Girl Boss Spotlight: Justina Carubia, Owner of Bohemian Magic Studios
Name: Justina Carubia
Location: South Plainfield, NJ
Name of Business: Bohemian Magic Studios
Type of Business: Creative Spirituality and Creating Support & Community for Witches (Personal Development & Spiritual Membership Site)
Did you always want to be an entrepreneur and start your own company?
Yes, I always had a super entrepreneurial & creative spirit! I remember as a kid, I would go around the neighborhood collecting random rocks – I would paint them and turn them into little ladybugs and other fun creatures. I would then sit on the curb outside of my house and sell them to passerbyers for 50 cents to $1 a pop. This was my ice cream man fund on hot summer days! I made quite a few bucks doing this. This was the first taste of combining my creativity with business. After I graduated Art School in 2005, I started a small photography business where I would shoot sweet 16 photos for clients and turn them into fantasy and fairytale portraits. I was always doing little creative business ventures, so I always had that entrepreneurial spirit about me. I think it stems from my late paternal grandfather. He came over from Sicily over 40 years ago with nothing but a dream. He settled in Elizabeth, NJ and started his own tailor business, where he would design and sew custom men’s suits, and he was very successful doing so! I think it might just be in my DNA – it just skipped a generation. My brother is the same way – he owns his own theater and production company in Los Angeles and is doing very well for himself. So thank you Nonno for passing on the Entrepreneurial gene!
What were you doing before?
I have worked TONS of odd jobs my whole life, and I still am doing those to make ends meet, to this day. I still would not say that I am at a point where I am fully supported with the income I make on my creative endeavors, but that is the general direction that I am aspiring to land in the near future. I have worked every job under the sun including boring reception & data entry desk jobs. I’ve been a traveling photographer’s assistant and a traveling music teacher at different pre schools and day care centers throughout central New Jersey. I have also played music at private parties, and specialized in planning and organizing Children’s Tea Parties and Mommy & Me events, which was probably one of my favorite gigs. I have done children’s book illustration, painted jewelry for a line on QVC, and more recently I helped manage the social media and designed all of the multimedia for a touring Abba Tribute band. I have also been a nanny for the past 4 years. If it’s creative, and has to do with kids, art or music, I’ve probably done it!
When did you decide to make the switch and why?
I wouldn’t necessarily say that I have made any abrupt switch – I feel like I am constantly changing and evolving. It has always been sort of a slow trial and error process for me. I feel like even to this day, I’m constantly feeling things out and trying what works and what doesn’t. I am still working my day jobs and taking random gigs to make ends meet. However, I did feel a very important shift around August of 2015. I just remember feeling super lost around that time. Gather round kids, and strap in, cuz we’re going down the rabbit hole!
I was approaching my Saturn return, and my 30th birthday, so I remember going through a bit of a quarter life crisis. I wasn’t sure what I wanted, but naturally I turned to spirituality, hoping for some kind of divine intervention and guidance from the powers that be. I put out into the universe that I really wanted to find a spiritual mentor. I even typed into Google – “Spiritual Mentor”. A bunch of random stuff popped up, including Forbes articles and info on how to find a business mentor. Not quite what I was looking for. I quickly felt discouraged, and more lost than before. Now I am not joking you – just as I closed that Google search window, I got a ping on my phone. One of my friends on Facebook had invited me to some tarot broadcast on an app called Periscope. I usually ignore these stupid Facebook invites, but I decided to download the app, and tune in. That is where I saw a woman named Krysten Burkhardt-Hansyn doing live tarot readings to her hundreds of viewers. I watched the entire stream, and then at the end she plugged this new Tarot 101 course that she was giving out scholarships for. If I had gotten this scholarship, I could get a free ride with the course! So right away I did all the requirements, which was to record a 2-minute video and explain why I want to learn the tarot, and what I think I would get out of the course. So I filmed it and submitted it, and within 24 hours, Krysten emailed me back inviting me into the course and gave me the scholarship. So I took the course, which was about 6-8 weeks, I believe, and she had provided me with the spiritual AND business mentorship that I was seeking at that time. In her course, I had access to a private FB group and a whole community of likeminded magickal folk who were all seeking the same things! I also became a certified Tarot Reader through her course, which was very exciting! This was basically the start of my spiritual path as an adult, and I knew in that moment that I wanted to create a creative and spiritual-based business.
What gave you the idea for your business?
Bohemian Magic Studios stemmed from an old blog I had on blogspot titled “La Boheme Magique” back in 2007. Over time, that platform had become outdated, and no one really used it anymore. In 2014, I decided to rebrand and relocate to YouTube under the new name Bohemian Magic Studios, where I would share magickal recipes, book reviews, witchy garden tips and showcase my lifestyle surrounding themes of nature magick. Not long after, I started a website to coincide with the videos, where I would post the written recipes. I would post other things on there as well – such as my tarot musings and services, essential oil recipes and classes, and nature related craft projects. I was also getting very into studying nature, and the cycle of the seasons, and found much joy celebrating the Sabbats on the Pagan Wheel of the Year.
