Business Highlight: Oculto 477

Forgive me Father for I have sinned….

Believe it or not that line can get you into the hippest speakeasy in San Diego that is Oculto 477. 

Where does Oculto 477 come from? Why it is the brain-child of its home! Right next to the second oldest cemetery in San Diego, with you guessed it–477 graves! 

Located within Tahona, Oculto 477’s entry is still a secret within the walls of the restaurant (and that’s part of the fun) and reservations are required. 

Entering Oculto, you are submersed into an intimate and ambient room where mixologists cater to your every tasting desire. Despite its location, Oculto sways away from Tahona’s mezcal love towards Prohibition-inspired cocktails giving choices from low-proof sippers to famous cocktails with a twist.

The website opens with a short video curated to entice viewers into the world of Oculto 477, from the cemetery to cocktail creation shots, you get a small taste of the experience. 

The whole look and feel of the site/brand creates a secretive and ghost-like aura while still maintaining the class and elegance of a lounge. Let’s be honest though the highlight is the cool, flippable menu, that KHD created. I know I love to look at bar offerings before my experience because it is so exciting!  I feel like putting this on the site for a speakeasy is incredible and daunting as these things are often kept secret. But I like it!

Finally, they offer a spot to make reservations which is important since that’s likely what you are there for! 😉

Now, for social media, recently the grid has been following a pattern with black + white photos down the center. I love to see that because these photos are often from the Prohibition era which Oculto is deeply influenced by. 

Other colored photos are a fantastical cocktail pictures that beg for you to take a taste. Or a quiet nook awaiting for you and a partner to sit in. 

The quality photos make all the difference, on the site and the social media platforms. I heavily encourage anyone building a website to get great photos precisely because a picture is worth a thousand words and you can use those words in numerous ways! 

If you find yourself in need of a rather nice “juice joint” (word for bar during Prohibition) then I highly recommend you make yourself a reservation for Oculto 477, and prepare yourself to confess a sin. 

Business Highlight: Classy

Classy is a software company that does good.

Okay, so what does that mean? 

Classy has developed software for online fundraising for nonprofit organizations. The entire idea started after the founder’s (Scot Chisholm) mother had breast cancer. A few of his friends had similar experiences so they organized a charity pub crawl for the American Cancer Society that raised $1000. 

They went on to organize a few more events like this but grew frustrated at the process. Chisholm concocted a mix of Evite, Myspace and Paypal to bring fundraising to digital life. However, the platforms could not handle it, so he sought help and built a custom application for the plan. 

Today, it is Classy, recently acquired by GoFundMe, so it’s the real deal!

They have over 2,500 clients including Shriners Hospitals, Teach For America, National Geographic, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. 

As if that wasn’t cool enough! 

We have to talk, branding! 

The entire idea of the name “Classy” came from Anchorman, yes the movie. And that hit line, “Stay Classy, San Diego.” 

I love the simplicity of their site. Everything is straightforward. From the clear distinct font, to formatting. You can find everything within seconds. If you are searching for a way to be a fundraiser, or decide you would rather donate, easy scroll and you have numerous choices. 

This is a company that is making a greater impact in everything they do. They are making life easier for fundraisers and donors!

I am inspired by them!

I encourage you to take a look at their site and potentially do a little good yourself all at the click of a button!

Business Highlight: Wormwood

Emily in Paris has built a love for Parisian culture among viewers everywhere. With that rise, enters Wormwood, a French Bohme restaurant located in the middle of University Heights.

Specializing in serving the much-gossiped about Green Fairy (absinthe), Wormwood aims to educate while nourishing the minds of the San Diego with the area’s first absinthe bar.

Eating at Wormwood is a transitional experience, you truly feel as if you are sitting in a French café. Couple in a tasting of one of their exceptional absinthe choices with their insanely fabulous food and you are in Belle Époque Paris!  

I love design and interior design is no different. I had my party in the Secret Garden, a parking lot restored to a wonderful serene setting. Now, I can talk about the wonderful setting and experience that dining at Wormwood is all day, but of course I need to touch on their branding + website as well 😉!

