job thus far has to be as an apprentice at Wildlife Tattoo. The shop and the people that work there have become like a second family/ home to me and you never know what to expect out of your day when you walk in.

Describe your ideal work environment.

My ideal work environment is creative, full of collaboration, where we can push and explore boundaries, and full of intelligent positive people to learn from.

What makes the fire in your belly burn / what motivates you?

Challenge and confusion. Some people may run from it but to me, challenge and confusion dare me to understand and conquer. I’m too stubborn to let those situations like that control me, plus I’m incredibly curious. I’m a glutton for knowledge.

What three words would your parents use to describe you?

Thoughtful, practical, and creative

What’s your favorite get sh*t done quote?

“There ain’t nothin’ to it but to do it!”

Have Heart, Do Well: The Heart Series


Have Heart,

Do Well

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Written by Raychel Espiritu 

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The Heart Series: A Conference for Conscious Companies

Set amongst the industrial buildings in The Row at 777 Alameda St in downtown Los Angeles, The Heart Series is a three-day conference for conscious companies including panel discussions, activities, networking, and brand activations all centered around a common thread of doing good in the world. Tall ceilings, open air, and natural light created a welcoming environment for attendees, despite the first day of heavy rain. Nevermind the gloomy forecast, there was plenty of light shining throughout the room from the event organizers, volunteers, and attendees. There were plenty of beaming smiles and open arms embracing the concept of businesses doing good in the world, which was shared through the duration of the conference.

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The intention for most people in attendance is to learn more about how their organization can raise the bar around transparency and impact. The event organizers made this apparent in every customer touchpoint: free Coconut Water from Harmless Harvest, meatless patties from Beyond Meat, free water from Boxed Water, no single-use plastics, and a gift bag full of goodies of eco-friendly products.

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It was mentioned in the opening remarks that we are currently in the greatest generation of leadership in history, through the various ways we are each inspiring change. I clapped in agreeance. 

There were quite a few talking points on the first day that made an impact, the first of which is the nature of your business entity.

Being a B Corporation and/or a Fair Trade Certified company means your business is verified by an official organization to follow certain business standards and practices. According to the B Corp website, “Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.”

You don’t have to be a non-profit to make a positive impact and help others.

The first speaker of the day was Brad Hagen, President of media company ATTN.

“Doing good can’t just be a trend. We need to hold ourselves, our peers and businesses accountable.” Hagen emphasized how his media company ATTN has shifted away from the traditional trajectory that advertising agencies follow of selling sex, and instead is selling ideas of doing good. He shared a video that generated over a million views on Facebook that showed a young girl who collected donations and hosted a “Free Laundry Day” for those in the community living in poverty. She went around the laundry mat putting coins in washers and dryers, allowing families the opportunity to clean their clothes free of charge. Hagen drove home the idea that people want to see examples of people helping others, and media companies have the power to shift the narrative.

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The latter portion of the day included panel discussions where I learned there are ways to work with businesses; divisions of corporations dedicated to working with small businesses. A key example is Verizon Ventures and their small biz services. Corporate partners can play a significant role in making an impact.

For the remainder of the conference, the workshops and networking activities proved to be fruitful in generating authentic connections and insightful conversations. Personal branding and being true to your passion and purpose was a common theme that was a continuous reminder of why we were all here. To do good.

There were moments where a break was much needed. Luckily, there was a meditation room next door that offered ample space to sprawl out and zen out.

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The Heart Series Conference features facilitated discussions with thought leaders from today’s most impactful companies. This is a must-attend conference if you’re an entrepreneur, organization or brand leader interested in how your business can make a bigger impact.

11:11 ACC Introduces a New Gallery Space Within Toolbox LA


a New Gallery Space Within Toolbox LA

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Written by Raychel Espiritu 

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Toolbox LA has teamed up with our partners 11:11 ACC to provide a local exhibition space for the 818’s creative community. EMBED GALLERY will be opening its doors to local art groups, guest curators and independent artists to exhibit, collaborate and strengthen the creative NETWORK!

Join us on Friday, May 3rd from 6:00 – 11:00 PM for the Grand Opening of the Embed Gallery with the exhibition: NETWORK, in collaboration with our monthly community event First Fridays at Toolbox LA.

Free entry with RSVP, click here to get your ticket.

