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.
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Victoria Close from Bikudesigns talks kimono, business, Japanese design, life in Tokyo and all things lovely.