For today's post, I will share some tips and secrets on how to start a kawaii community from scratch and how to build it with like-minded friends and supporters.
We started to promote "Kawaii" aggressively last 2013 during Kawaii in Manila 1: The First Ever Kawaii Lifestyle Workshop in the Philippines. It was made possible because we worked as a team and did wonders with what we only had that time. There was a demand for a community to be set up so even if we weren't fully prepared for it (as we have personal obligations / own work frustrations lol), we still did our best to relaunch "kawaii.ph" and broadcasted our goals about spreading "kawaii" from Luzon, to Mindanao (the 3 island groups of Philippines). You can backtrack all my posts that are about Kawaii Philippines using this tag. Like you, I am still in awe on how this movement has solidified its once visions and dreams right from Day 1. If there is one word to best describe what is happening with Kawaii PH right now,... it would be unstoppable. And I'm not exaggerating at all. *_*
Everyday is overwhelming!! *_*
Grabbed these kawaii photos on instagram!
Thank you @naomeoww, @amaya_entl, @vanessaleuterio, @lovenyape, @rootedinvanity, @kyuutkat, @justine_chantelle, @lucypopjapan!
When I posted this on instagram (about a future post, which is this lolol), I was surprised by the feedback! I am so happy to know that there are many people who are actually interested in setting up their kawaii families in their respective areas! : ) Even if we have different cultures or other countries might be less receptive of "kawaii" (at first), I think that it is still possible to unite everyone with the same love over cuteness. It doesn't even have to be super Japan-inspired! Luckily, in the Philippines, Japanese culture has already created a big impact (because of pop culture / anime / fashion / cosplay / etc.) decades ago. What we did at Kawaii PH was to reintroduce the concept of "kawaii" and injected fearless fashion / self-expression, empowerment, kindness, friendship, positivity, and the like. I personally do not like to be in company or be part of a community where there is jealousy, crab mentality, negativity, money-money-money, and all that (who wants that?).. so that's why, as my friend Ashley would say it.. We built our own happy world. It's not perfect.. far from it, but we strive to become supportive of each other through our common love for cuteness! : )
Before I share some tips, let me just share (like a proud momma haha) our achievements in Kawaii PH and we hope that ours would inspire you / your friends too!
- September 2013: Kawaii in Manila 1 (only 20+ kawaii girl participants)
- October 2013: Participated for the first time in a big cosplay event (Cosplay Mania)
- December 2013: Relaunch of Kawaii.PH (media portal)
- September 2014: Kawaii in Manila 2: The First Kawaii Convention in the Philippines (1,500 + attendees)
- Kawaii PH HQ (physical headquarters in Quezon City, Metro Manila)
- Kawaii Empowerment Workshop with Assumption Development Foundation
- Soft Launch of Kawaii PH Store Brand Collective (website coming soon!)
- End of 2014: Kawaii PH TV partnership with iBC 13
- We produced 10 3-min. episodes that were aired after Kawaii International
- Kawaii PH's first international participation in Tokyo Design Festa
- February 2015: Launch of KawaiiFund.org
- Kawaii PH's first campus tour (promoting eco-friendliness)
- Tie-ups with event partners (bazaar + convention organizers)
- May - July 2015: School of Kawaii
- 1) Draw Cute Things with Little Miss Paintbrush
- 2) Complete The Kawaii Look with Anne, Ashley, and Chai
- 3) *coming soon*
- 4) *coming soon*
- Kawaii Philippines got mentioned in a local Japanese newspaper
- ... and more to come.
According to the day / year calculator, it has been approximately 1 year and 8 months since Kawaii in Manila 1. *_*
*high five to all Kawaii PH people hihi*
Here are some tips when starting a kawaii community:
- Start small with big dreams. Call out your like-minded friends and brainstorm together. Write down your short-term and long-term goals.
- Set objectives and stick with your kawaii vision. You can read ours here and here (for Kawaii Fund).
- Work as a team and forget the “I”. It’s not about getting recognized. It’s about collective efforts to turn hopes into realities. Forget who takes the credit and concentrate on the dream waiting to be achieved instead.
- Appreciate every help and opportunity that comes along the way. Being appreciative goes a long, long, way. How else would others want to stay in the community when she / he does not feel appreciated rightfully?
