December is time for traditions, celebrations and expressing gratitude. It is also time for reflections, hopes and positive thoughts.
We have had a busy year, thanks to every single one of you. Additionally, your suggestions, reviews and survey responses have guided us through our growth. We are grateful and hope that you continue to support and guide us.
Year of Challenges and Growth
The challenges we faced in 2016 were not new. Since our humble beginning is 2010 we have steadily been growing, and this year has been no exception. We doubled our office size, launched six new products and deployed a new server in the US to better serve our North American customers.
Our rapid growth has in large part been due to the word-of-mouth of esteemed customers such as yourself, who kindly recommend us to friends and family. We get many inquiries from wholesalers and distributers, which we respectfully turn down in order to control our growth and maintain our quality and service standards.
The supply base for genuine Japanese traditional products is limited, and demand can easily outstrip our supplies. We produce our products in small batches using labor-intensive Japanese traditional setups, which are not scalable as in factory-made products.
The skilled craft-makers who produce our products are few in number. Many are also mature in age. Their work is a labor of experience, patience and love. It is not easy to transfer their hard-earned skills to the younger generation.
From comb maker to washcloth weaver, camellia oil presser, rice bran powderer, herbal tea farmer, pearl grinder and incense maker, we owe every single one a huge debt of gratitude. We support and encourage them in any which way we can, in light of the fact that many of their crafts are threatened by imitation mass-producers.
The Road Ahead
In 2017, we will introduce a few new offerings, but very carefully and selectively.
Our guiding principles will remain to be our Japanese traditions. We will stay true to products which are time-tested and natural as well as additive and cruelty-free.
We wish to help you use fewer products. This statement might sound counterintuitive coming from a business. We plan to grow and make a profit. This is a fact, of course. Nevertheless, for growth to be responsible and sustainable, it has to have ethical bounds.
We do not advocate mindless consumerism. Our growth will continue to come from attracting thoughtful customers — who are tired of marketing gimmicks and want to use few but genuine products, be it for their beauty, health or for both.
We believe that true beauty and health is never a project, but a fulfilling lifestyle. Along with products, we will continue to provide you with cultural perspectives, how-to pages and blogs, based on practical Japanese traditions.
The real soul of Japan lies within its ordinary life. This is the information we wish to convey in our publications. We do not aim to entice you with commercialized clichés of heavily made-up performers and geishas. Our goal is to enable you to make informed product choices suited to your own needs and lifestyle.
From all of us, and on behalf of our suppliers, thank you for letting us be of service. We hope to remain worthy of your expectations in 2017.