 Wormwood’s branding is on point. From the small green fairy logo, that is extended into their menu. I adore their soft pieces, and the first photo on the website is perfect. I love how they use different flatware, textures and colors to bring a sweet, french, caring sentiment. However, what I find the most exciting about Wormwood is their efforts to educate its consumers, from absinthe classes to tarot reading classes. They are offering experiences surrounding their identity, which is electrifying.

Taking a small trip to wormwoodsd.com and you find a site filled with beautiful professional photographs. There are little snippets of what to expect in “Le jardin secret”, absinthe options and a quaint absinthe carafe display. You will feel FOMO without even realizing that after one view of these photos!

Wormwood has a fabulous social media presence. This beautifully combines everything they worked to portray in person and online into the social media world. A soft, airy grid allows you to view happy customer’s testimonials, gorgeous drink options and delicious eats. Even better you get to meet the Wormwood genius’ on staff which helps give off a homey, known-you forever feel.

SAnté

Business Highlight: Girlfriends Guide to Golf

A few years ago, Marcela Smith–an avid golfer came across an opportunity in the golf industry; as she noticed there was not a lot of great info for ladies about golf rules, etiquette or attire.

She started golfing at 39, however, it wasn’t an easy path…because of that experience, she found her true calling for golf within the rules.

Girlfriends Guide to Golf is the brainchild of Marcela, created solely to help people like herself who wanted to enjoy the sport but had no idea how or where to start. She’s now had a ton of success teaching rules through her social media and blogs as well as planning and setting up girls’ golf weekends to teach rules and of course, connect women golfers!  

Now, this entire topic is very near and dear to my heart because we actually ran into each other at a marketing event where she found out I had played golf in college, (and hadn’t really since) she utilized that moment to connect and get me back out on the course!  She mentioned to me her idea, which I thought was great and so I helped her create Girlfriends Guide to Golf.  This gave me the opportunity to build out her brand and website.  

Thank goodness that’s an opening I am happy I took, because Marcela is beautiful inside out, full of wit and gives information in a very straight-forward fashion (pun slightly intended), which was also our goal to highlight on the website. I really had fun creating this one. Who you work with makes an incredible difference. 

Whoa! Did we have a fabulous selection of photos to choose from, which is like sourcing really fine ingredients for a good meal! We focused on the blog at the beginning but she has since expanded in many ways from sharing promo codes right in the menu bar (knowing her girlfriends want quick access-it’s all about listening to what your audience wants). A growing company and site like this is always a work-in-progress, with more updates on the horizon to be sure the site keeps up with her creative expansion. 

Girlfriends Guide to Golf is this month’s business highlight because of the high-level care Marcela gives to her girlfriends and her desire to help people. As you all know, I love supporting people and surrounding myself with people who do as well since it maximizes what we can do overall. If you need any help out on the course or curiosity is after you, then I highly recommend having a look at Girlfriends Guide to Golf.

I hope to see you on the greens!

Business Highlight: San Diego Made

You may have found that your home is not set up to support a WFH (work-from-home) office space, or that a routine is needed to encourage productivity. San Diego Made is a place that has made all that a reality. (I almost wish I wasn’t set up at home)!

They have created a space for co-working, setting up shop, holding events, and building a community all within one warehouse on Commercial Street.

The creative workspace that is San Diego Made is a seriously fabulous remodeled factory, #drooling (is it just me who drools over architecture?) with studio and office spaces, an event space, and is often turned into a marketplace to support local artisans within the San Diego Made community, they of course have goodies like; San Diego Made offers fast WIFI, conference rooms, podcasting/private call rooms, A/C, plus a kitchen and dining.

Aside from the physical attributes that San Diego Made has to offer, they have built a community developed through membership! Becoming a member of their community gives a local artisan, craftsman, or businessman the ability to advertise on their website, special opportunities to sell at the markets, blog publication, and discounts to speaking events/workshops, as well as the chance to attend monthly networking socials–brilliant! 

