Interview with Meisha (Owner) and Kyle (Partner)
Interview by Jessica Plumb
Firstly, thank you so much for this interview today, and I hope all is well, especially considering the event of COVID-19.
Thank you for taking interest in us! It truly means the world to us. Thought I would start off with a little background about this interview who’s talking and personal background.
I have written Meisha is myself (owner) and Kyle is my partner of 3 years who now works with me. Kyle is a huge part of Occult Box and without him, it wouldn’t be possible. We run Occult Box together as both of our full-time jobs. We work from Bristol UK. I have a chronic illness (EDS), Learning disorders (ADHD+ dyslexia ), and PCOS; and both Kyle and I suffer from anxiety.
You started ‘Occult box’ in 2018, I believe? How did you first get the idea to create your online subscription box?
Meisha: Good question! I’ve always been absolutely obsessed with giving gifts and decorating them! So I started selling personalised gothic mystery boxes on eBay to makes some extra pocket money for a holiday we had planned. People that purchased boxes enjoyed these boxes much they asked for more and more. My partner Kyle encouraged me to turn what I was doing into a business and we just grew from there. Occult Box is now both of our full-time jobs! I’ve never been able to have a normal job due to my health issues, so having a job where I could work in my own time really was important for me. Occult box has been a real blessing for me honestly.
Can you tell our readers what they can expect if they were to order a witchy gothic goodie box?
Meisha: Expect the unexpected. All things Spooky, gothic, dark, and witchy.
Kyle: You can expect a box bulging with spooky love featuring our own handcrafted work as well as pieces and art from other small businesses and creators.
What is the appeal of witchy, horror, and Gothic items and what does it mean for you?
Meisha: The darkness is beautiful. I’ve always been drawn to all things dark and spooky. Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, even as a child I would always dress as a witch and practice my potions and spells. Witchcraft runs in my blood.
Do you have a personal ‘hands-on’ approach as to how you run your online business?
Meisha: For sure! We do nearly everything ourselves. Our website, product design and production, product research, and customer service. Everything we do here is done by just the two of us.
Were you always interested in creating when you were a child?
Meisha: Oh definitely! I’ve always been an incredibly creative person. You’d always find me crafting as a child, teenager, and as an adult. I took art and drama in school and college, and have always wanted my creativity to be a part of my career. So much creative effort goes into our boxes.
What is your process from start to finish running your subscription box company?
Meisha: A lot of product research, a lot of time and hard work, long days, and late nights, a passion for all things spooky, and love for our customers.
Do you play any music in the background to help with the process and get in a good mindset? And if so which music genres/bands do you like?
Kyle: We have a super-wide range of genres in our work playlist, we can go from hardcore bands like Stick To Your Guns to modern country artists like Kane Brown. Currently, we’re on a bit of an 80’s hair metal wave having all the best work singalongs!
Meisha: Kyle’s in charge of the music. He’s a good judge of what will get us in the mood to work. My personal favourite to work to is Fleetwood Mac and you can’t beat some pop-punk classics! My favourite music is hardcore and metal 🖤
Where do you find inspiration from to create new ideas for the themes for your boxes?
Meisha: We don’t draw inspiration from anywhere, in particular, most of our themes are interests and likes of our own. All of our ideas come from brainstorming sessions. Kyle and I put our heads together, and everything we put into our boxes are items we would enjoy ourselves if we received them.
Kyle: Meisha is the mastermind for all our boxes, I’ll try and throw some ideas in here and there but she’s the brains behind it all.
You have a really good media presence including a following of over 4k on Instagram, what do you do promotion wise to keep the momentum going and what do you feel is the best way to advertise your brand?
Meisha: Honestly nearly all of our promotion is thanks to our wonderful customers who share images and spread the word of our business. We like to do a lot of giveaways as it helps us find like-minded humans that enjoy what we do!
Are there any upcoming themes, you can tell us about?
Meisha: We are currently working on our Halloween October Box which is going to feature an absolutely amazing company we cannot wait to work with.
How did you come up with the design for ‘Occult Box’?
Meisha: I chose ‘occult’ as it suggests in the Unknown, the mysterious, the magical, and the darkness that I thought was very fitting for our mystery boxes. As for our style, I’m obsessed with Ouija boards so it was such a natural choice to base our aesthetic on.
