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!”

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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Introducing: Toolbox LA Community Director Raychel Espiritu





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Written by Raychel Espiritu 

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Creating the Toolbox LA “vibe” is the core focus of our Community Director, Raychel Espiritu. It’s that palpable feeling you get when you walk through the door and get a sense of what this place is all about. Her experience in digital marketing and event production allows her to switch between the many hats this role requires. Being a native of Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley also drives her passion for seeing this place grow and succeed.

Your full name

Raychel Espiritu

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

When I was a little girl I wanted to be a lawyer because I loved to ask questions and argue. I was quite precocious. 

What did you study in college?

I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater Arts with a minor in Business Marketing from Cal State University, Northridge.

What was your first job?

Working in retail. I was a Sales Associate at Wet Seal in the Topanga Mall. That’s where I really learned the meaning of hustle.

What been your favorite job?

Director of Global Communications at Music Group. I traveled around the world connecting musicians with pro audio gear to create content for social media. It brought me to Deadmau5’s home studio in Canada, SXSW, Coachella, Hong Kong, Alaska, and more.

Describe your ideal work environment.

Open space, high ceiling, natural light. Team energy is focused on collaboration with plenty of brainstorm sessions. Throwing ideas on the wall and executing on them fast. An environment that allows creativity to flourish. Pretty much what Toolbox LA is in a nutshell!

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

Working with people and companies with progressive values like radical transparency.

When you’re not at work, how do you spend your time?

I love to dance! Dance classes, yoga, meditation and breathwork classes, sound baths. I’m into the zen vibes.

What three words would your parents use to describe you?

Caring, intelligent, resourceful 

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

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” Salvador Dali

11:11 A Creative Collective and Toolbox LA Partnership


Toolbox LA


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Written by Raychel Espiritu 

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Introducing our new Artist In Residence program

At Toolbox LA, we believe that creativity plays an important role in developing next-generation products, platforms, and companies.

The evolution of our Artist In Residence program is reflective of the community we are building here at Toolbox LA. The art installations from previous Artist Residencies that were developed here are now cornerstones of the essence of what we are creating.

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We are so excited to announce our new partnership with 11:11 A Creative Collective, whose mission is to provide a collaborative and educational multidisciplinary environment for artists and the public. The partnership will be through our Artist In Residency program until the end of the year.

11:11 ACC will bring art into our coworking space by commissioning site-specific art installations in two phases. The first phase will be a mural on the outside of the building that will represent the creative vibe that exists within these walls. The second phase will require full immersion by local artists who will become members of our community and will beautify the space from within.

Want to learn more about this program or recommend an artist? Visit their website at

Join us Monday, October 1st, 2018 for the Grand Opening of Toolbox LA and to kick off a week-long celebration of National Manufacturing Day in Los Angeles. Click here to RSVP.

About 11:11 ACC

Mission: To provide a collaborative and educational multidisciplinary environment for artists and the public. We support collaboration between artists and their community and facilitate the creation of art in areas where there is little to no access to the arts.Vision: To inspire and affirm the importance of a developed, cohesive and accessible artistic community and to assure readily available and affordable resources for aspiring and emerging artists. We aim to accomplish this purpose by supporting and promoting funding for artists and art.

About Toolbox LA

Toolbox LA offers a shared, community-driven workspace for location-independent workers. We empower creators and technology-enabled startups with resources to collaborate and build their businesses. Our innovation hub includes coworking, shared desk space, dedicated desks, private offices, event space, a makerspace, hardware accelerator Make In LA, and biotech lab for startups Lab Launch.

Why I Cowork In Los Angeles


Cowork in

Los Angeles

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Written by James Green 

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I work a lot! It seems that if I’m not eating, sleeping, or doing homework with my kids, I’m working. I don’t say that as though it’s some badge of honor. The truth is most adults spend more time at work with people they aren’t related to than they do with the people they love most. It’s not a bad thing, just a fact of life. But if we’re going to spend the majority of our time at an office away from our loved ones, we should love what we do and where we do it.

Since I quit my job as CMO of, I have been working at various places all over Los Angeles. Some days I go back to my old offices and borrow a desk for the day, other days I go to the office of one of the investors for my new business, but most days I go to a space specifically designated for coworking. There are a handful of reasons I prefer working in a coworking space over working from home or going to a traditional office.

Community and Connection

Growing up, I moved a lot and as a result, changed schools frequently. I went to 8 schools between third grade and high-school graduation, which taught me how to make friends quickly. Most people are longing for a sense of belonging and want meaningful relationships. When you cowork, you look across the room and have a sense that all of the people here are striving to make their dreams come true. Co-Entrepreneurs. Co-Dreamers. Co-Workers. Co-Friends.

Environment and Inspiration

Having worked out of a few coworking spaces, it’s easy to see how hard this is to create but wow, my current coworking space at Toolbox LA has this down. It’s a new coworking space, but the space has energy, emotion, and beauty. The exposed ceilings show the grit of a building that has been reborn. While some of the art is a bit weird, it has a creativity and rawness that reflects back on the people who are equally weird, creative, and beautiful.

