If you've been around here a while, you'll know that the geometric fabrics are a firm fave. This one is calm and collected with a delicate honeycomb background and aubergine and teal slashes. Look closely and you'll see that the slashes are also patterned with the classic 'seigaiha' motif. Modernist with a nod to the traditional. Bravo!
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I love to talk to people in person at fairs and events, it's the way I can get the message about 'mottainai' out there. It's important to say what you do out loud, and really hear yourself saying it. Everything makes much more sense when you tell your story.
Over the years, there are many questions that I've been asked over and over again which have helped me to create my FAQ page. Thanks for asking the questions, you've really helped me gain more clarity with my brand.
Do you ever feel guilty breaking up a kimono?
Before I buy a kimono there are several things I consider.
I respect the skill, commitment and tradition that has gone into the creation of a kimono before I buy it. There are the silk makers, the weavers and the kimono artisans who print, paint and dye the fabric into beautiful designs.
How long does it take to break down a kimono?
This all depends on the age and type of kimono. If it has been hand-sewn, then the breakdown is much quicker than machine-sewn ones.
On average it takes around 45 minutes to an hour to take a kimono apart. Then hand washing, drying, discarding the unusable parts and finally hanging on skirt hangers before storing on a rack in my studio.
Often the kimono lining is so damaged that it has to be discarded completely.
Do you sell kimono scraps?
At the moment I don't sell off-cuts or fabric but I'm thinking about selling some in the future as my collection is growing daily and I don't have space to store them all!
How long does it take to make a neckpiece/ bracelet/ earrings?
How long is a piece of string?!
I make my pieces in batches of 10-20 and make them as a small production line. It may take 4-5 days to make 20 neckpieces but sometimes longer. And the kimono sourcing is all done in person, so that time needs to be added on to the final price too.
Can I work for you for free?
Wow! Thanks for your kind offer but I don't offer internships at this time.
If you are interested in working for me and have relevant sewing skills including using a sewing machine, please do get in contact with me to see if we might be a good fit.
Can I recreate one of your designs for myself?
I can't stop you from making my designs at home, but your morals might!
Every time you make a piece using my design, that is a potential loss of earning for me. And each design I make is part of a long process of testing prototypes and materials. So if you're OK with that....
Please don't copy my designs for financial gain. That's actually illegal.
Do you ever teach workshops?
I used to teach a lot of creative workshops but have since stopped as I wanted to focus on my jewellery business.
In the Spring I'm partnering up with Alex at Turquoise Port to teach in-person Instagram for small businesses coming up in the next few months once our BETA course is complete. Watch this space.
If I place a custom order with you, how long does it take?
There are usually lots of back and forth emails before a customer places an actual order. But once the style and the silk is decided and the order is placed, it takes around 2-3 weeks until it is shipped, depending on the waiting list.
Do you do wholesale orders?
Yes, I do.
Orders start at 10 pieces of the same style but you can choose the colours. Please contact me directly if you are interested in wholesale or distribution rates.
More questions? Comment below or sign up for news to hear more.
Every Friday, starting this week, I'll be featuring a kimono fabric from my ever growing collection (it's a sickness I tell ya!).
This fabric is a heavy roketsu-zome silk with a satin sheen. So soft and supple and definitely makes a huge statement with its bold tangerine-green-indigo colour-way.
P.S. I'll be popping more shots of this kimono in my newsletter to give you a clearer picture of the texture and close-up details.
Are you on the list yet?
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Mottainai (loosely translated as ‘it’s a shame to waste’) is not just woven through my business but has been entwined in my life for as long as I can remember. ⠀
🔶5 years old, making models from recycled containers at the kitchen counter while my mum baked. ⠀
🔶8 years old, dressing up in vintage 1950s underskirts (for play) and twinsets (in life). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
🔶At 14, desperate to have skinny jeans (the first time around), and my grandmother taking in the legs so I could be more ‘on-trend’. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
🔶At 15, trawling charity shops for vintage beads, disassembling them, washing them and creating something new. ⠀⠀
I can’t imagine a life without regret and sadness when I see unused objects. And here I am loving my ¥50 cup, my ¥100 plate and my ¥200 lacquer tray. They couldn’t be more valuable to me even if they were dipped in gold. ⠀⠀
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
#mottainai #mottainailife #zerowaste #persimmon #driedfruit #handmade #handmadeceramics #ceramiclover #leafplate #takeamoment #appreciatebeauty #lostthings #makerslovemakers #lovewhatyouhave #williammorrisphilosophy
We all love connecting through social media don't we? I'm sure, like me, that you've made fabulous friends, or sold things or made connections for collaborations. I communicate all my events through social media channels, have a VIP Club for all the Bikufans, show BTS (behind the scenes) peeks at Tokyo life through Instagram/ Facebook stories. But I don't OWN any of it. Every follower, every comment, like, share they all belong to someone else and if Mr. Zuckerberg decides to pull the plug, everything is gone. The most important thing of all will be gone; my connection to you and the Biku Community.
