The vastness of Alaska served as the backdrop for Anna Nozaki’s childhood, as she grew up in Seward, on a bay surrounded by mountains and glaciers. Although her environment was sparsely populated and seemingly limitless, Anna was also comfortable traveling and living in New York, Seattle, Providence and Los Angeles.
After giving birth to their daughter, Anna and her husband Kirk moved to Ojai, where they were drawn to the welcoming, small-town community replete with creativity, nature, diverse thinking, and new friends.
As a child, Anna loved drawing and sewing, as well as carving and block-printing cards. Although she became a graphic designer, her pregnancy ignited a dormant need to create, so she started knitting handmade pieces for her baby. Conversations with Kirk inspired the creative duo contribute to the Ojai community by opening a knitting and crafts store with the “wanky” name Cattywampus, as there are no mistakes there since everyone can create anything. Along with varied workshops and classes, the store offers all-natural yarns, fabrics, knitting tools, clothing, jewelry, and accessories.
Starting a business has been both rewarding and difficult for Anna, who is challenged by balancing family, being a mother and wife, and having time for friends. Kids keep you in check, she says, and creating a business with Kirk was a conscious choice to do something together. Anna feels like their whole life is one big collaboration.
Most rewarding is the response of the community. “People come here and start crying,” she says. Often, they take classes and workshops offered at the store, finding that knitting is meditative. Anna believes that she and Kirk are inspiring others, perhaps, by bringing them back to their roots.
Anna’s advice? “Create a life of your dreams, but take the time to check within yourself. Don’t do it alone. Open up, and talk about your ideas.”