- Handle rejection well. Not all will be keen about the “kawaii community” idea at first. Do not be bitter when a sponsor rejects, but aim to be "super yummy" later . How many rejected / ignored proposals did we get / did not get back when we sent out emails when we started this? I can't even count. One year later, they are the ones approaching us instead. : )
- Support each other and contribute with whatever you have. I specialize in strategizing and delegating tasks, and my friends are skilled in illustrating / photography / video documentation. With our different set of skills, we make a great powerhouse team. And I also try my best to train people with potential to be fellow kawaii leaders in our community. : )
- Encourage homegrown talents and grow together as a family. I remember the days when people would visit our booths during conventions and some would say out loud that our offerings were too expensive (when our pricing was reasonable)... woops. Now, people are supporting our handmade items and blogging about those! : )
- Use social media / internet to spread the word. We haven't used traditional advertising / print for our events, and we just publicize our announcements through facebook, instagram, twitter, and our personal blogs! Document every achievement / success and work-in-progress!
- Remember, dreams are just dreams without actions. Pause the talking and wishing, and start the doing and action-planning.
- Empower others through kawaii and ENJOY the ride! This is the most important. Do not get carried away with all the to-do lists and the like. You're supposed to enjoy this kawaii dream with your friends, and not be super stressed about it! : )
If you are going to be the team leader of this kawaii community, here are some "leadership" tips from yours truly:
- First of all, do not feel "entitled" to special treatment. You are building this community not for your personal interest, but because you genuinely / sincerely want to spread kawaii culture and the positive elements that go with it. As your community grows, your head will be tempted to grow as well.. so be aware. Keep your feet on the ground & be committed with work. When setting appointments or meetings, be the first one to show up or at least, be prompt. Avoid being late. : )
- "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others." is my favorite quote because it speaks the truth. In a span of almost 2 years, we have comeeeee this far. And it's because people helped out each other! ^^
- Learn how to pitch and introduce yourself / your organization well. I was not the assertive type of a person before but I figured that I should be one. You are the face /representative of the whole bunch.. so represent with confidence. : )
- Integrity is a must. What if a company approaches you and asks you for your entire database / contacts for networking / "market research" purposes in exchange of big money? Will you accept that or turn it down politely? : )
- Be appreciative and thankful for every support that they give and the golden time that people contribute. "Time = money" is the equation for most people and you have to respect that and be grateful for that when they give it for free! : )
- Be ready with business cards + an online pdf primer.
- Have the sense of accountability. When everyone else is panicking and the like, as a leader, you should be the one thinking of other back-up plans and solutions. The last person in the entire room to go crazy on the spot during a dilemma should be you.
- Keep yourself motivated and positive. You have to figure out your own cheat sheet on how to be inspired. : )
- Remember that it's not about the "big launch" or the "perfect start". It's about the journey that follows. Consistency is the key! : )
- Deliver your best work & be a responsible leader. Being a "boss" is different from being a leader.
Photo credits: @_ohmylittlegirl, @franchescamae, @kamiru0401, @aoikisetsu, @milo.jp, @ohsanghun94!
Common myths about making a kawaii community:
The founder has to be an appointed kawaii leader by Kawaii International program by NHK.
- If you've got the passion, drive, and sense of accountability .. And friends who share the same love, you are good to go! Titles are just titles, you know! ^^v
Your community / group needs to be "validated" by a Japan-related institution / foundation / or even the embassy of Japan.
- You are starting a community not because you want to be recognized during your start. They will discover you later on and it would be just an addition!
You guys need big money.
- Nope. You just have to learn how to sell and pitch your ideas to your target people (initial) so that you can spread kawaii to a more generic audience. Because of generous sponsors (even just small businesses) and exchange deals, we have grown this much so you don't really need a big kawaii fund at the beginning. Start with whatever you have. : )
If you have other questions, feel free to leave comments below and I'll try to answer during my free time. : )
Also, feel free to emails us firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to affiliate with us a partner community. ^^
Complete The Kawaii Look with Ashley, Chai & Anne!
I just want to repost some of these #SchoolOfKawaii photos sent to me by Kaye + photos taken by Francis, Armaine, Mica, and Ronnel.
Again, thank you The Bunny Baker for accommodating us! : )
You can read the following testimonials from these blogs:
Photo by Ronnel. More photos from this facebook album! : )
Those smiles tho <3 Yay!
You can watch the video documentation by Armaine here as well.
And to end this post, just want to share this quote from Bianca G's book "Paano Ba 'To?".
Hope this entry was insightful! <3
And great job to the Kawaii PH community for hosting a successful workshop once again! ^^v