Alissa Walker is a writer whose work focuses primarily in and on Los Angeles. She writes about design, architecture, cities, transportation and walking for many publications, including GOOD, Fast Company, and Dwell, and is the associate producer for the KCRW public radio show “DnA: Design and Architecture” hosted by Frances Anderton. In 2010 she was named as a USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Fellow for her writing on design and urbanism. Alissa lives in a royal blue house in the Silver Lake neighborhood, where she throws ice cream socials, tends to a drought-tolerant garden, rides a Creamsicle-colored Public bike, writes infrequently on her blog, Gelatobaby, and relishes life in L.A. without a car. Find out what she’s up to at gelatobaby.com or follow her around town at @gelatobaby
Amy Flurry is State of Unique’s Biz Section editor! A writer and editor of 15 years, Amy was a regional editor for Lucky magazine and a contributor to national publications including InStyle, Conde Nast Traveler, Refinery 29, Gotham, Paste, House Beautiful, County Living and Daily Candy. Her new book, Recipe for Press, Pitch Your Story Like the Pros and Create a Buzz! is—in our opinion—the “how-to-be-your-own-publicist” guide for entrepreneurs and emerging designers. In addition to her editorial work, Amy provides brand consulting for a mix of fashion and lifestyle clients. In 2010, Flurry co-founded Paper-Cut-Project, a company that conceives art direction and highly crafted installations in paper. Its work has been featured in the NYT, Italian Vogue, Nylon and Marie Claire Taiwan.
Buy Amy’s much-buzzed-about book and follow her blog or Twitter updates.
Marat Shaya is the Web Producer at UNIQUE. When he’s not busy putting together content for the website, you’ll probably find him shooting and directing videos for clients or consulting brands on how to effectively use their social media outlets. Marat’s favorite thing to do (Nerd Alert!) is spend hours online watching videos on how to better edit footage he just shot. Aside from that, he loves a great video game every once in a while, his wife Aisha’s famous chicken quesadillas, collecting shoes that he’s not sure what to pair with, and getting tattooed. You can follow his alter ego KidMuri on Tumblr and Twitter.
A technical whiz, Jonathan not only designed and built the State of Unique website, he creates all the graphic design for the UNIQUE brand. Jonathan attended CalArts and has produced work for a variety of projects including working with Yosi Sergant on RE:FORM SCHOOL (voted a top art show of 2010) and photography for GOOD magazine. He lives in Echo Park, rides a 1972 Honda CL350 Scrambler motorcycle and is quite the sushi connoisseur. When he’s not busy with UNIQUE he’s designing a robotic crane system for use with DragonFrame’s ARC Motion Control. Follow him @jonathansager or check out his photos at jonathansager.com.
Before she joined the UNIQUE LA team as a volunteer back in April of 2010, Aisha Shaya was a huge fan of the design and art show. No longer just a shopper, Aisha is now the Events Producer for UNIQUE (a perfect role for her since she loves creating databases and maps as much as being a people-person). Originally from Almaty, Kazakhstan Aisha moved to LA 3 years ago with her high school sweetheart, now husband, Marat Shaya. She lives in the heart of downtown LA and spends her free time with friends, traveling and reading. She prefers music videos to movies, speaks Russian, loves anything leopard print and shares her inspirations on her blog.
Sonja is the founder and creative director of UNIQUE. She grew up in the hills of Echo Park (Los Angeles) where she learned to skateboard and play in the dirt. As she became a tween she discovered the Glendale Galleria and the Beverly Center, and quickly traded in being a tomboy for cute shoes and lip gloss. But then her family moved to Canada, where she went to high school and university, and she fell back in love with the outdoors (especially canoeing, hiking, camping and the snowy winters). She just bought her first house in the hills of Echo Park, just a few blocks from the house she grew up in, where she lives with her husband and mighty dog Apollo. You can read all about her professional history and accomplishments on the About page. You can follow her @UniqueLA.
After graduating from fashion school, and honing her skills through design internships at Rodarte and Nike, Aimee Santos landed her dream job and is now a working designer in her hometown of Los Angeles. Constantly crafting in her spare time, she created her DIY blog, SwellMayde, as a home for her readers to embrace their creativity. It is all about finding inspiration and teaching others how to bring it to reality with easy to follow steps. She believes in taking a moment to create, having fun, and adding a personal touch to one’s wardrobe and daily life. When she takes a break from crafting, she usually is trying new restaurants or getting lost in museums. You can follow her @SwellMayde.