I’m not a member but it looks like a simple process with an application and fee, but the benefits make it surely worth it.

I adore the utilization of an industrial space to make new dreams come true and love the modern feel of the office design. Not to mention, the beautiful  straightforward approach of the website, and community-centered branding!

San Diego Made in my opinion filled a hole in San Diego that we were not even aware was there. Having access to multiple networking and growth events in itself is a huge bonus, but add in the marketing opportunities and a beautiful office space and oh, my!

Check out San Diego Made’s delightful website and awesome social!

Business Highlight: Xena Financial Planning

One of my favorite parts of each month is sitting down to highlight an incredible business.

We have traveled the globe with our highlights, learning about the ins and outs of multiple businesses ranging from authentic mezcal, Australian letterpress, and California ceramics.

This month I am focusing on a wonderful client, Danika Waddel, the founder, and lead planner of Xena Financial Planning.

If you are anything like most, the conversation surrounding finances can be incredibly overwhelming. With how often women are left out of the finance conversations, it is no wonder entering the conversation often feels intimidating.

Danika removes all feelings of uncertainty, instead educating her clients and inviting women into the conversation of money.

Like many women, Danika knows from first-hand experience how often women are left out of finance and investing conversations.

As the founder, Danika’s focus is on women in the tech industry who receive equity compensation, typically in the early to mid-stage of their careers. Her goal is to help her clients make sense of all their options, working directly with her clients to navigate all that life is throwing their way.

Women make up a surprisingly small portion of the tech industry, around 30%, making Xena’s commitment to empowering women even more respectable. Xena is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion while creating a judgement free community where every woman is treated as an individual, one with her own life experiences and dreams.

As a woman who started my own business after an incredible journey of learning from others, I have immense respect for any woman who steps into the role of a businesswoman, especially in a male dominated industry like finance.

Danika’s path into finance was not linear, rather she spent the 15 years post college (with her BA in Mathematics! What a wizz!) in multiple accounting roles where she felt human connection had almost entirely disappeared. This lack of connection encouraged her to build her own practice, one that allows her to be “more nimble and innovative, while specializing in a particular niche”.

As you enter Xena’s service page, you can feel the power of the women, and their dreams, behind this firm.

Danika’s uses Gloria Steinem’s powerful words on her homepage…

“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lost the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”

Thank you, Danika for the gentle reminder to never forget the importance of dreaming.

Business Highlight: Clay & Craft

We take pride in highlighting incredible companies all over the world.

From Melbourne, Australia to San Diego, California, it is a pleasure to highlight businesses that make a greater impact in their own unique way.

This week, our team at KHD is proud to highlight Clay & Craft, a popular pottery and ceramics studio located just a few miles up the PCH in the quintessential beach town of Encinitas, California. 

Whether you are interested in taking a class or looking to add some color and uniqueness to your kitchen, be sure to stop by Clay & Craft the next time you are in the neighborhood. There is nothing better than supporting local, especially a business made up of talented, authentic artists.

On the topic of business, I want to highlight the beautiful branding Clay & Craft has created. With the use of natural colors, clean fonts, and a navigable site, it is clear they value the customer experience. 

We sat down for a chat with local ceramist, Emma Storm, to learn what this studio is all about!

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Emma Storm (@mudd.hands)

Well, if you are working at Clay & Craft you must be a talented ceramist! Can you tell us a little bit about how you got started?

I started doing pottery when I moved to San Diego in 2018. I was looking for a new artistic outlet and I had always wanted to try pottery. I never got to meet my maternal grandmother, but she was an artist and a potter and I grew up admiring her art in our home, so ceramics felt right. I completely fell in love with the practice and hope to continue learning and throwing for life!”

How did you hear about Clay & Craft?

I had left my previous job in July 2021 and decided to dive into art full time. Two days later a friend sent me Clay & Craft’s Instagram post advertising that they were hiring, so I jumped at the chance! It felt like the universe had aligned to bring us together!”

Why do you love Clay & Craft?

