Here in Hudson County, there are endless ways to make your mark — and these 10 people based in Hoboken + Jersey City have done just that. Every month, The Hoboken Girl will be highlighting different people in our area that readers should have their eye on. From innovators to inspirational mamas to singers and artists — there is no shortage of unique people to inspire, educate, inform, and share their passions. We’re highlighting 10 people to watch locally in Hoboken + Jersey City for the month of June 2023. Without further ado, here they are:
John Forslund + Michael Knight | Owners of Unjumbold
(Photo credit: Mia Isabella Photography)
John Forslund and Michael Knight live in Jersey City, but work all over the Hoboken + Jersey City area. Their brainchild, Unjumbold, is a full-service renovation design firm specializing in kitchens, bathrooms, and whole-home renovations.
“We took our combined passion for real estate flipping and made it customer-facing in 2020 and we never looked back,” the couple shared with us.
In their first year of meeting, Michael and John fell in love, renovated, and sold an apartment in Harlem, renovated and opened a wildly successful Airbnb in the Catskills — and then headed for the suburbs. A year later, they renovated their New Jersey home, and opened Unjumbold in Hoboken. Now, with three properties in the Catskills, and becoming in-demand renovation designers in New Jersey, they get to focus on creating beautiful spaces for clients with the recently added a kitchen, bath, and home design showroom within their retail location at 257 1st Street in Hoboken. Simultaneously, they introduced Bold by Unjumbold, their select home goods and gift store right across the street at 252 1st Street, which is combined with local legend Ricardo Roig’s Art Gallery. Michael and John share similar design aesthetics, an affinity for modern minimalism — finished off with eclectic bold finishes and furnishings. Their love of the outdoors and Upstate New York shines through in their embrace of natural wood finishes and rich warm tones.
“We love our neighbors, clients & community! We constantly meet people who need a fresh start in life, or want to recreate their spaces after their kids are grown and gone — or clients who have been dreaming of their perfect kitchen for 20 years and finally have the resources to bring it to life. I am inspired by peoples stories every day in the field and learning what renovation means to them. To some, it’s just a new kitchen. To others, it’s a new beginning.”
John and Michael’s Local Favorites:
“We love our real estate friends at PRIME; they are super local, they know the area and the people, and you are always in good hands!” They’re also big fans of Rooted Rags — adorable hand-embroidered clothing items, MainStreet Pops’ uptown markets, and Luca Brasi’s on 1st Street.
Says John, “Our three years in the Hoboken and Jersey City area have been, and continue to be, surrounded by brilliant hard-working people who hone their skills and trades and make magic possible every day. The community here is strong because of the people in it and that is not lost on us.”
Nate Gold | Artist, Producer, + DJ
Founder of Stoop-it Sundays, Nate Gold is an artist, producer, and DJ from Hoboken. Whether he’s performing in the city or producing for other artists, Nate is at peace when he is surrounded by music. His current project, Stoop-it Sundays, is a pop-up dance party on 1st and Washington Street where he brings the decks to the street to play original + fan-favorite music for the people walking by. Nate told HG, “The mission of the series is simple, to share the gift of music with the people of Hoboken.”
Nate’s roots in music date back to the age of 10, when he played a variety of instruments including piano, guitar, violin, and clarinet. His father is a trumpet player and his brother is a cellist, so for as long as he could remember, music was always around him. In his early years, Nate fell in love with songwriting, which was his primary focus for the years to come. Fast forward 15 years, he has launched multiple music brands and contributed to various productions and events.
“The community of Hoboken has always been special to me,” Nate told HG. The way we share music, food, and culture is inspiring. When I walk around this city it seems like everyone always has a smile on their face. Something is in the water in Hoboken.”
While Stoop-it Sundays is relatively new to the Hoboken scene, Nate has already received support from the community. He told HG that when he first started, “Babies turned their heads and moved to the beat. Young and elderly enjoyed the rhythm. The streets came alive, and it was amazing to see my vision come true.”
Nate’s local favorites: Choc O Pain and The Shannon
Zach Gotlib | Co-Founder + CEO of Selfi Health
View this post on Instagram
Zach Gotlib is the Co-Founder and CEO of SelfiHealth, a Hoboken-based mobile app that connects individuals with others on shared health concerns. He describes that his application is like leading dating apps like Tinder for peer health support, it’s designed to match patients and caregivers with each other and non-profit organizations based on health concerns and who they are as people to provide more meaningful peer health support.
