Sonja Rasula: She’s Curating a Unique Empire

January 26 - On The Dot
FIRST THOUGHT: What Makes You Unique?

Today, we’re talking about uniqueness. The first definition of “unique,” according to Merriam-Webster, is simply “being the only one.” I guess back in the day, people were pretty fickle about the word’s usage, often insisting something is either unique or entirely non-noteworthy. Of course, over time, we’ve loosened up a little with regard to that definition, and these days, “unique” means to stand out, to be distinctive. At On The Dot, we’re all about championing women’s uniqueness. After all, who wants to be simple or common or a boring old dime a dozen?

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 70 Percent More

Lots of folks are opting for unique, locally made goods these days, and that’s a good thing. By purchasing products locally from independent shops, we’re ensuring local businesses flourish. And when local businesses thrive, so do our local communities. In fact, according to one recent study of retail economics, local businesses generate a remarkable 70 percent more local economic activity per square foot than big-box retailers. Furthermore, if every American family spent an extra $10 a month at a locally owned, independent business instead of a big-box chain, more than $9.3 billion would be directly returned to the economy.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Sonja Rasula, Founder of The Unique Empire

Fashion mogul Eileen Fisher called today’s Woman to Watch “one of 30 women entrepreneurs changing the world.” With that kind of ringing endorsement, you know she’s a passionate and savvy businesswoman. Her name is Sonja Rasula, and she’s an expert entrepreneur, connector, motivational speaker, curator, community leader and all-around awesome boss lady.

Sonja is the creative mind behind The Unique Empire, a threefold enterprise where uniqueness reigns supreme and the focus is on cultivating entrepreneurship, growing community and encouraging creative and thought leadership.

Sonja launched the first element of her trifecta business, Unique Markets, about a decade ago, using her entire 401(k) savings to get it up and running, and it has since gained quite the following. With the goal of supporting local design and entrepreneurship, Unique Markets are two-day shopping events featuring work from local makers of home décor, jewelry, clothing, beauty products and more. In downtown Los Angeles in December 2017, 400 vendors and artists gathered for the 10th annual Unique Markets event, with thousands of attendees oohing and ahhing from booth to booth. In fact, since its inception, Unique Markets have featured close to 10,000 entrepreneurs, and shoppers have spent more than $10 million!

Next up, Sonja started The Unique Camp, which brings together 200 creative thought leaders and innovators for a gathering in the California mountains that’s designed to inspire, grow success, encourage collaboration and create community. Campers disconnect from their digital lives, reconnect with themselves and connect with new faces. It’s essentially a business conference, minus the stuffy hotel ballroom and stale ideas. Keynote speakers and business-focused courses exist alongside casual camp activities like horseback riding and archery.

Most recently, Sonja opened the doors of The Unique Space, an inspiring work-and-events spot in the arts district of Los Angeles. Featuring a rooftop terrace, entrepreneurship resource library and funky, locally made furnishings, the space is the home to innovation, creativity, collaboration and entrepreneurship.

There are two key characteristics that drive Sonja: uniqueness and community. By supporting local entrepreneurs and providing lots of opportunities for their growth, she has, indeed, built quite the unique empire!


With the idea that creativity can change the world, Sonja Rasula was first inspired to launch her Unique Empire by this wonderful quote from Martin Luther King Jr.:

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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