If you could be in any horror, film, or TV show, what would it be and why?
Meisha: Ooo that’s a hard one! Likely something where I could be a vampire or a witch, maybe American Horror Story: Hotel or Coven. To work alongside Lady Gaga or Stevie Nicks would be a dream.
Kyle: I wouldn’t be in any because I don’t want to be killed! Maybe American Horror Story: Freak Show!
The items are made with such quality and care. Are your items vegan and cruelty-free?
Meisha: Thank you! All items we use in our boxes are now vegan and cruelty-free as this is something we are extremely passionate about.
With so many amazing themes throughout your business, which one is a personal favourite?
Meisha: I have enjoyed everyone single one of our themes! I think Dark Moon is closest to my heart. I really put a lot of hard work into crafting items for this box. We featured Ally Cats Crafts and Misery Guts who were just delightfully wonderful to work with!
Kyle: My personal favourite is the Dark Magick box. It had a lot of items in it that I enjoyed like the pendulum and custom pendulum board and The Ghost Family Flame supplied some amazing smelling wax melts which I just wanted to keep for myself.
What advice would you give to people starting out in business?
Meisha: Make sure you’re doing something you love and have a true passion for! If you love what you do, customers will also love what you do. Most importantly make sure you take enough time off for yourself as you cannot pour from an empty cup.
Do you have any celebrity customers buying from you?
Meisha: We’ve been lucky enough to have the support of some amazing YouTubers!
You release different themed boxes each month; what other items do you sell online?
Meisha: We sell all sorts of things as well as boxes, such as home decor, prints, and handmade goodies! We are currently working on bringing more Occult Box exclusive items to our store!
Using such professional photos, do you work with one photographer, or do you have a team?
Meisha: I take all nearly all our pictures we use myself. I’m lucky enough to be a trained photographer. Having the skill set and equipment needed to do it myself has helped along on my Occult Box journey. Our customers also take some absolutely fabulous images of their orders that we love to use!
You have collaborated with different companies and individuals; have there been any favourites?
Meisha: Honestly I couldn’t pick a favourite I love them all. We have worked with such amazing and creative humans and they have all been such magical beauty. We’ve truly made some friends for life, including Alley Cat Crafts, DMC Designs, Bubbas Meltys, Hannah Horror, Misery Guts, Buttons Art, and The Ghost Family Haunts! 🖤
Who would you love to collaborate with in the future, be it a model, musician, photographer?
Meisha: Honestly there are so many amazing small businesses and talented humans out there that we would love to work with I wouldn’t be able to list them all! Honestly, I think my dream would be to do a White Witch Box with Stevie Nicks.
Kyle: I would love to work with Aleister Black or Joey Drew Studios.
Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your business in any way?
Meisha: COVID impacted me a fair amount as the day the UK was told to work from home was the day I signed my contract for my new workspace. I, like many others, was unsure what the future held. A lot of our suppliers closed meaning I had very few resources to work from. We managed to stay open during the lockdown.
I had to work entirely in my own, as my Kyle was locked down with his family in another city, which definitely took a toll on me but I kept going as I knew there were a lot of customers at home that needed cheering up and I wanted our boxes to be that little bit of joy to look forward to.
We worked entirely through the lockdown and I thank everyone that supported us during. Thanks to our customers We were able to stay open. We are so lucky to have the support of such amazing people. Business is booming in spite of COVID!
What other interests do you have outside your business? Do you have any hobbies?
Meisha: Kyle and I like to go for walk in the woods in our spare time. We also both love to draw. I mostly spend time with my 6 rabbits when I’m not working if that counts at a hobby haha. You’ll usually find me watching a horror film and Kyle playing Animal Crossing. Before COVID, we loved to travel and if we weren’t working, you would usually find us exploring somewhere new or at a concert.
Thank you for your time today, is there anything you would like to mention or say to our readers?
Thank you for taking the time to feature us, it means the world to us honestly! We would like your readers, and we are big into supporting other people. We offer our ear to anyone that needs it. We here to talk to people any time for advice for just a friend to talk to. We also would love from small businesses, artists, and creators that would like to feature in our boxes! Our goal is to make others smile 🖤