Johnny Landers and Anaïs Ortiz were visiting Yosemite for the first time and staying at Curry Village Lodge in the park. After a day’s adventure, they settled down to play a board game. But, after sifting through the available options, they could not find one that was simple, fun, and playable by all. Instead, they brainstormed a word game that was not based on points or speed, but rather rewarded creative strategies and thoughtful word-making. Then, after being further inspired by a beautiful West Hollywood sunset of pinks, yellows and blues, Johnny and Anaïs concocted the idea for Candygrams, the word game that they always wanted to play.
Loren Vasquez had been an artist her whole life and has spent her career making art for other people and companies, including Disney! She wanted to create art for herself and started designing quirky enamel pins through her start-up business Rose & Roo.
Connie Inukai loved to dine out with her friends, but, at age 68, she had trouble reading the small print on menus and bills in dimly lit restaurants. She was not alone in this challenge; people over 55 experience a decline in vision making reading in darker settings difficult. There had to be a better solution, she thought, than passing reading glasses around the table or fumbling with the flashlight app on her smart phone. The idea for Tip ‘n Split was born, and, with no prior experience, Connie got to work in 2013. “[A]fter 40 years as a University instructor, I put away my teaching materials and launched my own product.”
Nahum Jeannot has spent most of his adult professional life in and around the food service industry, starting as a line cook in 2007. It was during his time as a head chef in 2015, when the idea of GoOats was first conceived. Chef Jeannot was preparing for the hotel’s grand opening celebration and wanted to include a fun, innovative finger food in his breakfast menu. He considered the oatmeal his mother made for him with milk, butter, spices, fresh fruits and more, but realized a bowl of oatmeal was neither fun, innovative nor a finger food. After mulling it over for a few days (and still thinking about his mother’s oatmeal), Nahum seized on the idea of “oatmeal bites.”
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