Around that time, I had also created my own private Facebook Group for close friends of the magickal sort. The 2 platforms didn’t have much to do with each other at that time. I just formed the group as a means to stay connected and form more of a sense of community with other witches I associated with on the platform. Around 2017 or 2018, an up and coming platform called Patreon started getting more popular with YouTubers. This platform is designed to keep creators funded by their biggest fans. I had created my page, and all my reward tiers, but I just never hit that publish button. This was the biggest fear for me. I never thought anyone would want to pay to support my work. It sat dormant for a few years as I went through many life transitions during that time – got married, bought a house, settled in, traveled, adopted and raised a kitten, etc.
The New Year 2020 rolled around (pre-pandemic), and I decided on a whim that it was time to take the leap. I launched my Patreon page! Within a few months I had around 6 Patrons or so. One of the tiers I had created was my $10 FULL MOON TEA PARTY Patreon Reward, where every month around the time of the full moon, I would host a live stream where all my members could tune in, we could have a magickal chit chat over a cup of tea, read tarot for each other, meditate, do group magick, marvel at the moon, share life stories and experiences, you name it! When I got my very first $10 Tier patron, now it was time to really put my money where my mouth is. I had to deliver! I only had 1 Patron signed up for the Tea Party, but I had to figure out a way to make it more engaging for her. This is when I decided revamp my private Facebook community and join it with my Patreon to create one solid, tightknit community. I grandfathered in all of my existing group members, and once I build up my Patreon tier more with paying members, the group will become more of a Patron space.
I hosted my very first Patreon funded Full Moon Tea Party in June of this past year (2020). I have hosted about 2 or 3 since, and they just keep getting better! I really feel that these virtual tea parties have established more of a sense of community for my group members, especially now more than ever! I feel like we all have experienced deep feelings of isolation due to the pandemic and social distancing guidelines, so naturally we are looking for new ways to connect on a deeper level with each other. Seeing other group members face to face on a video call enables them to form a more personal relationship and bond, and my goal is to create that sense of community and give each member a platform for their voice and stories to be heard.
Aside from the tea parties, all members have access to the group and we have daily engaging discussions surrounding our spirituality and magickal lifestyles. It’s the perfect place for newbie witches to thrive, because it’s a great atmosphere for them to feel accepted and supported while they try to find their way in their spiritual path and businesses. It’s not only a place for newbie witches though; there are many in the group who have been living their magickal lifestyles for years, so their experience and wisdom is very helpful to the ones who are just jumping into things blindly. I’m doing for others, what Krysten did for me, when I was feeling lost, so I guess in essence, I’m just paying it forward.
How would you describe your brand?
I would say that my brand is a blend of magick, whimsy, creativity, personal development, and spirituality all rolled into one. My brand is dedicated to helping other witches step into their power and speak their truth! Many are put off by the idea of others knowing about their practice, and often they are made to feel ashamed by peers in their lives – close friends or family with other belief systems, or even an employer. Another key word would be COMMUNITY. My private community enables its members to flourish in an environment where they feel accepted and encouraged to share all the magick they are working in their lives! I truly believe that you only start to vibe when you find your tribe! When you are in alignment with who you are associating with, and are able to speak your personal truth, that is when the true magick starts to happen!
What was your biggest hurdle in starting your own business?
I think my biggest hurdle is, actually believing in myself. I tend to doubt myself, A LOT. I also have a tendency to jump around a lot. It’s hard for me to stay focused on any one thing for too long. If I feel like something isn’t working out right away, I tend to abandon the project and find something else that seems like it has more potential. I HATE having to feel like I have to put all my eggs in one basket – I guess that’s just the Sagittarius in me. I think that’s why my Patreon & Facebook Community have been working out so well – because it’s not only about ME and MY interests anymore. I feel like I have to hold myself accountable for my community members, not only because they are paying clients and I have to deliver on the product. It’s more than that. It’s about stepping into my role as a mentor, and holding space for my community members, because it’s the only place they feel like they can be themselves and speak their truth. I think another hurdle I’ve had in business, is knowing my worth. I think I didn’t push that publish button on my Patreon for so long, because somewhere deep down, I didn’t think my work had value. Even though right now I only have a few patrons, it’s enough for me to realize that my work DOES have meaning, and people DO need my messages and mentorship. Now my next big hurdle is reaching more people. I always had trouble attracting clients, or knowing how to market my business. So right now, I’m back to trial and error in that area. It’s so easy to get discouraged, but I have to check in with myself daily, and remind myself that this is what I need to be doing, and it is my calling. And when I need feedback or want opinions, I survey my community members to help me figure out what is working and what isn’t. So it’s a two way street here – they mentor me as much as I mentor them.
Can you give us an overview of what a normal workday is like for you?
