Last week, I think that I surprised a lot of people when I announced the news that I’ve started working at AREA Harajuku (where Kawaii PH Store items are also being placed). I’ve actually kept this secret for months because I was anxious that it might get jynxed if I told everyone about it. >_< I didn’t want to announce something that might not end up happening in the future so during the entire time, I just hoped and prayed that everything would come into place……and it did! よかったです！
I’ve always wanted to experience to be part of the fashion industry here in Tokyo even just for a short time. Moreover, it had always been one of my #bucketlist goals to work at a shop in Harajuku, even if I already have my own set of responsibilities here in our family business.
At around April / May, I was contacted by Kazuhiro-san of AVANTGARDE (the shop that started the tattoo tights trend). I’ve met him a couple of times before because I would bring my friends from the overseas to his shop whenever I’d give them a “kawaii tour”. Coincidentally, we also met at a fashion runway event during Kawaii Leaders project (Kawaii Matsuri) and I took a photo with him and his mohawk (tallest in the world lololol). Haha.
When we met up, I didn’t have any idea about this AREA Harajuku shop at all. During our meeting, he then offered me a golden opportunity for Kawaii PH Store. He wanted us to stock some items in this new shop! At first, I could not believe it..! *_* That time, Kawaii PH Store website was not even launched yet. ANDDDD.. also that time, I just thought it was both funny & interesting because (maybeee) I have gotten used to the feeling that sometimes you need to have a lot of “convincing” for others to believe in your entrepreneurial dreams. And then here comes an opportunity that is just waiting for you to say “yes!”. I still do not have any idea why there had been constant blessings for Kawaii PH these past few months but I know that this means something. Being recognized in a place where the kawaii culture roots are… it is just unbelievable. ;_; After that brief meeting, I told him that he should meet my older brother since he is my overall manager / business advisor.
After the second meeting, I really expressed all my sincere thoughts about this and about how we built Kawaii Philippines from scratch. I do get approached by Japanese companies and interested partners, but there were A LOT of times that I didn’t know how to manage or to make fair deals and negotiations. In the end, I was just used for connections and marketing information (my personality / nature was quite troublesome because I was then gullible… you just really learn, ね？). So I learned from all those experiences. As a community, we all worked hard to build Kawaii PH to be where it is now and as a wiser team leader, I only want it to be involved in projects that are genuine and that would inspire many in our kawaii family back home.
Fortunately, Kazuhiro-san has been very supportive of Kawaii PH. He even allowed ENJI to be placed in their store too (I’m so happy for Anggy! Omg, this was also her DREAM!)… and he approved my recommendation that Satchiko should also work with me there (since I am only available 2-3 days a week).
I consider working at AREA Harajuku as a big challenge for me because this is where all my Nihongo conversation skills will be put into use. I am also fortunate to have the most patient co-workers in the shop. Right now, I really consider this as a valuable work experience and I’ll do my best to maximize and multiply this blessing. We’ve finally gotten a little place in Harajuku, and I cannot wait for the day when my teammates can also see their products of hard work right there too. 🙂
Anyway, enough of the long narration! Here are some photos I’ve taken during my first days 🙂
Arrived quite early in Harajuku during my first day of work, so I had some iced tea from Island Vintage Coffee.