NETWORK features over 50+ artists local to the San Fernando Valley, Simi Valley or Thousand Oaks in a salon style, small works display of the creative network here in the SFV. Featuring all mediums from 2d to 3d, painting, illustration, sculpture, printmaking, photography and more, all works will be 12″x12″ and priced under $500! THIS SHOW IS CASH AND CARRY! Purchase artwork on opening night and take it with you right away.

Featured Artists:

Walt Hall

Kevin Newton


Jorge Alvarado

Lynn Coleman

George Goldberg

Chelsea Dormevil

Carlos Antonio Reyes

Miguel Pichardo

Dale Voelker

Alyssa Mees

Karina “ Ahlise Vela “ Pelayo

Angela Izzo

Marina Yermakova Timm

Ann Kalb-Kip

Aaron Hagan

Mike Boston

Adebayo Ogunmowo

Sarah Stone

Jordan Monsell

Rain Matheke

Danny Ramirez

Iris Peretz

Karina Garcia

Frankie C

Monica Maldonado

Gabriel Cárdenas

Rebecca Richards

Jennifer Sher

Saul Salazar

Katheryn Pit

Diana Simon

Rolando del Real

Ann Kalb Kip

Monica Sandoval

Erin Stone

Sam Viloria

Roan Florez

Vivian Shih

Brenda Chi

Salvage Art Sweetheart

John Park

Miles lewis

Steve Martinez

Simonett Jackson


Toolbox LA Facade Mural




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Written by Raychel Espiritu 

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You can’t judge a book by its cover, but you sure can judge a building by its exterior.

Drab, dark walls devoid of color are not in the least bit inspiring, and yet, if they’re overloaded with color, you somehow feel like you are stuck in a children’s fun house. A nice balance of design and color is important in creating an inviting and stimulating environment. Here at Toolbox LA, our intention is to provide a creative and collaborative space for creators, makers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and overall do-gooders.

Through our partnership with San Fernando Valley based non-profit organization 11:11 A Creative Collective, we were able to kick off an Artist In Residency program.  11:11 ACC will bring art into our coworking space by commissioning site-specific art installations through our Artist Incubator program. The first phase will be a mural on the outside of the building that will represent the creative vibe that exists within these walls.  Phase two will require full immersion by local artists who will become members of our community and will beautify the space from within.

Starting with the vision for a mural, we worked with Addy Gonzalez and Erin Stone, the founders of 11:11, to decide on a muralist who would be best to create something for the exterior of our space. They put out a call to artists, asking for submissions. After receiving more than a couple dozen submissions from talented and dedicated artists, we narrowed it down to our top 10 favorites and asked for renders. Then we printed each render out and laid them all out on the table to decide which one we liked best. However, we also wanted the community to provide their input, so we put each render up on a whiteboard and had members vote on their top 2 by putting a sticky note on their 2 favorites.

The winning result was Andrew Severns, a talented Los Angeles based muralist who also submitted an explanation as to why he choose the specific colors and geometric shapes for his idea. 11:11 brought him in to start on the mural and after 6 weeks the end result was nothing short of glorious. Now we have a permanent facade that represents the shining, electric world that exists within these walls.

Phase two is currently in the works and more will be revealed within the coming months.

You can check out more of Andrew’s work on Instagram at @severnscanon.  

Toolbox LA Grand Opening Recap


Grand Opening Recap

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Written by Raychel Espiritu 

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Today we officially opened our doors with a grand opening event featuring LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. Mayor Garcetti presented a Grand Opening certificate to us and chatted with our founder Noramay Cadena about his experience growing up in the San Fernando Valley and what he sees as key strengths about the greater Los Angeles area including freedom, innovation, and belonging.

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Special guests included Senator Henry Stern and the Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute.

We discussed smart manufacturing, robots, and the future of work on separate panels with the help of :

  • Sudesh Arora, CEO of NEO Tech
  • Sonja Rosula, Founder of Unique Empire
  • Bob Goldberg, Founder of Earth Island
  • Z Holly, Founder of MAKE IT IN LA
  • SK Gupta, Director of Center for Advanced Manufacturing, USC
  • Ben Dickow, Director of Columbia Memorial Space Center
  • Roberto Gutierrez, Program Manager of LA Valley College
  • Miguel Corcio, Director of Technology Program, CESMII

We gave Mayor Garcetti a personal tour of the facility to learn more what about our vibrant, dynamic community of creators are doing here. He toured our makerspace, learned about the 3D printing services company that operates here, the research going on in the biotech incubator with Lab Launch, and Make In LA’s portfolio companies.