“I love Clay & Craft for a lot of reasons. Mainly because Nicole (the owner) has provided such an awesome environment for people to come create, learn, and enjoy the craft of ceramics. I love helping people learn how to throw; watching them go from never having thrown on a wheel to them having made 3 or 4 pieces by the end of their lesson is such a privilege. I love the process and seeing clients be proud of themselves and in what they made.”

Do I need to reserve a time to come to Clay & Craft? How does it work?

Yes! You can reserve a time for either a 90 minute private or group wheel lesson. Our website makes it super easy with available appointment times listed, just click and book! We also offer Handbuilding workshops and Wheel Time for seasoned potters. And, in the coming months the studio is expanding and we’ll be offering more classes and workshops.”

I’ve never thrown before, will someone be there to teach me?

“Yes! When you book a wheel lesson, an instructor will be there to teach and guide you every step of the way.”

I am experienced and i'm just looking for a wheel, can I throw in peace?

“Yup! We offer 90 minutes of uninstructed wheel time (by reservation) for those who are confident in their throwing skills to come in and work at their own pace.”

What can I make at Clay & Craft? Do I get to keep it?

You can make whatever you want! One piece is included in your lesson and any other pieces you make are an additional $10 firing fee.”

Are there any community events we should know about?

“We offer group workshops each month. An annual Sample + Seconds sale and plan to host a social event in the coming months once we complete our studio expansion. We encourage people to follow @clayandcraftco to stay in the loop.”

What is your favorite piece to make?

Everything! Everything I make is special to me. Being able to create something useful out of earth is the coolest thing to me. Drinking coffee out of a mug, eating off of a plate or bowl or watching a plant grow in a pot I made is a really special feeling.”

If you could describe the feeling you have when you are on the wheel, what would it be?

“When I’m throwing a piece on the wheel, I feel zoned in. In that moment, nothing else matters but being present with the clay. It’s a peaceful feeling.”

How can we support you? Where do you sell your pottery?

Come book a class at Clay + Craft! Follow us on Instagram @clayandcraftco and you can follow me @mudd.hands.

Nicole has her pottery on the Clay + Craft website as well as in the storefront of the studio.

I sell all of my work through a friend, chef, and author of cookbook “s h i n e.”, Sylvie Coulange. You can find my pieces on her site or through my Instagram @mudd.hands.

The holidays are around the corner and nothing is better than a homemade gift. We cannot wait to see what beautiful pieces come from the talented hands of Clay & Craft!

Business Highlight: Tahona

Is there anything better than a delicious mezcal spirit with flavorful Oaxacan eats?

Tahona does it best.

Located in the Old Town neighborhood of San Diego, the one-of-a-kind agave bar brings the spirit of Oaxaca to Southern California.

Tahona’s mission is “to educate and give reverence to the complexity and beauty of the Mexican culture through its most iconic beverage, mezcal and to become an epicenter of mezcal culture in San Diego.”

Inside their space, you get to experience unique, amazing cocktails, fill up on delicious Oaxacan inspired food, and can taste some of the best mezcals in the world. The team at Tahona has a colorful selection of over 120 mezcals, creating a tasting experience that is fun, educational, and memorable.

Right when you step foot into the restaurant you immediately feel and see the Oaxacan influence. Located next to the Campo Santo Cemetery in Old Town, there is a historic energy throughout the restaurant. With hand painted tiles and handmade rope seats which were sourced from Oaxaca, visitors get the feeling of being transported to a modern Mexican hacienda.

The authenticity of Tahona is prevalent on all levels, from their furniture choices to the mezcal selection, which was one of the reasons I chose to work with them.

Here at KHD we work with a wide variety of businesses that make a greater impact, those who use their skills for good through authenticity, education, and inspiration.

When creating their logo, I did a lot of research on the history and process of mezcal, which is fascinating. Learning the story and production of mezcal, I decided to incorporate the heart of the agave plant into the design, bringing Tahona’s spirit of agave to life. I wanted to make sure it felt rustic yet modern to fit with their vision.
 