His idea of launching Selfi Health surged from his very own personal experience with open-heart surgery. Zach had surgery at 20 years old — after being born with a congenital heart defect. He feels he “was given a second chance at life, and that drives [him] to make sure others facing health challenges know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, life is a journey, and our experiences are what make life worth living.”
Through his experiences, Zach has realized how inaccessible and valuable peer health support really is. As the American Heart Association Survivor of the Year, he “spoke to people on a daily basis who reiterated how much they would have benefitted from connecting with someone like them, facing health challenges like them.”
Zach enjoys having his business based out of Hoboken because “it’s the perfect mix of excitement with things to do, but also gives me the opportunity to chill out. Moving from the city, I always felt stressed. Walking around Hoboken allows me to clear my mind and reset.”
Jess Quarello | Co-Founder of Extra Lucky Moms
View this post on Instagram
Hoboken resident Jess Quarello and Caldwell resident Taryn Lagonigrol co-founded Extra Lucky Moms in 2021, inspired by their two daughters with Down syndrome. ELM is an inclusive space for all disabilities that provides support and education through media, publication, literature, and corporate speaking.
“Our community inspires us because it is made up of the hardest working mamas and children around! These are fierce mamas fighting for the best for their children, who work hard every day to do some of the things we take for granted.” Jess shared with us that her favorite thing about living in Hoboken is the incredible community. “Hoboken is a city with a small-town heart.”
James Calleo | Singer, Songwriter, + Founding Member of Widely Grown
View this post on Instagram
James Calleo is a singer-songwriter and founding member of Widely Grown. For many readers of The Hoboken Girl, James is probably a familiar face (or voice) — he’s been voted Local Performer of the Year not once, but twice, by our readers.
Less than a year out from their self-titled debut, Widely Grown are now selling out monthly residencies, packing bars, and clubs on a regular basis. They’ve drawn comparisons of vibe to Railroad Earth, Grateful Dead, and the Wood Brothers, to name a few. James describes the band as “A little grass. A little rock. And a lot in between.”
This year, Widely Grown will be performing at the Barefoot Country Music Festival, alongside big country names like Blake Shelton, Darius Rucker, and Lady A. They will also be taking the stage at Maplewood Stock in Maplewood, NJ on July 8th.
“I have been a part of the music community for over 8 years now and am inspired every day. Playing regularly at venues like Battello, Finnegans, Union Hall, Grand Vin, Hudson Table, and most recently White Eagle Hall with Stranger Stopping Strangers,” James told HG. I now book at Fox and Crow and have held numerous open mics to give back to performers starting out, just as I did 10 years ago at Northern Soul in Hoboken.”
Keep up with James and his band, Widely Grown: You can follow his journey here.
Jane Dua | Founder of nunchi
View this post on Instagram
Jane Dua has a decade-long career in the fine jewelry industry, having grown her brand nunchi from a 12-style assortment to a collection worn by celebrities including Beyonce, Taylor Swift, and Rihanna. She has led fine jewelry e-commerce brands in all facets of the business including product development, design, merchandising, wholesale and retail sales, and e-commerce. She also executed the production and development of jewelry collections presented in Fashion Shows for brands like Fenty Puma, Moschino, Halpern, and Donna Karan. She is currently an Associate Board Member of the Korean American Community Foundation, was a member of the inaugural Asian American Girl Club Empowerment Series, and has collaborated with women-owned brands including Oya (femtech), Kitsby (food & bev), and Alyssa Stevens (tech) among others.
Jane told The Hoboken Girl that the mission of her business is “Advocating for community and representation is the lifeblood of our business, with 100% of our supply chain being BIPOC, immigrant-owned, and family-owned businesses in New York City that are internally vetted and audited to ensure fair wages and ethically sourced materials.” Above all, though, Jane says she is driven by the trust and support of her community, by which she is “continually inspired by their passion to wear their values and tell their stories about their authentic selves through our pieces.”
Jane shares her love for New Jersey by saying: “There’s a rich tapestry of diversity in North Jersey. From family-owned diners to cultural festivals, we’re blessed with being in a bustling hub for art, food, music, and entertainment. It’s a center of lifelong connections, culinary experiences, and an active + present community.”
Christopher Miller | Managing Partner of The Lambs Club
General Manager of The Lambs Club in NYC, Chris Miller grew up in East Windsor, NJ, but has lived in Hoboken for 13 years. He started working in the restaurant industry when he was 16 years old, and when it came time to go to college Chris was unsure of what he wanted to do. Chris went to community college and changed majors a few times while working in that same restaurant. He worked his way up to be the bar manager by the time he was 22 and worked there until the age of 25.