Stephanie Wu is the first New Yorker to join UNIQUE. A resident of the East Village, she moved to the city shortly after graduating from the University of Michigan. Currently, Stephanie is a retail consultant, blessed with the chance to work with well-known brands and jet set all over the country. Previously, she managed the e-commerce and digital marketing for fancy knicker line, La Perla. However, her real passion lies in indie design – she often spends hours getting lost on the web hunting for up and coming designers to add to her wardrobe. Friends will tell you that she strives for the look of “homeless chic” (Stephanie’s words) or to them, just homeless. When not channeling the bag lady on the corner of St. Marks and A, she enjoys wining and dining or squealing over YouTube videos of puppies.
MJ and Ella are a couple meant to be. They both Eat Big and Think Big, their love for food has set them on a journey to explore the different tastes and flavors that make up Los Angeles. Ella, a Los Angeles native, strongly believes the best way to understand her town is through food and MJ a Midwestern gentleman, has photography and conceptual projects on his menu. They both feel food is what fuels their creativity, so together they created StomachLife Los Angeles, their purpose is to share their experiences with others and welcome other creators to the dinner table. StomachLife.com is not your average food blog, and any one with food for thought is welcomed…
Husband and wife team Ruth and Michael Storc have made careers out of a love for good design. Ruth is a budget-minded interior designer, a painter, and a mother. For years Ruth worked off-camera on a variety of shows for HGTV. Michael is a graphic designer, an artist, and a father. Together, they are treasure hunters and sell at the Rose Bowl Swap Meet. They write another blog, Design Patriot, focusing on great products made in the US. One day, while looking online for an Amish wagon to bring to swap-meets, Michael realized something was missing. There was no database of American-made products that were also well-designed. Seeing this as a real lack, they set about finding such items and letting people know about them.
Living in the hip area of Los Feliz with her amazing husband, Cathleen Simmons spends most of her time working at Forever 21 Inc. in Downtown Los Angeles. When she isn’t writing fashion newsletters for Forever 21 stores, she enjoys contributing to webzine Darling Magazine and posting photos on Instagram. Never thinking her Journalism degree would come back to bite her, she now finds herself gravitating toward the keyboard as she spreads her wings writing for UniqueLA. No matter how embarrassing, she’ll always claim being a huge fan of Glee, karaoke and being the girl with the US Weekly subscription. As humor and good friends top her list of things never to be without, Cathleen often dreams of donut diets and the beauty that is Palm Springs. Follow her on Instagram @cathleencsimmons.
Margaux Olverd originated on the East Coast, but now resides in Los Angeles where she writes about music and art. She can often be found painting, picking flora and fauna, and occasionally experimenting with dye. After spending time in Cannes, Margaux learned to parlez Français as well as hoard wine. She remains astounded at the popularity of cupcakes and hopes to one day be a perfumer. Role models include Harriet the Spy & Jeannette Walls. She works in advertising, follow her extracurricular activities at www.thesmartskirt.com.
Adam Elramly is the owner of ETRNLST, a rising lifestyle brand based in Southern California’s Inland Empire. In addition to running his brand Adam is passionate about writing; he documents his everyday life and interests, along with the various projects he and his friends work on on his blog. Adam is currently studying international business and marketing at Cal Poly Pomona, where he is a founding member and editor at TEN57, the campus’ soon-to-be-launched lifestyle magazine. With roots in punk rock, skateboarding and D.I.Y cultures, Adam knows a thing or two about building from the ground up. Music also plays a big part in his life, having written, recorded and performed all over Southern California. You can follow him @whoisduma.
Vera Paras is our resident Craft aficionado. Give her a paper clip and some twine and soon you’ll have a new necklace. Need impromptu gift wrap with only newspaper and some plastic bags? She’ll make it work. At her ‘real job,’ she spends endless hours in front of a computer scrutinizing Photoshop layers; but we all know that she’d be much happier making random art projects. On the rare occasions she’s not designing, you’ll probably find her drinking craft beer or indulging in some ‘foodie’ activity. So if you need to know what beer to pair with that meal—she’s also your go-to gal. Follow Vera on twitter @learnenvy.