Ladies Who Launch, #6: Katie Us of Kismet Acupuncture & Apothecary
Updated: May 15
Sitting on pins and needles
I vividly remember how exciting it was every now and then when my mom said we could rent a movie after school.
I couldn't freaking WAIT to march into the tiny local video store (wood paneling and all -- RIP Shore Video in Highlands, NJ), wearing my school uniform w/ Peter Pan collar, and totally bypass the new releases to make a beeline for the classic musicals section for the umpteenth time. All the dusty, faded, styrofoam-filled VHS covers of Funny Girl, A Chorus Line, Cabaret, and other things I was too young to watch -- all of which I had memorized the packaging of.
However, to get to the musicals in the back of the store, I had to muster all my courage to pass through the horror section first.
Talk about poor store design!
To this day, I hate scary movies (with a few exceptions that I have steeled myself enough to make it thru) and yet I can recall soooo many movies by what their dusty old VHS jacket looked like:
Halloween. Child's Play. Death Ship. Critters. Nightmare on Elm Street. Ghoulies.
And, of course, Hellraiser.
You know the one.
The scary bald guy w/ all the pins sticking out of his face and head.
So, naturally, this terrifying image is what I equate acupuncture to.
Turns out, I couldn't be more wrong!
First things first: what, exactly, IS acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a form of treatment that involves inserting very thin needles through a person's skin at specific points on the body, to various depths. A key component of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is most commonly used to treat pain. Increasingly, it is being used for overall wellness, including stress management.
Acupuncture is recognized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) as effective in treating many conditions, such as: depression, insomnia, menstrual symptoms, PTSD, infertility, carpal tunnel, erectile dysfunction, nausea, dental pain, arthritis, and many more.
Meet: Katie Us.
Katie is a nationally board-certified Diplomate of Acupuncture (NCCAOM) and Licensed Acupuncturist.
She is the Owner, Founder, & Lady Boss at Kismet Acupuncture & Apothecary, a one-woman acupuncture healing center with shelves full of goodies for health and self-care.
The company is based in Kenilworth, NJ and officially launched in April 2017.
Before finding holistic medicine, Katie graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in American Studies and English. She became interested in acupuncture after a spur of the moment treatment in the chiropractic office she managed at the time. When she got off the table, she knew that she wanted to make other people feel as great as she did that day.
Rather than exclusively specialize in one area, Katie maintains a varied approach, with strong interest and experience in psychological/emotional imbalances, women’s reproductive issues, and pain management.
She also has hot pink hair, (which, as you can tell from my site & branding, I LOVE) and is just the absolute coolest.
Look at this cute little avatar she had created to represent her!
Katie's #1 most-asked question: DO THE NEEDLES HURT?
She says: "The sensation caused by an acupuncture needle varies. Some people feel a little pain as the needles are inserted but most people feel no pain at all. The needles are tiny, just a little larger than a cat's whisker or human hair."
I'm so excited to publish Katie's Ladies Who Launch story this week so you can learn more about this awesome chica!
(ICYMI, this is a blog series where I chat with badass bossladies around the world who have taken the leap of faith into entrepreneurial life.)
BTW - If you know a bosslady who would be perfect for a future feature in this blog series, send her this link.
In addition to being all-around awesome, Katie also has a connection to another Ladies Who Launch alum, Emily Griffith of felt Write. The two friends & collaborators will be co-hosting a retreat next summer in upstate NY, focused on yoga, acupuncture, and journaling. From the site:
This transformative retreat will culminate in a Yin + Pin under the full moon and a bonfire to release every thing that does not serve you anymore. We invite you to create something magical with us.
I mean, hello?! Sounds like perfection!
Check out details below if you're interested:
I was eager to hear more about Katie's experience starting her business, and the inspiration for how Kismet Acupuncture came to be.
Q: What made you decide to launch your business?
I decided to launch my business because I was tired of working for other people who did not appreciate me. I wanted to help heal people in my own community. Also, I wanted to make my own hours and be my own boss. I figured if someone was going to make me put in long hours and work hard, it should be me in charge.
Q: What is your earliest entrepreneurial memory, long before you decided to become a business owner?
Hmmm... earliest entrepreneurial memory. I'm not sure I ever knew I wanted to have my own business but I did know very young that I did not want a cubicle life. I have dyed my hair every color of the rainbow since I was twelve, have a few facial piercings, and have MANY tattoos - I ruled out corporate (or, as my mom called it, "normal") life for myself. I never saw myself with a 9-5 job and I hate being told what to do. I always believed my future would find me and this is how it has manifested.
