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Meet Trailblazer Mazel Higa-Kazuma

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mazel Higa-Kazuma.

Mazel, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
It’s so cliche, but I have been creating since I was a child. One of my favorite childhood memories was when, on dial-up internet, I found a website that sold beads, and my mom let me buy about $40 worth in different colors, sizes, plus tools. I was around 10 years old, living on the island of Saipan, and I was thrilled that this company actually shipped to us. As soon as I received them, I was beading my name and flowers onto all of my clothes. When I was 14 years old, we moved from Saipan to Los Angeles, and I made a vow to myself that I was going to dress however way I wanted. I figured, no one knew me, I was a blank canvas, and if I started as whoever I wanted to be, people will just know me as that. My friends and family still find my “style” weird, but it’s okay, because I am not comfortable with normal anyways.

When I graduated from high school, I only applied to one college, The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise. I got in, but long story short, I ended up not going. I went to Pasadena City College, took fashion classes, and lo and behold, I learned very quickly that making clothes was not what I wanted to do, and to be honest, my designs weren’t even all that great. Like, even I wouldn’t wear them. Haha. I saved my parents a ton of money, and now looking back, as sad as I was for not going to FIDM, I am so glad I ended up not going. I delved in wardrobe styling and making jewelry, and actually moved to Palau in 2012 (where I am from ethnically), to create jewelry and connect with my roots. I lived there for a year, then moved to Guam where my husband was living. I slowly stopped making jewelry, as it was hard work to create jewelry with your hands, and I needed a job, to say the least. I’ve always wanted to travel more, and through my previous jobs was able to travel as far as Africa, but I knew, I needed to explore more, and I needed a job that would allow that. I ended up becoming a Flight Attendant, flying between Guam, Rota and the island I grew up in, Saipan. Talk about full circle. Within the first couple of months in my new gig, I found out I was pregnant, and then 18 months after, he was born, we had our second son. Having my kids has been the biggest creative inspiration I have had so far. Thus, leading me to where I am at now.

They inspire me to re-connect with that part of me, that is essentially what makes up my entire soul. The part of me that lay dormant, while I navigated the different chapters of my life. The part of me that can’t sleep at night, because I just have to make something. Their curiosity inspires me to do so many things. All of that to say, once I had kids, I realized that everything that makes up parenthood, is solely based on what works for you and your family. This is how The Kid Kulture came about. My experiences in all the places I have lived and traveled to make it hard for me to follow one specific way of customs. Now, you add children to that formula, and your answer is infinite. I’ve figured out after reading a gazillion articles and facebook posts on how to be the best parent, that we just need to create our own culture, inspired by the curiosity of these little people that I have the privilege to witness grow everyday. I started my blog and Instagram account as a way to share the culture we are creating with other parents. This culture narrows down to something my husband said, “Don’t worry so much about teaching them, let them teach you who they are.”

So, my outlet is just that. I follow their lead. I am inspired to share this with friends, family, anyone who will listen, because motherhood is no easy feat, and the only way I come up for water everyday is knowing I am not alone. On my blog and other social media outlets, you can find our DIY projects, homeschool themes for the month, travels, adventures around LA and whatever else kids throw at you. So to tie this question up, today, I am a wife, I am a mother, and I don’t lose sight of the ME before they because together we create, and it is so much more fulfilling than it’s ever been, as being creative can often be a lonely world. I am lucky to have them with me as we find our calling together, sharing our little life with anyone who wants to see.

Has it been a smooth road?
It definitely has not always been a smooth road. I have been in various departments of the fashion industry for so many years. As mentioned, I attempted fashion school, dropped out, went into wardrobe styling, didn’t like that so much, made jewelry, loved it, but all the work I was putting in wasn’t paying my bills. After all of that, my favorite gig was being a flight attendant. It was fun being able to travel, and having a schedule that allowed me to be at home with my kids most days and have time to be creative.

When I look back now, all of the things I weaved myself in and out of, ultimately created a basket. This basket holds all the things that make me who I am, and it overflows. I am proud of that. I may not be a million follower influencer, but on my own terms, I have experienced so much more than I ever thought I would, especially being one of roughly 20,000 people from my country. As a child, I only dreamed of coming to the mainland, and now I live in LA again, after 5 years of recreating my story. I look back to 2008 when my good friend and I were driving around LA, photoshoot after photoshoot, and sometimes I kick myself for not vlogging about it all and becoming some sort of youtube sensation, haha, but then I can’t do that to myself. I have to believe that every step I’ve paved is worthy, and whatever comes out of this gig is my legacy, be it small or big.

The industry is now saturated, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t space for you. My advice for women, especially younger women is, don’t rely on luck, rely on preparation meeting opportunity. Remember that your fingerprint separates you from every single person, what I mean by this is, you are unique, and your approach may not be for everyone, but it is definitely for someone, so don’t sleep on that. Keep doing you, you’ll be surprised what you can create when you learn to focus on what makes you, YOU.

We’d love to hear more about The Kid Kulture.
I am an avid reader, and I may not be the best writer, but I love a good story, and I love storytelling. This all ties in with my urge to create with my hands. Having a blog allows me to wear several hats. It allows me to create something with my hands, whether it is a DIY project, like how to make Magic Sand for my kids, then writing about it, using language, which is a beautiful instrument in itself. My main focus now is providing an experience for my children, and sharing that with whoever wants to listen. I am mostly a stay at home mom, so on a daily basis, I try to create projects to keep them entertained, and educate them. We try to travel as often as we can, and I like to share those experiences with other parents, because traveling with kids can be so terrifying, but there is nothing more amazing than exploring a new place through the curious eyes of your children, and that is a message I want to send.

I suppose I could be called a lifestyle blogger or maybe a lifestyle + mommy blogger, as it is impossible to trap my focus in one box or niche, but my life is dictated by cute little people. I am most proud of how I mother, because frankly, I never imagined myself as a mother, and now being in the most important role of my life, I am realizing that, even on the bad days, I’m still badass. In the past couple of months, where I have become more candid and started sharing some of the darker sides of being a mom, I have had people respond to my posts with their own experiences, and that has pushed me to continue to just be myself, and share what I know, and ask questions when I don’t know. I think the biggest service I can provide through this outlet is to be generous with my ideas and to be open to other’s ideas. That is what creates community, and community is what drives any type of success. I think what sets me apart from others is having a very unique culture, being from a beautiful tiny island. I say this because, my culture, and the mish-mash of other cultures that I have come to experience, have trained me to be as open-minded as possible, and to be a sponge because everything I see is never jading. When you come from a small island, everything in the world is HUGE, so I keep my eyes wide open, so my heart and my mind absorbs everything, with the hopes that whatever I give back is worthy.

Finding a mentor and building a network are often cited in studies as a major factor impacting one’s success. Do you have any advice or lessons to share regarding finding a mentor or networking in general?
Everyone is a mentor. I don’t mean this in a, set up meetings with every single person and pick their brain, but I mean this in the essence that, you should always stay interested in what people have to say. It is hard for me to actually talk about really getting out there and networking, since most of my time out is with my kids, but have conversations. Give people the time of day. Explore the geo-tagged locations in your area on things that interest you, and go there. Be yourself when talking to people. Always introduce yourself and listen when they introduce themselves. And in the words of my favorite businesswoman, Idalia Salsamendi, “Don’t be an asshole.”

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