As a designer, it is extremely fulfilling to see my work bringing others’ visions to life. As someone who loves interior design, it was extra special to see it in a restaurant. Another part that made this project memorable is how focused this group is on using their skills to make a greater impact while staying true to their values of authenticity, education, and inspiration.

Tahona proudly shares the purpose of taking their greater impact home to Mexico:

As a socially responsible business, we support the work that Corazon de Vida is doing with 10 orphanages and over 550 disenfranchised children in Baja California. Our first project is to open the first art center at Rancho de los Ninos, an orphanage located in Valle de Guadalupe. Just as mezcal is a powerful force to learn about geo-political and environment issues, art is a powerful medium for healing and creating a deeper connection with the soul and we are excited to be part of this project.”

Next time you are in San Diego, I highly recommend visiting Tahona and enjoying their Oaxacan influences and rustic designs! This is a project am really proud to be a part of and I think you will see why when you experience the beauty of Tahona.

Take a seat at the bar, enjoy a Corn & Chile Poblano Croqueta with a signature mezcal drink and you will be well on your way to an unforgettable evening!

Business Highlight: Bosh Bosh

Educate. Empower. Inspire.

This is the mission that the NGO Bosh Bosh so proudly and elegantly executes by way of education, business, and fashion to provide their members with vocational training, access to extra-curricular educational opportunities, scholarships, and employment.

I first heard about Bosh Bosh in January of 2019, and instantly knew I wanted to collaborate with them forever.

The inception of Bosh Bosh began when Charlene Espinoza joined the Peace Corps in 2011. She served as an English teacher in rural Salala, Liberia, where she saw first-hand the challenges that women and girls face on a daily basis. This experience led her to deciding that she needed to start the nonprofit organization as a force to educate, empower, and inspire girls and women in the area; but she didn’t stop there.

Now, Bosh Bosh is an ethical fashion brand and nonprofit organization based in the United States that unites people from all over the world who believe that poverty can be alleviated by empowering women and girls through education and economic development. They use social enterprise as a way to create opportunities for Liberian and Mexican women and girls in education, livelihood creation, and vocational training.

Which reminds me a lot of Sir Richard Branson and what he has been able to accomplish with Virgin Unite. In his book “Screw Business as Usual”, he talks about the importance of empowering people with the skills they need to take their life into their own hands, and not always just handing out money. This is something we feel like Bosh Bosh has expertly accomplished. They want girls to take charge of their own futures and empower themselves, their communities, and in turn the world.

It’s like that old proverb that says “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.

Bosh Bosh has several programs and products, a few of them include:

Scholars

Scholars is their program where they provide specific knowledge through seminars and workshops that deal with central issues such as: Health, Family Planning, HIV/AIDS Awareness, Life Skills and Female Rights. Bosh Bosh also helps to motivate and encourage their scholars (female students) to stay in school by offering them full school scholarships, advising and tutoring, which is important because over 62 million girls around the world are not in school.

But of course, they don’t stop there.

Production Team

Bosh Bosh’s Production Team is a team of survivors! Survivors of the civil war that ravaged Liberia from 1990-2003. Now they work to start a new life for themselves and their children in Salala. Through Bosh Bosh, they are not only learning the trade of sewing (traditionally a trade reserved for men in Liberia), but they have the opportunity to attend school for the first time in their lives.

Education Team

They also have an Education Team and what they call their Star Program, where they promote social entrepreneurship and community service.

Bosh Bosh is nothing less than exceptional, and I know I am grateful for and admire the hard work they are putting in in both Liberia and Mexico to improve the lives of women and girls.

If you are interested in supporting Bosh Bosh [like we also do!], you can check out their growing number of products that are sewn by their production team right here: http://boshbosh.org/products/lappa/

Or donate right here: http://boshbosh.org/donate/

We are so impressed with all Bosh Bosh has accomplished to empower, inspire and educate women and girls, and we are very proud to call them out as a monthly business highlight, truly making important moves and a greater impact.