So, the only sure-fire way to stay connected is through email. It sounds old-fashioned (a bit '90s) doesn't it? But please don't lose touch with me...it's easy to say, 'Oh I follow you on Insta' or 'Yes, I follow your Facebook'...but I value your support and don't want you to be lost in the ether.
If you love what Bikudesigns stands for, and are interested in seeing new and exclusive content straight into your inbox, then please subscribe! There are things in my newsletter that I don't mention anywhere else.
Sign up here. Please?
January Fukubukuro have all been mailed out and should have arrived in their forever homes by now. A number of fabulous customers have revealed the contents of their 'lucky bag' via social media. It's so exciting to get feedback, so keep it coming and keep tagging!
One super-kind customer in Canada went a HUGE step further this month and blogged about her Biku Fukubukuro experience on her wonderful kimono blog. If you are a kimono lover and haven't come across Diane's blog yet, head on over to Kimono Tsuki. Diane is also on Instagram @kimonotsuki
"I’ve been admiring the jewellery from Bikudesigns for quite a while now. Owned and created in Tokyo by a lovely woman named Victoria Close, all the beautiful items are made using recycled kimono fabric and representing the values of mottainai. Between gift shopping during the holidays and making more practical purchases like tatoushi and arms for the mannequin I didn’t have much of a budget for pretty fun things. However, to celebrate the new year they released a fukubukuro (福袋), or lucky bag. This a tradition where vendors will offer a bag or bundle with a surprise selection of products available for a really steep discount.
I snatched one up right away, knowing it would give me a lovely variety of items to wear and feature, and I’m so glad I did..."
Thanks for being such a great year. No really, you rocked!
There were some big wins for Bikudesigns this year and some big things I learned for the future. .
Things I’m grateful for in 2018:
❤️ The chance to work creatively on tangible products as well as on my business everyday.
❤️The support and understanding from my family when I had to work nights and weekends.
❤️ Working with inspirational people who kept me on track, encouraged me to think bigger and gain confidence.
❤️ People coming to find me for interviews, podcasts etc without press releases!
❤️ The opportunity to help the entrepreneur community in Tokyo through Instamingle and the Women’s start-up Club at FEW.
❤️ The fabulous women who agreed to be interviewed for my blog.
❤️ And to you guys who stick by my business, who comment, like, share, open up those newsletters and tell their friends about my mission to repurpose forgotten things.
Here’s to 2019. I have some big plans up my sleeve, so I hope you’ll subscribe to my list to be first to hear all about it.
See you on the other side!
I'm trying to get my Facebook page to 4 figures as a Christmas gift to myself! I know, I know, the numbers don't mean anything.... but it would be really, REALLY nice if you could help!
So, there are a couple of ways to help increase my following. One is to invite your friends to like my page directly from the cover photo drop-down menu. This is not part of the competition, just if you are feeling particularly kind and giving in this season!
The second way is to join the Christmas Giveaway over on my Facebook post.
THE PRIZE: A Bikudesigns gift voucher worth Y5000 to shop in anyway you like. Put the money towards a bespoke piece, spend it all in one go or gift the voucher to someone.
THE DRAW: December 24th 2018 by random generator.
HOW TO ENTER: Head over to this Facebook post to join in the fun.
The British School in Tokyo
5-6pm Faculty shopping
6-8.30pm BST Community and friends
Curated by Bikudesigns and Turquoise Port
Bikudesigns: Vintage kimono jewellery
Turquoise Port: Home Decor
Erica Ward Illustration: Art
From Juju With Love: Art
Kamihoseki: Origami jewellery
Anne-Marie Peters Ceramics
A Joy to Behold: Soaps, scrubs and soaps
Jikuu: Artisan-made Japanese cooking knives
Eco Hachi Living: Wax wraps
Swan and Lion: British food including mince pies
Ring and Wraps: cashmere wraps and scarves
Mamam Leatherwork: Handcrafted leather bags
Paradiddle: prints and bags
Vintage Kimonos: accessories and bags
Noox: toys, bags and pouches
Kintsugi: Hand created home decor pieces
Kodomo Paradis: Hand printed tees for kid and adults
Victoria Close from Bikudesigns jewellery interviews creatives, bloggers, business people and curators to talk about their lives in Japan.