Flexibility and Variability

The part of my entrepreneurial soul that drives me to create a better service for transaction coordinators also seems to breed a restlessness that makes sitting at the same desk every day challenging. Coworking makes it easy to try a new desk every day or even multiple times during the day. I can move next to the window to remind myself what the outdoors look like (I told you I work a lot) or go to a secluded area to knock out 40-50 emails in an hour. However I’m feeling, I’m not limited to an assigned desk nor am I limited to only working next to my small but growing team.

I love coworking, but if I can continue to build my business and my team (knock on wood), we’ll likely need to move into a space of our own. Hopefully, when that time comes, we will be able to take a few of things we love about coworking and build those same elements into our own space, to build our own community.

Written by:

James Green is an entrepreneur with 15 years of experience in the online dating, pet, and real estate industries. In addition to being Founder and CEO of a transaction coordinator business and a startup helping home buyers and sellers find a real estate agent, he also has extensive experience in marketing and business management. Previously, James served on the Board of the Google Client Advisory Council while working as General Manager and Head of Marketing for Christian Mingle. He is a member of Toolbox LA  in Los Angeles.

Toolbox LA Partners With Cal State Los Angeles


Cal State

Los Angeles

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Written by Raychel Espiritu 

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Toolbox LA Partners With Cal State Los Angeles To Offer Tech Startup Opportunities

For those who went to university, the fall season is synonymous with new possibilities. A new semester also means new courses, classmates, and professors. The energy is usually buzzing with excitement on campus with the thought of what will unfold over the next few months. This past fall was the perfect opportunity for Toolbox LA to partner with Cal State, Los Angeles for an internship with an undergraduate student.

Toolbox LA is an innovation hub in the San Fernando Valley that offers unique training grounds for students. It’s a space with resources such as the hardware accelerator program, Make in LA, the makerspace, Hexlab, and the biotech lab, Lab Launch. It’s a doorway with an exciting peak into the burgeoning Southern California startup landscape for those students curious enough to ask.

The Launchforce Internship

Launchforce, a program offered by Cal State University Los Angeles, helps match students to startups needing their skills through a 10-week program with $3,000 in paid hours. This opportunity was made possible thanks to a sponsorship by AT&T that offered hands-on, real-world experience to the right undergrad looking for a new challenge.

Sandybel Rojas, a freshman studying business management, joined our team as a sales intern for Toolbox LA. Her tasks included researching target demographics which in turn provided a framework for learning sales techniques and processes.

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Sandy came on board with a great attitude and ready to take on the challenge. Although she was the youngest candidate we interviewed, she had the best interview due to her confident nature, the discussion around the alignment of her goals to be a future entrepreneur and non-profit organizer, and her strong commitment to community development.

As someone who had grown up on the south side of LA, Sandy was committed to building the kind of community she herself had experienced at a young age through a nonprofit called A Place Called Home. Through organizations such as this, she had become an active volunteer in programs like Teens Taking Action and Girl Power.

Before officially starting, Sandy worked with the community director to create personal and professional goals she wanted to reach during her time at Toolbox LA which included relationship building, understanding the sales process, and becoming a better presenter. 

While coworking spaces were a new concept to Sandy, she took the time to research this innovative new way of working together through shared spaces and even visited other coworking spaces. Never before had she seen entrepreneurs collectively working in such a capacity, and especially doing yoga together. This changed her view of how people work together and gave her ideas for how Toolbox LA could use similar resources within the coworking space.

While working with the community director, she also learned how to create customer segments, develop a baseline script to speak with customers, send out emails, and make phone calls to potential clients. Through this process of outreach, Sandy was able to gain confidence and start making connections. Using various social media platforms, she was able to share the vision about the space and connect with new people.

Through this process of research and outreach, Sandy was able to connect with influential business leaders. These newfound skills allowed her to bring them into the space, make a connection, and book them to speak for future events.

As a follow-up action item that would support her process of improving her understanding of business professionalism, she was encouraged to join a business association on campus. She decided to join the Hispanic Business Association and was able to meet their board, giving Sandy a great inside look at what it takes to be a leader. Attending her first networking event with the organization allowed her to apply this knowledge to the real world and gain first-hand experience.

Her last project involved understanding a sales funnel and strategy by assisting with a report.

Sandybel’s internship concluded with a presentation at the university where she spoke about her experience and the skills she had improved upon such as research, outreach, and professional communication. Despite her nerves, Sandy gave a wonderful presentation. As a naturally gifted speaker, she had the audience smiling, laughing at her jokes, and taking the journey with her.

Not only was Sandy able to conquer her apprehension with outreach and networking, she also became a skilled presenter and public speaker.

Sandybel said, “It was a great experience, something that opened my eyes up to a whole new world of possibilities.”

We were very happy to have Sandy be a part of our team during her time at Toolbox LA. We’re always looking for great students interested in learning more about our work and mission. To learn more about opportunities to get involved, please contact us at