Monday 4 April 2016

What is little keeper's market? My new challenge

One day my sister-in-law and good friend Maria told me about how her friends were impressed by the softness and quality of our "herringbone scarf" and talked about how difficult it is for online shops to show the quality of their products. Her friend suggested that something like a Tupperware party, where I can show and tell about my products, might be good for my shop.

When I started to look for a venue, I found that: a) it's a bit pricey to hire venue for myself and b) it's too big just for myself - so then I decided to get someone else involved. I didn't really mean to organize a market myself, probably that's the last thing I wanted to do, because it's too challenging for someone like me who has "0" confidence in English (read here..) and no connection to locals. Well, probably I wouldn't do that in my own country Japan either...

When I tried to find people interested in a "Tupperware party" on Facebook, most of the other shops who were interested in my idea were "Tupperware types" of people.. I thought that's okay as long as we can share the cost, but Maria suggested that I stick to my branding and find some businesses similar to mine. I didn't have many connections, but I knew some lovely business people who have their own brand/shop, so I started asking them if they're interested. Probably how many people I can get to the event is the most important part of their decision making, and I didn't have confidence around that part..but somehow they agreed to join my event. That was very exciting. We decided that all the stall holders do their own marketing and invite friends and family and I would do a little bit extra by putting flyers to locals.

And then how did this event become fundraising event? My husband Paul said he could borrow a coffee machine from his work and raise money for charity and I thought that's a great idea. Around the same time, I heard from my best friend Yuri in Japan that one of her close friends got cancer and that she was in critical condition. I met that friend only once at Yuri's wedding in Japan a few years ago. She was living in Shanghai with her husband, but she came all the way to Japan for Yuri's wedding and I still remember she was in a beautiful kimono.

When she found out about her cancer, it wasn't really at an early stage. She had to come back to Kyushu, her hometown to have a surgery. When Yuri told me she went to Kyushu for a day trip to see her at hospital, I realized that her condition was pretty bad because Kyushu is not a place where people make a day trip from Tokyo often (it's about 850 km away). When Yuri also told me she has a two year old boy, I felt like crying thinking about my own boy Nico. No mums want to leave such a small kid behind.

I used to say to Paul that I didn't care about my health. I could sacrifice myself for my family, so I didn't need rest. I always wanted to look after my family. But if they lose me, what would they do? I have to stay healthy for them...that's what I realized from Yuri's friend's story. Then I wondered if many mums might be the same, being too busy to think about their own health.

We picked the National Breast Cancer Foundation from many charities to support their good work, but our main purpose for this fundraising is to inspire people to think about their own health. I think everyone wants to make their family and friends happy, but without them, those people will be sad. 

Looking after yourself is not a bad thing. To treat yourself, have some afternoon tea and workshop at Little Keeper's Market and maybe get some nice pressie for yourself!

With love,

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