He started working at The Lambs Club in Times Square in 2019 until the pandemic in March 2020. Flash forward to 2021, Chris was contacted to come back to the restaurant as General Manager, and the restaurant reopened in April of 2022. At the end of 2022, the owner of the restaurant, Sant Chatwal (Former owner of Dream Hotel Group, prior to selling to Hyatt this year) approached chef Jack Logue and Chris about being partners in the restaurant.
In regards to breaking into the restaurant industry, Chris said “I think there is a huge opening for young, ambitious people in the industry. I’d love to inspire some of the local restaurateurs to take some chances and not be afraid to try new things.”
Chris’ local business owners he admires: “Danny Grey from Green Rock, Saku, Grand Vin, etc has been a friend of mine for a long time. He’s worked really hard and isn’t afraid to take chances.”
Follow Chris and his journey with The Lambs Club here.
Alexis Walling | Co-Founder of Doggie Road Trippin’
View this post on Instagram
Alexis Walling is the co-founder of Doggie Road Trippin’, an Instagram account that highlights local dog-friendly businesses + events. Alexis has called Hoboken her home since 2010 and is a speech-language pathologist for a North Jersey School District working with Prek – 4th graders.
Her inspiration for Doggie Road Trippin’ came from her own furry friend, Buckley the English Bulldog. Alexis partnered with her friend Erica Seitzman and her pup Lilly to start Doggie Road Trippin’.
“There are an incredible amount of dog-friendly events and places to visit,” Alexis shared with HG, and Doggie Road Trippin’ covers “anything reachable by car from Hoboken.” They’ve even recently added a select few guest “rePAWters” to helping sniffing out all the good stuff.
About Hoboken, Alexis said it’s “an amazing town to live in…and the community is incredibly supportive. It’s also one of the most dog-friendly cities.”
Follow Alexis and her Doggie Road Trippin’ page here.
Shakera Rosa | Founder of Mile Square Mommies
Shakera Rosa, is the founder of Mile Square Mommies as of April 2023. To her Mile Square friends and family, she goes by Kera or Pixie. Born and raised in Hoboken, Shakera is currently living 10 short steps away on the Newport Waterfront area. She is a wife, mom, Momprenuer, fashion artist, and titles herself as the “Fairy God Mother of Parties.”
She finds that Hoboken inspires her everyday. “Hoboken is home! I’m an ’80s baby so I got to grow up in the Mile Square during a magical time,” she shared. “Hoboken inspired me in many ways from the diversity, awesome community programs & events that were available to us back in the day, the people, the school district, etc.”
Shakera ventured to launch Mile Square Mommies “to restore that old town magic, to highlight + celebrate the families, especially the moms, mom bosses, and mom artists of the Mile Square City.”
In time, Shakera hopes MSM will become a safe space for all Hoboken moms — born and raised or new to town.
Shakera’s favorite local Hoboken businesses: Vision Of Hair Salon, Torna’s, Charritos, Medicine Man, Albini’s Pharmacy, Empire Coffee + Tea, Sweet Hoboken, Urban Coal House, Grimaldi’s, Taste Buds, St. Mary’s Thrift Shop, Hoboken Hot House, and Fiores.
Shakera’s local business owners she admires: Jason + Derrick, owners of Thrifted by J & D, Quadir Ladson, owner of Square Mile Pit Stop, Ashley Brand, owner of 201 Hair Salon, and Julia Miller CEO of Vision Of Hair Salon — who she describes as a “big cousin but more like a big sister. She really pushed me to utilize my gifts & talents. I’ve been her event planner for 6yrs now & social media manager for 3 years. I’m truly inspired by her and her awesome team of stylists who are also moms!”
Ling Chen | Artist
Artist Ling Chen has been living in Jersey City for many years. On her website, she features sketches of her favorite places, landmarks, and activities in Jersey City — which you’ve probably seen at the local farmers’ markets and on social media.
Among her sketches, she has used locations such as Newark Avenue and Downtown Jersey City as her muses. Ling has had ties to Hoboken as well, and her Mile Square sketches include the Hoboken Train Station, the Hoboken Fire Station, and numerous bars + restaurants throughout the area. You can catch her popping up at many outdoor markets throughout the area. Although she has moved to Montclair, her Hudson County ties will always be a part of her.
For potential inclusion in our next round-up, fill out this Google Form here (or send it to someone you want to see featured!).