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Meet Christine Kuwata of Urban Island Occult in San Fernando Valley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christine Kuwata.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
As a child, my family was always big on crafts. They encouraged anything that kept me away from the TV. I remember being a kid and going to my grandmothers and inevitably she would have some form of kids play kit.

Everything and anything from braided and beaded jewelry to making rugs from yarn and growing my own crystals. Fast forward 30-ish years, my friend and now business partner Shana Leilani invited me over to help her create VIP gifts for her monthly burlesque show “Belle, Book and Candle.” We enjoyed the process so much that we decided to create Urban Island Occult.

Has it been a smooth road?
As a person not always. I have a genetic autoimmune disease called Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. With this initial disease comes to stepsisters called fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis. When coupled together these three total up with quite a few disabilities. Urban Island Occult for me is my personal war cry. It’s my shout to the universe that I’m not going to give up and give in. To quote Dylan Tomas “Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage rage against the dying of the light.”

However as a business, the road has been smooth. Every day we wake up and do our best and honor our path. The beauty of Urban Island Occult is we do and create only the things we enjoy. Life is too short to be in a job you dislike or to be doing things that don’t bring you joy.

Please tell us about Urban Island Occult.
At Urban Island Occult we are procurers and creators of magical and miscellaneous items. Our goal is to help create a life sprinkled with magic and help create a self-love routine with glitz, glamour and enchantment. We want to help and heal you. For some that comes as a piece of jewelry to accentuate the beauty on the outside. For others a soap to soothe the worries of the day. Or perhaps a candle to bring love and light into your life. We do it all. As a business and simply as people our mission is to help those around us. We hope to be that friend, confidant and sometimes guide through life and all of its ups, downs and sometimes upside down.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
As an industry, a large majority of small businesses have disappeared in the past few years. Everything from restaurants to repair places. Boutiques and service-oriented businesses. Even long standing idols have closed due to the economy. America was once known as the land of opportunity where anything was possible. My greatest dream and hope for the next 5-10 is to see that small business life force make a comeback, I believe in “shopping small” where ever possible. Simple things like going to my local printshop to make copies instead of Staples or going to a new restaurant instead of the McDonalds. If we as a community came together and spent just a few hundred dollars each at a small business instead of large corporations, we could make an enormous change in our communities.

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