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Our friends at Downey Space Center launched some water rockets with the help of Holmes Middle School students. They were inspired by all the activity and well, who wouldn’t want to blast off a rocket into the sky?

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Through our partnership with Intersect LA, a new endeavor from the visual communications department at California State University, Northridge, we had quality support in making sure the logistics of the day ran smoothly. Special thanks to Dave Moon for bringing the energy, expertise, and students.

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The day concluded with a delicious taco lunch and a good deal of networking.

Thank you to all who participated and attended!

Member Appreciation Night Recap




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Written by Raychel Espiritu 

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The hustle is hard and the struggle is real. Early mornings, late nights, weekends and holidays. Founder’s life is not easy and often your hard work is overlooked and under-appreciated. Well, here at Toolbox LA our intention is to make sure our members know how much we appreciate them working hard to make a positive impact in the world. We see you. Even if you don’t think anybody else sees you, we see you.

And the best part about being a member of our coworking space is that you don’t feel you have to “put on a work persona to fit in.” You can work a 14 hour day on Monday and then stay home with the kids on Tuesday, it’s totally up to you. Whatever your schedule is, you’re a part of the community and we appreciate all that you do.

With so much time spent at the coworking space, we figured why not venture out into the neighborhood, support a local business, and visit Hand Brewed Beer, a local brewery based here in Chatsworth.

We gathered the troops and make the 5-minute trek over to the local brewery to indulge in a beer tasting and some delicious pizza, because, as you know, pizza and beer go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly. Peas and carrots. Salt and pepper. You get the drift.The crowd favorites were both the Rocky Peak IPA (named after our local mountain range) and the Chatsworth Chai Stout. Big thanks to Brian Hand for hosting us!

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It was a short hour and half of socializing amongst our shared desk folks, private office folks, makerspace folks, and biotech lab folks and before we knew it the sun was setting and it was time to get home to our families or back to our grindstone. The eclectic mix of backgrounds made for interesting conversation topics such as how one got into the startup world to how cryptocurrency might eradicate homelessness.

We are truly grateful for the wonderful people who make up this community. Studies have shown that having a community to work in helps create structures and discipline that helps motivates coworkers.  

We are looking forward to the next outing which will definitely be at another local business.

Date, time and location TBA!

Interesting in joining the Toolbox LA community? Click here to schedule a tour to see what the magic school bus is all about.

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1 of 100; How We’re Joining the Conversation on Race in LA

1 OF 100;



in LA

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Written by Raychel Espiritu 

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At the root of our why is a sense of fostering a deep sense of community, because #morekarma means increased opportunities for us all to grow and share and inspire. So when the Embrace LA team came to us asking for venue space to host a dinner, we said heck yes!

What is Embrace LA?

Unifying Angelenos and empowering communities through a citywide conversation about race and racism to challenge and change inequities.

Launched by Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson and Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, the program is an approach that focuses on building relationships and advancing public policy solutions.

This is one of the various strategies in place to initiate true partnership between government, organizations, and residents. Why not revert back to the tradition of coming together to break bread to discuss the challenges our city faces.

“We cannot heal what we will not face” was the theme of the night, as each dinner invitation displayed the truthful yet vulnerable words as reminders not to shy away from the difficult conversations waiting to be had.

Toolbox LA hosted an Embrace LA dinner that welcomed challenging conversations about race and racism with community leaders in order to grow and better understand each other. Founder of Mixed Up Clothing, Sonia Kang, lead the initiative that brought us all together for a dinner facilitated by a member of the Embrace LA team. The conversation started light with each of us giving a background on where our families are from and how we grew up, then progressed to more serious topics such as police brutality and the criminal justice system.

Some tweeted in response “did it make you feel better???  like you’re doing something?? even though nothing is being done???? “ which on the surface level might seem like there is no action, but without civil dialogue then yes, nothing will get done. It takes inspired thought to create inspired action. A civil discourse on a topic such as race is never easy and yet over 100 dinners took place throughout various neighborhoods in Los Angeles over the duration of 6 months.

Programs such as Embrace LA are just the start for how the city, state, and nation are shifting perspectives on race and racism. The anniversary of Charlottesville is a powerful reminder that we are not as evolved a nation as we’d like to think we are. Bringing together people of all walks of life to break bread is a tradition traced back to the beginning of time and will continue to serve as a symbol of the grace of humanity.  

Dig it? Want to host a similar event? Reach out to us.

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