It’s actually kind of embarrassing, because I don’t really have any sort of structured workday. I do crave structure, but whenever I try to create that structure for myself, it almost never pans out the way I had planned. Again, this comes down to my inability to focus on one thing for too long. I guess add that to the hurdles question above too. My workday looks like me trying to fit in my Patreon/FB Community work around my other life commitments. It’s tough.
Also I am a super night owl, so I love to work in the quiet of the night, when the rest of the world – including my husband and cat – are asleep. I love them dearly and they come first, so my work ends up having to wait until I have a quiet moment to myself. At night, I like to do a lot of writing. It’s when my thoughts flow more effortlessly because I’m not thinking of other stressors that I would typically have during the day.
During the day is when I film all of my YouTube videos because I have the house to myself, AND natural light – which is KEY! All of my other work, I do whenever I find the time. Some of my other work includes – Video Edits, Uploading/Optimization, Book of Shadows Designs and other backend stuff to organize the Full Moon Tea Parties. I also have to write Instagram posts, take and edit the photos and schedule those. Then there is website updates with blog posts, making sure all of my Youtube videos are posted to there, and that is all up to date. I also post all of my video recipes and craft projects to Pinterest. Then there are the Facebook community daily postings – these are themed group discussions that I post every day to keep my members engaged and interacting with one another.
Eventually I would like to put more systems in place, like – Film Youtube Videos on Monday, Edit Tuesday, Post Wedensday, Backend Work Thursday, etc. – but the workload is too much for me right now, so the editing most likely spans a few days and ends up spilling into the time I would have allotted for backend work and so on and so forth. So it’s really challenging to stick to any sort of schedule for me, without driving myself crazy with deadlines.
I am a one-woman Sagittarian show, so I am super all over the place, but hopefully things pick up monetarily so then I can afford an assistant to make my workload easier!
What is your 5-year goal for your business?
I would love to be running my Membership site Full Time. I think my goal right now is to be making at least $3-5k a month so then I can quit all my other “Make Ends Meet” gigs and focus on my passion project FULL TIME. I think it’s really hard for me to get things done in a structured manner, the way I’d like to, when I have to run off to the next shift, so I can pay the bills. I’d love to grow my membership site, and maybe even write a couple books and design my own tarot/oracle decks. I’d love to take the membership site to the next level and add more awesome features for my members! I want to eventually incorporate workshops and virtual classes, start an E-zine for the collective, a podcast, a book club or writer’s circle! I have so many ideas, just not enough manpower to execute them all right now. But they WILL HAPPEN! I have 5 years, so it’s time to hit the ground running!
What is one piece of advice you have for other women who want to start their own business?
Well, I think it is SUPER important to find a mentor; someone who is more experienced in that entrepreneurial world that can guide you and you can bounce ideas off of. Secondly, it is also super important to surround yourself with a group or support system that can keep you encouraged and motivated. It’s super hard pursuing your goals by yourself, so it helps to have a support system to hold you accountable in those goals. P.S. – If you’re thinking, “Where the hell am I going to find a group like this!?!” – you should check out my Magickal Full Moon Circle! We are a tribe of magickal beings all dedicated to building up and supporting each other through our challenges. Our Full Moon Tea Parties have been so transformative in building confidence and forming friendships with other spiritual creative entrepreneurs.
I would also say, don’t get discouraged if things aren’t working out right away, and try to stay the course if you can. There are many ventures that I have had in the past, that I still wonder where I would be with today, if I had stuck with it. BUT, ultimately you can’t beat a dead horse, so if you’ve been at something for a while and it still isn’t working, don’t be afraid to switch things up or try another approach. Change is scary, but it is essential for any sort of growth. Don’t be afraid to evolve over time. Some things will stick, some things won’t. But the things that DO work, you can take those and bring them over to the next project.
For example – a few years ago, I started up an E-mag for independent artists of all kinds. It was doing decently well, and I had artists from all over the world submitting their materials to be involved. I wanted to make it a membership site, but I just didn’t have the technology or know-how at that time. Again, I was a one-woman show so eventually it fizzled out because I was burnt out – Fast forward a few years later, I decided to start this new membership site more geared toward spirituality and personal development. Now I have that technology with Patreon, and I am now more in alignment with the type of clients I want to be helping. And a lot of the creatives (artists, spiritualists, writers, tarot readers, etc.) who were involved with my first E-mag eventually carried over into my new group. So a lot of it is divine timing. I was on the right track years ago, but just wasn’t hitting the nail on the head. I didn’t abandon the idea of the membership site venture completely; I just shifted my perspective a little bit. So far things seem to be working very well – I am really excited to see where this new road takes me.
* If you are a creative & spiritual entrepreneur or just feel lost in life and are looking for guidance, I would like to invite you to try my Magickal Moon Circle Membership for 1 month free! Just email me at Info@BohemianMagicStudios.com and tell me you found me through my interview on NikkiNurture’s blog.