09/01/23 Small Business Spotlight- CRFT by Maki
Terasaki Budokan is starting a regular “Small Business Spotlight” series, where we feature local Little Tokyo businesses that are connected to us and Little Tokyo Service Center (the nonprofit Budokan is a project of). We hope these pieces inspire you to support some of the many amazing businesses here!
CRFT by Maki is a small business in Little Tokyo featuring cool, minimalist designs. Darin Maki is the owner of this unique storefront that has been in a Little Tokyo Service Center-owned building for the past three-and-a-half years. Additionally, CRFT by Maki is a client of LTSC’s Small Business Program! Though the pandemic was a scary and uncertain time for many small businesses in our community, LTSC aimed to provide resources and creative solutions for local businesses, both new and old. “I am in a neighborhood of small business owners that look out for each other in the worst of times and I certainly wouldn’t be here without my neighbors and the J-town community,” Darin wrote in his blog.
CRFT by Maki recently designed a shirt for Nisei Week, which is a nine-day cultural event held in Little Tokyo that has gone on for 81 years. Darin says, “This was the first year we were able to collaborate with Nisei Week. We’re really excited about this design. The theme of this year was ‘turning the corner’ so we had a parade coming down 1st street with the nebuta (a float of a warrior-figure).”
“Nisei Week is very culturally important to me. I’ve been coming here my whole life; my family has been coming here forever. It means a little bit more after the pandemic because we did not have it. Now that we’re able to come back and see the community come together again- it’s really special to me, and I hope that it continues to be this way.”
Darin mentions that his favorite part about Little Tokyo, “is the history and the people. We really saw how the community came together and helped each other. That was amazing and inspired me to do my part, as well, being in Little Tokyo.”
CRFT by Maki is an amazing and unique store that adds to the rich tapestry of historic Little Tokyo. This landmark is a must-see when visiting! To see our video version of this interview, check out our Instagram Reel!
To find out more about Budokan’s programming, check out our website where you can browse our diverse collection of activities, events and programs. Whether you want to try our all-ages Taiko class or youth basketball academy, Budokan has everything you need to stay active and connected. We look forward to seeing you soon!