Q: Two-part question: what does your staff/team look like if you have one, and who is/are your personal support system?
I am my staff and my team. I treat patients, I do the marketing, I balance the books, I make sure the products are stocked, I write the patient notes, I do the billing, I wash the laundry, and I clean the office. One day, I will expand and delegate these tasks! My personal support system is definitely my husband. He has been my rock and my biggest fan as I finished my acupuncture Master's program, while I studied for my board exams, and when I decided to open this business. The rest of my support system is made up of amazing friends who listen to my wins and losses, give me advice, hold my hand, plan workshops and retreats with me, share my social media posts and my business cards. Oh, and my accountant. I don't think I could survive without her!
Q: What is something you wish you knew before starting your own business (the shit nobody tells you about)?
I wish I had known about branding. Mine has slowly developed over the years as I have found my voice as an acupuncturist, healer, and lady boss. You wear a lot of hats when you start a business. It is the hardest and most rewarding thing I have ever done!
Q: What is something you're REALLY bad at?
I am really bad at blogging and newsletters. I am so inconsistent with all of that. I am also a perfectionist and a little OCD about things so my social media posts, paperwork, etc always take me a long time to get right.
Q: How do you de-compress -- such as binge tv, activities, food, hobbies, pop culture guilty pleasures, etc?
How do I de-compress? Let me count the ways. My favorite way - snuggling my five fur children. I can also be found at hot yoga where I feel like I get away for an hour to sweat it all out. I love refinishing and painting furniture when the weather cooperates. Reading a good book is near the top of my list. And watching mindless television - give me an episode of Schitt's Creek, Law and Order: SVU or The Great British Baking show any day.
Q: Most-played track on Spotify?
My number 1 played track on Spotify is "Long Time" by Blondie. I can dance to that song all day long. Though my heavy rotation include Bayside, David Bowie, The Spill Canvas, Dashboard Confessional and most 90's/early 2000's rock and punk.
Q: Favorite liquid refreshment?
A glass of really good Malbec, a maple old-fashioned, a Fenimore Gin & Tonic, or my recent discovery, a Bramble.
Q: Is there a woman who inspires you, or that you look up to?
I am deeply inspired by Jill Blakeway and the way she is bringing acupuncture and energy medicine to the masses. She has created a business model in NYC that keeps me pushing on in my own business. When I was first starting my business, she was kind enough to give me some words of encouragement. All the women in my life living fearlessly, following their dreams, and being unapologetically themselves. You all keep me going every day. Also, Shirley Manson because she never backs down and always speaks her truth.
Q: Do you have a favorite inspirational quote?
"Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire."
Q: What's your best business tip?
Be yourself. Don't try to be like anyone else. Let your truth shine through everything you do. Find your voice and stay true to it. People will notice and they will flock to it.
Q: Everyone's got one... what's your favorite curse word?! Time to let it out!
Q: What are your Top 5 tools of the trade (i.e., in your day-to-day work, these are the top 5 things you need to do the work and/or that you couldn't live without)?
Top 5 things: 1) Definitely needles :-) 2) The Rolodex of acupuncture points and their functions in my brain 3) Cotton balls - so many cotton balls 4) My laptop 5) Yoga or animal snuggles to get me out of my head
Q: Last question: what about this job & lifestyle brings you the most joy and fulfillment?
The patient that sends me a picture of their positive pregnancy test or a picture of their newborn baby. A patient that walks in the door and shows me something they haven't been able to do in months because their pain was too bad. For example, a patient who broke their wrist and thought they would never crochet again brought me washcloths she made after a few weeks of consistent treatment. The patient that has something emotional happen - the death of a loved one, an embryo transfer that was unsuccessful, etc. - and they tell me they didn't want to be anywhere but my office to process it. A text letting me know they had the best night's sleep after their appointment. And referrals from my patients. When they share you with their friends, that's an amazing compliment.
Wow! such awesome and joyful partS of the job.
It's obvious that Katie takes great pride in her work and is deeply passionate about helping others thru safe, gentle, effective, and natural health care.
Nothing at all like Hellraiser.
Thank you, Katie, for sharing your story with me, and bringing us all into your world of acupuncture, healing, and good vibes!
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Are you (or someone you know) perfect for a future feature in this series? Click here!
Read our previous interview: Tracey Hall of Jersey Shore Scene
Read our next interview: Tamara Sabatino of Fierce Females NJ
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed within these interview answers are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Alycia Yerves Creative. Any content provided by our interviewees are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything.