Female Founder & Community Leader
In 2008 Sonja Rasula self-funded her first business, Unique Markets, by risking her entire 401k retirement savings. Her innovative, modern pop-up marketplaces have taken place around the country in Los Angeles, San Francisco, NYC, Austin, Boston, Seattle, DC, Phoenix, Denver, and Minneapolis - with more cities on the way! Most recently Nike, Airbnb, Madewell, and Adobe are some of the many brands to tap into Sonja’s entrepreneurial mindset and creative consulting.
Her candid and energetic storytelling have made her a sought-after main-stage speaker at conferences such as SXSW, HOW Design Live, Girlboss Rally, and Create & Cultivate, and companies such as Disney Imagineering and Square book Sonja as a motivational speaker. Her inspirational story has been featured in videos from Lexus to Athleta to Audi. Before becoming an entrepreneur, she was a creative director and content producer who specialized in conceptualizing and launching websites for Fortune 500 companies - she also starred as an interior designer on HGTV’s Home to Go and TLC’s Trading Spaces…
Sonja has worked with over 10,000 small business owners across America, helping them to grow, thrive and take their businesses to the next level. The success of the modern pop-up markets has made Sonja one of the top retail experts in the country, as well as a trend setter and expert in the world of experiential design and production. Sonja lives in the hills of Los Angeles with her husband, two dogs and an always-growing shoe collection.
Sonja was named '1 of 30 Women Entrepreneurs Changing the World' by fashion mogul Eileen Fisher, and Los Angeles Magazine awarded her 1 of 10 of LA's Most Inspiring Women in their annual issue about women in LA (the other ladies on the list included the Deputy Mayor and the Director of The Getty Museum!). Continuing her work to help creative small business owners, Sonja decided to create a permanent place for entrepreneurs and so The Unique Space was born - an 18,000 sq ft building in downtown LA's Arts District that houses 18 private offices, communal space such as a full kitchen, conference rooms, meeting areas and an event space. Rooted in the community, this is where she organizes monthly inspirational talks, educational workshops and classes, and events for entrepreneurs and women.