How I Power My Business: La Carmina, TV Host, Traveler, Blogger, Journalist, Author, and Designer

Firmology’s How I Power My Business series profiles the technology business owners use to run and grow their business.


Firmology Founder’s Note: When I first heard of  La Carmina, I had no idea what to think. My mind went into sensory overload as I tried to figure out what she did. I soon learned that the answer is everything. You know that old Jay-Z quote, “I’m not a businessman. I’m a business…maaaannn!”? La Carmina’s not a businesswoman. She’s a business….maaaaannnn!

La Carmina is a summa cum laude graduate of Columbia University and Yale Law School, but she soon realized law was boring, so she started blogging about Japanese  fashion and underground culture. Her site exploded in popularity and set the foundation for her growing business empire as an Entertainer, TV Host, Traveler, Blogger, Journalist, Author, Fashion Designer, Trendsetter, Coolhunter, and Speaker.

Name: La Carmina
Title: Founder
Business: La Carmina blog and La Carmina & The Pirates TV production/fixing company
Location: Vancouver, Tokyo and worldwide
Smartphone: iPhone 5
Tablet: Acer
Computer: Dell PC laptop and desktop


Tell us a bit about you and your background:

I grew up in Vancouver, Canada, and graduated from Columbia University and Yale Law School. I wasn’t passionate about studying law, so I started my La Carmina blog in 2007 as a hobby where I wrote mainly about Japan fashion and underground culture. The site took off and led to the full-time work I do today.


I’m known for my Goth-cute style and appearances on “Oddities,” “Bizarre Foods,” and at anime conventions. I wrote 3 books about pop culture (published by Penguin and Random House), and host TV shows for Discovery, Food Network, Travel Channel, and more. I currently do travel and culture journalism for Business Insider and Huffington Post / AOL; I also have a travel video series filmed worldwide and published on major media outlets (I’ve showcased Day of the Dead in Mexico, Prague absinthe, New York Fashion Week and more).

In 2010, my business partner and I began “La Carmina & The Pirates,” a TV coordination business specializing in Japan film fixing, arranging, and translation. We recently got attention for our Bagelheads forehead inflation segment on National Geographic Taboo and other episodes about extreme body modifications.

What’s the story behind your business?

I’ve always felt a connection to subcultures; they were a space for me to express myself and find like-minded friends. Often, these “tribes” (like Goth and Steampunk) are unfairly criticized by mainstream culture. This motivates me to do personal and meaningful coverage of underground fashion and lifestyles around the world. For example, La Carmina & The Pirates have helped TV shows do fair and unsensationalized coverage of Japan’s alt-fetish club scene, body mods, and more. I hope this can create a positive conversation and help others better understand these unconventional paths.


What apps or services are essential to the operations of your business?

My business partner (aka First Mate) Naomi Rubin and I usually are in different cities since we travel constantly for our work. We use Gmail Chat, Google Docs, and Skype to discuss TV fixing arrangements, coolhunting, and other business. We’ll even use Twitter messages for quick conversations. I put out casting calls on my blog and social networks and there’s always a huge response. Technology lets us stay connected and get work done with very low overhead.

Which social media platforms does your business prefer to use and why?

I think it’s important to have a strong presence on social media in order to make personal connections and get your work out there. I’m especially active on FacebookInstagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and Google Plus. (You can add me @lacarmina or “La Carmina” on these social networks).

To stay productive I rely on…

To-do lists and daily goals.

Where do you prefer to work and why?

Most of my work can be done in any comfortable environment since I rely mainly on my laptop. However, when I’m doing video or photo editing, I prefer to work on my larger desktop computer in my home office.


Lightning Round:

What apps or services do you recommend to other business owners?

Gmail, Skype, Dropbox. I keep it simple rather than using a ton of specialized programs or apps.

Biggest time-saver(s)? WeTransfer is great for quickly sending and downloading large zipped files for free.

Biggest money-saver(s)? Skype. My TV company has worked with crews in Norway, Germany, Japan, Netherlands… it’s a significant cost-saver, compared to long distance phone calls.

Favorite mobile app(s)? Instagram

Favorite personal app(s)? I enjoy sharing videos of my Scottish Fold cat on Vine and


How can others reach you?

Other (email, phone, etc): Google Plus
You can email me via

Firmology Readers: Let’s hear your thoughts!

Do you have any questions or comments for La Carmina? Drop her a note in the comments below!

If you have a suggestion for someone we should feature, questions we should be asking, or would like to be featured on Firmology’s How I Power My Business series, email with the subject line: How I Power My Business


About The Author

La Carmina is a young culture and travel TV host (“Taboo”, “Bizarre Foods”, “World’s Weirdest Restaurants”, “Oddities”), author of 3 books (Penguin USA and Random House), journalist for CNN and Huffington Post / AOL, and professional blogger.

Her “La Carmina blog” has a passionate following (million pageviews a month), and has been featured in major publications (The New Yorker, Cosmopolitan, Vogue, LA Times). She contributes articles on art, travel, culture and fashion to CNN and AOL / Huffington Post.