Business Highlight: Church of Music

If you know me, you know I love to dance.

There is no better feeling than being on the dance floor, feeling the freeing energy created by smiling strangers, knowing that you are all here for the common purpose: to dance. 

As the light at the end of the tunnel slips open, dance floors are beginning to make a comeback in very creative ways. One organization that came alive due to the barriers of dance floors during the pandemic is Church of Music, founded by one of the most bold, courageous, and amazing women I know, Alina Gordon, who I am proud to call my soul sister.

This month’s business highlight is one that is close to my heart.

When people in my surroundings do massive things, I want to support them all the way. Alina is doing exactly that. She is materializing a dream of creating a compassionate community with boundaries and a focus on impact.

You may be thinking, “How were people finding places to dance during the pandemic?”.

Well, Church of Music, often known to parishioners (attendees) as COM or “church”, is a weekly service experience where love is their faith, music is their religion, and dancing is their practice. Just like many other religions, service takes place every weekend, mixing between Saturday and Sunday, at a different, beautiful, outdoor San Diego location.

COM’s Mexico Experience is just the beginning of a global vision, one which includes sharing the COM Ethos with the world. 

Unlike other dance floors which can often be filled with drugs and alcohol, Church of Music was established on ten beliefs, known as the COM Ethos. These beliefs set COM apart from other dance floors, creating an inclusive, communal environment rather than a rave-like setting.

The COM Ethos are as follows:

Unlike the common rave culture, which is often stigmatized as dangerous and harmful, this ethos is emphasized at each service and has created a community founded on music and connection.

For many, they have never heard of an ethos, I get that. So, to help our fellow parishioners, as well as future parishioners, understand what makes COM the beautiful environment that it is, I broke down each portion of the ethos to bring light to the careful intentions which were taken into consideration when creating the ethos.

1. Radical Inclusion

Accepting all humans/ aliens, old and young, any race, faith, gender, and political view.

2. Gifting/Participation

Who doesn’t love gifts? COM parishioners love to share and everyone is encouraged to share their gifts/ talents. Although sharing is encouraged, mindfulness of space and acceptance is necessary, and anyone is free to decline with kindness.

3. Decommodification

The world is full of things, COM puts more value on nature, love, and connection over commodities. 

4. Radical Self-Reliance

A beautiful trust on one’s own powers and resources rather than those of others.

5. Communal Effort

Without community, we are nothing. We come together to co-create magic together in our weekly services.  

6. Civic Responsibility

Actively participate in the COM community, we want to get to know and give back to our community! When we care, give, and show respect for the people, places, and spaces we are in, the world becomes better for all!

7. Leave No Trace!

Leave the world better than we found it. We are guests on this planet. COM Parishioners leave every space we occupy better than we find it. 

8. No Alcohol/Open Containers

COM is not a rave, we are not a party. We are here to dance and celebrate one another with clear minds and raise our vibrations.

9. Radical Self-Expression

Be YOU. This is your space! Wear what makes you feel free, dance however your body moves, be who you want to be.

10. Take Care of the Machines (Bodies)

We get one body, treat it with respect. When we treat our bodies with love,  we treat the machines that assist us with respect and all the equipment that provides the ability for us to make our magic for all. 

Together, parishioners and COM Crew ensure that the ethos remains at the foundation of each weekend service, reminding the community that we are together for one reason: to enjoy music, dance, and create community where all are welcome and respected.

Another exciting part is their logo, which I created! Inspired by Alina, a church window, sunshine, community, and of course bold creative colors, their logo is now widely known in San Diego.

If you haven’t had a chance to check them out, it’s time.

COM’s location changes weekly. To find out where they are all you need to do is send Church of Music a donation via Venmo (@COMSD) of your choosing ($35 suggested), and the location will be sent to you!

If you want to be a part of something uniquely different, love dancing to incredible music, see live ballet, electric violin, fire dancers, and much more, go check them out @churchofmusicsd on Instagram and join one of their services!

I hope to see you on the dance floor!

As COM Parishioners say, In Music We Trust.