Hosting monthly trunk shows online was a necessary decision for the survival of my business during Covid-19 times. All in-person events have been cancelled for the foreseeable future, and shipping overseas has been patchy or still closed to some countries. Simply put, my job is to buy materials, make all the things and then sell them to make a profit for my time, energy and experience. This is my full-time job, my income, not my hobby or charity work.
We've all been there... searching the internet blindly to find that special gift for an important birthday, a special thank you, a pick-me-up for a friend, a graduation, Mothers' Day, Fathers' day...the list really goes on. We spend hours and hours scrolling for that 'special something'.
But why do we feel the need to gift that special something in the first place?
1. It shows the receiver that we know them.
2. It shows them we care enough to go the extra mile to find something they'll love.
3. It demonstrates our good taste.
4. We want the receiver to feel unique and valued.
5. We want to support small businesses and all they stand for.
6. We want to shop sustainably, buying items from brands that are not mass-produced.
7. We want a story. Of the hands who made it, the history, where the idea came from.
As a maker, I see the work that artisans put into their work and support them as much as I can. I appreciate that they do the same in return for my business.
I'm often asked where the Biku concept came from. Back in the day my response was a rather long-winded affair with twists and turns and tales of unrequited design love. But after several years of making, sourcing, talking to kimono vendors, thinking deeply, learning how to pitch, studying, focusing on brand messaging and thinking a LOT more, it boils down to this simple phrase. 'Re-purposing forgotten things.' Forgotten things, places and people make me sad. I wondered, 'How can I make the useless useful? How can I make the once-loved re-loved? How can I make the damaged beautiful? How can I make forgotten things remembered?' And in that process I remembered myself again.
On a more detailed level, Biku has a bunch of values that set it apart from other businesses, values that make it unique. The concept is based around 4 elements that came from my own life as a mum and business owner.
The Biku brand is still developing and more ideas are swimming around my head every day. It's pretty exciting stuff to be on this ride, Want to join me?
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I'm Victoria, the founder, designer and creator at Bikudesigns, a vintage kimono accessories brand in Tokyo, Japan.